CAT MOJO: You’re Feeding Your Cat All Wrong!

The first thing Jackson would tell you if you asked about your cat’s odd behavior?

Stop free feeding!

Learn how you could be using food as a tool with your cat.

All in this week’s episode of Cat Mojo.

The Cat Mojo show is Jackson’s personal online web series.

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  1. Jackie   March 24, 2014 at 10:54 am  


    I’d like to break the free feeding cycle, but I have one question.

    I leave the house at 5:20 a.m. to work out before work. Also, in order to help fund a move I have planned, I have taken on a part time job which sometimes keeps me not getting home until 9:30 p.m. That’s 16 hours a day I’m not home, which is why I free feed. Is she going to be okay if she eats at 5 a.m. and doesn’t eat again until almost 10 p.m.?

    1. Marie   March 31, 2014 at 2:16 pm  

      What about a cat food dispenser? You could set the timer 5 hours after you leave and fed your cat, so he or she will have a meal before you come back.

      1. Emily   October 29, 2015 at 4:48 pm  

        I just had the same idea. It would only be one time a day where I myself wouldn’t be feeding them. So I’m wondering if that would do good or harm the situation. (Play in the morning, then feed, set food dispenser for while at work, come home, play, then feed)

  2. Deb Durham   March 24, 2014 at 10:57 am  

    Just watched free-feeding segment. What if you work 9 hrs. a day and can’t get home to them to feed multiple times per day?

    1. Alamda   February 19, 2015 at 8:11 am  

      thats NOT A PROBLEM AT ALL! Your cat CAN eat only 2 meals the size of its head twice a day. fill that amount in the morning and then when you come back.


  3. Eloiza   March 24, 2014 at 11:34 am  

    Jackson, I live alone with my 3 cats and work all day far from home. I’d like to give meals to my babies, but it seems impossible to my case. Any tips? Thanks.

    1. Nicole   January 25, 2016 at 7:19 pm  

      There is a certain type of food dispenser that you can set the time on to feed your cat(s)…I used to have one and it worked pretty well. I’m not sure where exactly you could find the specific one but I know that they sell some at places like petco and petsmart…

      Hope this helped 🙂

  4. leslie alexander   March 24, 2014 at 11:59 am  

    I have had between 1-15 cats at a time in 45 years (including incorporating feral with domestic). Free feeding sets up both cat(s) and owner up for trouble. For cats it is over weight and health issues and disciplinarian issues. For owners it makes owners lazy to give a cat its very own individual time for petting or playing. Each cat needs their OWN FEED BOWL. DO NOT feed more than 1/4 cup each (consult with vet) per feeding time. If there is a food bolter ad large marbles/rocks or getting food bolting dish or feed in kennels for “competitive eaters” if you don’t have enough rooms. Always feed at bell to bell. For cats that are OCD or food obsessive feed 3 times a day or feed in those feeding toys!. REMEMBER wild cats do not eat food around the clock and their bodies are not designed to be full full time any more than ours. Owners need to remember that not all cat foods are created equal. Many have fillers, junk, or chemicals that are not satisfying vitamins or other dietary issues which might make for a complaining cat! Free feeding will take the edge off complaints but cats do need and do want TLC so regardless of free feeding you will get “acting out”. Most Disciplinarian issues can be resolved with spending and giving time to your Harem with one on one time. Before I forget, each cat needs their own litter box even if side by side in order to prevent or stop spraying or missing the box! It is easy to clean these boxes daily than clean up a sprayed up house!! Jackson has covered all these points and I am sure if he thinks I misspoke I hope I will be corrected or held accountable. .

    1. AJ Wieland   July 20, 2015 at 6:04 am  

      Never thought of it side by side. That would solve a few space issues. Thanks for the idea

    2. Fellow Catlover   December 30, 2015 at 7:52 am  

      I agree with your suggestion for slowing down fast eaters. For our half Himalayan mutt, we added three Cue Balls to the automatic feeder. He pulls the dry food out one piece at a time with his paw (cute!). We tried smaller and lighter objects in his food bowl but those were knocked out of the bowl by kitty. The cue balls are too heavy to knock out, they match the color of the bowl (makes wife happy) and are easy to clean.
      The automatic feeder is a Petmate Infinity Programmable Feeder. Kitty went from 19 lb to 12 lb (weight recommended by the vet) and stopped most food begging. This model works well, but the minimum portion size is fairly large and you cannot adjust the portion size easily. To modify the portion size, I attached pieces of foam inside the four chambers of the feed wheel.

    3. Dolly Jewell   January 5, 2016 at 5:21 am  

      I started putting a little Betaine HCL on my cat’s soft food. It seems to have gotten rid of the hair ball issue in one cat and calmed the behavior of my other cat who is prone to stones. I feed organic.

  5. Lisa S   March 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm  

    I’ve actually stopped free feeding based on your recomendations. My Question would be, if my two don’t finish their wet food after a certain period of time, should I pick it up? How long should their wet food be left out?

    Big fan! Love your show!
    Lisa S
    San Antonio, TX

    1. Nan   October 16, 2014 at 8:32 pm  

      Sure wish someone who knows had bothered to answer this…

      1. Tina   March 15, 2016 at 12:22 am  

        The general rule of thumb, as I understand it it from online research, is that food should be left down for 20 minutes and then removed.

    2. Jake   February 14, 2015 at 7:47 am  

      You technically should remove the left-overs and refrigerate them when the cat has left it for at least five minutes untouched. The food can get dried out otherwise, but my cats still eat it.

    3. Amy S.   May 5, 2015 at 8:12 pm  

      I also wish there was an answer to this question. I started picking up my cat’s wet food after an hour, and while she acts super hungry by the time I get home, she is eating only half of what she ate before (which is under the recommended amount that is indicated on the can). What am I doing wrong? Should I pick it up sooner?

      She is also not a water drinker on her own, so I’m afraid she is also getting less liquids by me picking up her food.

      Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!

      1. Janet   June 11, 2015 at 8:45 am  

        If you don’t already use one, I’d recommend a recirculating water fountain. My first cat was not much for drinking out of water bowls, even when I changed the water every day. After developing chronic renal failure, I needed to get her drinking more in order to flush toxins from her kidneys. I tried several water fountains until I found one that she liked (she didn’t like being splashed by water so one that had a slide for the water to come down worked best for her). She started drinking a lot more. I think that’s one of the reasons she lived as long as she did (8 years after her kidney diagnosis). The vets called her a miracle kitty because they said, based on how bad she was when I first brought her in, that she would live at most 2 years.

      2. elissa murphy   August 17, 2015 at 1:43 am  

        First off…I’m not a cat owner, but I own a min pin dog….with similar concerns. My dog does receives less than what is suggested on the can. He is very active, receives a couple small protein treats a day and I leave 1/4 cup of dry food out in case starvation sets in. If he ate the suggested amount…which he would gladly do given the opportunity, he would be over weight like so many other toy breed dogs. Just watch to make sure your cat isn’t losing weight, that is really the best way to know if they’re eating enough. With Harley, he gets 15 minutes to eat his wet food. If he isn’t interested, it’s usually a sign he is sick. At 15 I pull it and he doesn’t eat again for 12 hours…other than his dry kibble.
        I also suggest the water fountain. It made a great difference in the amount of water my dog drank. Be sure and keep it clean. Food residue, etc., creates a perfect situation for slime and bacteria. They’re not hard to clean, but pet owners can get busy and lose track of when they did it last.

      3. tee hubert   August 27, 2015 at 12:52 pm  

        My sr girl cat has bad teeth, I feed her raw(instinct) or the refigerated non raw kibble, dope it by stirring in some wet canned kitten food (heaping teaspoon) then poor in some filter water from our fridge over top of food to about third the level of food. By doing this I create a pseudo gravy she laps up quick. Then eats her food =) this way you refrig any leftovers for next meal. No mess no hassle no waste.

    4. LF   February 8, 2016 at 10:17 pm  

      I found out from a vet uneaten wet food should be picked up after 20 minutes or it’s overfeeding.

  6. Jan Johnson   March 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm  

    1-I will soon be picking up my new kitty far away. Any hints to make the kitty comfortable
    in his carrier.
    2-My 4 yr old cat is grieving terribly because my 17 yr old cat had to be put down 3 months ago. They played, slept and did everything together. Now the 4yr old talks incessantly to me and needs on me at the same time whenever I am home. I play with him to get him tired but it doesn’t help. He talks and wants me all the time.
    How can I help him and how do I introduce the new kitty.
    Thank you,
    Jan Johnson

  7. Patti   March 24, 2014 at 12:36 pm  

    Jackson, we have an FIV+ cat who is asymptomatic. 🙂 He’s a Maine Coon who was out in the desert for at least 2 years before we adopted him a year ago. He does weigh 16 plus lbs, and is a bit tubby. I do leave grain free dry food for him to eat because I don’t want him to lose weight or get AIDS. Should I also not free feed him? He’s separated from our other three. I also feed him (and the others) only USDA organic canned food once a day. He also gets a raw egg yolk a couple times a week, dehydrated raw food every evening, and organic yogurt every day. I also put Healthy Helper on him once a day. I know your Mojo is FIV+ so you can probably give me some insight. 🙂
    Thanks Jackson!

  8. kristi   March 24, 2014 at 12:47 pm  

    Really Jackson…how do you expect those of us who have full time jobs..and travel for work to give up free feeding…especially when our cats have no current behavioral issues?

    1. Amanda   April 30, 2014 at 6:12 am  

      There are several models of timed automatic pet feeders available online. Some of them accommodate as many as 6 meals. I used free feeding without incident for my multicat household for 20 years, but the 2 cats I have now have urinary problems & the vet recommends can food only. I feed 6am & 6pm. One more thing for those who travel – PLEASE have someone check your cat(s) EVERY DAY. I was working weekends out of town – leaving Friday evening, returning Sunday morning – put down plenty of food/water & my cats were always fine, until a month ago. When I left at 6pm Friday both cats were on the counter eating. When I returned at noon on Sunday, my male cat was lying on the floor, as limp as if he had been sedated. He had blocked & become uremic. His first night in the ER was $1200 & they weren’t sure he would make it through the night. He spent a week in the hospital & is doing well now. I have found a job closer to home.

  9. Jennifer   March 24, 2014 at 1:59 pm  

    My cat is 41/2 and I think he could be lonely. He is an indoor cat and seems to have (parking lot) friends. He also is a love bug, the fact that he is a love bug is why I think he would be a great big brother. What is your thoughts

    1. Toussa   April 24, 2015 at 9:07 am  

      You could try fostering cats from a shelter and see how your cat behaves around them. That way if you decide it is not a good idea, you are only fostering them for a little while anyways and won’t have the issue of what to do now that you adopted a new cat…

  10. Carla   March 24, 2014 at 2:20 pm  

    I have free fed dry all the time. Never had a problem. However, it does make sense what you are saying and I am going to feed less and less until I do regular feeing times. My question is. Is this schedule OK. Feeding before work at 6 am, Then 5 pm (that’s 11 hours later). Is that OK. You say 5-6 hours apart of a little more but I can’t do that schedule. Any suggestions. Thanks.

    1. Tee   April 6, 2016 at 11:13 am  

      Use an automatic feeder. There are plenty on the market. That is what I do. I am gone from 9 – 9 almost everyday of the week.

  11. Carla   March 24, 2014 at 2:21 pm  

    Oh forgot to say, I am also going to switch from dry and canned to dehydrated raw food hopefully starting tomorrow. More meat : D

  12. susan   March 24, 2014 at 2:29 pm  

    I really want to begin the feeding every 5 – 6 hours with our 1 year old cat but my husband & I work & usually don’t get home until late in the afternoon. Should our cat be expected to wait 8 or 9 hours for food?

  13. Denise LaChance   March 24, 2014 at 3:47 pm  

    I have two cats. One is a grazer the other is glutenous. I have tried scheduled feedings. The grazer eats a couple of nuggets while the gluten scarfs down all of his food, hides somewhere and barfs it up then goes back for the grazers food. If the grazer eats all his food at once he will barf it back up too. The gluten weighs 17 lbs. Hes fat. The grazer weighs 11 lbs. If I feed them 3 times a day, I can’t be certain of who’s getting how much. I don’t know how to change this. I feed them a small hand full about 6 – 7 times a day.

    1. Liz   March 29, 2014 at 3:10 pm  

      My solution for fast eaters: One of my cat eats slowly and the other gobbles food and sometimes throws it up. I do not free feed. They get one or two raw meat meals-one afternoon and maybe one at night. I feed small amounts (10-15 kibbles) of holistic high protein dry food a few times daily when they show up in the kitchen hungry-first thing in the morning, 3-4 pm and before bed. To slow down the fast eater I made a kibble dispenser (it was free vs. paying $50 for electric one) by cutting (KIDS-get help from ADULTS) a kibble-sized hole in the side of an empty plastic vitamin bottle. Put the kibbles in it, replace the screw-on lid and place it on the floor. My Russian Blue food gobbler loves to roll it around to get the food to fall out, one or two pieces at a time, which slows her down and lets her buddy, a buff colored tabby with gorgeous aqua green eyes, eat at his relaxed pace without losing any of his food to her and he is not at all interested in the vitamin bottle and leaves her to her fun. For the raw meat meals I just dole the food out to her slowly, stroke her fur between bites and talk to her while explaining how nice it is for her mealtime to last longer. They are both healthy with shiny coats and their weight is good, but the “gobbler” would be overweight if I let her eat free choice. For those not at home to feed small frequent meals, the timed electric feeder or feeders for multiple cats, would be the best option. There are some dry food dispensers that make it harder for cats to eat fast, but I have read reviews that smarty cats figure out how to open them and still over-eat. So far my girl has not opened the vitamin bottle! If their tummies are upset from furballs I give them Jackson Galaxy Spirit Essences Happy Tummy and some green grass. Hope this helps.

      1. Denise LaChance   March 31, 2014 at 3:53 pm  

        Thank for taking the time to respond to me. I will try the bottle trick you mentioned.I don’t think that it will stop him from raiding the grazer’s bowl. The grazer eats about ten kibbles then walks away. He may be gone for 5 minutes or more then comes back and does the same thing. I think that the fat cat will see a bowl of food sitting unattended and just go back to it. I may try giving them 10 minutes to eat and take the bowls away, empty or not. Of course that will mean having to deal with two cats pushing things off of tables and counters, whining and whatever else they can do to annoy me until I feed them again. Thing is, I am not sure that my grazer will get enough food. When ever he has tried to eat it all , he throws it back up.
        gosh, a Russian Blue. They are such beautiful cats! Thanks again for your advice

    2. doug mccown   January 1, 2015 at 5:44 pm  

      Do you mean a glutton? Gluten is a protein that exists in wheat, barley, rye.

      1. Fellow Catlover   December 30, 2015 at 7:32 am  

        Maybe her kitty is an American Shortbread.

  14. Pm   March 24, 2014 at 5:16 pm  

    Need advice, I have a 2 cat household. I feed them a half cup dry food in the am, then what they don’t eat is gone by the time evening feeding comes. Its high quality. One cat has a more active personality and doesn’t sleep much she’s 2yrs old. My other is less active sleeps alot like most cats I guess I think she is overweight by about 2 lbs. Shed 5yrs old. How do you feed 2 completely different cats? I’ve also noticed they poop alot, so I’m guessing the high quality food isn’t what it says or there should be less waste. Gimme ideas

  15. Louise   March 24, 2014 at 6:20 pm  

    Would like to see more actual work on getting a non-playing cat to play. How long do you keep trying in one session, should I stick with the one toy I started with for the whole (15minute?) session (sometimes they do start playing – eventually), when are they really done (walk away or just when they just sit and watch the toy), how do I end a play session(someone is still playing but it’s late and I’ve got to get some chores/dinner, etc. done), and playing with multiple cats at once and keeping the peace????

    I don’t free feed and I feed raw mixed with dehydrated raw. This one I totally understand.

  16. Sandy   March 24, 2014 at 11:46 pm  

    Hi Jackson. Yes – I understand the feeding in you’re feeding your cat all wrong. But what is best to feed my little feral? LUV YA Sandy

  17. Robyn   March 25, 2014 at 5:10 am  

    I have 3 cats who should be eating 1/2 cup per day, are you saying I should maybe cut that in half and feed in the morning and then evening? They just hate when the cat bowl is low, they act like there is no food in the bowl. Will this work because of this reason?

  18. Katie   March 25, 2014 at 5:23 am  

    I feed my cats wet food twice a day, at set meal times….however, I have cat dry biscuits avalible 24/7.
    If there aren’t biscuits down, Acorn starts destroying things and getting over anxious and Molly starts attacking the other cats.
    I tried to take them away and got no sleep for 2 days straight.
    The cats beat me, they get their biscuits. 😛

  19. Pat   March 25, 2014 at 5:36 am  

    GREAT, my cat is almost 4 and I have free fed him from the start. Lately he seems to want more and more thus I feel he is putting on some excess weight. How do I go from free feeding to a schedule without a nutty cat on my hands trying to figure out where his food is? A little advice would be great. Thanks. Pat

  20. Karen Graskewicz   March 25, 2014 at 5:43 am  

    Jackson, thanks for this. I have never “free-fed” my cats and they are happy and well- behaved!

  21. kyla   March 25, 2014 at 5:48 am  

    I have 4 cats and my latest rescue has a big eating problem. I tried with set meals but it causes more fights than anything. I have tried feeding them with four seperate bowls all in different rooms even. I gave up, they won… They have access to food whenever which also means feeding the dogs. What can I do differently?

  22. Melanie   March 25, 2014 at 6:47 am  

    I don’t know what I have been doing right, but my cats behave perfectly (for cats, lol), and never hurt me, or bother me, and I free feed them. It’s probably one of the only things I do that you would frown on though, thankfully. I have tons of cat trees and things they can scratch, and lots of toys everywhere. My cats will search me out multiple times a day for love and affection too, so they are happy cats. 🙂

  23. Sylvia   March 25, 2014 at 8:12 am  

    I stopped free feeding last year, and I would love to convert all my cats to a raw meat diet, but I have one cat that will not eat anything but kibble. He will not even eat tuna. I am 70 years old, and I have never heard of a cat that would not eat tuna ever. I bought some animal digest product and sprinkled it on canned food, but he still would not try it. He sniffed it, but that was it. Now I have pretty much given up on him eating canned or raw food in this lifetime, but I may try him again in the future. I have been feeding my 11 cats twice a day, but I think I will try feeding 3 times daily after seeing Jackson’s video. Perhaps eventually Mater, the kibble cat, will actually try some canned food. I guess I am a cockeyed optimist.

  24. Ree   March 25, 2014 at 8:18 am  

    Several small meals daily isn’t ideal for domestic cats. 50+ years with ferals, barnies and domestic cats tells me that the several small meals daily is as much a myth as is free-feeding. Cats are crepuscular, meaning that most of their energy expenditure and consumption occur at dawn and dusk. There is very little hunting and eating during full light and full dark. Sadly, many cat owners and their vets are unaware of natural cat behaviours.

    I love what you strive to do and know that it is often an uphill battle with people conditioned to using only the most convenient methods of cat care. Success to you and thank you for all the ideas and information that you share.

  25. Joann   March 25, 2014 at 8:23 am  

    Hi Jackson –
    My 4 year old will only eat part of her wet food (breakfast and suuper times) so I always thought my cat was hungry so I would leave dry food out for her to munch during the day. I also need to give her a treat before she will eat her meals. How do u break a bad habit for a fussy little girl?

    Thanks so much for your great posts.


    1. Sheila Biggs   November 6, 2015 at 6:35 pm  

      I read the question by Joanne on March 25th. I too feed my two wet food in the morning and for dinner. Then I leave dry food out for them. Is this a bad idea?

  26. Tom   March 25, 2014 at 8:25 am  

    Thanks for all this free advice. I won’t name names or be that guy, but I will say a certain dog expert greatly disappointed me with charging $5,000 for a lesson, reduced to like $4,800 if you don’t bring your dog. Opposed to what Jackson does here, helping us out to spread the knowledge and helping kitties everywhere, even if we can’t fly to him, make it on the show or otherwise pay him large sums of money for it.

    This is obviously, truly, for the love of our animals. And that goes a long way and is loved/appreciated.

    Thank you.

  27. Kiera   March 25, 2014 at 8:29 am  

    My husband and I feed wet food twice a day, but leave dry food out… You would recommend differently? We both work 8-5, so we can’t feed our girls during the day….

  28. Anne   March 25, 2014 at 8:36 am  

    Thanks for this vid! I’ve been thinking about this 🙂

    I don’t have problems as such but have been thinking of doing it differently.

    Can it be a solution to have a feeding board/tunnel/what not (the kind of devices, where the cat needs to work to get the food)?

    Also: as I’m considering one and have two cats. Should they have one each or os it something else with that kind of feeder? I’m looking at one that have multiple ‘output tunnels for digging out.

  29. Heidi Jo   March 25, 2014 at 10:23 am  

    I am a free-feeder, and I have no behavior problems with my two cats. They play with each other, toys, etc. No litter probs, nothin. They’re kind-of on a wet food schedule, twice a day, but dry is out 24-7 with water fountain. The only behavior I don’t like, is my Feral Kitten won’t let me touch her, and she is too easily spooked. If I walk into room too fast, she panics and runs. If I am blocking the door, she shatters my ankle with her head and tears top of my foot with her claws, while bolting past me. I got her from a alley cat rescue lady, she was 5 months old when I got her, she comes to her name when I am getting food ready, she will hang by me every time i eat because I share with her, trying to bond. Will being a food Nazi with her make her come around and trust me? How do you get ferals to let you touch them? I have her trust everywhere else, I think… She is great, she taught my adult abuse rescue how to use his scratch post and tree, and she was the one from the streets! She’s a great cat, I just worry about her hypertension, and I want her to be relaxed around me, there’s no enjoyment in a life of fear. Will controlling her food more help her? What are your tips? I try the stuff I see on your shows, she has all her own areas, her own beds, trees, hiding spots, food dishes, she’s living high on the hog, they both are. I touched her tail the other day, she is ssooooo soft I wanna scratch her head and give her some love, but she only seeks it from Jorgie, my other kitty, whom takes my kisses, he don’t like ’em, but he tolerates them ;). Any tips? All 3 of us are laid back and chill. No other bahavior probs at all. Does she just need more time? She’s been with us for 6 months now.
    Thanks Jackson, I love you! keep up the awesome work!!

    1. Stefanie   March 31, 2014 at 12:45 pm  

      Hi Heidi,

      A word about your feral baby, you will have to use extreme patience and calmness to get her to let you touch/pet her. The deal with feral/domesticated cats is that all cats are born “feral” but many are domesticated and exposed to/or handled by humans from a very young age (4-8 weeks). Feral cats that are not domesticated before 12-14 weeks of age usually will stay “kind of” feral if not outright unhandleable. My 14 year old male (Harley) is the least domesticated of my two former ferals (I got them both about 14 weeks old) and although I can pet him and his sister easily, Harley won’t go near my live in bf of 7 years. He’s still pretty wild, but he’s also SUPER sweet! So, hang in there and good luck! Thanks for taking such good care of your charges! –

    2. Stefanie   March 31, 2014 at 12:58 pm  

      Also, this page has a ton of helpful info!

    3. Denise L.   April 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm  

      I have a cat that was very skiddish and would not let me touch him. He was a biter too. It took me a while, maybe a year or two to get him to to let me touch him. I started by touching a small area just briefly and doing it whenever he seemed relaxed. After a while he realized that I wasn’t going to hurt him. I , very gradually, increased the area . I did the same thing with a comb. I started in a small area on his neck. I wanted to show him it feels good. He slowly let me do more and more. After a while he came to me every time I showed him the comb. It just takes time and patience. I would not start feeding him table scraps. I did that once and I am still paying for it. It is a bad habit to get into if you don’t want to have to fight cats off every time you bring any food out. I know how tempting it is but you will be sorry later for it. Try enticing with baby food or wet food instead.

    4. Charmie   May 13, 2014 at 9:50 am  

      Hello Heidi Jo

      I’ve some suggestions for getting to touch your kitten through food therapy, but since you leave food out for your other cats you’ll need to separate her short term.

      I foster rescued cats for a cat shelter and my specialty is working with those that nobody can get near. Jackson’s tips have been really helpful for me and I’ve watched every episode, I’ve also got my own cat sense and understanding so I recognize where he is coming from. Cats are my favourite animal and Jackson is my favourite expert.

      Through the charity I got to foster a cat called Joey who spent four months in another shelter and then spent several more months with another fosterer at their home before he came to be fostered in my home. They told me that he was two years old, he came from a cat hoarder’s home with too many cats and had never been socialised and had spent his life hiding, he could not be handled and you could not come close to him, he would hiss and scratch and bite. Both the shelter and the previous foster home had been putting food out to eat and leaving him to eat it, also they had not been blocking off hiding places so he would always go where you couldn’t reach him.

      The first thing I do with these unapproachable cats is put them in a separate room of their own which they can call their own territory, and where there are no unwanted hiding places so the cat is never ever difficult to find or to reach. (You can either block off under furniture or temporarily remove all furniture from that room until the therapy is over, also block off any kind of nooks or corners or gaps they may get into with objects that are heavy and solid). In the room I provide everything they need – a bed, horizontal or vertical scratch posts and cat trees, and lots of toys etc. I visit the cat several times a day as you don’t want the cat to feel isolated.

      For some cats you can provide a place of refuge like a designated box for the cat to hide in and sleep in with a nice cushion or blanket, but make sure that is the ONLY place the cat can do this, so you are letting the cat hide but in a very controlled way – whether you provide this hiding box or not depends on the type of cat:

      — If they are shy but gentle they will come out in their own time, so then I provide a type of box for them to hide in that is completely open at the front and large enough for me to easily have access for petting, and I drape a blanket or towel over the front to act like a curtain which can be drawn aside – but to help the shy cat feel secure always remember to put the ‘curtain’ back down each time after you have finished petting the cat and when you leave the room. Do not use a closed type box that has holes cut out for a door or window, because if a cat feels cornered and you put your hand into a small hole when you can’t see the cat very well through it, then you are bound to get batted even by a gentle cat.
      — For a feral type cat or a cat that appears quite aggressive or unapproachable, I do not provide a box or hiding place at all because it is too dangerous putting your hand in. Their therapy requires getting used to being exposed and out in the open because their main issue is more mistrust than shyness.

      Next comes the food therapy. I do not leave any kind of food in the room, only water, and for the most difficult cat cases I deprive the cat of food the day before the therapy starts to be sure the cat is hungry enough to want the food. The therapy involves making sure the cat gets fed ONLY when you are there so the cat learns to associate you with good things happening. I hand feed cat biscuits (very cautiously of course) and as I drop two or three biscuits by the cat’s head I lightly stroke the cat on the cheek or head while it is distracted by eating – after a few repetitions the cat can’t remember which came first, was it the food or the stroking, so as you continue it seems to the cat that a reward comes each time it gets stroked.

      After two days of trying the food therapy twice a day with Joey, on the third day when I walked into the room he came up to me and meowed and rubbed against my legs, head butted my hand for food, purred, and even rolled over! But because of severe trust issues, the cat will also at first revert back to previous behaviour like they take two steps forward and one step back, until the new behaviour takes hold and therapy is complete. The food therapy is a trust building exercise and it takes a different amount of time for each cat. Gradually the cat will learn to trust and to give and receive affection. Each time you go in the room the cat will have gained a bit more confidence and will also take bigger and bigger steps towards improvement as the confidence grows.

      For your kitten Heidi Jo it sounds like she already trusts you to some extent and is used to being hand fed. But if you use the food therapy plan as I described and keep her in a separate room for a week, you’ll probably get to stroke her very quickly.

  30. C J Schultz   March 25, 2014 at 10:23 am  

    “Tubby” needs Help! One of the felines that we rescued last March was taken to our Vet to be checked out & medically taken care of which at that time he weighed 11 lbs & just 6 months later he weighed in at 21lbs! I have never had this happen in my 30 plus years of rescuing felines & wanted to know what you think about this. I took him back to a different Vet. that we use to see if there was any medical issues & the Vet. said Nope!

    1. Tonya   September 19, 2014 at 10:15 am  

      Were they an indoor outdoor pet before? Are you playing with them? Is there room for them to run around? Did they have a playmate before? Did you change their food? Try wet a few times a day. Most dont like wet after its sat in the single servings and give it to them twice a day with a handful of dry in the morning and at night

  31. Diane   March 25, 2014 at 10:45 am  

    Nice to know this, I never knew. Maybe this will take care of my cat’s prede
    licton to poop wherever she wants to.

  32. Marie Yarber   March 25, 2014 at 10:48 am  

    I do cat rescue so I have a houseful of cats and some of the players change. Recently, my personal cat has decided to become a bully and is terrorizing all the scaredy cats. Most of my permanent residents (20+) either have medical issues or are scaredies so they aren’t really adoptable. I foster kittens and the occaisional friendly feral that ends up in my colonies, but have tried to stabilize the house. Loki has gone from being my good will welcome committee to stalking 3 of the scaredies. Any ideas ? He is healthy, 3 yo neutered bobtail.

  33. Jen L.   March 25, 2014 at 2:11 pm  

    My husband and I have 2 cats. We keep them on a feeding schedule; feeding them once in the morning and again about 12 hours later. However, my boy cat, Marley scarfs his food down as quickly as possible and then attempts to steal Mila’s food. We actually have to sit next to Mila and either shoe Marley away or distract him with toys until Mila is done (she’s a much slower eater.) I’ve thought about feeding them in separate rooms, but our apt is small so the only way to do that effectively would be to feed one in the bathroom behind a closed door til both were finished, however, that seems cruel. Any thoughts? Also, is there a way to slow Marley down, cause I’m worried that his eating so fast will make him sick? I tried a food puzzle, but it was designed for dogs so it didn’t work too well. Thank you in advance for your help!

    1. Liz   March 29, 2014 at 3:16 pm  

      Please read my reply above to Denise LaChance!

    2. Tonya   September 19, 2014 at 10:17 am  

      Feed them three times a day or 6 to 7 hours max apart…how would you respond if you had not eaten in 12 hours?

  34. Kay McCann   March 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm  

    Hi Jackson
    Thank you for all your wonderful tips and I have a couple of questions.
    1. How long does it take to change eating habits to regular time from “free feeding”? My cat is 14 1/2 yrs old and has been free feeding for a long time. He yowls when he thinks there’s not enough food in his dish. And, I’ve been feeding him all he’ll eat all day long as 3 yrs ago he was over 10 lbs and now is about 6 1/2 lbs.
    2. Are there any remedies for gum disease for cats? My cat has been on pednisone for several years and for the past few months on clindymacin.
    Thank you
    Kay McCann

  35. Ronald   March 25, 2014 at 7:02 pm  

    I free feed my cat and want to stop, but not sure exactly how to do it. I understand I should set my cat “Boston” on a schedule. So, when I feed him in the morning, how long should I leave the food out before I head off to work? He’s only 10 months old and I want to give him a good life. Please help.

    Ronald Fabbo

  36. Fuchsia   March 26, 2014 at 11:35 am  

    I found this to be very interesting. I have always thought that I free fed (and my cats have always self regulated their own food and were not over weight), but in looking at when they ask for a refill I realized that they set their own mealtimes. They ask for food in the morning and at bedtime. I know that they do eat during the day, but they save some of their breakfast for lunch. So apparently they have self regulated themselves into meals but I never noticed. Smart kitties!

  37. Kate   March 26, 2014 at 7:38 pm  

    Hi Jackson!
    LOVE your show and SAVED 2 kittens because of it! What is your opinion on timed feeding stations when away at work for most of the day or sometimes 2 days?

    1. MJ   April 4, 2014 at 10:26 am  

      Love our timed feeder. Our cat was 21/2 when we got her and obsessed with food.She was contantly trying to open cupboard to get food. Could not leave food out – she would eat all we put out. Trying the dispenser type of feeder but that didn’t work – she could get the next meal out right away, so when it moved nothing came out and she would dig out the next meal. We got one that has a dish with 5 divisions and set it up for 4 meals a day 2TB dry food each at 5 am, 11 am, 5pm & llpm – fill it every night after our dinner and put 1 TB in the 5th container for her to eat right away. She used to keep us up half the night trying to get us to feed her – now she still wants us up for the 5AM feeding but close to our normal wake up anyway.
      now sometimes she leaves food in her dish because she knows at the sound of the motor she’ll get a meal.

  38. Angela   March 31, 2014 at 7:41 am  

    So many people thinking they HAVE to free-feed because they are at work all day… why? Feed in the morning before you go and feed when you come home… even if those times are like 12 hours apart, your cat is not going to wither away and starve. I feed my girl ONCE a day and she is fine.

  39. Liz   March 31, 2014 at 2:11 pm  

    My four also get fed pretty much whenever they are hungry in the morning and 10-12 hours later when I get home from work. They have all had urinary issues and feeding several small meals during the day instead of one or two larger meals is one of the best ways for cats to stay hydrated. I use a good quality wet food but don’t measure out a precise amount. So far there are no weight or other health issues. Seems a lot of unanswered questions on this board on the details that hopefully is giving Jackson good ideas for a future broadcast. 🙂

  40. Susana   April 13, 2014 at 7:02 pm  

    Thank you so much for your wonderful videos! I have an 11 year old boy Louie and an 11 month old kitten Max. Louie is a nibbler and very picky eater, who throws up at 5am, if he didn’t eat enough the night before. He is thin since his brother died 1 1/2 years ago. We feed wet food at 6:30 am and wet food and chicken cooked just for them at 5:30pm and leave dry food down 24/7 (refill at meal time). I would like to stop free-feeding, but I don’t want Louie throwing up or Max getting aggressive to Louie, because he is worried about food. Louie has always done the trowing up early in the morning, if he didn’t eat enough the night before. In the evening I also give them both chicken broth a couple of times per week with an eye-dropper, which they both love. It’s family time in the bathroom, very cute. It seems to give Louie energy. Often the day after he’s had chicken broth he has more energy, jumps up on the tall cat tree, plays a little more with a toy. I have learned so much since we got Max (from a feral litter) almost a year ago, constantly learning, since it was quite a challenge having both of them together in a tiny apartment. They get along fine at times now, other times Max still jumps Louie too much, keeps him from being able to relax while eating or pooping.

  41. Katt   April 18, 2014 at 2:05 pm  

    I don’t agree that no cat should be free fed. I have free fed all my cats – past 40 years. None had weight problems. BUT I feed high quality food.
    My only issue is that my cats like to race around the house but it is not a real problem. They feel good and they are safe inside.
    I typically like what Jackson states to do but a generic statement of “don’t free fed” is inconsistant with his knowledge that you must adjust to each situation as if it was something new.
    Not all households are “doing it wrong” by free feeding.
    Households are doling it wrong if feeding foods such as those high in corn (filler) and food dyes.
    Thanks for listening.

  42. Diana   April 24, 2014 at 6:45 am  

    Hello Jackson im Diana im from Denmark in Europe i have two cats. my two cats weigh too much, I think the first oskar was too thin when i bought him so I gave him shrimp and canned food now he and the other cat need to lose weight they get diet dry food and canned food diet i play with Them do you have any advice for me

  43. Teresa   April 26, 2014 at 10:24 am  


  44. Gina   April 29, 2014 at 12:01 pm  

    Does anyone know how to reach Jackson Galaxy for help with a cat behavior problem??
    We all watch his show but trying to reach him is just impossible…so how do they do these shows if you can’t reach him??

  45. Lily   July 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm  

    Hi Jackson! I am a big fan of your show! My cat Beast is overweight. He won’t play either! I do leave food out all day but I leave for school at 7:40 and don’t have time in the morning to feed him on a schedule. How do I get him to be more playful so he’ll loose some weight? Any suggestions for his feeding issues?
    Lily and Beasty

  46. Nicole   July 21, 2014 at 9:58 am  

    I have 2 cats that are brother and sister, approximately 3.5-4 years old. Both have their claws and strictly indoor kitties. We made the mistake of free feeding. Our male does fine with it, he is healthy and in shape. However, our girl has grown quite chunky and has major food anxiety. We wanted to gradually take the food away (tried putting it away at night, picking it up for a few hours during the day, letting it go empty for a bit) but everytime we try she barfs/poops/pees everywhere. She starts to get anxious even if her auto feeder is low but not even empty yet. I worry about diabetes, heart problems, and her joints so I’d really like to get them switched on a feeding schedule. I just dont know how! Do I let the anxiety puking run its course until she gets used to it? I feel like an awful cat mom when I see her upset and sick like that. I also worry that our boy won’t get enough bc of his piggy sister if we switch to strict feeding times. Advice anyone??

  47. Paige   July 26, 2014 at 7:27 am  

    I do free feed, and it hasn’t set up my cat for any of those problems– I guess I’m one of the lucky ones!

    I feed two canned meals a day and leave dry food out in case he decides he’s still hungry, but he’s very active, a very healthy weight, and not picky at all! Although he does seem to prefer fish to any other meat. c:

    My grandmother on the other hand DOES NOT free feed, but she feeds dry Science Diet, and her cats are FAAAAAT. I’ve tried to convince her to switch to wet food of a better brand, but she just won’t listen to me! >_<

  48. Ellen   August 11, 2014 at 10:13 am  

    I’ve been having problems with one of my cats (daily vomiting) for a long time. Shatzy is 17 and has puked almost every day for a very long time. He was a free-feeder, along with the other cat I adopted at the same time (Patch; now deceased.) Patch required a special urinary tract formula and the vet told me I could give it to both Patch and Shatzy, who was obese for most of his life.

    This all changed when my daughter introduced a kitten. Pandora needed kitten food which Patch couldn’t eat. And I didn’t want Pandora eating the big kitty food. So feeding times were established and they ate in separate rooms.

    Now that it’s Pandora and Shatzy – both grown – I stick to feeding times and they eat together. Shatzy always seemed anxious to get enough food before Pandora took it, but I’m noticing, lately, that this doesn’t seem to be a problem. They do like each other and they are leaving food on the plate, so there’s no competition going on.

    I started using paper plates a couple of months ago (they only like dry food), so that Shatzy couldn’t pick up too much at once. I also decreased the portions. That seemed to help. Shatzy would go days without puking.

    Then I decided to buy an easily-digestible formula. Things seemed to be going okay until the past week. Shatzy is back to puking, more than once a day now. The difference is that the food stays in him longer and so it’s digested when it comes up (and messier.)

    There are days when I am not home for many hours at a time (12), but I stick to a twice-a-day feeding schedule, even when I come home late.

    Shatzy is thirsty after he vomits and when he’s done puking, he goes right to the water. He also seems to “dig” around the water bowl a lot – a relatively new habit. He’s also vomiting up a little bit of water now, which seems to be related to drinking to quickly.

    He seems healthy and happy aside from all of this. I wonder if there’s a better food. I don’t care how expensive it is or inconvenient to get. I am going to decrease the portions and give them a slightly more frequent feeding schedule, but I’m afraid that it might induce a more competitive eating style again. I’m also ready to cover my whole apartment in plastic because one never knows where Shatzy’s going to lose his food. :/

    He’s an old boy and he’s always begging for food, even when he has some or has just eaten. Habit? Dementia?

  49. Emiliya   August 21, 2014 at 6:30 am  

    OMG! That was so helpful! I have been having some problems with my tabby recently. It was all perfect until he got a tooth taken out – nothing to do with the procedure which was actually HUGELY beneficial for him, just that I felt so guilty I started free feeding. He started playing up and being all grumpy, he put on weight and is interested in me only when he wants food. Before that he was such a sweetheart and when I used to stick to feeding times he never used to eat all at once but leave some and eat through the day.
    Anyway! Thank you again! it was mostly helpful in that it empowers me and I don’t feel bad for not surrendering

    Mostly appreciated

  50. Megan   September 12, 2014 at 9:28 am  


    I have a 1 year old domestic short hair. I don’t free-feed. He is fed a cup of dry food three times a day. I’ve owned other cats and never understood why people free-feed theirs. I always associated that with why their cat was overweight. My question is, even though I schedule feed my cat why does he always seem to be hungry. He begs for food every time any one enters the kitchen. When he is fed and finishes he flips his bowl and looks for more food like a savage. Honestly it’s really annoying. I don’t give in to the begging until it’s time for his next feeding. I’m just wondering why he acts like he is starving?

    1. Tonya   September 19, 2014 at 10:10 am  

      Its ok for you to feed yourself different foods constantly but he is annoying for being bored of the same ol..maybe you need a different perspective

  51. Amber60   September 12, 2014 at 10:00 am  

    Jackson, please help my cat is 17 years old and has turned into a very picky eater. I took her to vet cause her stools was like gravy, and smelled horrible. The vet said there is nothing wrong with her stools, did a fecal exam on her. Even though they are were like that, now she will not eat her cat food, I tried letting her go waiting for her food like they say when she gets hungry she’ll eat it. That never works, I mean she will go without unless I give her what she wants. Yesterday I gave her 5 different kinds of food and she would not eat them. I worried cause she is very thin cause of it. The vet does not have any advice to give me. I know she is like that cause of to many changes in her diet. I bought BM Tone-up gold and her stools are alright as long as I give it to her twice a day. I’m getting frustrated because I have to get up and down like a yoyo, cause when she will not eat what I give her she comes every few minutes and cries for food and then she will not eat it. I really think this is not a sickness but a mental behavior. She is not a normal cat never was I think she has mental problems. When she was a kitten she would hiss and growl at things not there. Please any advice yo can give will help.

    1. Tonya   September 19, 2014 at 10:08 am  

      Have you tried broiled or baked chicken? Cooked beef…picky cats usually love it! No seasoning

  52. Tonya   September 19, 2014 at 9:48 am  

    I have 6 cats. My first furry family members were four feral kittens. My then landlord was attempting to catch them then dump them in a remote area. I begged him to let me take care of his issue. I contacted a vet and he came to the house. I was then educated on what a feral cat is( I had never had cats as I am highly allergic (was) The vet was not helpful beyond labeling the kittens..oh and they had massive flea issues he stated.

    I then researched feral cats and found the feral cat coalition…also not very helpful.

    I contacted another vet. He gave me sedatives and told me what to do.

    I put the medication in food dishes with the food and one by one caught the kittens. They were incredibly aggressive and very mean.

    We took them to the vet and had them groomed from top to bottom and every other thing you would do to bring a kitten to good health.

    They stayed with the vet for some time as they had no plans on letting anyone near them.

    Eventually after a very hefty vet bill I brought them home. We placed them in a very large cage in my daughters room. She was not allergic.

    I was getting allergy shots and taking benadryl as well getting regular breathing treatments(Im asthmatic)

    I began sleeping next to the cage so they would learn to trust me. We then opened the cage and closed the bedroom door…then released to the house. My landlord wanted them gone so I bucked up and bought a house so they would have a home. We had grown attached to them and they attached to us.

    We moved out to Silverlake in Los Angeles. It took them a year to trust is 10 years later and they are the most loving,friendly cats I have ever known. We found two more free spirits roaming the neighborhood so we now have 6 cats.

    I feed them wet food twice a day and they share about three cups of dry each day. I dont like leaving food out.

    Our dog eats chicken or meat everyday so her meal times are used as treats for the cats. They get a bite or two of whatever she is having.

    My cat Jake is a large breed cat and one of the first members is a bigger cat. None of my cats are incredibly large but Lucky..the large cat and Jake seem to like food.

    The vet suggested that I put Lucky down when he was a kitten as he was incredibly aggressive.

    I said:nah..hes just hungry: ) He is the most loving cat ever! He is also always hungry. Jake being the largest cat patiently waits to be fed.He never crowds the other cats during feedings.

    There is always plenty of fresh water and up until March of this year they had been in door out door cats.

    We moved in March so now they are in door cats.

    Thus far no health issues. Jake is having issues grooming his back so I have been un matting his fur every day followed by a back massage. Im guessing he is a bit older than the others.

    I have seen people leave food out and not change the water daily…thats not cool.

    I would not want to eat stale food and I certainly wouldnt want to drink cloudy water.

    I was hardly a cat person before I encountered these little noodle heads.

    My cats love pumpkin! Mainly breads..only little bits during the season.

    Love this website. Glad I found it! This is my cat Jake and I : )

    1.   May 16, 2015 at 4:36 pm  

      You’re a good person. My husband has 4 feral cats by his business. It’s been about 4 years. Now he can hold two of them. They don’t even try to hide when he goes near them anymore. He’s the only one they trust. My husband’s retiring in the next couple years. We don’t know what to do about the cats. He’d never leave it to someone else to feed them and make sure they have places to sleep and stay warm. Only one of the cats will let him take her inside the building. She’ll probably end up here but won’t be able to go outside because of the road.

  53. Dean   October 2, 2014 at 9:15 pm  

    I would LOVE to switch my cats to a times diet, but I have a few issues. The first being: my cats. I can switch my two younger ones no problem, but my two older ones (10 years and 7 years) have been on the free feeding diet their whole lives. (Note: I feed all four Nature’s Variety with raw boost, plus a packet of Weruva twice a day. None of my cats are overweight). The second issue is a work really weird hours. I know when I go into work (8am), but I have no idea when I get out. It could be eight hours, it could be fourteen. I never know. Advice?

  54. Linda   November 20, 2014 at 7:29 pm  

    I have a Maine coon cat that is overweight (25lbs) but he’s also built bigger than most. I stopped free feeding him months ago to help him lose some weight. When free feeding, he seemed peaceful and self-sufficient , but now he seems hungry all the time, and I have become his “feeder”. Last month I started giving him prescription urinary tract formula wet along with his dry twice a day.

    My problem is that he jumps on my head every morning starting at 5am. He’ll “buzz”me by running across the top of my pillow. ..and hair, every 10 minutes trying to get me to rise. If that doesn’t work, he starts playing the harp on the blinds. He’s tortures me until I get up to feed him. Sometimes I cave and feed him at 5am, but I don’t want to reward this behavior. Doors are not closed in our home, due to claws and heat flow, so I can’t keep him out, and he is faster than my quick draw on the squirt bottle.
    Otherwise, he is sweet and adoring. How can I break this bad behavior before I lose my mind?

    1.   May 16, 2015 at 4:29 pm  

      I think they make feeders that have timers. Otherwise, he has you well trained.

  55. jenn   January 10, 2015 at 5:56 pm  

    Hello, I have 2 cats, just recently got the second one(kia) and feeding them at the same time, the newer younger one(kia) eats out of her bowl then tries to eat out of the other cats(bonkers) bowl after bonkers left and there’s still food in her(kia) bowl… why?

    1.   May 16, 2015 at 4:28 pm  

      Mine do that too. I think the one cat thinks I give the other better food, lol.

  56. Victoria   May 6, 2015 at 10:05 pm  

    My indoor cat bites her dry food into small pieces and puts it back into his food bowl. Why does he do this? He won’t eat it once he’s made it into small little pieces.

    thank you for your help,

  57. Tavoris Clark   May 8, 2015 at 10:00 am  

    I have a question: I have a cat that’s extremely picky on eating. So my question is why does a cat eat a certain thing one day but the next day refuses to eat that same certain thing when it’s his meal time??? Please someone answer

  58.   May 16, 2015 at 4:25 pm  

    Lol, website is our local family business. So you think, ‘fish, those cats must eat well’. Well it hasn’t worked out well. We have two Siamese cats, 2 yrs. and 3 yrs. The 2 yr. old has eating issues and her allergies are as bad as mine. I’m thinking that partially because of her allergies, she doesn’t smell that well. Because of this (I believe), she will not try new foods. She was eating Iams when we got her and I did manage to switch her to grain free from the pet store. When I’ve tried to move from that to raw, firstly she can’t seem to find the food, and second, she is not interested. The next part of this problem has to do with free feeding. Sasha will not eat more than a few bites and then stops eating. The other cat eats well but there’s some behavioral issues too. Sadie is older but seems jealous that maybe Sasha is getting better food??? Sadie wants to eat out of Sasha’s dish but when we let her and Sasha tries to eat out of Sadie’s dish, Sadie stops eating, waits for Sasha to stop and leave, then goes to where Sasha was eating. Switching dishes or places doesn’t work. I had to put the dishes together because it became almost a contest. Now, with Sadie I could easily pick up her dish after about a half hour. Problem, Sasha barely has any food in her. Because of this, Sadie has put on weight. Sasha is tiny. So, in a couple months I’m planning on trying raw food again (fish too), should I maybe try feeding them in separate rooms for feedings to stop the jealousy and maybe give Sasha some alone time with her food? I can pick up Sasha’s dish and she’ll come to me and stick her nose in my face when she’s hungry, or push dishes off the table onto the floor. Problem is when I give it back to her, Sadie wants to eat too. Big circle. Oh, and Sasha used to get diarrhea all the time when we first got her (probably that food). I gave her the raw pumpkin and it fixed her up. As fussy as she is, I was really surprised when she ate it. Anyway, suggestions would be appreciated.

  59. Amy K   June 22, 2015 at 7:26 pm  

    Hello Jackson,
    One of my 4 cats (male) has a problem with irinary crystals and I hate goving him the prescribed diet that is so unhealthy. I have 3 other cats too & I need to make sure everyone is getting proper nutrition. All 4 cats have a grain sensitivity and we struggled with digestive issue for a long time. Can you help me by recommending a food that is healthy and will help get rid of the crystals and that I can feed to every one of my cats? I greatly appreciate any assistance you can offer.
    Thank you,
    Amy K.

  60. Janice   July 13, 2015 at 4:19 pm  

    I use a timed feeder for my two cats. They each have one with 5 “dishes”, they are both seniors and on wet food and ground up dry food if they get really hungry. I’m wondering, what are good intervals to feed at, right now it’s 3 x a day and 2x a nite, but…I’m going on vacation eventually and friends will check on them but what’s a interval to stretch out the feed times? Right now they are about every 4 hours. Thanks!

  61. Megala   July 27, 2015 at 6:27 am  

    Ok seriously people. I’ve known how to take care of cats and dogs since I was 8. All you have to do I allow them two meals. Both would equal the size of I proper meal then you take that and divide it in half. If they eat the other cats meal then take out the amount they shouldn’t have ate from their food bowl. You just were overthinking it.

  62. Elaine Chen   August 24, 2015 at 11:14 am  

    I don’t want to free feed like you said, but like many others here, I am away from home usually for a long chunk of time. I also don’t want her to wake me up early in the morning. So I have been trying to feed her before I got to bed and before I leave for work, that is feeding around 10-11 and 8-9. Is that a good schedule for twice feeding? I also leave a little little bit of dry food out all the time so she can have something to munch on.

    The reason why I do this because she is a VERY loud cat and I live in an old apartment. The amount of talk she does have given me trouble from my neighbors and quite bit of annoyance. With me playing with her a lot more, from the hunt, catch, kill, eat motto. She has gotten a little bit better. But she is still super needy, and I don’t know what she is meowing on about non stop for hours (She really does keep on meowing with barely a break, I don’t know how she does it. I didn’t know a cat can be so OVERLY affectionate.)

    What more should I do? Am I doing anything wrong? I really need help or I will have to face my angry neighbor again=(

    I am also getting tempted to get another cat but I know that is not always the solution. (my apartment is tiny.)

  63. Jessy   September 19, 2015 at 9:15 am  

    Hi Jackson,

    I adopted a beautiful three month old kitty, I have her for a month now. I have been following the instructions on her bag of food, she is around 6 pounds, in the bag it says that i should feed her 1/4 of a cup. I divide this amount in three equal parts and I feed her three times a day. But the kitty meows every time that I am in the kitchen (her bowl is there) and she seems very hungry. I was looking in the internet if I was doing something wrong. I read that kittens should be fed twice as much and an adult cat. Is this true? Please let me know if I am doing something wrong. Thank you in advance.

  64. Jacqueline   October 6, 2015 at 4:45 am  

    I adopted a kitten from a rescue centre 3 months ago, she was in there because she hadn’t been getting fed properly. She is now 10 months old, gaining weight and has been checked by a vet so I know she is healthy. I have tried free feeding, feeding 3 times a day by hand and also feeding several small meals a day using a dispenser. She always eats the full amount and then cries because her dish is empty. How can I tell if she is crying because she is hungry or if it’s because she is still scared to see an empty bowl from remembering a time when she didn’t know how long she would go without food?

  65. Elton   October 27, 2015 at 10:59 am  

    Hi, I’m curious about rotation diet, I heard it’s actually beneficial to switch your cat’s food on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. What’s your take on this?

  66. Cindy   October 27, 2015 at 4:21 pm  

    We have a Wireless Whiskers feeder. It is the only feeder that allows you to control the allowances of multiple pets. It works by attaching a wireless tag to the collar and the feeder recognizes each pet and measures how mcuh they eat. You can set separate allowances so putting specific cats on a diet is easy. You can also spread the allowance over the day to prevent gorging and set up separate stations for different food types and allow or lock out pets as you wish. Makes life a lot easier.

  67. cindy spivey   January 11, 2016 at 11:36 am  

    Hi jackson I have 32 cats.some are inside but most go from inside to outside.i feed dry and wet food.problem is I have so many at feeding time .it’s a problem feeding so many in the morn the wet food.i feed them all n paper plates.they all rush to get the’s wish I could fins long feeding troft so they all could eat in a line at once without the chaos I have..any suggestions?

  68. Sarah   April 4, 2016 at 7:21 pm  

    Hi Jackson,

    Panicked and deeply in need of some advice. We got our kitten six days ago (he was eight weeks old) and for the first five days he was an absolute maniac. He was super comfortable with us but was just running around a lot and didn’t nap often. He has been eating wet kitten food/drinking water and was totally fine with it until our sixth day. He woke up not wanting to eat or drink and didn’t even want to get up. It was a total 180 energy and personality wise. He finally ate that night after 23 hours of having nothing. He has been going to the bathroom 1 and 2. On his seventh day he had a little diarrhea in the morning and ate breakfast but didn’t eat again until 12 hours later and we had to entice him with a little tuna water on the food. So all in all he is lethargic and not eating/drinking well. Should we tai him to the vet or is there anything we can do? Thanks in advance for any advice.

  69. B Konerza   April 5, 2016 at 7:03 am  

    Recently we lost our 19 year old Sara. We feel she had a good life – we loved her dearly. Two weeks later we found 3 year old Jewels at a local human society – we both fell in love with her. She came to live with us on 2/5/16. She loves to be played with, rubbed, combed and eat! She adapted to her litter box immediately with no issues. On 3/29/16 she decided to urinated outside her litter box and about 12 hours later she decided to urinate on the kitchen floor by the baseboard. Within 5 hours we had her at the vet who took a urine sample and said she had a slight infection and sent us home with 10 days of medicine. She takes her pills twice a day but now 5 days later has decided to start urinating in the same spot in the kitchen. We clean it up once we notice it. We starting to believe it is behavioral. Reason being we have been free feeding her and during the night around 2:00pm she will start to meow and want our attention – we noticed in the last couple of days if we don’t give this attention she will have urinated in the kitchen in the same spot.
    Jewels is a sweetie and so want to find a way to help her and us with this issue.

    Please help from anyone would be appreciated!

  70. Mudslyinger   May 9, 2016 at 9:17 pm  

    I am Fostering my first Nursing Mother Cat. She has 3 4 week old babies who she looks after well. My conundrum is that every time I go into the kitchen, she expects to be fed. We are at the point where, if I allowed her, she would eat one large can (the same in size to a Cambels soup can) per day. I have bee told to mix her wet food with a lot of water, to a gravy like consistency so that she stays well hydrated and she loves this. I think your methods sound like good sense but I could not find anywhere just How much is too much?!
    Should I let her eat a full can per day while nursing?
    Actually the kittens are now 5 weeks and not weaned at all.
    I have tried them with watered down wet food, mixing it with nice warm water or warm milk but they won’t touch it, even if I put a tiny bit o their noses.
    Please do you have any advice for me?

  71. Jessica   May 30, 2016 at 6:07 am  

    My cat has always had a sensitive stomach, and my husband and I have been very careful to feed him nutritious cat food. Loki James (my cat) has always free fed. And he’s always been able to regulate it himself, never over or under eating until recently. He has decided that he doesn’t like any food. We’ve started to do timed feedings with various types of food to try to get him to eat. He ate a very small amount of pan fried salmon for me the other day. And he’s eaten a very small amount of his hard food. I’ve checked his teeth and they look ok. He meows for food, but then when we give it to him he sniffs it and walks away. I’m giving it a couple more days, and if the timed feedings don’t work I’m taking him to the vet. Any advice from the cat lovers out there???

  72. ANNA   June 12, 2016 at 3:12 pm  

    So I have always been a dog person, however my sons wanted a cat and he will be turning one years old tomorrow!!! I have been feeding him the 3oz can in morning around 4am when he wakes me and then again at 6 pm. He gets a scoop of dry food for lunch. However he drives me crazy between 3-4am when he wants to eat. So I have decided to change his feeding time and feed him the 3oz can around 9pm hoping that he lets me sleep. Can you tell me if I m giving him enough food as I really don’t know and everyone has a different opinion. He is about 10lbs.


We regret that Jackson does not answer questions posted in the comments. This is due to his demanding schedule and the high volume of requests he receives. But most importantly, since he has not met your cat, it would be contrary to his approach for him to give specific personalized advice for your specific situation. That being said, general questions and issues are addressed throughout this blog, in his book Cat Daddy and of course, the show My Cat From Hell.

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