Leaving your kitty alone and worrying if they’ll go hungry, can be very stressful, but it doesn’t have to be!
There are many ways of keeping your kitty fed while you’re away even when all they eat is wet food.
How to feed your cat wet food while away? If having both wet and dry food available isn’t an option for your cat, then the next best thing would be an automatic wet food feeder. The right feeder could keep wet food fresh while you’re at work, but if you’re planning a long trip you’ll need a cat-sitter.
If you’re interested in picking up an automatic feeder that also works with wet food, you can check out our list of the top 5 here.
But there’s still plenty of other options to explore! Let’s breakdown other ways you can keep your kitty happy and healthy with wet food even if you’re away.
Let’s get to it!
How To Keep Wet Food Fresh
Before we look at the ways you could feed your cat wet food while away, it’s important to know how to make it last. No matter how great wet food is, it’s hard to keep it fresh once it’s open.
Most brands claim that wet food can stay fresh for one to two hours. This time limit will also depend on your apartment’s temperature and the individual brand. To help prolong this advisable time limit, you could put the wet food into the fridge for a few hours before serving it. This way you could prolong the longevity of the food up until 4 hours.
When I know I’ll be away for the whole day I freeze my cat’s food and I leave it out when I’m about to leave. This way I know they’ll nibble at it throughout the day, without it going bad. I also use the freezing technique during summer to keep my cats comfortable.
Ways To Feed Your Cat Wet Food While Away
Whether you’re leaving for half a day or longer, it’s always advisable to have feeding plans for your feline companion. Cat’s might be independent creatures and natural survivors, but they still need to be treated with care and affection. Wet food can be especially tricky, so the following methods could show you the few steps you could take to feed your cat wet food while away.
1. Have Both Dry And Wet Food
If you’re planning to be away from home for more than ten hours then perhaps you should consider switching to dry food as much as possible, especially on the days when you’re not around. Dry food keeps longer and it’s much easier to handle the portions while you’re gone.
If your cat doesn’t like dry food, there are ways to change their mind. Switching food all of a sudden is never a good tactic, instead, go slow and be patient. Try introducing dry food along with wet food. Grow the dry food portions bit by bit every day and make the wet food portions smaller. Once you see that your cat is used to their dry food you could leave the wet food as their first and last meal of the day.
Some cats might never switch to dry food completely, but they might grow tolerant. Once your kitty is comfortable with dry food, feed them their favorite cat food before you leave and have a bowl filled with dry food, for while you’re away. Your cat might not go all the way in, but at least they’ll have something to nibble on, in between their naps.
Another great way of keeping your cat full is to use dry food as a treat instead. Use interactive toys, which you could fill up with dry kibble. This way you should keep your cat active throughout the day, as well as fed.
While wet food is great for our cats, dry food also has its benefits. Several researchers have pointed out that dry food is responsible for the increased production of saliva, which in turn is responsible for the better use of the immune system and the prevention of oral health issues. This method is also suitable for well-behaved cats that don’t overeat if left with access to plenty of food.
2. Automatic Cat Feeders
This next method could be your best cat investment so far! An automatic wet food feeder is an innovative way of making sure your cat is fed throughout the day. Even if you’re not spending long hours away from home this brilliant piece of technology could still free your mind and your to-do list.
How does an automatic food feeder work? Well, there are a few different variations, but basically, these machines work by setting the time on the internal timer of the device. The containers are sealed to keep the stored food fresh, and they release each portion at the set time.
An automatic wet food feeder gives you the opportunity to break your cat’s meals in smaller portions. It could regulate your cat’s daily intake while preventing stress-eating and being overfed. If your cat is on prescription medication you could mix it with their wet food and leave the feeder to take care of it, even when you’re not around. It’s important to point out that if you run a multi-pet household, the automatic cat feeder won’t be enough to keep them all fed for more than a day.
Features to look for
- Before you decide on an automatic feeder, make sure it comes with built-in ice packs. This feature will help keep your cat’s food fresh as long as possible. Some devices claim that they can keep the food fresh for up to 48 hours, but I’d recommend testing it a few times, before leaving your cat alone with it.
- You should look for automatic feeders that can be programmed for different meal sizes and time intervals. Make sure the compartments are large enough and can accommodate different food and different kibble sizes.
- Some devices have a voice recorder feature. This way your cat will be able to hear your voice when it’s time for their next meal, even when you’re not there.
- Make sure that the automatic feeder is sturdy and has a secure cover. This will keep your curious cat from opening the device and eating all the food. Additionally, check the materials used. It’s important that the feeder is safe and easy to clean. A dishwasher safe feature is always a plus!
- Lastly, don’t forget to check the warranty each brand is offering. Ideally, you want to find a feeder that has at least two or three years warranty in case there’s a manufacturer’s error.
You can learn more about my favorite automatic wet food feeders here.
3. Ask A Friend Or A Relative You Trust
Leaving your cat alone for the day, or a couple of days should be perfectly manageable with an automatic wet food feeder, but what happens when you have to be away for much longer? Well, in that case, the best option would be a cat sitter.
Before you go on the internet, looking for a professional cat-sitter, perhaps consider a much cheaper option for this responsibility. I’m lucky to have a willing brother, who steps in to help me at any time I need to go on a trip. Having a relative who’s familiar with your fur babies is a great way to ensure you’re leaving them in good hands.
Whether it’s your relative or one of your friends you want to make sure that this person is reliable. Try picking someone who your cat is familiar with. Someone who’s willing to spend some extra time playing and interacting with each other, to avoid your cat feeling completely abandoned. Ask them to come over at least every two days to clean their litter and fill their automatic wet food feeder.
If a relative or a friend isn’t an option for you, perhaps consider your neighbor. Make sure this person is trustworthy and they know their way around your cats. Having your neighbor help could be a great choice because they don’t really have to stay in your apartment for too long.
Once you’re away make sure to contact your friend, relative, or neighbor to see how things are progressing. Perhaps you could arrange a small call to see your cat and monitor the situation. Of course, forget to bring your cat-sitter a little something from your trip to make their efforts worthwhile.
4. Hire A Professional Cat Sitter
Having a family member or a friend as a cat sitter can be a blessing, but oftentimes it might not be an option for many of us. Thankfully, in that case, you don’t have to cancel your vacations, instead, you could hire a professional cat sitter. They’ll know how to tend to all your cat’s needs, like keeping up with their routine, whether its feeding time or game time.
Before hiring a professional cat-sitter make sure they’re qualified for the job and are willing to meet your kitty’s needs. In case your cat has special needs with their diet, or prescribed medication, look for a sitter with a medical license. Ask them about their training and their previous experiences. It’s also important to know how long they’ve been in this profession and if they have previous client recommendations.
Make sure the pet-sitting company presents you with the sitter’s business license. If the company’s policy is to send different cat-sitters each day, it might not be the best option for a cat who’s scared of strangers. Watch the cat sitter interacting with your fur baby and ask them if they consider themselves a cat person.
The biggest downside to hiring a cat sitter is the money. This is an expensive option, especially if you want the cat sitter coming over every day while you’re away. Hiring a sitter from a professional company can be especially pricey. There’s also the danger of exposing your house to theft, and it’s advisable you checked the pet-sitting company for its reliability.
Finally, I truly advise you to trust your gut instinct! If you feel there’s something off-putting about the sitter, consider looking for someone who makes you feel secure.
Dangers of leaving your cat alone:
Automatic wet food feeders can be amazing, but you’re still in danger of running out of food. Leaving your cat alone for longer than two days could also have a hugely negative impact on your cat’s health and perhaps on your relationship. Long term neglect could ruin the trust between you and cause psychological issues to your kitty. I’m sure most of us love our kitties to death and causing them distress would never be on our list. So, before you decide to go on a long trip make sure you can get a sitter for your fur baby.
Just look at what this silly cat did when they were alone for 30 minutes!
Cats could become restless when they’re left alone for long and this may lead to them acting out. According to some studies, destructive behavior is the most frequent sign of separation-related problems in domestic cats. If your cats are similar to mine well, not even a day goes by without some accident.
Any time I go out, I wonder what my little rascals will present me with, a broken pot? A half-eaten plant? With a sitter, you could ensure that your precious plants and decorations will stay in place.
What To Do When You’re Back
While some cats will flop down in front of you as soon as you come through the door, others might run away and hide. Both behaviors are normal, and each kitty has its own way of showing you how much they’ve missed you!
Planning on how to feed your cat wet food while away should be one of your top priorities, but it’s also important to have a plan for when you return. For some cats being left alone could be a shock and they might need some time to readjust to your presence. I always get the cold shoulder from one of my cats, until I open a fresh can of their favorite wet food.
If you had a sitter, ask them if they noticed anything strange in your cat’s behavior. In case you find your cat showing abnormal behavior perhaps a trip to the vet might be a good idea.
Once you’re back forget about unpacking, clean your cat’s automatic food feeder, and litter box instead. Of course, show your cat some affection. Your furry lordling has definitely missed you. A few treats, and cuddles, as well as some game time, should improve their emotional wellbeing.
Benefits Of Wet Food
All of this sounds like a lot of work!
Especially when you realize that some cat owners are just leaving some dry food out and calling it a day! But there’s a long list of benefits for wet food and I wanted to lay them out to remind us why we go through all the trouble to feed our cats wet food while we’re away!
Water is essential for, well, everyone. Water makes up about 80% of a cat’s body, so maintaining proper hydration is very important. Out in the wild, cats rely on food and water for hydration, but for domesticated cats, things are a bit more complicated.
Usually, wet food consists of 75% water, while dry food is only about 10%. If your cat is only given dry food, then they’ll have to compensate, by drinking several ounces of water a day. According to Jennifer Coats, an accomplished veterinarian, a 10-pound adult cat on dry food, will need a cup of water a day. But because cats tend to seek hydration from their food you might find your cat drinking less water than needed.
A great way to keep your cat hydrated would be to feed them wet food regularly and have fresh water available at all times. Keep their water away from their food, because cats in the wild avoid eating where they’re drinking, because of possible contamination and predators. Cats also prefer moving water to still water because of the bacteria that can gather. A running water fountain could help your cat feel that the water is safe to drink, and you will look super cool in front of other cat-parents.
Lean Body Mass
Wet food isn’t just 75% water, it’s also high in protein, which helps maintain your cat’s muscle mass as they grow. In the journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Debra L. Zoran, DVM, Ph.D., DACVIM, states that “cats are metabolically adapted to preferentially use protein and fat as energy sources”.
Studies also show that foods with high protein, help maintain your cat’s lean body mass (LBM). Muscles, bones, ligaments, organs are part of the LBM and they are the main source of metabolic activity. This activity supports vital actions like mobility, immunity, and more.
Prevents Health Issues
To help your cat lead a long and healthy life proper nutrition is essential. Wet food has the same nutrients, vitamins, and minerals as dry food but it’s also highly digestible. Make sure to choose wet food with iron, to support healthy blood and tissue. Zinc will also help support the development of the immune system and it helps maintain the skin, eyes, and bone. Biotin also helps regulate the release of energy from food, promotes healthy skin.
Wet food is so versatile! It offers new flavors and textures, from chicken pates to soft beefy mouse and seafood nibbles or turkey covered in thick gravy. My little furballs cry out with excitement every time I open a new can of wet food. They’ll go for any flavor as long as the pieces are floating in a thick sauce.
As cat parents, we have to consider all the possible ways we can keep our kitties happy, including the times when we’re away. Thankfully, there are solutions to every problem, even when it comes to keeping their wet food fresh. Whether it’s the best automatic wet food feeder or getting a cat sitter, cats are understanding companions and as long as we tend to their needs they shouldn’t mind too much.
Let us know which method has worked best for you. What’s your take on how to feed your cat wet food while away!