The routine you create for your cat’s mealtime can either help keep your feline healthy or lead to problems in the future. As independent as cats are, they are very structure-oriented and need to follow a daily routine, especially when meals are concerned.
Free choice feeding is a popular option with many cat owners. Typically, a bowl of dry food is left available at all times and the cat is allowed to eat on its own schedule. Some of the commercial foods available to manage urinary tract problems recommend this type of feeding schedule. A feeder designed to store food and dispense it when the bowl is empty may be a good choice. Choose one that dispenses both food and fresh water.
Note: Free choice feeding can be a problem for those cats prone to obesity and may not be appropriate for those individuals.
Feeding multiple cats from the same dish is another feeding problem. This can create stress for the less dominant cats, since the more dominant one gets the larger portion. If possible, each cat should be fed from its own bowl in a seperate location.
Cats that are fed from plastic dishes may also develop eating problems. Plastic tends to retain the smell of past meals and cleaning detergents, discouraging your cat from eating. These dishes should be thoroughly rinsed and cleaned after each meal. Some cats even develop an “allergy” to their bowls. If you notice an acne-like rash on your cat’s chin, consider changing to ceramic or stainless-steel and talk with your veterinarian.
Another helpful tip, avoid feeding one type of food exclusively, especially if that “food” is not a balanced diet. Nutrition experts feel that varying the types of food, even within your favorite brand name, has value for your cat’s health.
Variety helps avoid “addiction” to specific foods and lessens the chance of a nutrient deficiency or excess in the event a particular diet is unbalanced for your cat.