In the typical household, cats are fed in the exact same spot at each meal, with the food doled out once or twice a day. And if there’s more than one cat in the household, they tend to be fed together. But a cat’s natural preferences are just the opposite. They would rather eat multiple small meals a day — alone.
The problem was identified in a consensus statement published by the Association of Feline Practitioners that addressed proper feeding to improve a cat’s health and well-being. Feeding a cat alongside other cats as well as feeding large meals causes stress for a cat, the statement says, and leads to inactivity and obesity. Today’s pet food is highly palatable and easy to eat rapidly due to its small chunks and kibble formation. Put it in front of your pet all at once, and the cat is more likely to overeat and gain weight.
Food puzzles can help break up a cat’s meals and allow your pet to “hunt” for food, as she would in the wild. But even regularly moving meals to different parts of the house, feeding each cat in the household separately from the others, and feeding several small meals daily rather than a couple of larger ones will go a long way toward tending to your pet’s emotional and physical needs.