Understanding Cat Food Labels & Feeding Portions
When you see the recommended daily amount to feed your cat on the side of a bag or can of Purina cat food or Iams kitten food or even diet cat food that you may have chosen hoping it would be the magical answer, ignore it. Sometimes the cat owner tells me it says 1/2 cup while the obese cat I’m examining only eats 1/4 cup each day and is still obese. Sometimes it says 1/4 cup when the slender kitty that is my next appointment eats one whole cup a day and is still very thin.
The only way you can possibly find out how much to feed your cat is by trial and error. To do this, you need to buy a digital scale, a notebook, and a set of measuring cups.
Start by thinking back or recording your actions for the next few days as to how much you usually put in the cat food bowl. If you don’t know, feed a little more than usual for a few days. Be sure and measure it out carefully. Write it down, and write down how much is left exactly 24 hours later. Subtract that from the starting number and you’ll know how much your cat ate in 24 hours.
Do that for several days and then figure out the average. That is the amount you’re going to feed each day for awhile.
At the same time, you need an initial weight for your cat. Stand on your digital scale alone and record your weight. Then hold your cat and record the weight. Obviously, subtract and you’ll have your cat’s weight. Write it down!!!
How Much Should A Cat Eat A Day
Dry and wet cat food differ in calories as well as portion sizes. Youll want to ensure youre feeding an appropriate amount of food, whether you feed dry, wet or a combination of both.
The label on the food packaging can give you a general idea of how much food your cat needs. The recommendations may include ranges, so youll need to figure out where your cat fits within those ranges. You can always adjust to meet your cats needs.
If you have questions about how much of a particular food to feed your cat, you can also visit the manufacturers website or call them directly. As always, your veterinarian can also help you navigate how much to feed your cat.
Ragdoll Cat Feeding Chart
Ragdoll cats require a variety of foods that are strong in protein and micronutrients.
They also want well-known meat suppliers, not just any the components must state which animal and organ the meat came from.
You should try to choose something with the least quantity of grain possible.
There are a range of additional raw, fresh, home-cooked food and treat choices for your cat.
Here is a feeding chart for ragdoll cats from the kitten stages:
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Canned Food Is The Best Choice For Healthy Cats
Canned food is more beneficial than dry food for several reasons. But, it is also more expensive and messier to feed. As fresh-kill hunters, cats in the wild consume most of their water along with fresh prey and do not have a strong drive to drink independently of eating. I believe most dry food cats under consume water resulting in stress on their kidneys and overly concentrated urine. Canned food mimics the water content of their prey in the wild. This encourages more dilute urine that is less likely to lead to bladder and kidney issues overtime.
Canned food also tends to be lower in carbohydrates compared to dry food and thereby higher in protein. High protein, low carb diets are touted by some to be less likely to cause obesity in cats, but this has been disproven in feeding studies total calories consumed is most important. Most cats need 4-5 ounces of canned food per day, total. Pate-style varieties tend to be higher in calories per can than the varieties that more resemble people food with chunks and gravies- this can be useful when trying to fine-tune the number of calories per day being consumed.
Monitoring Your Cats Weight
Once you know how much wet food should a cat eat to receive the chosen amount of kcals, taking into account any dry food or other treats you may provide, let it be like that for about a week. You can, of course, make daily weight measurements, but you are unlikely to get visible results over the span of two days, and there can be other factors in play. So, a week should be a more reasonable period for assessing changes and planning further actions.
If the cat gains weight over that week, reduce the calories amount, but by much, go with 10% at a time, setting the new norm for the following week. The loss of weight should be met with a similar increase of calories by 10%.
Since no numbers can be precise for all cats, its up to you to monitor their weight and body condition, adjusting the food amount and calories count consistently. Repeat weighing every one or two weeks to see if any new adjustments are required.
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Watch Their Water Intake
While it is important for all cats to have fresh water available at all times, it is especially vital for older cats. Feline kidney disease can be a silent killer that creeps up on an older cat. Drinking and flushing out toxins helps to keep kidney problems at bay.
If your older cat is drinking less than they should there are ways to tempt them. Consider adding the juice from canned tuna to their water bowl. Some cats are attracted to moving watera slow drip faucet or a pet fountain may be the stimulus for more drinking. Also, your veterinarian may recommend a move from dry to canned food if you have been feeding a strictly dry diet.
Both feline kidney disease and feline diabetes may show up as your cat drinking more water than usual. At the same time, a cat with diabetes may seem ravenous and will eat more than usual while losing weight. The same symptoms can be seen in hyperthyroidism. Both conditions are treatable and respond best if caught early.
Our senior cats are treasures, and every day with them is a gift. They rely on us to keep them happy, healthy and provided with the very best cat food for older cats. So, make sure you are feeding your senior cat the right amount of calories and monitoring their eating habits!
How Much Wet Food Should I Feed My Bengal Cat
Usually, a can of 5.5 ounces of wet cat food contains anywhere between 120-190 calories.
So if you are only going to feed wet cat food to your Bengal cat them usually you need to feed two cans per day to your Bengal cat.
Now to know exactly how much wet cat food you will need to feed your Bengal cat, you will have to do some calculations.
First of all, you need to know the weight of your Bengal cat.
Bengal cat requires anywhere between 25 to 30 calories per pound per day.
So if you are a Bengal cat is 10 pounds then you will need to feed you will need to provide it anywhere between 250 calories to 300 calories per day.
Now you will have to check how much calories a can of your wet food contains.
And then you can easily know how much cans you will need to feed your Bengal cat on a daily basis.
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Does Breed Play A Role In Nutrition
Cat breeds have less of an impact on nutritional choices than dog breeds, but the breed may give clues to the cat’s expected calorie consumption and need. For instance, the Abyssinian tends to be a very active, curious, playful breed. The Persian, on the other hand, tends to be a quiet breed, happy to engage in lots of “lap time.” Although breed predispositions may influence decisions about caloric density and portion control, there is absolutely no data to support any specific nutrient requirements by breed.
How Often Should Cats Eat
Leaving food out for your cat all the time is the single biggest factor in causing obesity in cats. Free choice feeding goes against the cats natural habit of being a hunter who may only eat two or three small meals a day. For most people, feeding two meals a day is the most practical solution, but if you work from home, you may want to consider dividing the total amount of food for the day into three or four meals.
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How Long Can You Leave Dry Cat Food Out
Dont Leave Food Out for More than 48-hours Food that is left out oxidizes. Oxidation occurs when oils come into contact with oxygen and cause foods to become rancid. It is believed that kibble takes around 48-hours to become oxidized when left out in the open and after 14-days when left in a sealed bag.
Always Provide Plenty Of Fresh Water
You hopefully already know that dry food is not a good choice for cats. Not only does dry food not provide enough moisture for cats to stay properly hydrated and prevent urinary tract problems, it is too high in carbohydrates for an obligate carnivore like the cat. Cats do not have a high enough thirst drive to compensate for the lack of moisture in a dry diet by drinking more water. However, even cats who eat raw or canned food should always have plenty of fresh water available.
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Should I Leave Food Out For My Cat At Night
In general, the free feeding setup is all about leaving food out and allowing the cat to eat as it pleases. This ensures the cat has an opportunity to eat without having to worry about scheduling. However, for those who do follow a meal schedule for their cat, it is not a good idea to start leaving food out at night.
How Much To Feed A Senior Cat
Most senior cats will have about the same caloric needs as an adult catroughly 280 to 360 daily calories depending on the normal lean weightas long as they are healthy. Some older cats will actually have an increase in energy requirements. That increase may be due to a decrease in the ability to digest and utilize calories or it may be due to health problems that are commonly seen in senior cats.
Use your cats food label to calculate how much you need to feed your senior cat to meet their caloric requirement. Most cat food has calorie counts on the packaging. Initially, its best if you weigh out the daily meals. That will help you feed precise amounts.
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Scheduled Or Meal Feeding A Cat
You could go with scheduled feedings, sometimes called meal feeding, starting when your cat is young. Serving your kitten wet or dry food at a certain time of the day is the best way to closely monitor how much your pet is eating. This is particularly helpful in multi-cat households. You may find your feline begging for food in between meals, however. Many experts say that a kitten should be fed up to three times a day, but once a cat turns one, feeding them twice a day is acceptable.
How To Feed Your Cat So It Stops Begging And Starts Losing Weight
Cats receiving an adequate number of calories per day will be hungry . So feeding a cat until it is full is almost always overfeeding unless it is an actively growing kitten under eight months of age.
Naturally, cats eat multiple small meals a day by hunting and eating what they catch. Having a bowl of dry food available allows multiple small meals of a high caloric feed with no effort on the cats part, this is a recipe for weight gain.
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- Weight-loss formula: Cat foods for overweight cats have even less fat content than indoor formulas. Some have higher protein and more fiber to help the cat feel full while still losing weight. Overweight cats need to lose weight slowly to avoid serious health problems, so be sure to check with your vet for the proper amount to feed your cat and to find out how much weight he or she should be losing each week.
- Sensitive stomach/digestive formula: Just like some people, some cats have sensitive stomachs and can benefit from a food that wont upset their system.
- Limited-ingredient formulas for cats with food allergies: If you have a cat with food allergies or sensitivities to common ingredients found in regular cat food, limited ingredient formulas can help eliminate those problems. Not only do they have fewer ingredients overall, but some have alternative protein and grain sources like duck, venison, green peas, and sweet potatoes.
- Urinary tract health formulas: This type of food is a great option for cats with reoccurring urinary health problems. It may contain cranberries and other ingredients that can help prevent urinary tract infections.
- Hairball formulas: If your cat is always coughing up hairballs, its worth looking into a food that can help with this problem.
Always read the ingredient label before buying a new cat food.
Age Life Stages And Lifestyle Factor Calculations
Remember how active kittens are, especially at bedtime when they are racing up the curtains. Kittens have greater calorie needs than adult cats they are busy and growing!
Momma cats feeding kittens, and breeding cats, have greater energy needs than adult neutered cats.
If your cat falls into these categories, then we use the lifestyle factor to allow for this.
Multiply the calorie calculation by 2.5 for kittens and queens who are feeding kittens.
Super active adults may need their calorie needs multiplied by a lifestyle factor of 1.5-2.
The bottom line is simplestart with the best calculation you can for your cat, and then MONITOR their weight and adjust accordingly.
Well done on making your way through this article there was a lot of technical information in here. Now you should know the answer to the age-old question of How much should I feed my cat?.
The good news is this: the dedication you have shown reading through this and working out a feeding guide for your cat tells me you are doing everything possible to keep your fur family happy and healthy!
Remember, if your cat continues to gain or lose weight when it shouldnt be, a veterinary check is recommended.
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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.
Weigh Your Cat To Ensure A Healthy Rate Of Weight
Regardless of diet, limiting access is the key. And a scale to accurately weigh the cat on is handy. Peoples digital scales can be used by weighing the person with and without holding the kitty. Monthly weights at the same time of day are sufficient.
We want about a pound a month of weight loss, not more. Sudden weight loss in a cat can result in serious health issues. Weight loss is hard to accomplish in a cat, no short cuts exist, and it takes an active process to achieve.
Just like people, it is an individualized program for each kitty and dealing with the behavioral consequences of a hungry cat can be one of the largest challenges. The hardest thing for people to accept is that a hungry cat is okay and healthy, it does not require fixing despite what the kitty may think.
Dr. Matt McCormick, DVM
Companion Animal Clinic has been serving Blacksburg, Virginia and surrounding Montgomery and Christiansburg communities since 1974. We are an AAHA accredited veterinary hospital and provide quality, professional care for dogs, cats, exotics, and small mammals. Learn more about our amazing team.
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Is Your Cat Eating Enough Or Too Little
Throughout your cats life you will need to modify her diet to accommodate changing metabolism and dietary needs. Feel your cats backbone and ribs. If the ribs and backbone show through her skin, she is too thin. If you cant feel the ribs, your cat is likely overweight. Adjust her portions accordingly.
Keeping your cat from becoming obese is much easier than forcing an obese cat to diet. And it will make both you and your cat a lot happier.
When To Call The Vet
Watch out for changes in your cat’s eating and drinking behaviour, as this could indicate that something is wrong. See your vet if your cat:
- normally eats well but suddenly stops
- has not eaten for 48 hours
- develops a ravenous appetite
- will only eat with one side of their mouth
- makes a grinding noise when they eat
- starts drinking noticeably more than usual
- loses weight for no apparent reason
- is vomiting or has diarrhoea
Regular eating and drinking is essential to your cat’s health. If your cat doesn’t eat, even for a few days, they can develop a condition of the liver which can be fatal in severe cases.
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