We humans tend to associate large meals with happy bellies, but cats are not humans and large meals are not what they were designed to eat. If you’re feeding your cat as you would your family members, this blog is for you.
First, let’s establish that cats are also not cows so they shouldn’t graze their meals. Studies have proven that free feeding cats increases stress levels as well as risk of diseases. Many cats who are given an all day buffet will eat out of boredom, which is very unhealthy. Scheduled meals is reported to reduce stress and decrease risk of illness in felines.
So now that we’ve covered the elephant in the room, let’s talk about how much we are feeing our cats.
Cats have stomachs the size of ping pong balls, so they weren’t created to scarf large meals. Heck, no mammal was meant to eat until they are stuffed full – including you! Does your cat tend to eat their meals quickly and then vomit it back up? This will sometimes happen if you’re feeding your cat too much food at once.
In the wild cats will anticipate mealtime. They will stalk, hunt and kill small prey animals and eat little amounts at a time. Some studies show that outdoor cats will do this for the majority of their waking hours.
If we want to help our cats feel more like the wild little tigers that they are, it’s important to try and mirror their eating habits in the wild. Feeding small meals throughout the day on a routine basis will help stimulate their feline instincts and increase their overall health.
If your schedule doesn’t allow for you to be home all day, consider using automatic feeders that open at certain times of the day. While a slight investment up front, it will pay off with a happier healthier cat!