Cats fed 3 x or more a day

I’ve pet sat for more than a decade and I’ve noticed more recently owners have been putting (or “expecting”) that their cat is fed 3 x a day. I work part time and online so easy enough for those days. Others maybe not so much, not that im off out and about that much and I’m so boring so usually in every night. I kind of feel this is a way that some HOs are trying to control sitters and keep them ‘in’. I also don’t believe that HOs spend a lot of their time in all day feeding the cat 3 or 4 times. A recent posting for a months sit has this and already 4 applications, I’m really not sure that these sitters would genuinely be in 3 x a day every day. And before anyone says :blush:yes, I know there are some people who go somewhere for a month and don’t want to go out except for a couple of hours but probably not that many. Maybe it’s just me?


Cats I’ve sat have needed feeding twice a day. Maybe some folks do feed three times a day, but in many cases, they could also get a food dispenser for a midday feeding, if feedings leave so little time for a sitter to go out that it ends up weeding out applications.

With the pandemic, people ended up staying home and working from there more often, so many pets have been spoiled with attention. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t get used to less attention, though. Plenty of people who work away from home have pets and animals are / have been left alone for longer stretches.


We use microchip feeders for each cat as they each have slightly different food but also means the bowls only need topping up as required (every couple of days) as the food stays fresher (we feed dry) and the cats can access as they need to. Nice and easy


I’ve sat for probably 50 cats and the vast majority are fed twice a day. The cats who were fed more frequently have almost always used an automatic feeder. I agree, it’s a bit odd to expect a sitter to have to be home mid-day just to put out a scoop of food. I would probably pass on those. Even though I work from home and am there most of the time, I don’t like having restrictions on my time for no reason.


The last sit they had automatic feeders and we only had to give the cats treats. But usually sits have ranged from “canned food whenever he comes in if you’re home” or some combo of canned and automatic feeder or dry. And it’s been 2-3 times a day usually. I have seen and been on sits where there is a mid-day feeding described. Often the pet parents work from home and usually it’s described as flexible or not a big deal if you’re out and it happens a couple of hours later. I’ve seen a few sits describing anxious cats who like anxious dogs shouldn’t be left for more than a few hours. I avoid those sits.

The implication in the opening post that somehow this is a ruse to control sitters is absurd as is the idea that this is a purely a COVID phenomenon. We are also pet parents and went from two to three feedings years ago when our then senior cat developed a medical condition that required more feedings. Yes, this schedule might mean if you are going to an office all day, you’d have to come back and give the cats dinner before you go out for the evening.

My listing as petparent is clear. They eat wet food and need to be separated from each other and this happens 3 times a day. One of three gets meds with breakfast and dinner. They know where they eat so separation isn’t a big deal. My expectation is that a sitter will wake up in my home and feed them and then feed them again 8-12 hours later. Then before the sitter goes to bed they’ll be a light meal to hold them till morning. So basically, if you are sleeping and waking in the apartment and home even briefly a few hours before you go to sleep, you’re covered. I am not an overly demanding person. Wet food is better for them and one of them has some dietary issues. This isn’t some COVID thing. Nor am I trying to control the catsitters! My cats probably are spoiled but I don’t demand a sitter stay here all day. I’m sure that there are some people who avoid the sit because they think 3 cats or 3 times a day is going to be too much. I’m fine with that. The sitters seem to have a good time during their stay.

I don’t judge how petparents treat their pets. I don’t assume they are asking me to do something different from what they do. Or that 3 times a day implies some kind of power trip or neurosis. I read the listings and if it seems the routine is beyond what I want to do, I don’t apply… Have petsitters chosen easier sits over mine? Probably. That’s their choice. The sitters who’ve taken my sit have consistently given me excellent reviews.

1 Like

@Marion, your expectations seem completely fine. I think the original post was referring to listings that state the cat must be fed at 1 or 2pm, so the sitter really can’t go out for the day. I like to have one or two days a week that I can go out and explore when I’m not working. I’m typically never gone more than 5-6 hours, but I might want to occasionally go somewhere a bit farther away where I might be gone for 8 hours.


And a couple of times when I’ve asked questions about those sits, the owners clarified that these are the times they feed the cat on their work from home schedules but that the times are in fact flexible and four or even five would be okay if I were out. Unless an owner states in the listing: “These times must be strictly followed” I would ask. And if they did say the times must be strictly followed I wouldn’t assume it was a whim. It might have to do with a medical condition or issue.

The OP makes a fairly provocative statement in assuming that the motives of people who want a midday feeding are about controlling the sitter. IMO we shouldn’t be guessing and speculating in a forum on why other members have certain “asks.” I recently completed a great sit where the HO wanted the home vacuumed every day. It was a small home and it doesn’t take long to vacuum every day! She just said they were “tidy.” But the reason is none of my business as a sitter or a guest. Either it’s something I’m willing to do for the sit or it’s not. And if it wasn’t I wouldn’t be complaining that I couldn’t take this great sit because of the “controlling” petparent.

Let me just add this: With automatic feeders some cat sits are much easier than others. Just like some dog sits require fewer walks or shorter ones. This is just the nature of sitting. What disturbs me about the opening post and some comments on this thread is the judgement of and speculation about the motives of pet parents.


@Marion Agree, it’s best to ask. I think sometimes people put certain times in their listing, but the mid-day one may be flexible, it may just come across in the listing as strict. I do repeat sits for an adorable cat that gets fed wet food in the morning and evening and dry food mid-day. The dry food is typically put out around noon, but the cat just grazes on it all afternoon and the HO is fine with it being put out in the morning if I’m going to be out that day (and that’s what she does too).

I have sat for a couple of diabetic cats that did have very strict feeding routines and times for medications and injections. In those cases it’s super important for sitters to follow instructions exactly.


Just as someone who has cats who have different feeding requirements, have you looked at microchip feeders? They are great for not needing to separate the cats as only assigned cats can access their feeder. They aren’t cheap but a worthwhile investment for peace of mind and ease

I sat twice for a couple of lovely cats that were fed four times a day the first time and three times a day the second time. It worked very well each time. The cats were fed raw meat exclusively, delivered as portion-sized frozen meatballs. When I needed to leave, I put a frozen meatball in timer-operated containers that would open in whatever hours I set them up for, typically 4 hours, to let the meatballs thaw.

I’ve looked into automatic feeders but for several reasons they won’t work for us – even the best ones. But I’m not complaining about my routine. It’s pretty easy for us and it’s easier than the routine on some sits I’ve been on.

Honestly, the only thing that got me participating was the speculation that a midday cat feeding or any three times a day feeding was excessive or some kind of control mechanism that petowners were imposing or that it was some over the top result of being stuck inside during COVID. Several of the sits I’ve done involved cats with some kind of dietary restrictions/conditions and/or taking medication. I understand there are some sitters who find those sits too taxing. Better for me!

I don’t feel that homeowners should have to justify their requests or be judged for them. If someone says the dog needs to do a three mile walk, but jogging or running is better, and I’m not prepared to do that, I won’t apply, but I wouldn’t say the HO was demanding because I’ve done other sits where dogs didn’t need that. The way that I look at sits is if the “asks” are too much, I won’t take the sit. Just like if I saw a hotel room and it was lovely but too expensive I wouldn’t take the room. I wouldn’t say, “That hotel owner is just trying to exploit me!” If a sit seems great but there’s some question about whether or not it would work for me due to something in the listing, I might apply and ASK about that request. Again, in my experience midday cat feedings have usually been flexible.


My older cats i would feed 3 times or maybe even 4 times a day, or even on request (yes cat slave)
BUT it wasnt necessarily set times, so maybe morning, evening & night or mornings, midday & evening/night.
If i went away so long as they got fed regularly it was fine. & had enough food was more a priority than someone having to be in the house at any particular time.

I was just speaking to hosts the other day and we all acknowledged spoiling our pets with attention since the pandemic kept us home more — it’s not unusual for various pet owners, though of course not all.

Personally, for instance, our dog has benefitted from more walks, time together, food, etc. He even gained weight during the lockdown.


@Reliablesitter I’ve seen similar listings and posts from HO’s in the threads recently and I think you are spot on. I have also read them as attempts to control the sitters/guests time. It reads as an employment contract, not an equitable exchange.

One of my first sits (last year) the HO said the dog had to be fed EXACTLY @ 8a and 6p, after the sit was confirmed. And then told me, after confirmed, that there was a camera in a tree pointed at the front door. So they could monitor when I was there or not, including the dogs dictated feeding time. A sitter shouldn’t be utilized as a human timed feeding machine.

And disagree with those that say HO’s can ask whatever they want or don’t have to explain requests. If they put it in the listing, ok, maybe. But the U.S. has stringent definitions regarding employment; dictating someone’s time is one of the defining guildelines. THS is supposed to be an exchange, so something that alters the agreement of an equitable exchange should be a concern.


As a sitter I do not think I have the right to question the pets regime. Infact in applications I emphasis how important it is to me to follow the instructions given by the pet parent. If I feel I didn’t want to feed a cat three or four times a day I wouldn’t apply. Let someone who is willing get the sit.
If I don’t like the instructions I don’t apply.


I agree. This applies to those who expect 4walks a day of 30-60 minutes. Really? Or can’t be left alone for more than 2 hours. I see many of these with zero applications. Do they understand that some sitters want to explore the area and it is a trade off?
I work full time now onsite instead of remotely. It’s amazing to me how many pets can’t be left alone, even if I use my lunch break to come back and do whatever needs done.
I had an invite for a sit with 6 dogs! And one for 3 dogs that need walked 3 times a day. Sorry but I’m one person. I’m doing this locally. Even if I weren’t, never would I accept these.

I definitely skip listings where the responsibilities seem out of proportion with my time or abilities. I also decline invites for such. But this thread isn’t actually about telling hosts what their pets need — it’s for sitters to discuss what they think might be going on, which there’s no reason we can’t. It doesn’t harm any humans or pets for us to talk about it. And it might actually help for some hosts who aren’t getting any or many applicants to know, if it’s something they want to adjust.

Some pets require X and it might not be adjustable because of their health, for instance. But in some cases, feeding times can be changed without hurting pets. I’ve sat pets, for instance, whose humans have volunteered that there’s flexibility (within reason) if a sitter wanted or needed it — I never brought it up, because I wouldn’t have applied had I not been willing to fulfill what was originally specified.

I think the conversation on the thread has become unnecessarily charged.


There are many reasons why a pet needs to be fed three to four times a day. For example it could be that due to its age it can only eat small portions and therefore needs to be fed more often. And only with wet food.

I don’t understand why a sitter has to question that, if one doesn’t like it just keep scrolling.

For example, I am looking for sitters who feed my pets a few times a day and work at home remotely. I usually have five applications within a few hours and I can say that there are a lot of sitters who are looking for exactly that. They don’t want to go on excursions, they are looking for a place to retreat.

THS is about house and pet sitting and I am of the opinion that when a sitter comes to my house, they do the things that I usually do, which means watering the plants every day, watering the garden every day, sweep the terraces, vacuuming, picking up a package, go shopping when it runs out of food for the pets - just the normal and very usual things of everyday life.

I deeply believe that if someone wants to make holiday, they should get a hotel or an Airbnb and pay for it. As I have already mentioned in other thread, I already pay a lot of costs so that a sitter can live in my house for free, especially in the winter.

1 Like

Couldn’t the same be said for forum posts?