40 grams (1/3 cup or 1.41oz) of wet food and 15g (1/8 cup or 0.52oz) of dry cat food is an adequate amount of feed per kilogram of your cat’s body weight. But, several factors can alter this standard amount, e.g., Age, Pregnancy, Disease, etc.
As a Veterinary Medicine student and a mother of 2 cats, It is one of the most common questions I get! Seems justifiable because most guides online on how much to feed a cat lacked clear instructions and guidelines.
In this article, I will give my professional feeding guidelines based on your cat’s body condition, standard amount to feed, factors that affect the amount, and the feeding schedule for your adult/senior cat or kitten.
I have also mentioned the causes and prevention of obesity in cats with my recommendations on the type of food you should serve for optimum activity level.
Factors That Affect How Much To Feed a Cat:
All cats are different and there are many variables. You might wonder how much should i feed my cat, number of calories required per day, Does my sick cat needs more or less food per day…All such concerns are listed below:
1) Body Weight
The most obvious factor for the feeding amount is your cat’s body weight. This is easy to figure out.
You must multiply the standard feeding amount (15g dry/40g wet food) by your cat’s weight in kg. So if your cat weighs 3 kg (3×15), 45g of dry food is enough.
If you compare a kitten’s nutritional needs with an adult cat, You’ll find a huge difference. This not only means that the quantity is variable, but the feeding components should be different.
Adult cats, for example, need more significant amounts of food. In contrast, Kittens need lesser amounts but higher nutritional value. i.e., more proteins and vitamins.
All you have to do for adult cats is multiply their body weight with the default feeding amount. Both dry and wet foods are acceptable for adult cats. But usually, wet food is more palatable and digestible for them.
A kitten’s digestive system is still in development. Hence, the standard amount of food depends on the product’s nutritional composition. But remember that your kitten of around 0.5kg should consume almost 120kcal/day.
Feeding kittens dry food is favorable because they are usually more packed with nutrients.
Different cat breeds do have additional nutritional requirements. These differences are based on body proportions, coat types, and common genetic diseases.
For example, cats with longer and thicker coats need a diet rich in essential fatty acids.
Although a balanced and nourishing diet is suitable for any cat breed, it is advantageous to customize the diet to suit your cat breed.
Usually, food manufacturing companies create breed-specific types of foods. Each is made to fit this breed’s physical requirements and health issues.
Usually, pregnant cats need 1.5 times more feeding than normal adult cats. Thus, the amount of feeding per kg of a cat’s body weight is almost 60g if you’re using wet food and 23g if you’re using dry food. The kind of diet your pregnant cat my need would be rich in nutrition, complete and balanced.
You might also wonder, what cat food is ideal for pregnant cats? Well, Mix it up! Use both dry and wet foods for your pregnant cat.
As mentioned before, dry foods contain more calories per portion and are, thus, a good option on their own. However, mixing both foods ensures that your cat receives adequate nourishment. Also, mixed cat food is more enjoyable for your cat.
5) Presence of Disease
The amount of cat food varies depending on the severity of your cat’s situation. Your cat’s appetite will decline during the illness. For this reason, provide your cat with its usual amount of food, and let it eat as much as it wants.
If your cat is suffering from gastrointestinal disease, it likely caught it from the food you fed. Common pathogens that harbor your cat’s food tend to grow in low-quality feeding products or poorly stored foods.
In cases of gastroenteritis, it is best to feed homemade recipes to your cats.
6) Daily Activity
All cats have different rates of burning calories. But, Cats with a higher physical activity will burn more calories than cats that tend to sit and lay around all day.
Cats with higher activity levels would require a little more than the standard feeding amount (15g dry or 40g wet food/kg of body weight). However, Cats with little or no activity should be good with the normal amount.
How Often Should You Feed Your Cat Daily?
Choosing a feeding schedule and sticking to it when feeding your cats is always preferable.
Twice a Day: Adult & Senior Cats
For adult cats, it is ideal to feed them twice a day at a consistent rate and at fixed times. It helps their digestive system adapt to the feeding and predict when it should start working.
It is also ideal for feeding senior cats twice a day.
Thrice a Day: Kittens, Pregnant & Nursing Cats
When it comes to kittens, you should always try to feed them at least three times a day. This is because their digestive system is still developing, and they cannot tolerate vast amounts of food all at once.
It’s even better if you keep their plate full at all times so they can access the food whenever they get hungry.
As for pregnant cats, you can either choose to feed them three times a day or keep their plate full at all times. Pregnant cats need a nutrient buildup to support the growth of their kittens. It’s the same when it comes to nursing cats.
Can I Feed The Amount Written On The Cat Food Bag?
Yes & No! You can use the manufacturer’s food amount recommendation. This is convenient as each brand of feeding will have variable nutritional values. For this reason, following the guidance of a quality feeding company is okay.
However, It is not preferable in case your cat is overweight, has low daily activity, or suffers from a disease that should make you restrict the amount fed daily. A vet’s recommendation on the amount of feed should be preferable in such cases.
Feline Obesity: Causes & Prevention!
The most common cause of obesity in cats is over-feeding, followed by low daily activity levels.
Obesity is known to be the root of many health complications and diseases. A cat is considered obese if it weighs 20% more than its ideal body weight. This extra weight imposes excessive stress on your cat’s joints and muscles.
Moreover, it has been proven that obese cats are two times more likely to get Diabetes Mellitus. It has also been associated with urinary tract infections, hepatic lipidosis, and dermatological issues.
When Should I Worry About My Cat’s Weight?
Only when your cat gains more than 20% of its ideal weight should you be concerned about obesity. On the other hand, you should be concerned about your cat being underweight if you can quickly feel its ribs and spine.
If your cat lost or gained weight in a brief period, you might want to check in with your Vet. Usually, a cat’s weight will not drastically increase or decrease overnight. Unless your cat is sick, gaining or losing weight takes time.
Several parasitic infestations and gastrointestinal disorders will cause a weight drop. For this reason, visit your veterinarian if you detect a sudden weight loss.
How To Prevent Obesity In Cats
Stop Overfeeding Your Cat
Measure your cat’s food! It’s pretty simple. Weighing your cat’s food will ensure that it is not receiving more nourishment than it needs.
Weighing your cat’s food is not only essential to prevent obesity. But also to make sure that your cat receives an adequate amount of food for maintenance and growth.
Your cat may also try to trick you into giving you more food than usual. Hence, sticking to a feeding schedule and weighed amounts is always ideal.
Serve The Right Type of Cat Food
If your cat is obese, your main aim is to decrease the number of fats in your cat’s diet. Try to go with balanced kibble foods with lower amounts of fats.
You can skip wet food for a while as it contains high amounts of lipids. Additionally, it is more palpable for your cat, so it will most likely ingest more elevated amounts of wet food rather than dry food.
Mistakes You Can Make When Feeding Your Cat
Feeding All Human Foods To Your Cat
It is not wrong to serve cats human foods. But, Some human foods e.g., Chocolate, are highly toxic for cats. They can make them extremely sick and, in some cases, can also be fatal.
You can see my list of 20 Human Foods Toxic To Cats!
Feeding Your Cat Raw Feeds
Raw foods harbor a large number of microorganisms. All of which can be infectious for your cat and lead to gastrointestinal diseases. Raw Meats and Eggs are at the top of the raw foods list to cause such problems.
For Cat Parents Who Stick With Dry Food:
Providing dry food on its own is okay. The only thing you should take into consideration is the water intake.
Since dry foods only contain 14% moisture, You should ensure your cat gets enough water intake. Provide fresh, clean water at all times for your furry friend.
For Cat Parents Who Stick With Wet Food:
Wet foods are high in water content which is a great advantage. On the other hand, high water activity promotes microbial growth.
For this reason, wet foods are more likely to spoil in a short period. Ensure that you provide fresh wet foods and discard them five days after opening.
The Bottom Line – Always Remember!
Yes, there are a lot of factors that could affect how much to feed a cat. But it’s as simple as this! If your cat is healthy, and has no illness, You only need to change the feeding amount with your cat’s weight and age!
With that said, Always keep in mind the standard feeding amounts and schedule for feeding your cats. Always feel free to change the quantities on your Vet’s recommendation.
Read More Cat Nutrition & Other Guides.