While dogs may be quite happy to eat two or three set meals per day, the same can’t always be said for cats. In the wild, cats like to eat little and often and will eat up to 20 small meals throughout the day or night. Many domestic cats have this same desire to graze on their food, rather than eat it all in one go as soon as it is served.
Graze-feeding is a natural, healthy way for a cat to feed, but this can raise concerns amongst cat owners that lead busy lifestyles and are absent from their pets for much of the day. If your cat never eats the food as soon as it’s served, does this mean that your cat doesn’t like the food? Not necessarily. If you serve the food at a time outside of your cat’s normal feeding routine, your cat might not eat any of it until later when they would normally prefer to feed. Your cat might not be interested in food just before you go to work or as soon as you get home in the evening. Your cat might prefer to eat at other times of the day when you are not around, or during the early hours when you are still in bed.
Ad-lib feeding can have its practical challenges. It’s likely that you won’t have the time or the presence to serve 20 small meals throughout the day and night. So, if you serve your cat’s food two or three times a day, you need to expect that it might not be eaten straight away, and you’ll need to ensure the food stays palatable if it takes your cat several hours to finish a bowlful. Wet food can spoil quickly if left uncovered for too long, especially on hot days. Even dry food can gradually spoil and become unappealing to your cat. This can affect their desire to feed at the times that they want to. The range of SureFeed bowls can help with this. SureFeed products have a lid that closes onto a sealed bowl to keep food fresh throughout the day, allowing your cat to graze happily and reducing wastage.
If your cat does in fact eat all of the food that you put down for them as soon as it’s served, you might be thinking that ad-lib feeding doesn’t apply to your cat. However, there could be an external factor that is causing your cat to gorge on their food in this way. If you have more than one pet in your home and the other pets steal the cat’s food, your cat might eat their food as soon as it’s served for fear of it being eaten by someone else. A SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder can help with this situation as it only opens for a registered pet’s veterinary implanted microchip or RFID collar tag. When a registered pet approaches, the lid opens, allowing them to feed. The lid then closes when they have walked away, preventing all other pets from gaining access to the food.
Similarly, if you have a standard cat flap that the neighbour’s cat is using to come into your home, your cat might eat their food quickly so that it doesn’t get stolen by the intruder. If you don’t have a cat flap at all and you have to let your cat in and out of the house manually, they might eat all of their food in one sitting because they know that when you let them out of the house, they might have to wait a while to be let back in, so they won’t know when they will next have access to their food. The best solution for both of these scenarios is to install a SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap to keep the intruder cat out and to allow your cat to come and go freely.
Let’s go back to thinking about the times a cat likes to feed. If it’s at midnight or 4am while you’re sleeping, or the middle of the day when you’re at work, how can you know for sure if they’re eating at these times if you’re not around to see it happening? And if you can’t see them feeding, how will you know that they like the food? Cats are creatures of habit and will stick to a preferred feeding routine. Any changes to that routine could mean that the cat has become unwell or is experiencing stress. But if they’re feeding at times when you’re not around, it can be difficult to spot any changes. The SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder Connect has the answer. It uses the Sure Petcare app to allow you to monitor your cat’s feeding routine on your mobile device. Graphs in the app plot when your cat eats from the bowl so that you can have the reassurance that they are eating when you are absent. The Microchip Pet Feeder Connect can also enable you to learn your cat’s feeding routine to spot any changes quickly and easily. You can then act on these changes sooner than you otherwise might, which could be critical in treating an illness they may have developed.
For more information about how SureFlap and SureFeed products can help you to support your pet, visit www.surepetcare.com.