Most people feed their cats twice a day, but not much thought goes into it. Meal times are very important to your cat though. In fact, when, where, and how you feed your cat can be as important as what you’re putting into her bowl. Being more conscious about your cat’s feeding habits can help keep her healthier and happier. Are you making any of these 7 common feeding mistakes?
#1 – Not choosing the right kind of food Cats require a specific balance of vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy and active. Consistently feeding your cat an unbalanced or incomplete diet can lead to may health problems, both immediate and long term. Have a conversation with your veterinarian about your cat’s dietary needs if you aren’t sure which food to choose.
#2 – Feeding strictly dry food
In the wild, cats get hydration as well as nutrition from their prey. Because of this, they instinctually drink less water than they require to be healthy. A cat who is fed a purely dry food diet isn’t receiving hydration through food and can easily become dehydrated. Adding wet food into your cat’s diet can help her live in a way that’s more in line with her natural instincts and can help her stay properly hydrated and healthy.
#3 – Food bowl placement If your cat isn’t eating her food it may have something to do with where you’ve placed her bowl. If you’ve hidden her bowl away in a dark space– like a closet or basement– she may not feel safe from potential predators while she’s eating with her head down. Although cats can see better than us in dim light, they can’t see in complete darkness. If you must hide the dish away, make sure there’s a motion activated night light nearby. Related: 7 Reasons Your Cat May Be A Picky Eater
#4 – Not kept fresh
Cats have very strong senses of smell, allowing them to determine that food isn’t fresh even if it seems okay to you. In the wild, eating unfresh food can lead to a kind of illness that’s very dangerous for animal that is both predator and prey. This wildcat instinct is strong even in domestic cats who don’t have to worry about predators.
#5 – Over feeding Obesity, which can lead to many health problems and a shorter lifespan, is common in indoor cats who overeat and don’t get enough exercise and mental stimulation. Many cats do fine with having constant access to a bowl of kibble, but others continue to eat obsessively even after they are full. If you have a cat who overeats, do away with the free-feeding style and dole out the food according to the feeding instructions on the food’s package.
#6 – Inconsistent meal times
Cats are creatures of comfort, and that means they crave consistency. When a cat isn’t in charge of her meals by hunting, she can become very anxious about when (or if) she’ll get to eat next. You can help her be a more confident and happy cat by sticking to a consistent feeding schedule. If your schedule is too unpredictable for that, consider adding a timed feeder to your home that’ll deliver food to your cat at the same time every day.
#7 – Creating competition
Cats in multi-cat homes are always in competition with each other, even if the signs are too subtle for you to see. You can help alleviate the stress of competing for food by adding several feeding stations throughout your home. That way, a more submissive cat won’t be missing meals if she’s intimidated by a lurking dominant cat.