How to Feed Cats
A lot of cats just walk over the food bowl when they’re hungry, or gobble a big bowl of food twice a day. The rest of the day they sleep, or maybe play a game or two. But there’s so much more to it than that, and it DOESN’T have to be a hassle! You and your cat will get so much more enjoyment out of feeding in a more exciting way, even if it’s just some of the time!
It’s OK, we’re not suggesting you release a dozen mice into your home for your cat to catch…!
The idea is to mimic what your cat would do in the wild, namely hunting and catching small prey, like mice. For our pet cats, there are marked differences between hunting for mice, and being fed by an owner, such as:
- Time Spent Obtaining a Meal – A cat will have to spend several hours a day hunting in order to find, and catch, enough prey to satisfy their needs. Compare this to the time it takes to walk over to the food bowl!
- Number of Meals per Day – A cat would naturally eat many (e.g.10) small mouse-sized meals, rather than two large meals morning & night, with short cat-naps between each meal, to preserve energy for the next hunting trip. This is why a cat’s natural tendency is to graze during the day (‘ad lib’)
- Time to Eat each Meal – Food that is presented in a bowl is far too easy to eat. This makes a cat more likely to eat too much, or too quickly, and makes meal times boring. Eating a mouse, however, requires delicate dissection with the teeth, and selection of which bits to eat!
- Diet Composition – Cats get a large proportion of their water from the prey they eat, so when feeding only dry food, we must ensure that our cats drink sufficient water
- Calorie Intake – This is not rocket science. Simply put, if a cat were required to hunt for every meal, it would get plenty of exercise in the process of obtaining meals, and it would be almost impossible to get obese with this lifestyle & diet! Compare this to just walking over to a food bowl full of high quality cat food…
So, how do we feed cats?
Simply put, the aim is to feed your cat in a way that is:
- Fun! Why should eating be boring for an animal that is hard-wired to overcome the challenges of catching prey before they can eat? We need to stimulate their senses & challenge their instincts!
- Imaginative – Cats are so clever that they will soon figure out a feeding toy, so you’ll have to think up new challenges for them, or vary the methods you use to feed them
- Frustrating – Not too frustrating, just enough to get your cat thinking!
- Instinctive – Enabling your cat to use the feline talents and instincts that come naturally – such as smell, hearing, hunting, and problem-solving
It’s much easier than it sounds! So, how do you achieve this fun feeding? Here are some simple ways to provide Feeding Enrichment…