Should I feed my cat the same time every day – if so, why?

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There are at least several good reasons why you should feed your cat every day.

• Weight. If you feed at different times, she might either be going too long without food and may end up eating too fast and too much. When any animal (or human) goes too long without food, blood sugar dips and energy lags. As with humans, if the cat eats too fast, the brain won’t get a chance to register that she’s full, so she’ll just eat and eat.

The blood sugar dip may also affect her moods—and even make her a little aggressive—and because she lacks energy, she won’t be able to be as active. This is something you especially need to watch if your cat is diabetic and dependent upon insulin.

On the other hand, there might not be enough space between meals, but she’ll eat anyway, even if she’s really not hungry. That can result in excess calories.

• Cats are nocturnal. They tend to sleep all day, but if you feed them at different times, especially at night, you might see activity bursts that will keep you awake, often at 3 a.m.!

• Routine-less stress: Cats are most happy when their household revolves around a predictable schedule. Giving her a set time for food, as well as for safe outdoor play, interactive play, grooming, and petting will go a long way toward maintaining her well-being and giving you a good night’s sleep, every night.

• Potty breaks: When she’s fed at the same time every day, her “potty” breaks will also be timed and you’ll know exactly what to expect.

This article wouldn’t be complete, however, without talking about some of the disadvantages to scheduled feeding:

• Cats are snackers and this probably dates back to their days in the wild when they had to rely on catching pretty to eat. Some people feed the cat a scheduled canned meal, and then leave some dried kibble out of which to snack. Monitor it carefully, though, to be sure yours doesn’t overeat. Not every cat will self-monitor.

• Eating too fast: Sometimes, a cat can get so hungry in between meals that she’ll eat very fast; that can lead to vomiting and other digestive issues.

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