What Should I Feed My Cat
Head to your nearest supermarkets pet food aisle and youll find plenty of cat foods to choose from. But with so much on offer, how can you decide what is best for your cat?
Before you buy, remember to choose food specially formulated for cats. Dog food simply isnt suitable and food intended for humans doesnt necessarily include all the nutrients that your cat needs. The best food for your cat is likely to be a complete cat food from a reputable brand. Your vet will be well placed to guide you to the best food for your cat.
Homemade cat foods might be good for occasional treats, but it is very difficult to give your cat the right balance of proteins, vitamins and minerals your cat needs to thrive unless this has been recommended by your vet.
Vitamin supplements arent necessary if you are feeding your cat good quality cat food – unless recommended by your vet too. Vitamin supplements could cause a dietary imbalance which could harm your cat always speak to your vet about any food supplements first.
You can find out more about what to feed your cat in our video.
Choosing Between Dry Food Canned Food Or Both
In general, you need not offer multiple flavors and textures to cats. They get very good at training their owners to add something else to the mix if the cat shows any hesitation to eat what is given. If the cat is otherwise acting fine, a choice to not eat what is offered can be normal, or a test by the cat to see if something better will show up. Very, very few cats need any encouragement to eat. The opposite is usually a goal.
How Much Should I Feed My Cat Cat Feeding Chart 2021
Obesity is the number one health issue for indoor companion cats globally. Even pet parents who do their best to keep their cats weight under control can find themselves pulling their hair out at just how stubborn a cat who wants to be fat is. Indoor cats live lazy lives. They wake up and eat, take a nap, eat some more, lay in the sun, eat some more, ad infinitum. Like humans who get their food from hunting, foraging, or subsistence agriculture have fewer issues with weight than those of us who go to the supermarket, outdoor companion cats rarely have difficulty with their weight because they hunt for the food they eat. Even if cat food is available, a freshly killed rodent is just more palatable to a cat, and theyll go out of their way to get some. Cats are naturally lazy creatures who would much rather nap than exercise. When they dont need to hunt for food, theyre at a massive risk of gaining weight. With that in mind, many pet parents find themselves wondering how they can help control their cats weights.
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Not Offering Enough Water
In addition to the water in wet food, cats should have access to fresh water sources. This can be a dish of water near their food bowl or running water from an automated water station. Some cats can detect the chlorine from tap water, which they may not like. You can offer filtered or bottled water to encourage your cat to drink.
How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat
See files for Cats
Cats are carnivorous animals that prefer to eat several times a day instead of once, as if they did in the wild. In addition, they do not eat more than what they need. Even so, the amount of daily cat food depends on several factors, such as age, size, physical activity or personality of the animal. It is our responsibility to provide them with a balanced and high-quality diet to avoid them becoming overweight, or on the contrary, malnourished.
AnimalWised will show you just how to properly feed these pets depending on what stage they are in life. Remember that the daily amount of food for an adult cat will be different than that of a kitten or senior cat.
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How To Help Your Cat Lose Weight
Cats used to being free-fed dont generally like the transition period between free feeding and meal-prepped-feeding. Your cat will complain and beg for food when their food bowl is empty, especially if they arent used to seeing it that way. One way you can get your cat to exercise more is to hide bowls of food around the house. In the wild, cats would work off the calories by hunting. Hiding small portions of food around the house can help your cat work off its calories by looking for hidden food. If hiding food every day sounds like a chore you dont want to add to your repertoire, consider getting a feeding toy. These toys have small holes on them, and the cats must bat the toy and roll it around to get the food out from inside. These methods simulate hunting for your cat and allow them to work for their food much like their wild ancestors would have. If neither is doable for you, consider playing with your cat more! Chaser toys and laser pointers are a great way to get your cat moving. You can even get automatic laser pointer toys that you can set up to help your cat exercise even when youre away. But just like people, most cats would prefer some quality playtime with their humans over a robotic toy.
Only Feeding Them Dry Food
High-quality wet food is recommended in addition to dry kibble or exclusively. Cats dont have a natural thirst drive like dogs do, so they need to get their water from their food.
Dry food is only 10% to 12% water while canned food is 78% water. Canned food does a much better job of keeping your cat well-hydrated, says Lisa A. Pierson, DVM. Think of canned food as hosing down your cats bladder several times a day.
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What To Keep In Mind About Feeding Your Cat
Remember that both of these methods are just a place to start. The cat calorie calculator does not take into account how young or active your cat is, or if she is pregnant or nursing, or if she has an ongoing illness that can affect her metabolism, for example.
The chart on the back of a bag of cat food is similarly limited. Plus, it reflects a wide range of weights and feeding suggestions, which can leave you feeling like youre still just guessing how much to feed.
The next stop on the road to answering this important question about how much to feed, is a visit to your vet. Your vet will check your cats body condition and recommend adding or subtracting calories from your cats diet based on how much youre currently feeding.
You can bring a bag or can of the food youre currently using to your appointment and your vet can recommend a feeding regimen moving forward.
Earlier, I said that knowing how much to feed is as much an art as a science. Calculators and charts and even veterinarians can only go so far. The final answer rests with your cat.
Even if a chart says to feed 2/3 of a cup of dry foodeven if the calorie calculator agreeseven if your vet thinks 2/3 cup of Food XYZ should be the right amount, your cat has the final say.
If your cat is gaining or losing weight on the amount of food you are feeding, you will need to continue to adjust the amount down or up. You can check your cats weight every two weeks on a pet/baby scale like this one by Beurer.
Cat Feeding Mistakes: Feeding Only Dry Food
The biggest mistake people make is feeding cats dry food, says Lisa A. Pierson, DVM, a California veterinarian focused on feline medicine and nutrition, and creator of CatInfo.org.
As it turns out, todays domestic tabby evolved from desert-dwelling ancestors, a heritage that no doubt left our furry felines with their grace, hunting prowess — and low thirst drive.
We know that a cats sensitivity to thirst is blunted compared to a dog, Case says. They don’t voluntarily drink water like a dog would. And because cats naturally produce highly concentrated urine we’re setting them up for urinary tract problems when their diet is low in liquids.
When cats present with urinary tract problems, the recommendation is to get them on a water-rich diet, Pierson says. However, why are we closing the barn door after the horse is a mile down the road? Why not practice preventive nutrition by feeding them canned food before they end up with urinary tract problems?
Cats are designed to get their water with their food, Pierson says. Although mice, a cat’s normal food, are about 70% water, and canned food about 78%, dry food is between 5%-10% water. That’s why canned food does a much better job of keeping your cat well-hydrated, Pierson tells WebMD. Think of canned food as hosing down your cat’s bladder several times a day.
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So How Much Should I Be Feeding My Cat
The average cat weighs around 8 pounds. According to some animal medical experts, a healthy, active 8-pound adult cat requires about 25 calories per pound per day. So, the average 8-pound cat requires about 200 calories per day.
This means you should follow these guidelines* when serving up SHEBA® PERFECT PORTIONS meals:
Feed adult cats three to four servings per 5 pounds of their ideal body weight daily.
Feed pregnant and nursing cats two to three times their normal amount.
Feed a kitten four to seven servings daily.
*These feeding guidelines apply only to SHEBA® PERFECT PORTIONS Premium Pâtés, Cuts in Gravy and Garden Medleys meals. Different cat foods have different nutritional values, so always check the packaging for feeding guidelines.
Calorie Calculator: One Way To Start
You can start in one of two places.
I like to start with a calorie calculator, like this one by the Pet Nutrition Alliance. The Pet Nutrition Alliance is a coalition of veterinarians, veterinary nutritionists, animal hospital groups, and others who are committed to helping pets live healthier lives through proper nutrition.
To use the calculator, input your cats weight and whether or not he/she is spayed or neutered. Then choose a body-condition score by sliding the square left or right on the scale. . Leave the current calorie intake blank, and leave the ideal pet weight section blank, too. Choose calculate now and the program will tell you approximately how many calories your cat should be eating each day.
Once you know approximately how many calories your cat should be eating, you can figure out how many cans or cups you should feed.
Lets try an example with a fictional cat who eats Fancy Feast from a can. My fictional cat weights 8 ¾ pounds and is spayed. Her body condition is just right: shes a 5. When I enter this information into the calculator, it says she needs about 198 calories a day, including about 20 calories worth of treats. So, she needs to get about 178 calories from food.
To find out how many cans of Fancy Feast she can eat each day, I divide the 178 calories by the number of calories in a can:
178 divided by 64 = approximately 2 ¾ cans of food each day.
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How Often Should I Feed My Cat
Cats have evolved to eat numerous small meals throughout the day but leaving food out all the time is a major risk factor for obesity. At a minimum, a cats total daily food intake should be divided into two meals, but more is better. An automatic timed feeder, like the Cat Mate C500 Digital 5 Meal Dog & Cat Feeder, that can be preloaded with multiple, measured meals is a great way to provide your cat with just the right amount of food, divided into small meals.
You now have a general idea of how much food to feed a cat, but keep in mind that an individuals needs can vary by as much as 50 percent in either direction from the average. Monitor your cats weight and body condition to narrow in on how much they should eat and, as always, talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.
How Do I Decide How Much Food My Cat Needs
Different cats have different nutritional needs based on their size, life stage and more. Here are some factors to consider when deciding how much food your cat should eat:
- Age & Life Stage: Kittens have different nutritional needs than adult or senior cats. Cats who are pregnant or nursing also have different needs.
- Weight: If your cat is not at her ideal weight, you may need to give her smaller or larger portions to help her achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
- Energy Level: Cats who are active and playful throughout the day may require more calories than those who prefer to spend their time napping.
- Type of Food: 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.
- Indoor vs. Outdoor: Indoor cats may not get as much exercise as an outdoor cat would, so they need fewer calories. Outdoor cats living in regions with cold winters may need more food in the winter.
The best way to determine how much food your cat needs is to talk with your veterinarian. They can determine how much food your cat requires based on the above factors.
They can also help you troubleshoot any problems that may arise, such as your cat eating less or more than usual.
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How To Get Your Cat To Eat
Cats are clever. You might have noticed that if they dont like the food theyre offered, they can wait for a while until something they prefer is provided. Some cats are fussier than others, and some can stop eating due to illness or stressed. If your cat is off their food and this is unusual, make sure you see a vet to rule out any underlying illnesses or behavioural problems.
You can encourage your cat to eat by:
- offering different wet and dry foods at different times, and introduce new foods slowly
- giving wet food at room temperature, instead of straight from the fridge
- offering small, regular amounts of food rather than a large portion this is less overwhelming and ensures the food is always fresh
- offering food with a strong odour. Warming it up can increase the scent, but be careful not to make it too hot!
- adding a drop of tasty yeast extract spread, fish oil or kitten food to your cats meal. This can make food more appetising but shouldnt be done regularly. Ask your vet for more advice.
- sitting down with your cat, or hand feeding them. This can induce their appetite. Try a small amount of chicken and fish as a treat if theyre struggling.
How Often To Feed A Cat
Another factor in determining How much should I feed my cat depends on how often you feed your cat. And how often to feed a cat depends on what youre feeding her. Most cat owners feed their cats in the morning and at night, and may or may not supplement those feedings with free feeding of dry food throughout the day.
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Wet Vs Dry Food Vs Both
Many pet parents feed their cats wet food, and some provide a mix of dry and wet food. Wet food is denser calorically than dry food. If youre feeding a combination of wet and dry food, its important to measure out the amounts so that your cat is getting the correct number of calories. 6 oz of wet food, or a little more than one can, averages about 250 calories. So, one can of cat food per day is enough for most cats daily if its supplemented with a little bit of dry food or treats. The trickiest part is that different foods will offer an additional number of kcals per oz. So, its essential to check the feeding instructions on the bag to get a feel for the caloric content of the specific food that youre feeding your cat.
How To Calculate How Much Wet Food To Feed A Cat
Sharing your life with a cat is certainly rewarding. Theres nothing quite like cozying up with your four-legged fluffball after a long days work.
But being a pet parent carries with it a lot of responsibility, too, especially when it comes to determining how much food to feed a cat. Feeding cats is more complicated than simply ladling out a few kibbles here and there you need to consider several factors, especially if you choose to give your cat wet food. Determining how much wet food to feed a cat can get complicated, but were here to help.
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What Is Body Condition Score
Body Condition Score is a way of assessing whether your cat is at an optimal weight. Sadly, many cats are overweight , leading to diseases such as diabetes and arthritis.
A cat in ideal body condition should have a visible waist, and you should be able to feel its ribs.
If you can see your cats ribs and its backbone feels knobbly, kitty is too thin, and the amount you feed should increase.
If you cannot feel your cats ribs, and it has a rounded shape from above and from the side, kitty is overweight, and the amount you feed needs to be reduced.
Refer to the chart below to assess your cats BCS. If you need help with scoring your cat, or if you are concerned your cats body condition score is too low or too high, discuss this with your veterinarian at kittys next health check.
IMPORTANT Pro Tip
If your cats Body Condition Score is less than 3, increase the amount fed by 10%. If your cats Body Condition Score is more than 3, decrease the amount fed by 10%. Review this every few weeks.
Body Condition Score Chart