Cat Feeding Guidelines: How Often Should I Feed My Cat
Every pet owner wonders if they are taking good care of their pet , with questions about feeding being one of the number one concerns. Cats are mercurial much of the time they often do what they want and can switch between being a cuddler and a distant loner in a second. Talk about mixed signals! It makes it hard to determine their basic needs, like how often they need to be fed.
Why Is It Important To Feed My Cat The Right Amount Of Wet Food
You give your cat the amount of canned food thatâs in the can, and you donât think anything of it. But did you know that there are better ways to go about giving your cat wet food?
It might seem frivolous to spend time calculating how much cat food you need to give your pet, but it really isnât.
In 2017, it was estimated that 60 percent of cats in the United States were clinically obese or overweight. In other words, about 56.5 million cats are too heavy for their own health.
There is a hugely detrimental impact obesity can have on your felineâs health. An overweight cat is at a higher risk for some cardiovascular conditions, skin disorders, infections, and other complications associated with anesthesia and surgery. Thatâs not all: obesity in cats can also be connected to some types of cancer.
Therefore, itâs your job as your petâs loving owner to make sure that you take an active approach to your catâs health. Indoor cats donât burn tons of calories throughout the day, which means that they can gain weight easier.
As a pet parent, itâs your job to be sure youâre giving your pet the right amount of food. This is the key to helping your pet live a healthy, happy life.
Dry Food Or Canned Food
This choice really depends on you, the owner. Dry food consisting of sufficient nutrients is essential for your cat. Dry food must be enriched in animal proteins and should contain fewer plant proteins because of the low digestive ability among cats for the plant proteins.
Carbohydrates is another important component in your catâs diet. If a cat is fed dry food most of the time, then your cat should drink a lot of water to digest that dry food. Wet food comprises of meat and approximately seventy to eighty percent water. Thus, dry food can also be given in an appropriate ratio with the wet food as well. Just as in humans, their taste varies for dry and wet food.
Don’t Miss: Why Do Cats Knock Things Off
How Much To Feed A Kitten
Now you know what to feed a kitten, but how much should you feed her? The kitten feeding guide on the back of the package will tell you how much to feed your kitten.
If youre feeding dry kibble, you can put an entire days serving out at once or divide in half and feed her twice a day.
You can also divide wet food in half and feed her twice a day. Any leftovers in her bowl should be discarded. You can store an open can of wet food in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Bring it up to room temperature before serving.
The chart below can help you determine how much to feed your kitten. Refer to your kittens food packaging and consult with your veterinarian to ensure your kitten is getting the correct amount of calories each day.
Factors That Affect How Much To Feed Your Cat
- Age: Kittens require a lot of nutrients and have a high energy requirement Adult cats and senior cats have less caloric intake requirements.
- Size: Cats vary in size. Maine Coons, which are considered to be a larger breed of cat, will need to eat more than a smaller breed cat, such as a Siamese. Also, cats can vary in their body frame size. Smaller-framed or petite cats require less food than a larger-framed, or big-boned cat.
- Activity level: Cats that tend to lay around burn way fewer calories than a cat that gets a lot of exercise. Also, every cat has their own unique metabolic rate . Some are high and others are low.
- Indoor versus Outdoor: Outdoor cats tend to burn more calories than indoor cats, as they are usually more physically active.
- Body condition: Overweight cats need fewer calories since they are often less active.
- Health status: Certain diseases alter the type and amount of protein that should be in a cats food. Some illnesses affect a cats metabolic rates causing them to burn more calories.
- Reproductive Status: Pregnant and nursing cats have a higher caloric requirement due to the nutritional demands on their body during those times. But spayed and neutered cats need a reduction in the number of calories due to a slower metabolism from the lack of hormones.
Also Check: How To Help A Stray Cat
Cat Feeding Guide / Chart
This is an estimate for a Daily Feeding Guide for an Adult cat eating a standard Maintenance diet with a lifestyle factor of 1.0.
The ounces have been rounded, but you can assume a slight increase for each pound your cat weighs.
*Based on a Dry Kibble of 100Cal/oz and Canned food of 28Cal/oz .
If you would like to personalize the results for your cat, you can include the calorie content of the food in this online calculator:
IMPORTANT Pro Tip
Write down your cats feeding plan, and keep it where you prepare your pets meals.
What’s A Healthy Rate Of Weight Loss For A Cat
Just like for people, cats need to either burn more calories or take in fewer calories to lose weight. You do not want your cat to lose more than a 1/2 pound per month. Therefore, even if your cat has a significant amount of weight to lose, such as 10 lbs., do not rush the process. Weight loss takes time. No one likes a diet, which includes cats, so if you attempt to make the process go too quickly you will end up with a grumpy cat.
As a final word, I want you to know I understand how hard it can be to get cats to lose weight. I struggled with one of my cats, so I know the suffering you are enduring. But I want you to know it is possible to get your cat to lose weight and in the long run, it is the best thing for both of you!
Also Check: What Does The World Look Like To A Cat
The Sufficient Amount Of Wet Food
My advice for all beginners is to consult your veterinarian for the most appropriate diet. During the assessment, the vet will be able to determine the ideal weight for your cat and the necessary amount of calorie intake per day.
If your cats weight is alarming, the vet might prescribe some supplementary food to assist the weight loss process. Generally speaking, it depends very much on their weight and physical conditions. For instance, a 15-pound cat requires a higher amount of food than a 5-pound cat.
Activity level and age can also contribute to the proper amount of wet food. For instance, a young energetic cat will need extra calories intake compared to an elderly one. In addition, a pregnant cat will need more calories to have milk.
Most of the wet food is contained in a can whose weight is 3 ounces, and having one a day should be enough for your cat. Note that if all the calories provided below are suggested and you dont have to strictly obey.
In other words, it is totally fine to adjust the amount of wet food for your cat so that it fits your cat. For example, if you feel like your cats are still hungry and seem to slack during the day, feel free to give them more food. Dont attempt to change their diet abruptly.
How Much Should A Four Month Old Kitten Weigh
A 4-month-old kitten should weigh around 4.5 kilograms. This is based on the fact that healthy kittens should be gaining 500 grams of body weight per month.
However, this will vary based on your kittens breed. For example, Maine Coons and Ragdolls will weigh more at four months than average-sized cats.
However, if your kitten is lighter than its ideal weight, you should bring it to the vet for an examination. Your kitty might be dealing with a health problem thats causing it to lose weight.
You should also assess your feeding habits because the kitten might not be getting the nutrition it needs.
Take note that being overweight isnt advisable for kittens as well. However, if your pet is heavier than normal, you should increase its physical activities and watch its diet.
One culprit is excessive treats, which are not properly integrated into the cats allowed calorie intake.
You May Like: 1998 Arctic Cat 300 4×4
A Hungry Cat Often Looks For Mischief
Another factor to consider is that a hungry cat is a busy cat, often seeking out food, stalking or grumpy towards the other cats , bothering the people around the house, or engaging in other destructive behaviors.
Being busy is good in that it makes the cat more active, which helps burn calories, but the nature of the business is often not appreciated by the rest of the house. By feeding a cat in response to these behaviors, the cat is encouraged to act this way. One of the hardest things to do is to let a cat be hungry without rewarding the associated behaviors.
Feed For Your Cats Ideal Body Condition
No two cats are born equal. Some breeds are extra-large, while others are naturally petite. Feed your cat an amount of food that helps them maintain their svelte figure, whether theyre a beautifully burly Maine coon or a more slender Siamese. Your vet can help you determine exactly what your cats ideal weight should be based on their breed and age.
If your cat has been packing on the ounces, scale back the amount of food a touch until they reach their ideal weight.
Recommended Reading: What Does Cat Dander Look Like
Recommendations For Owners Who Stick With Dry Food
Dry food can be fed but must be done by careful measure, specific meals and no snacking. Todays dry foods have much better ingredients allowing for a higher number of usable calories per cup, so even less is needed compared to the Little Friskies of 30 years ago.
Feeding multiple feedings a day is useful but can be a source of contention as the cat tries to get to be fed in between feedings. No open bowls of food should be available. Dry food is offered for a set amount of time, and any leftover food is removed until the next feeding. Sometimes, taking the bowls up, so there is no reminder of the lack of food is helpful to limit begging.
Activity Level And Metabolic Rate
Since were calculating how much energy your cat needs to get with food, its just as important to consider how much energy it spends during the day. So, the calories have to be adjusted in accordance with your pets lifestyle. Thats one of the reasons why kittens require on average twice as many calories per their body weight as grown-up cats. As a rule, they are extremely active, running around, exploring the world, and wrestling with one another.
Now, theres no need to overfeed your cat if it prefers to stay inside and just lie in different places. However, if your adult feline spends a lot of time outside or is simply more active and playful, you may need to increase the cat food amounts by 1.5 or even 2 times, depending on its metabolic rate. The same goes for breeding tomcats, who obviously require more energy.
You May Like: Cat Flea Worm Treatment Combined
How Much Should A Nursing Cat Eat
A nursing cat should eat as much as four times more than normally. Cats with two or more kittens need at least three times more calories than usual. In terms of calories a 10-pound cat nursing at least four kittens should have more or less 603 calories each day, and a 15-pound cat with at least four kittens should eat at least 851 calories per day.
Homemade Dog Food Sources
- Meats: chicken, turkey, beef, bison, pork, lamb, venison
- Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, zucchini, summer squash, spinach, kale, collard greens, chard, thawed frozen peas
- Complex carbohydrates: brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, lentils, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, winter squash
Recommended Serving Amounts
- 2 pounds of food per day for a 100-pound dog
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of food per day for a 50-pound dog
- 1/2 to 3/4 pound of food per day for a 25-pound dog
- 5 to 6 1/2 ounces of food per day for a 10-pound dog
This information is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Every dog’s dietary needs are different. Please consult with your veterinarian and use personal judgment when applying this information to your own dog’s diet.
You May Like: Lantus Insulin Pen For Cats
Are There Different Diets For Diabetic Cats
Like humans, cats too can get diabetic. In such cases, insulin is administered through their bodies and food should be provided based on the advice of a veterinarian.
Hyperthyroidism is another disease that makes a cat keep on eating all the time. Overeating due to such conditions can make a cat obese.
Thus, it is important to treat this problem and bring the cat back on a normal diet. Older cats may notice that their teeth may go bad or they might get some gum related problems. In this case, it might become difficult for the cat to eat dry food. Such cats should be fed liquid food from cans.
So How Many Calories Does My Cat Need
We are now ready to answer the ultimate question. First, you can look at the cans and bags of what you have been feeding your pet and evaluate how many calories it has been receiving so far. When you get the recommended number, you can compare them and see whether you will need to feed it more, less, or slightly adjust the diet.
The formula is based on the standard daily calorie intake for an average cat and its current weight, producing the amount you should feed it. This number is additionally adjusted by the lifestyle factor. Depending on it, the daily amount of wet or dry food to feed your cat may vary greatly, as the recommended calories amount may vary immensely based on the current weight and your future goals.
However, you can leave it out for now, its important to at least establish how much food it takes to keep your cat satisfied at its current weight without threatening its condition. And in a week, when you have followed this regime, you can weigh it again and see whether its losing or gaining pounds. Then, the lifestyle factor can be used to alter the calorie content based on whether you want to increase or reduce it.
If your cat suffers from serious medical issues, make sure to consult the vet, of course. Usually, though, the health condition may influence certain products and types of foods, as well as the preferred feeding schedule.
Dont Miss: Diy Cat In The Hat Shirt
Recommended Reading: Does Getting A Cat Spayed Change Their Personality
How Much Should I Really Feed My Cat
Whether you are a first-time cat owner or youve lived with your feline friend for years, you may wonder if your cat is getting enough to eat. When it comes to how much to feed your cat, you should make your decision based on your cats individual needs, along with your lifestyle and budget. It’s a decision you want to make wisely as your cats health depends on building a solid nutrition base and avoiding unnecessary risks that could make your cat overweight.
When it comes to how much to feed your cat, there are a few things to consider:
- The age of your cat
- How much your cat weighs
- Your cats energy level
- If your cat is pregnant or nursing kittens
- If you are feeding dry food, wet food, or a combination of the two
- What nutrients your cat needs
- If your cat lives indoors, outdoors, or both
- Your budget and lifestyle
Your veterinarian or a certified veterinary nutritionist is best suited to help guide you through the process, especially when you are working to identify a balance of nutrients for your cat. Because cats are carnivores, their diet may look different than other pets. Some nutrients to look for in your cats food include:
Just as you might read your own food labels, pay attention not so much to the catchphrases on the front of the bag or can of cat food, but the label on the back. Cailin Heinze, VMD, MS, DACVN, and Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist says to pay close attention to calories.
Firstly What Type Of Food Should Cats Eat
Its critical to feed your cat a nutritionally complete and balanced diet that contains all of the nutrients your cat needs to thrive.
You can meet a healthy cats nutritional needs met by feeding the right amount of the right type of food every day. This diet should give your cat the correct quantities of carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and proteins/ amino acids, including essential nutrients like taurine.
The easiest way to do this is to use a nutritionally balanced complete commercial pet food, whether wet cat food or dry cat food or a mixture of the two types.
Good quality food should be fed in the right quantities, with other aspects being far less important than many owners may believe.
Cat treats can also be offered, in limited quantities. Fresh water, of course, is calorie-free and should always be available to cats. A cats litter box should be monitored by cat carers. Normal feces is an important guide to the suitability of a diet to an individual cat.
The daily food offered to a cat is an important contributor to their overall health.
Recommended Reading: Home Remedies To Keep Cats Off Cars
Read Also: Can You Use Cat Litter For Ferrets