It’s only natural that you should fret about leaving your precious pet home alone while you’re out at work, running unexpected errands, or even on an unplanned, last-minute business trip.
Mealtimes and routine are essential elements in the development and healthy life of any well cared for animal, and they’re not responsibilities that an owner should take lightly.
But fear not. Help is at hand with this trusty guide on how to feed cat wet food while away. By following these simple steps, your feline friend should be well cared for, if not positively pampered in your absence.
Ways to feed your cat wet food when you’re away include:
- Refrigerating the wet food.
- Using an automatic feeder.
- Asking neighbors, family, or friends.
- Using a cat sitter service.
- Checking your kitty into a cattery.
Why Bother With Wet Food When There’s Dry?
It’s not always a question of choice. Perhaps it’s on the advice of a vet or simply that you want to mix things up a little between wet and dry food for nutritional reasons. Either way, dry food may not be the easy go-to option in every case.
Typical cat prey in the wild contains around 60 percent moisture, similar to wet cat food. Dry food on the other hand is around 14 percent moisture, so your cat is more likely to get dehydrated if they don’t drink enough water. Dehydration can lead to health issues such as constipation, weight loss, and urinary tract problems—which is why vets often prescribe it.
Can’t I Simply Leave Out Enough Wet Cat Food for My Cat?
If your trip is a short one and you’ll only be away for a couple of hours or so, you can certainly do that.
However, wet foods tend to go off after a few hours of being left out. So if you anticipate having to be away for longer than a few hours, then you might need to think again.
How To Feed Cat Wet Food While Away
1. Refrigerate Wet Food Beforehand
It’s possible to buy yourself a little more time by simply refrigerating your cat’s favorite wet food meal in advance and taking the dish out of the fridge just before you leave the house. This method is ideal if you need the morning or afternoon to go shopping, meet a friend, or take care of a little business.
The previously refrigerated wet cat food will stay fresher for longer. Perhaps even up to 5 or 6 hours longer. But anything beyond that time again runs the risk of attracting bacteria and becoming harmful to your pet.
Also, leaving wet food out in this way could lead to your cat eating before their regular mealtimes. Which is fine once in a while, but less so if done too often. It can encourage overeating and risks creating future health problems such as obesity and even potential digestive disorders.
As any cat owner will tell you, nutrition and routine are important elements in the health and vitality of their pet.
2. Automatic Cat Feeder for Wet Food (without Ice Packs)
Technology has come on a great deal in recent years. Automatic wet cat food dispensers are capable of serving meals at a specific, pre-programmed hour. This means no more eating at the wrong time, and kitty gets his or her meal exactly as you planned it.
As well as scheduling, an auto wet cat food dispenser can be programmed to serve a number of different meals to suit the time of day. The compartments of feeders are often adjustable. This means the menu can be varied, with different food types ranging from wet to dry.
These programming features, combined with the number of compartments of an automatic cat feeder, give you the option of refrigerating the first meal to be eaten and freezing the last. That way, you can prolong the freshness of wet food even further.
And if you wish to personalize the whole dining experience, some brands even allow you to record your own voice. So when it comes to dinner time—you get to invite your cat to eat.
Is the Automatic Cat Feeder for Me?
This type of ‘unrefrigerated’ automatic cat feeder works well if you plan to be away for only a few hours at a time and will ensure that any hard-fought-for-and-won eating routines are not jeopardized. Any longer than 12 hours, however, and you run into those same food hygiene problems associated with leaving wet food out for too long.
But all is not lost.
3. Automatic Cat Feeder for Wet Food (with Ice Packs)
Though less common, models that serve ‘refrigerated’ dinners do exist. Automatic cat feeders with ice packs are ideal for wet meals that need to be left out for longer. These ingenious machines work by incorporating ice packs beneath the feeding compartments. Positioned in this way, the ice prolongs the freshness of the wet food in the bowls above.
Just like their slightly less ‘cool’ counterparts, ice pack models sport as many as five food compartments so that you can potentially program up to five meals at a time for your cat. The meals can be scheduled just as you would on any normal day or to correspond precisely with the period you expect to be away.
They can cater for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a midnight snack. And potentially even for breakfast the following day—giving you the opportunity for that much-needed lie-in after your trip.
If you’re the type of person who wants to keep track of what the automatic wet food feeder has been doing in your absence, then just ask it. These clever machines can even tell you how many meals they have served and at what time.
An automatic cat feeder with ice packs can give you up to 48 hours of peace of mind, depending on which model you opt for.
Things to Look Out For in Your Automatic Cat Feeder for Wet Cat Food
So if that sounds like the way to go, then what should you look out for in your automatic cat feeder?
Sturdiness is all-important in an automatic cat feeder for wet food. Cats can show an impressive ingenuity of their own if it means getting their teeth into a satisfying meal. Good build quality will keep your kitty out of the ‘pantry’ until the right time.
An important consideration in the early days of your wet feeder’s service, when your cat is still getting used to the idea of being fed by anyone other than yourself.
Also, a well-built automatic wet feeder generally locks together a little more tightly to ensure wet food stays fresh for as long as possible.
Some feeders dispense one meal; others several. This is something that you need to think about, depending on your requirements. If you wish to schedule one wet meal per day while you’re at work, a single ice-cooled cat feeder will suffice.
If you plan several, then you should consider a feeder that can serve up to five meals. This variety of cat feeder caters to the need for wet and dry food combinations, as well as any medication or treats between mealtimes.
Five meals served in 24 hours or two meals served in 48 are among the most common models available.
If you’re looking for flexibility, then avoid feeders that come with pre-programmed times that you have to stick to. Look for a feeder that allows you to schedule your own mealtimes.
Much depends on the size of your cat and how much he or she is used to eating. But remember, appetites can be regulated by bowl sizes. If weight and health are a consideration, then perhaps you should go for a feeder with smaller feeding bowls.
The bowl sizes of most automatic cat feeders for wet food range from 1 to 1.5 cups per meal. The larger 1.5 cups contain enough to feed two small cats.
Cats can find strange new mechanical noises disturbing, so the noise your feeder makes is a serious consideration. Look out for the kind of excessive ticking and whining that might put your old kitty off from coming to the table to eat its meal.
Though many feeders use electricity as their chief source of power, a model with a backup battery is considered the safer option. Power outages are rare but do happen. Think of it as an insurance policy against your cat going hungry if something goes wrong in the world outside.
- Wet food is kept fresh for up to 48 hours.
- No need to serve food several times a day.
- Bowl capacity accommodates several portions.
- Ice packs maintain freshness.
- Meals can only be accessed at specific times, reducing the possibility of overfeeding and any health issues.
- The lack of a built-in refrigerator means it can’t just be left for several days without supervision. You still need someone to visit your cat and restock the feeder.
4. Ask a Neighbor, Relative, or Friend to Look In
We’ve considered the high-tech options, but low-tech solutions shouldn’t be ignored. Sometimes the old-fashioned tried and tested methods are the best. Trustworthy neighbors and nearby friends can be a real boon when it comes to making sure your cat is fed wet food while you’re away. With the added bonus of the human touch.
Your cat might even be on purring terms with one or two of them.
5. Cat Sitter Service
What if you have to stay away for longer than two days and don’t have neighbors, family, or friends who live in the area? In which case, you might have to turn to a professional cat sitting service for help.
A reputable professional cat sitter will not only feed your cat wet food while you’re away but will also give your precious pet all the attention they deserve. And without having to take them out of their natural environment, your home. This way, they get the best of both worlds while you get peace of mind.
6. The Cattery
This solution on how to feed cat wet food while away won’t be for everyone. But if you’re leaving town for more than a couple of days and you really don’t want to trouble anyone with having to sit your cat, then perhaps the cattery option is the one for you. Think of it as a pet hotel that specializes in providing home from home meals and creature comforts. Food and lodgings to suit every pet taste.
This option might be the costliest, but catteries will feed your cat regularly, observe any dietary requirements, and make sure any prescribed medicines are taken.
The simple truth is that you can’t always be there for your cat. But this doesn’t mean that your precious little kitty will have to go without the luxuries he or she is so accustomed to. If wet food is something that your cat expects or needs at mealtimes, then wet food they can have.
This guide is designed to give you an understanding of the options that are out there so that you can find one to suit you. Rest assured, whether it’s one wet food meal or many; your cat will be perfectly catered for.
And even in some style, it seems.
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