MeOW Welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays. We welcome all your “catty” questions. Does your kitty do somethin’ you think is strange and you wanna know why? Maybe kitty is misbehavin’ and you wanna know how to stop them. Do you have questions ‘bout feline health? We’re here to give you answers. Submit your questions or topic suggestions in the comments section below, or write us an email via our Contact page. And don’t furget you can ketch up on any post you may have missed in this series by clickin’ the links on our Training Tips and Everything Feline page in our menu.
The following post will be written in human English for reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Training Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal training, cats in purr-ticular. And to offer insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, successful Training is all about Repetition and Rewards.
There’s been a long standing debate about whether or not kitties should Free Feed or have Scheduled mealtimes. We’re on a Schedule around here. Often times Free Feeders worry that kitty may get hungry while they’re away at work or school, or overnight while they sleep. Some think Free Feeding means they can sleep later because kitty won’t be waking them up to eat. Some Free Feed because kitty only nibbles and they worry he/she won’t get enough to eat. So, let’s look at Free Feeding. More often than not, dry kibble is the meal left out. It’s quick, easy and isn’t likely to spoil. We know that kitties don’t typically drink enough water as it is, so feeding kitty a dry food can actually dehydrate them further. Kitty’s hydration should always be a concern. Regardless of what kitty eats, make sure he/she has access to fresh water at all times.
Now let’s look at kitty’s hunger. Will kitty actually starve if he/she misses a meal? Will kitty starve if their meal is a few hours late? The obvious answer is No. So, why then do we think that kitty can’t go without while you’re at work or school? It really isn’t logical. As for sleeping in, there’s a few things you can do here. The first is to train kitty to keep your schedule and sleep when you do. The best way to achieve this is to tire kitty out right before bedtime. An energetic play time is just what the doctor ordered. And, if you look at kitty’s base drives, you’ll understand that kitty’s world is all about the hunt. There’s a lion inside your house kitty just waiting to come out.
Me was a kibble kitty till it made me sick.
There are some real dangers to Free Feeding. Obesity has become an increasing problem these days. Cats in the wild have to exert energy to hunt and catch their meal before they can consume it. All Fluffy and Fido have to do is walk over to the food dish. They’re not burning up any calories and thus become overweight and lethargic. And we’ve all heard, “My cat turned his/her nose up at _____________.” or “ My kitty’s really finicky.” If kitty’s not hungry because kibble is available all the time, he/she isn’t likely to try something new.
Another real concern with Free Feeding is that kitty’s body stays in the digest mode and never fully coverts their food or empties their stomach. This is very taxing on a cat’s organs. When cats smell food there’s a spike in insulin. If food is available all the time, that spike is constant and can overload kitty’s pancreas resulting in Diabetes. Free Feeding can also result in Urinary problems and Kidney disease. Kitties need to feel hungry, hunt, ketch, kill, eat/gorge and then rest so their bodies can function normally. The good news is that it’s never too late to change kitty to Scheduled Feeding. Check with your V-E-T if kitty has a long term illness and requires special care. Kitty will still do better on a Schedule, but the transition should be done under a doctor’s care.
I’s never had kibble or been free fed.
Scheduled Feeding can be twice a day or more depending on your cat’s individual needs. For those cat’s who are accustomed to Free Feeding, weaning should be done slowly. Put kitty’s food down first thing in the morning and take it up a few hours later or when you leave for work/school. Put kitty’s food down when you get home or at dinner time, and take it up before going to bed. If you’re feeding canned or raw, never leave the food down for over an hour and always throw out any uneaten food. These foods spoil quickly. Remember, kitty is a hunter and the meal is their reward for a successful hunt. Play time before a meal can help kitty adjust to Scheduled Feeding. Playtime with kitty is also a time for bonding.
Well, that’s gonna do it fur today. Who would’a thought that meal time could cause confusion or even illness. Mommy says when in doubt ‘bout somethin’ regardin’ us kitties, she likes to look at our what our bigger cousins would do. After all, we’re not that far removed from our wild ancestors. Anyways, check out the other posts in this series by clickin’ Training Tips and Everything Feline from our menu above. And don’t furget to submit your questions and topic suggestions in the comments below or by sendin’ us an email. We’re linkin’ up with Comedy Plus fur Feline Furidays. And don’t furget to enter our #PranciesPrayer Give Away here.
Do you Free Feed or Schedule Feed?
Till the next time…………………………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses