Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to the question of how much and how often food your cat needs. It depends on various factors, including size, age, metabolic rate, amount of exercise, and even environmental temperatures.
You should evaluate your beloved cat’s body condition every two weeks and adjusts the amount and frequency of food you provide.
And one important thing! Love doesn’t equal to an unlimited amount of food. It is better to keep your cat lean and healthy.
How much should my cat eat?
Perhaps it is one of your first questions when you bring your cat at home and even if you have a cat for years, you may sometimes wonder if cats receive more or less food.
You should consider some factors to find the answer.
- Size and weight of your cat
- Age of your cat
- Type of food(wet cat food or dry cat food)
- Metabolic state
- Activity and amount of exercise
Size and weight of your cat
The chubby kitty may look cute, but obesity is associated with a cat’s health problems, including diabetes, arthritis and urinary tract diseases.
Generally, if you want to keep your cat in ideal and healthy weight then 24 to 35 calories a day per pound are enough.
Otherwise, you should feed your cat according to its body condition score. Your veterinarian is the best source to answer this question.
Feel the cat’s spine and ribs. If the ribs and spine appear on the skin, it is very thin. If you don’t feel the ribs, your cat may be overweight.
After finding the amount that maintains the perfect body condition of your cat (not very thin, not too fat), you can make minor adjustments to how much you feed it to keep its weight balanced.
Age of your cat
Age has a significant effect on the amount of feed required and the frequency of the feed. Kittens need more food per pound of body weight to maintain their growth than adult cats, which is why they should be fed throughout the day.
Once your cat is fully grown (approximately one year) she can be slowly transitioned to an adult formula food
When your cat is middle-aged (4 to 9 years old) then metabolism of the cat will slow down and the demand for calories will decrease.
Type of food (wet cat food or dry cat food)
The brand of feed, you feed to your fluffy cat makes a difference when we answer the question “how much should I feed my cat”.
Your cat dense, dry cat food will contain more nutrients in relation to its weight than low quality food, which will require smaller portions to provide the same amount of nutrients for your cat.
Wet food contains more water than dry cat food, which means your cat must eat more canned food to meet their calorie needs
The basis of a healthy cat diet is meat-based protein, such as meat, fish, and poultry. Carbohydrates should not constitute more than ten percent of the blend of cat food ingredients.
The average metabolism of cats can be affected by several factors, such as hormone levels, age, disease, spay status, physiological conditions (such as pregnant or breastfeeding cat), meal plan and exercise.
Activity and amount of exercise
House cats can be very lethargic but if you have an outdoor cat who spends their day explore the world, then they will be burning more calories and will need more food to sustain that level of activity. If your usually-active cat is instead sleeping a lot, that could be a sign that they’re lacking energy and may need more calories.
Formula to calculate the amount of food
If you want to more specific about the amount of cat feed then here is a formula to how many calories a cat should consume in a day. It’s a rough calculation of course which requires you to estimate based on your cat.
Amount of Calories needed = 70 x (Weight in kg) 0.75 x Lifestyle Factor
The “lifestyle factor” transforms the results for the individual cat caloric intake. This factor can range from 0.6 to 2.5.
Lifestyle factor for a cat prone to weight gain is 0.6, for a neutered adult cat is 1.2, and for a growing kitten is 2.5.
For example, if you have adult neutered 8-pound cat then
Amount of calories needed= 70 x 3.63 x 0.75 x 1.2 = 228.69
So, the average 8-pound cat requires about 229 calories per day.
Usually, dry food contains about 300 calories per cup, and canned foods contain about 250 calories for every 6 oz. can.
How often I should feed my cat?
How often to feed a cat depends on what you’re feeding to your lovely cat.
Cats are very sensitive to change, and the new cat will deal with a lot of pressure on the new environment.
So you should maintain the type of food and schedule consistent. It will ease the transition and prevent digestive disorders.
Growing kittens up to six months of age may require three meals a day. Once the cat becomes an adult, at about one year, feeding once or twice a day is appropriate in most cases.
How often you feed your cat may depend on your schedule as well. So you should find a schedule that works for you and your cat – and then keep it consistent.
If your working schedule can’t keep a good routine for your cat, then consider buying and automatic cat feeder to give them some consistency in their feeding times. It’s also a good idea to consider a water fountain to ensure your cat has access to fresh water all day long.
What to do if my cat begs for more food?
If your cat is begging for more food after eating her proper portion then you should take your adorable cat to the vet to make sure nothing was physically wrong with her.
If she is parasite and disease free, then you look for other reasons and try these points
- Make sure your cat is getting the proper nutrients
- Be sure your cat is getting enough attention
- Cat bowl should not be full of food every time, offer your cat food in proper schedule
If there are no physical reasons why your cat is begging for food then, it may be time to talk to a behaviourist for a plan of action to reduce unwanted begging.
Throughout your cat’s life, you must adapt their diet to the changing nutritional needs and metabolism. 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.
As with all issues relating to your cat’s health, the best you can do is be prepared to understand the warning signs and symptoms. This will allow you to make an informed decision when to consult your vet.
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