Has anyone tried feeding just once a day? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-20-2008, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Has anyone tried feeding just once a day?

First let me say that my 2 cats seem to be different than everyone else's that post here. They will eat anything---dry, wet, any flavor, cheap, expensive, cooked meat, raw meat, bones. Maybe because they are both just mutts?

Anyway they get wet food two times per day (8am and 6pm)---usually Brandon Farms Natural. One (3yo) begs for food right after each meal, as well as all day long. I don't think she is very smart because I NEVER feed them other than these times, but that doesn't stop her. The other one is, I guess, still considered a kitten (8mos). She seems satisfied with whatever she gets.

Lately I've been giving more food in the evening and less at the morning meal. The 3yo only begs after the morning meal now. She seems to only be satisfied with a really full stomach. Everyone else says their cats are more satisfied if they get fed more often.

I'm thinking about going to feeding only once a day come spring (when I'm sure the younger one is over any growth spurts).

I'd like to know if anyone else does this and what you've observed.

BTW, neither cat is thin, in fact the 3yo is a little on the heavy side, and they've both been to the vet and had blood panels done recently, so I think they are healthy.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-20-2008, 09:26 PM
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Re: Has anyone tried feeding just once a day?

The only animal on our property that is fed 'once' a day is the horse. In the late morning I go out and fill her manger with hay and put her pellets in her bucket. She also has access to pasture, but it is winter-dormant right now. In summer, I give her pellets in the AM and let her onto the pasture. In the PM I bring her off the pasture and feed hay.

I am considering going to AM/PM feedings with my cats. I have always fed free-choice but now I have to manage/control Shasta's food intake for her kidney disease diagnosis. I've never fed cats only once/day, I'm not sure how that would work for them. I'm sure if they got enough nutrition at that meal they should be fine.

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-20-2008, 11:26 PM
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Re: Has anyone tried feeding just once a day?

We feed 2 meals a day (one wet one dry), sometimes wet in the morning sometimes wet in the evening--depends on schedule etc--it really helps to mix it up in terms of my one can actually eating the wet. Regardless of the dry meal--it is more a measured amount "free fed" if you will. I don't take the bowl away, but the food is usually gone in a hour, never lasts more than 2 hours.

I could offer food once a day, but the boys would never consume enough in say 1 hour for me to remove it and that be it. I don't know that I want to make them eat that much that quickly. Could I offer a measured amount of food once a day and give them all day to eat it? By noon they'd be begging for more.

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-20-2008, 11:29 PM
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Re: Has anyone tried feeding just once a day?

I feed once a day - in the evenings only. I started this when Nya began refusing breakfast entirely. No problems with only one meal, unless it's late (in which case Buddy gets VERY CRANKY!)

I should also add, their meals are finished within half an hour (unless Nya's being fussy).


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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-20-2008, 11:42 PM
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Re: Has anyone tried feeding just once a day?

I've been thinking about feeding schedules lately because I've been noticing that they only time two of my cats seem to be really hungry is late at night. Both Mellie and Twinkie are fed around 8am and 6pm, with a snack before bedtime around midnight. They leave food in their bowls on a routine basis, except at midnight, when they scarf it down like they've been starved. Is there any reason why cats would be hungry just at midnight?

Maybe I should try feeding them fresh blood to see if they're part werewolf?

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Has anyone tried feeding just once a day?

coaster and vanilla, that's exactly what I was observing. At the 6pm feeding they are yelling and running around, looking like they might jump on the counter any minute, but in the morning they hardly even meow, just sort of stroll around, even though the gap is 2 hrs longer.

I assumed maybe it was because I had only been up about a half hour in the morning, whereas in the evening they get into "food watch" mode starting about an hour before dinner time. Almost like vultures gathering around waiting for some prey to die.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 12:27 AM
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Re: Has anyone tried feeding just once a day?

I don't see a problem with feeding once a day, especially if your cats aren't hungry in the am. My cats are both hungrier at night and Nanook has barely any interest in breakfast at all so they get a much smaller breakfast (otherwise, I'm afraid Lucy, even at the tender age of 6 mos., would be a major porker ) and more food at dinner.
Maybe it's simply because they are nocturnal animals?

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 04:47 AM
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Re: Has anyone tried feeding just once a day?

The general rule has always been twice a day. Could be because their digestive system is no more than twelve hours. I was in a hard time not to long ago and had to extend the food to say afloat. So my cats went with one meal a day for about a month. I did noticed at the end of the month that two of my cats were getting pretty skinny and that was with me adding extra fat to there diet. Every kitty is different but I don't think I will be doing the once a day meal again. I'll bite the bullet and feed can food. I also feed raw so the nutritional makeup could have played a part. Mine still do go with one meal a day about 4-6 times a month because I'm in a rush. For the most part they are fine.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 12:01 PM
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Re: Has anyone tried feeding just once a day?

Derive whatever you like from this observation;

I use an automatic feeder that dispenses the same small amount of dry food every 3 hours 8 times per day at 3am, 6, 9, 12, 3pm, 6, 9, 12. Morning is definitely the time I see the most food left over going into the next 3 hour period, as the 6am kibble is still mostly uneaten in their bowl by 9am. since having too much food in their bowl at any one time only increases the chance my cats will gorge and vomit, I will probably cancel either the 3am, 6am or 9am feeding.

I know a lot of members talk about how their cats are begging them for food first thing in the morning. I wonder if that has more to do with how early or much you feed them dinner, or how you've conditioned them to equate your waking with the attention they get from a meal.

I'm certain my cats can be conditioned to manage just fine on one evening feeding, however since my concern is vomit avoidance, I don't want to risk the certain mess of trying it. by evening, my 7lb cats eat both their 6pm and 9pm dry kibble (.5oz each), AND greedily eat over an Ounce of raw chicken each, without vomiting.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 12:12 PM
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Re: Has anyone tried feeding just once a day?

Cats are not actually nocturnal, they are active at both dusk and dawn. Perhaps folks whose cats aren't eating the morning meal are feeding past the "dawn" window? That's just a guess, but it makes sense - after their morning hunt and playtime romp, feral cat colonies go back to sleep and aren't interested in much of anything until dusk.

For those of you whose cats aren't eating their morning meal, how long after dawn are you feeding them?

I don't have anything solid to hand that I could back this up with - but I would never feed my cats only once per day, it would make me concerned for their well-being. Currently, my foster kittens get fed twice a day (simply because they eat two 13.5oz cans a day and it's easier to give them a full can each feeding), and my own cats share a 5.5oz can three times a day. I very seldom have to throw away any leftover food.
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