How to Feed a Cat – Free Feeding vs Meal Feeding

kitten feeding 1

Before you get a cat, you will need to know how to feed it.

There are actually a number of things related to feeding these animals that it is important to be aware of.

In this article, we will provide you with valuable information for keeping your kitty healthy.

Feeding Methods

There are a few different feeding methods that you can use with your cat. It is important that you consider each of these methods before making a final decision.

Free Feeding

Some people go with the free feeding method, which basically involves allowing your cat to have access to food all the time. One of the major benefits of this is that your cat can eat whenever it wants, which is convenient for you as well.

Keep in mind that using the free feeding method with your cat could cause it to become obese. There is a good chance that they will end up eating too much on a daily basis. 

There is also the issue of not being able to recognize a change in your cat’s eating habits. Eating too much or too little can be a sign of illness, so you’ll want to know about it.

You can only really do free feeding with dry food, as the wet variety cannot be kept out of the refrigerator for very long. This is due to the fact that bacteria can quickly form when the food is left to sit out for long periods.

  Can Cats Eat Garlic?

Meal Feeding

You also have the option of feeding your cat at certain times each day, which is what many owners do. This method allows you to easily observe changes in your cat’s eating habits, which can help you keep them healthy.

Meal feeding also helps you to keep your cat at a healthy weight, as you have total control over the portions they are given. One of the downsides of this method is that you might notice your cat start to beg for food before meal time.

If you have a young kitten, you should give them food three times daily. Mature cats that are over a year old can be given just two meals each day. Some cats only need to be fed once per day.

cat feeding

Mixed Feeding

The third option that you have for feeding your cat is to do both mixed and meal feeding together. Some people choose to give their cats wet food a couple of times each day at certain times, while leaving dry food out all day.

One of the big advantages of this method is that you can keep track of your cat’s eating habits better than if you did just free feeding. It can, however, still result in your cat putting on extra pounds.

If you choose this method of feeding your cat, it is important that you carefully measure the food before putting it in their bowl.

Factors to Consider

There are numerous factors that you should consider when it comes to feeding your cat. The fact is that not all cats have the same needs when it comes to how they are fed.

  How Often Should you Feed a Cat?

Your cat’s age

The age of your cat is also something that you should take into consideration when it comes to feeding it properly. Adult cats that are at least one year old should be given two meals per day at the most. Kittens can be fed up to three times daily. A lot of people feed their cats just once per day, which is usually fine.

kitten eating

Medical Conditions

If your cat has any medical conditions whatsoever, you’ll need to keep that in mind before deciding how and when to feed it. For example, cats that have diabetes or hyperthyroidism might crave food throughout the entire day. It is important that you not provide them with access to food all day long though.

Cats that have dental issues like periodontal disease might not want to eat dry food, as it is too hard on their teeth. In this case, you’ll want to give them wet food. It is crucial that you consider the state of your cat’s health before making these decisions.

Your Own Schedule

When you are trying to decide on a method of feeding your cat, you should also factor in your own schedule. Some of these methods might work for you better than others. If you have a very inconsistent and unpredictable schedule, free feeding or combination feeding are options worth considering.

Automatic Feeders

You should at least consider investing in an automatic cat feeder, which can be very convenient for both you and your pet. These devices dispense food at certain times, so you don’t even have to be at home. This ensures that your pet gets fed without any issues whatsoever.

  Can Cats Eat Eggs?

Take the time to look into some of the different automatic cat feeders on the market before deciding on anything in particular. This will help to make sure that your pet gets their meals on a daily basis no matter what your personal schedule is like.


  • There are lots of different methods that you can use to feed your cat, some of which might be better than others.
  • Free feeding is a method that involves simply putting your cat’s food out and letting it eat when it wants throughout the day.
  • You can also choose to give your cat carefully measured amounts of food at certain times each day.
  • Some people decide to do a combination of meal feeding and free feeding with dry and wet food.
  • Before you choose a method of feeding your cat, it is important that you consider their age.
  • Adult cats over a year should be fed once or twice daily, while kittens should be fed two or three times every day.
  • You also need to consider whether or not your cat has any medical issues that might affect their eating habits or preferences.
  • An automatic feeder could make your life a lot easier while ensuring your cat always has enough to eat on a daily basis.
Was this article helpful?