General Feeding Guidelines For Different Ages Of Cats
How Often Should You Feed a Pregnant or Nursing Cat?
Due to the demand on their bodies for nutrients, I suggest leaving food out at all times. Make sure you are providing enough calories for the increase in metabolism they are experiencing during pregnancy and nursing.
How Often Should You Feed a Kitten?
Because of the nutrient requirements for growth and high energy demand, leave food out at all times for kittens up to six months old. You should only feed kittens a diet specifically formulated for them so that they are getting the proper amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Kitten-specific food is designed to be nutrient-dense. This allows them to get the needed nutrients and calories in smaller amounts.
How Often Should You Feed an Adolescent Cat?
For cats between the age of six months to one-year-old, I suggest feeding at least twice daily but again monitor total calories for the day.
How Often Should You Feed an Adult Cat?
For adult cats over one year old, in most cases feeding at least twice daily is ideal. But if need be, once daily is acceptable. This can be impacted by certain health issues, such as diabetes, where it is critical that a cat eats prior to receiving insulin.
How Often Should You Feed a Senior Cat?
Vegetarian Cats Homemade Food
Vegetarian or vegan diets might be a healthy choice for you, but theyre a bad idea for your cat. Unlike dogs and humans, cats need specific vitamins, minerals, and proteins that only come from meat.
But not raw meat. That may be part of life for big cats in the wild, but its unnatural for house cats, Hill says. In the wild, they eat the whole animal or bird they catch, not just the meat. Meat alone will be deficient in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Plus, bacteria on raw meat, like salmonella and E. coli, can make your cat very sick.
What about making your own cat food at home? Churchill says if you decide to go this route, you shouldnt do it alone. I strongly recommend that you get a veterinary nutritionist to help you. Cats are only 8 to 10 pounds, and changing one ingredient can change the whole nutritional value of the diet.
Generally, most experts say commercial cat food is the way to go.
The beauty of commercial food is that its formulated specifically for cats, so its complete and balanced and meets their needs, and you dont have to worry about it, Churchill says.
Richard Hill, PhD, associate professor, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Gainesville.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Cat Nutrition Tips.
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Feeding Your Cat.
Association for Pet Obesity Prevention: Daily Caloric Needs for Average Indoor Pets.
Look For The Aafco Statement
Instead of sweating over the ingredient list, pay attention to the nutrients in your cat food, says Carey. Look for a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials saying that the food is complete and balanced. Do you know what your cat means when they make these noises?
This nutritionally-dense fish-based grain-free cat food is AAFCO-approved and a great all-around option for most adult cats.
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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.
Catfeeding Guide: Wet And Dry Food
Combining a diet of wet and dry food can begood for your cat. Dry food is easier to store, but lack the moisture that canbe found in wet cat food. The following cat feeding schedule template can helpyou better estimate how much and how often you should feed your cat.
So how does this feeding chart work? As youcan see, the schedule takes into consideration how much your cat weighs, hisdaily caloric requirements, and how much wet and dry food you can feed him inorder to meet those requirements. Every cat has different caloric needs,depending not only on weight, but also on how active they are, whether or nottheyre neutered prone to obesity, and other lifestyle factors. You can usesome an online calculator to determine your cats uniquecalorie needs.
The cat feeding guide by weight will help youmaintain a healthy weight for your cat. As an example, a cat weighing 10lbs canbe fed roughly 230 calories per day. Check his weight every week. If your catis gaining or losing weight, you definitely have to make some feeding adjustments. Read the nutrition labels on your wetand dry the cat food. Check for caloric content on the label and divide thisnumber to your cats daily calorie requirement. The total is the number ofcalories your cat needs to consume within a 24-hour period.
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How Often Should You Feed Your Cat
This is a highly debated topic and the answer is unique to your cat.
Some cats are like cows and like to graze on food all day . Others like eating at set times of the day and dont let you forget what that time is. The big factor, whether you leave food out all the time, feed several meals, or just two meals a day, is to make sure you aren’t giving them more calories than their daily intake needs. You should not just fill the bowl whenever its empty this can lead to your cat becoming overweight or obese. Not all cats are good at regulating how much to eat at a meal.
Whats Unique About The Maine Coon Cat
Your cat is special! Heres why:
Largest of all cat breeds most weigh 9 to 18 pounds! Doesnt reach maturity until 3-5 years old, unlike most cats who are full-grown by their first year Prone to hip dysplasia because of its size
It is important to think about these unique characteristics when choosing a diet for your cat. The protein content of his food and how much your feed will be the most important thing to make sure he grows at a healthy rate.
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Should You Feed The Amount Listed On The Cat Food Bag
The directions on your cats food bag are just rough guidelines. Their purpose is to cover ALL life situations, and amounts are often set for the most demanding of those, such as an unneutered male cat. Each cat has their own unique needs. The guidelines on food bags can be significantly more or less than what your cat needs. You can use it as a starting point but be sure to adjust the amounts, either up or down, to what is appropriate for your cat to meet the goal of weight loss or maintenance.
As a general average, if you are feeding a commercially produced high-quality dry food with a good quality protein source, then an indoor cat would be fed about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of food per day. This amount of quality food is approximately between 167250 calories. For cat owners that prefer canned wet food, the average calories for a 5.5 oz can is 150200 .
Your Cat May Be Experiencing Stress Anxiety Or Depression
Cats have emotions too, and there can be several emotional or behavioral causes of loss of appetite.
Losing a beloved family member, whether animal or human, can cause some cats to stop eating due to anxiety or depression.
Stress or anxiety can also be caused by changes in the home environment. These changes may seem insignificant, but they can cause a lot of stress for cats, which can cause your cat not to eat.
Such changes include:
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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!
Feeding Your Adult Cat
Once your cat has grown up, theyll move onto an adult diet. These contain a balance of nutrients that will maintain your cats energy, and keep them healthy and at their ideal weight.
Your cat is usually considered to be an adult from around 1 year old until theyre 7-10 years old. There are many types of adult cat food, some of which have been designed for different lifestyles, such as indoor cats, or cats that have been neutered. You may also need to feed your cat a specific diet if they have a medical condition or need to lose weight. If youre not sure which diet is best for your adult cat, ask your vet for help.
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Feed Your Cat At Least Twice A Day
Did You Know …
Like us, a cats stomach structure is simple. Once their stomach has filled it up with food, it begins to empty over a few hours. When their stomach is empty, which usually can take 8 to 10 hours, the brain begins to get signals from the stomach that it is hungry. This is one reason why it is generally recommended to feed cats at least twice daily. We all know what it feels like to skip a meal or have to fast NO FUN! Additionally, your cats stomach can produce extra acid if they go longer than 12 hours without food. This can cause your cat to become nauseated and possibly vomit. I dont know about you, but I am not a fan of cat vomit!
Whatever schedule works for you and your cat, stick to it. Cats like a predictable routine, just as most people do! Their day is designed around feeding and for some cats, it is how they cope with the day-to-day events of the household. Feeding routines can also help you switch foods more easily. A hungry cat will be a little less picky. Finally, a feeding routine allows you to better monitor how much your cat is eating or if there is a change in their behavior when eating. These can signal early health issues that might be missed without a schedule.
Cats With Medical Conditions
Your vet might recommend that your cat is fed a special diet if they are diagnosed with certain medical conditions. These will often be prescription diets, which have been designed to help some cat illnesses such as skin problems, obesity, kidney disease and diabetes. If your cat has an illness and youre not sure which food is best for them, speak to your vet for advice.
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How Much Should A Cat Eat
You should read the instructions on your chosen cat food for detailed information on how much you should feed your cat. You will also need to change the amount of food for kittens, adult cats and senior cats, so make sure you take this into consideration. For example:
Kittens have small stomachs and high energy needs, so they need to be fed little and often. Remember to check their food and replace it four times a day. It is imperative they are fed specific kitten food which provides nutrients required for growing and is more energy dense.
- Adult cats
Your cat is an ‘adult’ when they are between one and eight years old. Your adult cat needs to be fed once or twice a day, but some will regulate their food intake, so their daily ration can be left out, particularly if you give them dry food.
- Senior cats
Cats over eight are considered ‘senior’. As your cat grows older, their nutritional needs change and you can buy special foods that cater for them. These foods may have less protein and a balance of minerals and vitamins designed to keep them in good health.
Tips For Putting Your Cat On A Diet
Some cats will drive you insane if you cut their food back. They act as if they are starving all the time. This is one reason to make sure that any cutbacks on amounts of food are slow and steady.
You can start by cutting back on your cats food by a ½ to 1 tablespoon each meal. This will be, on average, a 15 to 30 calorie reduction. Give the cutback about two to three weeks before doing additional reductions in food. Each continued reduction amount will be dependent on how much more weight your cat needs to lose.
If cutting calories is a bit harder for some, then you need to help your cat lose weight by burning more calories each day. Exercise your cat. I know, you think I am crazy! I know we cant make our cats do anything since they are the ones in control, but still try. Here are a few suggestions that may help:
- Get them to follow you from room to room
- Playing with toys
- Feed them with interactive puzzle feeders
- Hide these interactive “hunting” food toys in different spots every day searching increases activity
- Make an obstacle course to get to their food bowl
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Finding The Right Feeding Plan
Canned food is fed as a meal, often twice daily, and dry food is freely available.
Allows the cat to eat multiple small meals per day on its own schedule
Intake of canned food can be monitored
Appetite can be partially monitored
Total food intake is not easily monitored
Often leads to overeating and obesity consider using a food puzzle or forage feeder with a measured amount of dry food to prevent overfeeding
The type of feeding plan you choose will depend on many factors, such as the number of cats in your home, and the age and health status of your cats. Your veterinarian can help you decide which method is most appropriate.
Generally in most multi-cat homes, meal feeding with individual feeding stations is the best approach. This is especially true when some cats must be fed a specific type of food. Free choice feeding can be problematic in multi-cat situations, particularly because it is not easy to monitor each cats appetite and food intake. This can make it more difficult to tell when your cat is not feeling well.
Additionally, assertive cats may block access to the food bowls and guard it from shyer cats, or make shyer cats leave the food bowl before they are finished eating. Conflict among cats is often subtle cats communicate largely by eye contact, facial expression and body language.
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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.