A new feeding plan – 'The Five a Day Felix Plan' – has been devised by International Cat Care's experts Dr. Sarah Ellis and Dr Lizzie Rowe to help cats live healthier and more happy lives.
'The Five a Day Felix Plan' recommends:
- Giving cats five or more small portions of food a day (rather than feeding fewer, bigger portions)
- Using home-made puzzle feeders
- Changing food location regularly
- Monitoring cats’ behaviour and weight
- Making sure cats have plenty of water
The plan encourages cats to climb, hunt, explore and play in the safety of their own home, activities which mimic their natural behaviour and boost cats’ positive behaviour and wellbeing.
Currently, the majority of cats are fed straight from packet to bowl providing a lack of opportunity to interact with their environment. This 'modern lifestyle' can lead to pets not being mentally stimulated and eating too much food – with being overweight or obese a problem for at least 39% of cats. 
Dr. Sarah Ellis, Feline Behaviour Specialist, said: "The way we feed our cats generally does not match the lifestyle they were designed for. Cats have undergone little in the way of selective breeding during the domestication process and therefore have an instinctive need to hunt. This modern lifestyle could be dangerous to pets, but by making a few simple changes to the way we feed them, we can help our cats to live longer, healthier and happier lives. The plan, based on scientific evidence, helps every cat owner mimic the conditions cats would usually contend with to get their food.”
Cat owner, Tim Lloyd, 35, from Surrey, has tried out 'The Five A Day Felix Plan' and commented: “I’ve had my cat Colin on the plan for three weeks now and while I’ve not seen miracles, he is definitely more lively, inquisitive and healthy.”
This plan has been developed by International Cat Care experts working with the The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair 2017. Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of Engineering UK, organisers of The Big Bang Fair, said: “Innovations in science and engineering shape our world, making a real difference to our lives and this plan shows how they also play an important part in animal welfare. The Big Bang Fair gives young people the opportunity to discover the vast number of career opportunities available to them if they continue to study maths and science. Some may be inspired by veterinary science or the (pet) food industry, for others it might be smart phone technology, renewable energy or explosive experiments that grab their attention – whatever it is they’ll leave with a good understanding of where STEM subjects can take them in the future.”
A detailed version of the feeding plan, along with the full report behind the development of the plan, can be found on International Cat Care’s website: https://icatcare.org/advice/general-care/keeping-your-cat-healthy/feeding-your-cat-or-kitten.
Click here to download a short version of 'The Five A Day Felix Plan' with instructions on how to create puzzle feeders at home.
Click here to watch Dr Lizzie Rowe on BBC Newsround.
Click here to read a mention of 'The Five A Day Felix Plan' in the PDSA Paw Report.
Notes for editors
 For the full report please contact the media contacts or visit thebigbangfair.co.uk.
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About The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair
- The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people in the UK. It takes place from 15-18 March 2017 at The NEC, Birmingham, and will celebrate and raise the profile of young people’s achievement in science and engineering and encourage more young people to take part in science, technology, engineering and maths initiatives with support from their parents and teachers. www.thebigbangfair.co.uk
- School groups are invited to visit the first three days of The Big Bang Fair, which will also be open to the public on the Saturday. Young people will leave enlightened about how science and engineering feature in everything they wear, eat and do. A number of apprentice, graduate and experienced engineers and scientists will be on hand to quiz and young people will have the opportunity to discover how science and maths can lead to a great career. The Big Bang Fair hosts the finals of the prestigious Big Bang Competition.