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C2003-38

Dear Christopher Cat

We were adopted by an outside cat recently. We feed him dry and canned food at breakfast and supper, but sometimes he wants lunch – and a bedtime snack too.

What is the proper amount to feed an indoor-outdoor cat? I’ve heard that unlike dogs, cats will not overeat.

Christopher Responds

I never overeat (yes, I’m perfect), but some cats do eat too much and put on weight.

We cats are grazers. We like to nibble small amounts of food frequently. One study showed that we eat an average of 14 to 17 times per day.

The easiest way to feed us is to leave dry food out. If your family includes dogs, put the food bowl in a utility closet with a cat door or on the counter in the laundry.
Your cat should do fine with free-feeding, but if he puts on weight, limit the amount he eats or feed a low-calorie diet.

If you haven’t done so already, take your new kitty to the veterinarian for a physical exam and feline leukemia and immunodeficiency virus testing to be certain he’s healthy.

Take a fecal sample so your vet can be sure your cat has no intestinal parasites that could be transmitted to humans. Remember to ask about vaccinations and neutering while you’re there.

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