Feeding frequency and amount
Whilst many cats will not overeat, there is no point in wasting food. Work out how much and how often your cat should be fed
Like humans, cats do best with a couple of small meals a day, supplemented by occasional snacks and nibbles. Generally, adult cats will do well on two main meals of a pouch or a third to half a can each time. Some owners feed three meals a day, and this is perfectly fine as long as the portion sizes are not too large. It does not matter too much when exactly you feed, but try to evenly space feeds so there is a morning feed and an evening feed. If you are out all day, you can give your cat its entire days food in one go and it will be fine. Consistency of feed timings will reduce the chances of your cat asking for food at strange hours.
As mentioned above, about two pouches, or two thirds to a full can a day plus dry food is about right for an average adult cat. If your cat is larger or smaller than the average, it may require more or less food. The only way to work out exactly how much your cat needs is to use the food packet recommendations, which are given as an amount of food per weight of cat (e.g. X amount of food for cats weighing X kilograms) You can work out your cats weight by weighing yourself without the cat, and then with the cat - the difference is the weight of the cat. This does not take into account obesity, or even under-nourishment, so it is best to get approval that your cats weight is right from a vet, before using it to gauge how much food to feed. Once you know your cats weight, and that it is about right for his or her size, you can use the feeding guides on cat food packets, which will advise how much to feed based on your cats weight.
Even by knowing your cats weight and using the guidelines, you may still not have an accurate assessment since activity levels have not been taken into account! However, by keeping a record of your cats weight over time, you can work out if your cat is eating the right amount, too much, or too little. While the majority of cats will not overeat, and will leave food if there's too much, some will just eat whatever is given to them. The process of asking for food, watching the human owner prepare the food and place it down, usually followed by some fussing, is a nice experience for a cat, so it can easily form habits of eating or asking for food when it really doesn't need any.
Kittens will need several daily feeds with high nutrition foods
Kittens and pregnant cats
Two solid meals a day is fine for the average cat, but young kittens (under a year) and pregnant cats will require more food availability and frequency. Whilst there are many specialist diets for various stages of kitten growth, there are not so many for pregnant cats since all that is really needed is an increase in quantity of food. Once kittens have been born and the mother is producing milk, the mother can be fed on kitten food. This serves two main purposes, the first is to give the mother a food with concentrated nutritional value which will help with milk production. The second purpose is to help with weaning the kittens onto solid foods, if the mother is eating the same food then the kittens can learn by example.
Water and milk
Cats should always have access to fresh, clean, water. Whilst a cat can survive for long periods without food, it will very quickly dehydrate and become ill if no water is available. Despite the common stereotype, cats do not need milk, and it can even cause stomach upsets and illness as cats cannot digest lactose properly. The effect of milk on cats varies between individuals and you can purchase safe 'cat formula' milk, but water will do just as well.
Although it is essential to provide a constant supply of fresh water, you may find your cat hardly drinks any water at all. This is common and should not be of concern, cats will get most of their water from the wet foods they eat, and they even prefer other sources of water such as puddles, taps, or collected rainwater.