How to Stop a Cat From Free Feeding

Free feeding can lead to fat cats.

Free feeding can lead to fat cats.

Many of us believe cats will not overeat the way dogs tend to, but according to holistic veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, we are wrong. Becker, along with many of her colleagues, suggest that scheduled, portion-controlled feedings are the best way to care for your cat.

Talk to your veterinarian about the proper amount of calories for your cat. Your vet will calculate the correct calorie count based on your kitty's age and ideal weight. According to Becker, a 15-pound cat needs 220 calories every 24 hours.

Remove the food dish from your cat's normal feeding area. It won't be long before he notices it is gone and starts to bug you about it. Be strong and don't give the dish back, even if your cat starts to whine and meow.

Determine how much food your cat needs to reach his daily caloric goal. The food container will give you a measurement of calories per cup. When you get the right amount of food, divide it into two equal portions. For a 15-pound cat, that would be two 110-calorie meals per day.

Offer the meals around 12 hours apart. For example, if your give the first meal at 8 a.m. you would give the second meal at 8 p.m. Only leave the food out for a half hour, then remove the dish.

Weigh your cat once per week and note her weight. If you are trying to slim your cat down, keep weighing her once per week until she reaches her goal weight. If your cat is already at her goal weight, weigh her once a week for a month to make sure she doesn't lose or gain any weight. After that, switch to weighing the cat once a month.

Items you will need

  • Veterinarian
  • Cat food
  • Measuring cup

Tip

  • If you and your cat really can't take the new twice-daily portion-controlled feedings, there are some tricks to get you through. During the first days, try breaking the feedings up in to many smaller feedings throughout the day. Start in the morning by separating out the correct amount of food to ensure you don't accidentally overfeed. Instead of separating the food into two portions, try four or six. Your cat won't notice the lack of food as much and you will feel a lot better, too.

Warning

  • Always consult your veterinarian before changing your cat's diet.
 

Photo Credits

  • white angora cat eating from food bowl image by Stephen Orsillo from Fotolia.com