How Much Should I Feed My Cat To Promote Weight Loss
In order to answer this question, your veterinarian will examine your cat to determine its ideal body weight, based on its body size and build. Formulas and charts have been developed to assist your veterinarian in determining this weight, as well as the number of calories required to achieve it safely.
In general, the average domestic cat should weigh approximately 8-10 pounds . Based on your cat’s degree of obesity, your veterinarian may recommend an initial target weight that is higher than the ideal weight. For example, if your cat is 18 pounds , you can calculate its ideal weight to be 10 to 12 pounds , but a more realistic initial goal may be 15 pounds . After the cat loses this weight, a re-evaluation will be made to determine whether further weight loss is needed.
Here are some general guidelines for daily calorie needs based on your cats weight:
Note: This is a general guideline only and is not meant as a substitute from your veterinarian’s specific recommendations. If your cat fails to lose weight on this amount of calories, the total will need to be reduced further.
“The amount of food that is necessary to provide this number of calories will depend on the calorie content of the food.”
For many cats, the best way to lose weight is with a canned diet food fed several times per day, rather than leaving food down all of the time. One of the reasons canned diet foods work better is because finicky felines often prefer wet food to dry.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Kibble Recipe
Chicken is the first ingredient in this Rachael Ray Nutrish dry food, making it an affordable but quality dry food. U.S. farm-raised chicken is combined with wholesome brown rice, vegetables, essential vitamins, minerals, and taurine. Find it in 3-, 6-, or 14-pound bags.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Kibble Recipe
Farm-raised chicken provides protein and flavor in this dry food with brown rice and veggies.
How Often And How Much To Feed Your Cat
The size, age, and energy output of your cat will dictate the amount of food they need. You should be careful not to overfeed, which is easy to do when using wet cat food. Overfeeding leads to obesity which can cause a host of health issues for your feline companion. Once a cat is overweight, its difficult to help them shed the extra pounds.
Portion Control Feeding
Similar to portion control for humans, feeding your cat measured amounts of food as meals helps keep them from overeating and becoming obese. Its common to allow cats to eat the allotted food without a timer.
Timed feeding is making food available for a period of time and taking it away if it isnt eaten within that span, for example 30 minutes. The amount of time you allow for your cat to eat a meal is up to you and will vary from cat to cat. This method can be used with portion control feeding.
Free feeding involves leaving food out all day and allowing the cat to graze at its leisure. Its commonly used with dry food since that can be left out for longer periods of time than wet food. Free feeding is OK for kittens, as they need to eat often, but can lead to obesity in adult cats.
Other Feeding Considerations
It is recommended to use a mix of wet and dry food when feeding cats but how you do it wet and dry in the same bowl two to three times a day, or wet food in the morning and dry food at night is up to the owners discretion.
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Can I Give Human Food To My Cat
There are some human foods that are safe for your cat. A small amount of boiled chicken breast or a few flakes of tuna can be a tasty treat for your cat when given occasionally. However, feeding human food can mean lots of extra calories for your cat, so its important to feed cat sized amounts to keep them at a healthy weight. There are also some human foods that are toxic to cats, so if in doubt stick with food that has been made specifically for cats and skip the scraps.
Healthy Kitten Growth Rate
A general rule of thumb in kittens is that they typically gain about 1 pound per month.
Often, a kittens weight is about 1 pound at 1 month , 2 pounds at 2 months , and so on until about 4-5 months.
Kittens do most of their growing within the first year and then stabilize from there. Many of the growth plates of the bones in the kitten skeleton close by about one year old.
At this time, after much of the growth is finished, your vet will typically switch your kitten to an adult diet.
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How We Feed Cats Now And Whats So Wrong About It
Most cat caretakers feed their cats from bowls. And most of those free feed, leaving food out 24/7. The idea is that cats dont naturally scarf down meals all at once and that is true. They catch what they can when they can.
However, given the open buffet, most cats eat unnaturally large meals all at once and then return for even more. Perhaps, exasperating the issue is that most cats have little else to do but eat.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the majority of people who have a cat actually have, on average, just over two cats. With two cats or more in a house, its difficult to gauge which cat is eating more. Though you may figure it out when eventually the veterinarian says, My, lovely Susie here has gained 2 pounds since her last visit.
And cats, being cats, are excellent trainers of humans they train us to keep filling the food dish.
Feeding exclusively moist food doesnt solve the problem. Caretakers put down the food at prescribed times, the cats eat it and its over. To survive outside, cats catch somewhere around eight to 13 small prey in a day. The edible contents of the average mouse or bird is about one to two tablespoons, not a heaping one-half cup at a time.
You see, cats are born with a prey drive and are hardwired to seek, hunt and pounce. In our homes, we dont give them the opportunity. Absolutely, having toys to chase or pounce is necessary. Still, its not the same as hunting for a meal.
How Should I Begin A Weight Loss Program For My Cat
Theoretically, weight loss seems simple enough: fewer calories in plus more calories out equals weight loss. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. You should never put an obese cat on a diet without veterinary supervision.
“If cats do not eat for as little as two consecutive days, they can develop a life-threatening form of liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis.”
The cat’s physiology is different than humans or dogs and if they do not eat for as little as two consecutive days, they can develop a life-threatening form of liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis . Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination of your cat, and will likely recommend some diagnostic testing to ensure that there are no underlying diseases or obstacles to weight loss for your cat.
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Indoor Vs Outdoor Cat Diets
While indoor and outdoor cats essentially require the same nutrition , the amount of food each one needs is different. Indoor cats spend most of their days lounging around the house, so feeding them the same as a highly active outdoor cat that expends energy throughout the day will only lead to the indoor kitty gaining weight. Indoor cats also tend to get more hairballs, as their natural hair growth doesnt follow the seasonal cycle that outdoor cats experience, leading to constant shedding.
Thats where cat foods created specifically for indoor cats come in handy these normally have fewer calories and contain increased fiber content to help move hairballs faster through the GI tract. Just be sure the indoor cat food is still a good source of animal-based protein. Sometimes, in order to lower calorie count, manufacturers will swap meat for vegetables.
Basic Cat Feeding Guide
The following information is general advice, but as each cat is an individual, seek veterinary advice, particularly if your cat has any special dietary needs or has a reaction to a standard diet.
The basis of your cats diet should be a high quality balanced premium commercial cat food that is appropriate for their life stage and health status. By reading the label, you can check that it complies with the Australian Standard for the Manufacturing and Marketing of Pet Food AS 5812:2017 . A balance of wet and dry food is preferable. Never feed puppy or dog food to your cat as it will be deficient in taurine, an essential protein that cats can only obtain through food.
Provide some moist foods such as wet canned food or pouches in the diet regularly as this helps to ensure adequate water intake and can help maintain a healthy urinary tract.
The amount of food required will depend on your cats size, age and level of activity, but you should take care not to overfeed or underfeed. Your vet will be able to weigh your cat, assess your cats body condition score and provide advice.
Some cats can be fussy eaters, which can develop when they are fed the same food over a long period. They can be tempted to eat by slightly warming their food, offering foods that are tasty or have a strong odour, and by offering variety, including new and different foods.
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Wet Food Just Might Be Better
Though quality ultimately matters, in general, wet food is the superior option for cats when choosing between canned wet food and dry kibble. Typically, wet foods meet a cats nutritional needs better than dry, but that may not be the case if the wet food in question is of very low quality, Dr. Coates says. Just make sure youre thoroughly cleaning your cats bowl between every wet food feeding, since it can be a harboring ground for bacteria, one of the ways it could be making your cat sick.
Your Cats Nutritional Needs Can Vary Over Time
In addition to buying food according to your cats life stages, also consider any potential ailments or sensitivities they may acquire over time. For example, mother cats nursing their kittens require a much higher caloric diet, says the VCA, and some cats end up needing more simplistic diets due to allergies. Your vet can help you navigate these particular needs. These myths about cats are actually false.
Senior cats need food high in protein and moisture to support their renal systems while being lower in fat and calories to prevent weight gain, which can have adverse health consequences. For older indoor cats, this grain-free food is a great option.
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Dry Food: An Affordable But Less
Dry food is extremely calorie-dense. It has no water in it to contribute volume to the food. Because of this, feeding just dry food means your cat will be hungrier if getting an adequate number of calories in the food because of the smaller volume given. Based on this, free choice dry food, even a low-calorie version, will not prevent weight gain.
Beware Of Gimmicky Labels
It makes sense that cat food brands want their product to stand out on the shelf, but be wary of gimmicky words such as primitive,ancestral, or wild, says Dr. Coates. These terms are pure marketing. Instead of looking for flashy words, pet parents must look closely at a foods label to determine whether it could be a good option. Does your cat dream about living its most wild life? Find out what cats dream about.
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Why Trust The Spruce
This piece was written by Lorraine Wilde who has had at least two cat companions in her home for the past 35 years including some special needs kitties. Two of her cats lived happy and healthily into their early 20s. Her current feline companions have been challenged by digestive and urinary tract health issues. When researching these brands, Lorraine evaluated the type and quality of the ingredients, the companys research and development of the food, and their business ethics.
Because she has only the highest of standards for what she feeds her pets, Lorraine recently switched to Evangers EVx Restricted Diet Urinary Tract and Evanger Organics Turkey and Butternut Squash canned food to help improve her older cats’ health issues. Lorraines family will consider adding the supplement Under the Weather Urinary Support Soft Chews for the benefits imparted by D-mannose.
Dr. Danielle Bernal is a Global Veterinarian with Wellness Natural Pet Food. She holds a Bachelors of Veterinary Science from University of Sydney and is a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the U.K. She has more than 15 years experience in veterinary care, animal nutrition and related communications. She travels across the United States and other countries to educate pet parents on the role that premium, natural nutrition plays in pets health and longevity.
A Healthier Way To Feed Your Cat: Hide Its Meals
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If you have a house cat, you probably end up dealing with cat vomit on a regular basis, says Dr. Liz Bales, a Philadelphia veterinarian and the owner of a one-eyed hairless cat named Carlos. But, she maintains, it doesnt need to be that way.
One culprit is what is known as scarf-and-barf syndrome, in which the cat overindulges at mealtimes to a calamitous degree. Other common cat behaviors she has observed are the relentless stalking of food bowls in hopes of a refill, the nocturnal demands for food while owners are trying to sleep and a contentious relationship with the litter box that results in a hit-or-miss pattern of use.
As Dr. Bales views it, an underlying issue behind all of these problems is that living indoors suppresses cats natural hunting instincts. This dynamic has increasingly come to light at the professional conferences she has attended in her 16 years as a veterinarian. She has also discussed it with animal behaviorists and animal nutritionists.
They need portion control. They need regular exercise. They really should be in charge of their own feeding schedule, Dr. Bales says she has learned. All these factors boil down to cats should not be eating from bowls.
Some cats just roll it, Dr. Bales says But with other cats, its a full-on rodeo.
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Purina Beyond Natural Indoor Cat Dry Food
Purina Beyond Indoor Cat Food is a high protein, dry cat food formulated specifically for indoor cats. This kibble is made without artificial flavors or preservatives, and contains wild-caught salmon as the first ingredient.
- Dry cat food formulated for indoor cats
- Salmon, egg, and sweet potato recipe
- Contains increased fiber and probiotics for hairball control
- Ingredients help support healthy indoor weight
- Comes in 3, 5, and 11 pound bags
- Wild caught salmon is the first ingredient
- Made without corn, wheat, soy, or poultry by-product meals
- No artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors
- 100% complete and balanced nutrition for adult cats
- Grain free and gluten free
- Available in 5 different seafood and poultry recipes
- As the product is fish based, can tend to have a strong smell
- Food may dry out if bag is not properly resealed
High Protein Cat Kibble
As mentioned before, you may want to try food formulated specifically for kittens as that has the most fat and protein. Read that label! If the first ingredient is a type of grain or âmeat by-productâ or something ending in âmealâ it’s no good.
The first ingredient should be a type of meat such as turkey, fish, lamb, chicken or beef. Not only will high-protein food help your cat put on a healthy amount of weight, you may notice her coat becoming shinier and softer with other physical improvements.
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How Much To Feed A Cat By Age
Growing kittens need comparatively more food than adult cats, because they need nutrients to allow their body to grow. This can be difficult to calculate precisely, and professional veterinary nutritionists have charts and guides that may be applied.
For most cat carers, it is simpler to recognise that kittens do have higher requirements, and that it is rare for kittens to become overweight or obese. Using the broad guidelines on the packaging, it is fairly safe to say that kittens can be fed almost as much food as they wish to eat at each mealtime, within reasonable limits.
- If the kitten is still chasing the bowl, looking for more food when they have finished, they should be offered a little more.
- If the kitten routinely does not finish the food that is offered in the bowl, they should be offered less the next time.