Cats should be fed once a day?

Willowy

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This story seems to be all over right now; I've seen it from several different sources. A recent study seems to indicate that it's mentally and physically healthier for a cat to eat once a day.

Here's the actual study: The daytime feeding frequency affects appetite-regulating hormones, amino acids, physical activity, and respiratory quotient, but not energy expenditure, in adult cats fed regimens for 21 days

Here's a more accessible recap that still seems accurate: Feeding indoor cats just once a day could improve health

Thoughts on this? I don't think I know any cats who are fed once a day to compare my cats to.
 

Tik cat's mum

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It's interesting, I feed Patches morning and night the kitten all day he has food out. But when I was a kid all our cat's got fed once a day night time to get them in. My dad used to say if the cat is hungry it will catch something to eat. With indoor cat's not having the option to hunt I certainly would like to see more on this. Thanks for posting.
 

Silver Crazy

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I dont disagree..its closer to what they do in nature where they might only feed once every one or 2 days.
Probably give time for the cats system to purge itself before the next meal too.
I think its our over caring that we feed multiple times a day.
I feed mine a small breakfast and larger dinner much in line with my eating routine.
 

Norachan

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Hmmmm, I'm not convinced.

These cats also showed lower fasting respiratory quotient, suggesting they were burning their fat stores

Might not be a good thing, burning fat to rapidly can lead to hepatic lipidosis

"When you look at human research, there's pretty consistent evidence that there are positive health outcomes with intermittent fasting and improved satiety."

Yes, but human and cat metabolisms are very different. It's also been suggested that fasting isn't that good for humans either.

Fasting diets may raise risk of diabetes, researchers warn

Even big cats in the wild engage in a form of intermittent fasting, the authors note, feasting when they make a kill and fasting before the next one.

Yes, but big cats kill big prey. A deer or an antelope is going to provide a lot more meat than a mouse or a sparrow. I've been looking for some info on this. I can't find any accurate figures but I remember watching a documentary about a feral cat colony in Europe where they estimated that cats kill around a dozen small mammals a day.

I'm sure my lot would mutiny if I switched to one meal a day.

:lol:
 

MissClouseau

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No way. No no no no no. And it goes so against the evidence for everything else I have seen and experienced, it actually made me really annoyed they came up with this premature paper. First, if I'm not mistaken the "study" was done with only 8 cats. That's such a small number. And there is no mention of if the cats throughly checked for digestive issues beforehand and afterward. 21 days for a digestion isn't nearly enough time. For scale, Muslims fast during ramadan for 30 days. Imagine eating like that all your life and not just 30 days (and even that wouldn't be equal to one meal a day but only like they don't eat for some hours.)

Look at this chart. The "benefits" they mention is so small compare to four meals anyway! Literally only couple numbers on each.
1601106221183.png


What they didn't include and checked is longterm effects of one meal a day. They would most certainly get some digestive issues like acid reflux, gastritis, IBS, etc

Also, how can they even physically feel comfortable with one meal? Like if my cat was on a wet-only diet, she would need to eat 3-4 cans of wet food which would make 255-340 grams wet food. Look at the size of their stomach and that amount of food. How could she eat that at once and be OK? That would be like if we ate an entire turkey at one sitting for the whole day. (and no way she would even eat it. She barely eats half a can at once and anything more gives her gas cramps.)

Also, a lot of cat humans use wet food for water intake as well. Doing it just once would mean the cat getting less water.

I'm not buying about food obsession either. Usually cats (or dogs, or humans) tend to be more food obsessed when they rarely get food. It makes sense evolutionary too. One meal a day means it's not easy to find food which is stress inducing.
 

Azazel

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I dont disagree..its closer to what they do in nature where they might only feed once every one or 2 days.
Probably give time for the cats system to purge itself before the next meal too.
I think its our over caring that we feed multiple times a day.
I feed mine a small breakfast and larger dinner much in line with my eating routine.
Cats don’t eat just once a day “in nature.” They eat at least 10 small meals throughout the day based on multiple small kills.
 

Azazel

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No way. No no no no no. And it goes so against the evidence for everything else I have seen and experienced, it actually made me really annoyed they came up with this premature paper. First, if I'm not mistaken the "study" was done with only 8 cats. That's such a small number. And there is no mention of if the cats throughly checked for digestive issues beforehand and afterward. 21 days for a digestion isn't nearly enough time. For scale, Muslims fast during ramadan for 30 days. Imagine eating like that all your life and not just 30 days (and even that wouldn't be equal to one meal a day but only like they don't eat for some hours.)

Look at this chart. The "benefits" they mention is so small compare to four meals anyway! Literally only couple numbers on each.
View attachment 352406

What they didn't include and checked is longterm effects of one meal a day. They would most certainly get some digestive issues like acid reflux, gastritis, IBS, etc

Also, how can they even physically feel comfortable with one meal? Like if my cat was on a wet-only diet, she would need to eat 3-4 cans of wet food which would make 255-340 grams wet food. Look at the size of their stomach and that amount of food. How could she eat that at once and be OK? That would be like if we ate an entire turkey at one sitting for the whole day. (and no way she would even eat it. She barely eats half a can at once and anything more gives her gas cramps.)

Also, a lot of cat humans use wet food for water intake as well. Doing it just once would mean the cat getting less water.

I'm not buying about food obsession either. Usually cats (or dogs, or humans) tend to be more food obsessed when they rarely get food. It makes sense evolutionary too. One meal a day means it's not easy to find food which is stress inducing.
You hit the nail on the head. Multiple problems with this study. I don’t even understand how it got published with a sample size of 8. They really shouldn’t be running hypothesis tests with a size that small. Their standard errors are enormous.

edit: just double checked the journal. Now I know why it got published. Plos one is an open source journal that is relatively easy to get published in if you’re persistent and have the right funds.
 

Katie M

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I always have food out for them so they can eat whenever they're hungry. I can't imagine restricting them to one meal a day.
 

di and bob

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I'd like to see a larger study with more cats over a year's period of time. This is just too small to satisfy me. I HAD to feed my ferals once a day, that is all they showed up. They were a lot skinnier than my house cats but I'm sure they got a lot more exercise. I feed my cats three times a day, SMALL amounts. one 5.5ounce can between the three of them, or one pouch or two containers of Sheba. They are heavier than I would keep them normally, but that is because they have leukemia and I never know when they will have a flareup and stop eating. They can lose an alarming amount of weight. I am happy to report they have not had one in over a year, since I started keeping them indoors and giving them immune building supplements.
 
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Willowy

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I feed 3 of my 4 dogs only once a day (the 4th has some digestive issues and will throw up if her stomach is empty, so she gets a small breakfast). One of them will only eat once a day no matter how many meals he's offered (he's weird). The other 2 can and will eat any time but this is what works best for my schedule. One of them is a 10-pound Chihuahua, so about cat-sized. They're healthy and seem to be doing well, and are no more obsessed with food than dogs usually are, lol. But dogs and cats are different.

I wonder how often zoos feed their smaller wildcats. I know the big cats usually get fed once a day with a fast day once a week. But big cats in nature gorge themselves and then sleep it off, but smaller wildcats usually eat smaller prey more often.

Yeah, a study group of 8 cats is barely worth mentioning, although maybe it'll spark more research. Could be interesting.
I'm sure my lot would mutiny if I switched to one meal a day.
Haha, yeah, I wouldn't dare! I might be their next meal!
 

waddle

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Cats don’t eat just once a day “in nature.” They eat at least 10 small meals throughout the day based on multiple small kills.
That’s what I’ve read too and for that reason figured multiple small meals is better. I have to do it that way anyway bc one of mine won’t eat very much at a time, and the other one wolfs it down and then throws up if she gets too hungry (or just loves a new food too much!)
 

cocoanlace

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Just want to say that I feed according to observations. Half of my cats like to graze and search for food throughout the day. If I saw that they only ate in morning and showed no interest the rest of the day, allowing the food to dry up for instance, I would only feed them twice a day. But they seem to want to graze so that's what we do. I take all my cues from them.
 

game misconduct

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i notice if i feed gryacie once a day she begins to scavenge around the counters tables kitchen sink looking for food getting in the way while i am cooking etc. i feed her agood teaspoon of canned in the morning about half a 3 ounce can? and another at night for dinner but she has access to dry food all day/ night to nibble on as she wants just took her for health check up yesterday vet said she is a healthy petite 11 pounds(has her girly figure)
 

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Meh. One of mine gets acid reflux if his stomach is empty for too long. There's a name for this though, and it's not universal in cats. Other than a small snack in the morning, I feed mine at the end of the day. When I was doing 3x-5x per day, they got super annoying that many times per day leading up to their next meal. With one feeding per day, they are only annoying once per day instead of five. So it's obviously not a hunger issue, and most cats should be able to adjust.

As far as cats killing 10 animals/day in the wild, that's because they like killing. They only eat like a third of their kills, and less than that if they are fed well at home.

Also, with respect to the "how would you like it" argument, plenty of busy people only eat once a day. It's even becoming a health fad (look up intermittent fasting) because of its positive effects on longevity, blood sugar, and other things. Cats are different animals, but their (physical) hunger is regulated by their hormones, just like ours are; and it stands to reason that frequent feedings would have a different hormonal effect than less frequent ones.
 

JC fka JClark

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I'm confused. For example, if a cat eats 1 cup a day did they feed it 1cup and then pick up what wasn't eaten or did they leave it out (aka free feed)?
 

Azazel

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As far as cats killing 10 animals/day in the wild, that's because they like killing. They only eat like a third of their kills, and less than that if they are fed well at home.
Why would they be fed at home if they are wild cats? The behavior of feral cats is to eat multiple small kills a day, not once or twice.
 

Norachan

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As far as cats killing 10 animals/day in the wild, that's because they like killing.
No, that's because of their instincts. Cats have evolved to be able to survive through periods when there is a shortage of prey around by hunting whenever the opportunity arises.
 
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