A cat feeding schedule chart helps you keep your cat’s feeding times consistent. The best feeding schedule is based on what your cat prefers and your routine.
Cat feeding schedules can help reduce stress, keep your cat at an ideal weight, and keep track of your cat’s eating habits.
The best feeding schedule is based on your cat’s needs and your schedule.
Every cat is an individual. And you know your cat best.
So you will have to decide how often and what times to feed based on the information below and your cat’s needs.
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What is the best feeding schedule for cats?
The best feeding schedule for cats is a consistent schedule that your cat prefers. Most cats do well on two feeding times daily about 12 hours apart.
Cats are crepuscular animals which means they mainly hunt at dawn and dusk. This is when prey are most active. So the best feeding schedule for cats mimics their natural habitat.
Portioned, scheduled mealtimes are better for cats because it can prevent overeating and stress. Plus, it’s unsanitary to leave food out all day.
Portioned meals are the best way to maintain an ideal weight. Scheduled mealtimes help feeding routines stay consistent. And cats love routines!
It’s unsanitary to leave food out all day (including kibble) because bacteria, mold, and rancid fats increase the longer the food sits out.
How often should cats be fed each day?
Most cats should be fed twice daily. But how often your cat is fed each day depends on your cat’s individual needs. Cats with health conditions and kittens may need to be fed more often.
If your cat is currently eating dry food free-choice, you may need to feed your cat more often during the transition to scheduled mealtimes.
You may start with four scheduled mealtimes to help your cat adjust. Then transition to three meals daily and ultimately two meals daily.
My picky cat transition plan includes instructions on cat feeding schedules and how to go from kibble to wet or raw.
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How much should I feed my cats per day?
Your cat’s weight, body condition score, and the cat food label should be used to determine how much to feed your cats per day.
There is no one-size-fits-all “feed this amount per day” amount. Every cat is an individual, and every food is individual.
You will have to adjust feeding amounts per day based on your cat’s weight and body condition score.
Check out my cat weight loss program if your cat is overweight or obese.
My cat’s feeding schedule
Jericho’s feeding schedule includes two meal feedings and two treat feedings.
- 7 AM breakfast
- 9:30 AM clicker training with treats
- 12 PM hunting for treats
- 6 PM dinner
His main meals are just about 12 hours apart. And he hunts for a small number of treats in the middle of the day.
I hide treats around our apartment to simulate the hunting experience.
Cat feeding supplies:
The food-grade silicone mat is perfect for Jericho’s raw meals. It’s large and very easy to clean.
I use the digital food scale to weigh food and Jericho. I weigh Jericho weekly and adjust his food amount as necessary.
Cats prefer shallow dishes for their food and water. This prevents whisker fatigue and stress.
Cat supplies for hunting:
- Glass jar lids
- Feeder mice on Amazon and Chewy
- Treat-release toys on Amazon
- Food puzzle toys on Amazon
- Puzzle rugs
- Healthy cat treats
Put food or treats on the supplies. Hide the supplies around your home for hunting!
The con to feeder mice and treat-release toys is that they are made out of plastic.
Plastic traps bacteria. Even with regular washing.
Clean these supplies after you use them. And replace them regularly.
I use glass jar lids and puzzle rugs because it’s more sanitary.
NOTE: Hunting for food/treats means you hide them for your cat to hunt right after you put them down. Then collect the supplies and wash them. I’m not telling you to leave hunting food/treats out all day.
Create a cat feeding schedule that works for both of you
Your cat’s feeding schedule ultimately depends on what works for you and your cat.
The most important thing is to stay consistent. Cats prefer routine and predictability in their lives.
So your cat’s feeding schedule should be consistent every day.
It’s best to feed your cat when you are home. That way, you can monitor your cat’s eating habits and clean up supplies when he’s done.
Should I leave food out for my cat all day?
No, you should not leave food out for your cat all day. Leaving food out all day is unsanitary. All types of foods are at risk for growing bacteria, mold, and rancid fats the longer it sits out.
Grazing on food all day is also unnatural for cats. Cats mainly hunt at dawn and dusk and rest during the day.
Leaving food out all day can encourage overeating which can lead to obesity.
What if I work long hours?
I’d suggest feeding raw in the morning and cleaning it up before you leave. Then set up high protein low carb wet food in an automatic feeder for dinner. Or hire a cat sitter to come in to feed your cat raw for dinner.
What about feeding multiple cats?
There is an automatic chip feeder that registers to your cat’s microchip. It opens when the cat approaches the feeder, and it closes when the cat walks away. It only opens for the cat whose microchip is registered.
How often should I feed kittens?
Kittens need even more frequent feeding times. You should feed your kitten as much food as recommended for his projected adult weight. That’s a lot of food to eat at once. So 5-6 frequent meals are more appropriate for kittens.
Check out my kitten care guide for how much to feed and supplies.
Final thoughts on cat feeding schedule
Your cat’s feeding schedule depends on what works best for you and your cat.
It’s important to stay consistent and clean up after mealtime. So feed your cat when you are home.
It’s more natural for cats to eat portioned meals twice daily.
Leaving food out all day is unsanitary and can lead to obesity.
Need help staying consistent? Grab my Notion cat weekly planner (includes a feeding chart) on Etsy!