Cats are notorious for begging their owners for food as soon as they can see the bottom of their food bowl. Although it may be tempting to give in to their sweet pleas, doing so regularly can lead to overfeeding. When you feed your cat too much, it can lead to health issues, including weight problems. So how much is the right amount to feed your cat? We’ve got all the information you need on feeding amounts and schedules for your cat!
Amount to Feed Your Cat
The amount of food that your cat should be fed at each meal time depends on a lot of different factors. No two cats are alike, which means it’s possible to have multiple cats. They all need different amounts of food put into their bowls. When determining how much to feed your cat, take these factors into consideration.
How old your cat is can affect how much you should feed them. Kittens require more calories than older cats. That’s something to keep in mind when portioning out food.
Your cat’s breed can determine their size, which will factor into how much food they need. For example, a Maine Coon is a very large cat who will need much more food than a smaller-framed cat, such as a Devon Rex. You may also be interested in the Selkirk Rex. Plus, some cats may be longer or taller than others of the same breed, which could lead to them needing more food as well.
If your cat is very active, they will need more nutrients to keep them going throughout the day when compared to their more sedentary counterparts. Another factor to consider with activity level is whether your cat is indoor or outdoor. If your cat spends time outside, its activity level is likely higher than a cat who spends its time inside.
Body and Health Conditions
If your cat is currently overweight, they will need fewer calories in their day. This is partly because they need to lose weight but also because they often aren’t as active as lighter cats. Also, certain illnesses can cause your cat to have a higher or lower metabolic rate, which can play a part in how much food they need.
Also, if you have a cat who is currently pregnant or nursing, you need to factor that into her diet as well. She will need more calories than she typically takes in so that she can fuel herself and her kittens as well.
Measure Out Their Food
After you’ve considered the above factors into your cat’s diet, it’s time to translate that into an amount of food. If you’re purchasing commercially made cat food, the food likely has a measurement on it that’s the recommended serving. These servings are meant as a guideline or estimate to meet the average of any cat who eats the food. They can be a good starting point; it’s important to adjust the measured amount based on your cat’s personal needs.
Sometimes, it’s easiest to use a cat feeding chart to determine how much your cat should be eating. However, even these can be estimates. The best thing to start with is knowing how many calories your cat should be eating. The average indoor cat should be fed around 167 to 250 calories a day, which comes to about a third of a cup or a half cup of most dry foods. If your cat prefers wet, canned food, it should have around 5.5 ounces a day, or 150 to 200 calories.
Again, these are starting points. If you are worried your cat is getting too much or not enough food, talk to their vet about how much they should be eating. The biggest key is to make sure you’re measuring out their food. Most commercially made cat foods will tell you how many calories per kilogram of food, which you can use to determine the right weight of food for your kitty.
If you don’t have a digital kitchen scale, you can start out by using measuring cups. However, measuring cups won’t give you an exact amount every time. Using a digital kitchen scale will allow you to accurately weigh out your cat’s proper portion of food, allowing you to feed them the right amount every time!
How Often to Feed Your Cat
Not that you know how much to feed your cat, it’s important to know how many times a day your cat should be fed as well. The truth is, the answer to this question can vary based on the cat and even who you ask. However, most experts agree you should spread your cat’s daily caloric intake over at least two meals per day. Some cats prefer smaller meals, adding up to around six feedings a day.
The most important part of determining how often to feed your cat is being consistent about the number of times and how much food is fed. Don’t just feed your cat because their bowl is empty. Setting your cat up on a food schedule is the best way to keep consistent.
Also, having a regular schedule with your cat’s feeding can help you notice a change in their eating habits. If they are eating more or less than normal, it can be an early sign that something is going on with their health. These are signs you won’t catch if you aren’t consistent with a feeding schedule!
What About Treats?
Of course, when your kitty is being good, you want to reward them with one of its favorite treats. When it comes to sprinkling in these snacks during the day, it’s important to remember to keep treat consumption at no more than ten percent of your cat’s daily caloric intake.
Also, when you give your cat treats, remember to consider that in the rest of their feedings throughout the day. Although a few calories here and there aren’t a big deal, if you’re consistently giving your cat ten percent of their daily calories in treats but not feeding less at meal time, you’re overfeeding them by ten percent! This can lead to weight gain, which can lead to health issues.
It’s best to keep an eye on these extra calories.
How to Make Feeding Your Cat Easier
One of the easiest ways to feed your cat the right amount at the right time is by getting them an automatic feeder. There are many varieties on the market today. There are many that you can set up to feed a specific amount at a specific time.
Also, if you have multiple cats who eat different amounts, you can even get an auto feeder that only opens when the correct microchipped cat approaches the bowl. This will keep your cats from eating one another’s food! Feeding your cat doesn’t have to be a chore!
Your cat’s diet is as unique as they are, and it should be treated that way. When determining how much you should feed your cat, make sure you factor in aspects like their size, activity, and overall health. Plus, make sure you aren’t overfeeding or feeding too often. At the end of the day, consistency is the biggest part of making sure you’re feeding your cat how you should!