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Hello there. Juliette is 4 months old and I am having trouble with setting up a proper feeding schedule with her. I feed her wet food 3 times a day (before leaving for work, after getting home and before going to bed). She doesn't seem to care about the schedule! In the morning she doesn't touch her food at all, so I just leave it there, and when I get back it's usually gone (or most of it, and the rest is dried out). By the way, is it OK to leave the food out? I don't know how long after I leave she eats it - all I know is that it's gone when I get home after 6PM. Same with feedings before bedtime.

In the evening there's more success, but most of the time I have to actually bring her to her dish and "make" her eat. I do leave dry food out all the time just because I'm not sure she would be getting enough from the servings of wet food I give her. She eats less than a 5oz can per day. When I'm there while she eats, I make sure I give her as much as she would eat.
So, I guess my questions are:

1) Is it alright to leave the wet food out when I leave home?
2) How to I train her to eat more or less on schedule?
3) Is she eating enough for her age?
Thanks!
 

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1) Wet food gets bad after couple of hours, so I don't think its a good idea to leave it all day. When my cats are young, I give them wet food and clean up the dish when I leave for work. They have dry food available all the time.

2) I don't think you can "train" a cat to eat more. She will eat as much as she needs. If she is eating very little, then there could be health problem. My Meatball use to eat very little for a few months due to a baby tooth not going, which I guess made her gum hurts when she eats. Once the tooth is removed, her appetite increased dramatically. If your cat is active and not very skinny, don't worry. I find the feeding instructions on the canned food very misleading. My cats only eat one 5.5oz can per cat per day. They are 10 & 8 month now and around 7 lb. By instructions on the can, they should eat 1 1/2 can per day, which is not even remotely possible. They won't eat more than one can, and they are active and not skinny.

3) Every cat is different and you won't know how much is enough. Just make sure she always has food available whenever she wants to eat. I would suggest giving her canned when you are at home, and leave dry food for free feeding :)
 

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Wet food is fine to leave out, it doesn't go bad in a couple hours. I think most of us here who work and feed wet just put the dish down in the morning and walk out the door. No other choice, really. I know kittens can eat all they want for the first few months, but you may be giving her more than enough with the combination of the wet and dry.
 

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I leave wet food out all day with no problems. Put it down when I wake up, pick it up when I need the dish for dinner, put that down and leave it overnight until breakfast. And I've seen them eat it after several hours and it's never caused any issues (though I still think it's gross).

Normally to get an animal on a feeding schedule you'd leave the food down for a specific amount of time (in dogs it's usually 20 minutes, in cats I'd give them a it longer) and then throw it out. Next meal try again. They'll probably be hungry because they missed the last meal and eat this one pretty well. Eventually their body will get into the swing of things an they'll get hungry around feeding times. But if you are also free feeding dry I don't think it would work. If she gets hungry between meals she can go snack on the dry and then she won't eat the next meal and so her body will never be on schedule, feeding happens at random times throughout the day.


So for you I'd either ditch the dry food and go with meal times or keep the dry food and don't expect her to eat all of her wet meals.
 

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I don't leave food outside the fridge even for 10 minutes in summer, but that totally depends on the climate where you live. Now in winter I'm leaving them a couple cubes of meat or a couple bites of wet food out when I leave for work, to make sure there won't be enough left for them to eat if it goes bad. All that said, both my cats are rescues from the streets, where it was a feast day when they found some almost-rotten meat in the garbage room.

As to feeding schedules, I don't know why one is needed... During the week I put down the kibble for the time when I'm not home only. They eat wet / meat breakfast and dinner.
 
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