I have a few questions about feeding cats. I am only trying to understand what would be optimal for their health and well-being. Please do not consider issues of convenience or expense, I can do that on my own later.
1. How many meals per day? One big meal, two moderate meals,or many small meals? What is best for their health?
2. Best feeding times? For human health, a big breakfast isencouraged and a big dinner usually discouraged. Is similar true for cats as well?
3. Dry/canned? I understand canned is considered superioroverall, but some people point to dry for dental health. Being an indecisive "combination plate" type of person in my own dining, is it ok then for the meals to be mostly canned but a small dry snack per day, or a big dry meal once a weak?
4. What to look for in labels? I know to avoid "meals" "by-products"and carbs near the top of the list. What else?
5. One worry about "premium" cans: All of the so called premium (readexpensive) cans I have seen appear to contain food that looks like paste. Articles even praise that lack of fiber it would minimze stool.

However, that is for owners' convenience; is it really good for the cats' health?
Again, for humans we would consider a paste-like diet to be terrible. You want fiber, and stool, for overall health. What is best for cats? Would it not be better for them to have pieces of meat to chew on, rather than paste to lick?
6. Considering all, which commercial brands would you short-list?

I may not always be able to afford the best brands or keep to the best schedule, but at least I want to know wha they are. So, short of moving to some mouse-rich area, what's best for cats? :-)
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I have a few questions about feeding cats. I am only trying to understand what would be optimal for their ... many meals per day? One big meal, two moderate meals, or many small meals? What is best for their health?

I would suggest two meals per day fed on a 12-hour schedule (unless you have an overweight cat and want to break that up into smaller meals to keep him/her from getting too hungry and overeating.
2. Best feeding times? For human health, a big breakfast is encouraged and a big dinner usually discouraged. Is similar true for cats as well?

Cats are crepusuclar (most active at dawn and dusk) so I would say feed them at dawn and dusk - the same amount both times - that's the schedule they would eat in "the wild".
3. Dry/canned? I understand canned is considered superior overall, but some people point to dry for dental health. Being an ... meals to be mostly canned but a small dry snack per day, or a big dry meal once a weak?

Canned if they'll eat it, but I feed mine a combination of canned twice a day and a bit of dry "free fed" whenever they want a nosh. I'm just now trying to switch them to canned at the recommendation of my vet (to help my 15-year-old get more fluids). It's taken month, but they're finally starting to eat all the canned food I offer and are easing up on the dry. Just make sure your cat is eating - don't try to "force" a food it won't eat. Cat's can NOT go more than a day or two without eating or they will get hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease). So if they won't eat one food, try something else right away.
4. What to look for in labels? I know to avoid "meals" "by-products" and carbs near the top of the list. What else?

Ideally, the first three ingredients should be meat or broth before it starts listing "meat byproducts".
5. One worry about "premium" cans: All of the so called premium (read expensive) cans I have seen appear to contain food that looks like paste. Articles even praise that lack of fiber it would minimze stool.

Any premium food is fine, but my vets have always recommended Hill's Science Diet.
However, that is for owners' convenience; is it really good for the cats' health?

Most premium brands have all the essential nutrients needed for a cat's health.
Again, for humans we would consider a paste-like diet to be terrible. You want fiber, and stool, for overall health. ... pieces of meat to chew on, rather than paste to lick? 6. Considering all, which commercial brands would you short-list?

Some people here recommend Pet Guard Rabbit or Venison (I haven't been able to find it except online), but as I said, all my vets have always recommended Science Diet. Fancy Feast has recently been bought out by Purina (I think) and the quality of their ingredients has gone way up. That's my cats' favorite and it gets my vet's approval (although she would rather see them eat SD, they don't like the SD canned - they love the SD dry though). Some people here recommend Wellness. My view is, again, most premium brands have done sufficient research to have formulated their ingredients to benefit you cat's health.
I may not always be able to afford the best brands or keep to the best schedule, but at least I want to know wha they are. So, short of moving to some mouse-rich area, what's best for cats? :-)

I've found that, giving my cats premium food, they eat a LOT* less of it than my son's cat does who gets a grocery store brand, so the costs are almost the same in the long run (and my litter box is a *lot less stinkier.

Hugs,
CatNipped
Cats are crepusuclar (most active at dawn and dusk) so I would say feedthem

^^
Sorry, typo - that should have been crepuscular.
Hugs,
CatNipped
Cats are crepusuclar (most active at dawn and dusk) so I would say feed

them[/nq]^^
Sorry, typo - that should have been crepuscular. Hugs, CatNipped

I knew what you meant lol
I have a few questions about feeding cats. I am only trying to understand what would be optimal for their ... many meals per day? One big meal, two moderate meals, or many small meals? What is best for their health?

There are as many opinions on this question as there are cat owners. So I can only give you my own recommendations here, but my experience is that they work very well for my cats. So, how many times a day? My cats have always got dry food in the bowl, so they can eat whenever they feel hungry. They never overeat, they know there is always food available.
2. Best feeding times? For human health, a big breakfast is encouraged and a big dinner usually discouraged. Is similar true for cats as well?

See my answer to #1, I often hear them in the middle of the night, waking up, walking into the kitchen to get a little bite. Because of this, they never wake me up at a quarter to too early to demand breakfast.
3. Dry/canned? I understand canned is considered superior overall, but some people point to dry for dental health. Being an ... meals to be mostly canned but a small dry snack per day, or a big dry meal once a weak?

As you understand, they get dry food as their main source of nutrition. But, as a snack, I give them (two cats) a portion of canned food once a day, or every other day. This portion is about 80 grammes or about 3 oz. which they have to share.
4. What to look for in labels? I know to avoid "meals" "by-products" and carbs near the top of the ... I want to know wha they are. So, short of moving to some mouse-rich area, what's best for cats? :-)

Price is a relative question, you can get cheap food at the supermarket, but they are going to eat much more of it, because the don't get enough of what they need through normal portions with that kind of food. So, IMO, expensive is cheaper, really!
Hans (TinĂ¹viel and Teti give their regards)
I have a few questions about feeding cats. I am only trying to understand what would be optimal for their health and well-being. Please do not consider issues of convenience or expense, I can do that on my own later.

1,2,3. get up in the morning: put fresh water in the water bowl, top up dry stuff in the dry stuff bowl, chunk half a can of wet stuff into the wet stuff bowl, remove dead mice leftovers from floor. Come home in the evening, top up dry stuff, chunk the rest of the can of wet stuff into the wet stuff bowl and test for a spilled water bowl by walking around in your socks.
5. The thing with half-decent and premium canned is not that it doesn'tcontain fibre but that it doesn't contain ash. Something's niggling the back of my mind that the gelatin is produced by cooking bone marrow but I might be thinking of horses hooves :/
Cats are obligatory carnivores; they don't need vegetable-fiber.
pat
test for a spilled water bowl by walking around in your socks.

I must be missing something, but is there a reason to investigate the water situation (besides if any is left)?
: test for a spilled water bowl by walking around in your socks. I must be missing something, but is there a reason to investigate the water situation (besides if any is left)?

That and to check what the cat may have dumped in there - toy mice... kitty litter...your socks...anything out of the trashcan...

If the bowl is empty this is a prime time to take it and wash it. Water bowls do tend to get scummy if this isn't done regularly. Dirty food dishes can lead to acne.
W
IMO dry food..
I am new, still learning, but most opinions I have seen recommend wet food. I would appreciate it if you could summarize your reasons for preferring dry.
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