For cat lovers, deciding how much food for a cat might be a headache issue. When choosing a daily menu for cats, you should consider their age, weight, health status, physical activity level, and even environmental temperature.
Besides, nutrition absorption of every cat is not the same for the same meal, so it is highly recommended to learn calories and nutrition facts of each food for your kitty pet and build up a suitable eating routine. Below tips could be useful if you are still wondering “How much I should feed my cat”.
1. Consider if your cat is fat or thin
Obesity can lead to such health issues as diabetes mellitus, joint disease and blood circulation in pets. Normally 1 in 5 cats is obese. In order to know if your cat needs to lose weight, you can check his/ her waist and rib as the below picture:
Source: Purina Nestle
Generally speaking, the body fat percentage of the cat is defined by a score range from 0 to 10. If your pets are between 0-4, they are too skinny or malnutrition (underweight and starving). From 6-10 range means overweight status. Cat’s ideal weight should be at 5.
Adjust feeding schedule based on cat’s demand
Depending on the fact that your kitty pet is thin or fat, you should adjust his/ her food up or down by around 10%. And checking body fat percentage every two or three weeks. But remember do not change the eating routine too often due to the cat’s abnormal metabolism, severe calorie shortage can adversely affect their liver.
2. Consider the cat’s age
Cat’s nutritional needs change at different ages, so you should make sure their food is suitable at every stage. There are 3 main stages when setting up an eating schedule for cat: kitten, adult cat, and old cat.
- Kittens are those in a period after weaned until 12 months old. They need lots of protein and calories for their growth. You should prepare 5 – 6 meals per day as kittens are always hungry while they cannot eat much each time.
- Adult cats are between 1 – 7 years old. Nutrition of their food should be balanced to maintain their normal weight. 2 meals per day are ideal schedule for them.
- Old cats are above 8 years old. They would have several health issues, especially lack of flexibility. Therefore, food for them should contain glucose and fatty acid (you could consult the advice of veterinarian). They need only 1 meal each day.
There are, in addition, special diets for neutered cats, which is fewer calories than in food for normal cats (also consult the advice of the vet).
3. What types of food for cats?
Adult cats with average size need 250 calories per day with a balanced diet: protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamin and mineral. Those nutrients vary based on the cat’s size, weight, and physical activity level.
Firstly, a cat can be seen as an obligate carnivore species, so they need to absorb fat and animal protein. You might think you live meat, but canned meat is still okay, as long as there is enough nutrition in that food.
Secondly, don’t forget the importance of water, especially when your cat eats dry food. Remember to clean the cat bowl and change the water often. You could also prepare a small fountain as entertainment for a cat to increase its water absorption.
Consider between Canned food and Dry food
Dry food might be a very convenient and cost-saving method for your cat diet over wet food. It doesn’t spoil if being left out during the day. And because cats eat a smaller amount of dry food than the wet one, a bag of dry food will last longer compared to a can of wet food.
Both types have essential nutrients for a cat, but dry food often contains more than canned food due to low moisture content in its ingredients. Therefore, if your pet loves dry food, remember to feed them water after that.
For those who are new to this kind of food or still wondering which dry food is good for their kitty, we recommend Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Dry Cat Food. Experienced and liked by lots of kitty owners, it is reviewed 4.5 out of 5 stars by more than 3,200 ratings of Amazon customers. The reason why this cat food is highly rated is that it contains no poultry by-product meal or fillers, no artificial flavors or artificial preservatives, which is very safe for your pet’s health. The food is also very small in size and easy for cats to chew no matter of their age. It turns out to be an excellent option for cats with teeth problems.
Manufacturer of Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Dry Cat Food, besides, ensures that the food is made from real US farm-raised chicken as the #1 ingredient, which means it contains more real animal protein than any other ingredient. Your lovely pet, hence, will have a healthy diet with all-natural components with necessary minerals, vitamins, taurine.
Wet food, however, contains up to 78% water. This is beneficial for cats with urinary, diabetes or kidney problems. Your vet might even recommend adding some wet food to the diet for cat’s digestive health, and also if it is necessary for cats with teeth or mouth issues that make their chewing of dry food a challenge.
Based on a variety of factors such as nutritional aspects (ingredients, vitamin, mineral content), texture and taste of the food, we would suggest Purina Fancy Feast Creamy Delights. Adult cats will have a well-balanced meal with real meat proteins, added vitamins and minerals, and also a small amount of milk to aid their digestive tract moving naturally.
In addition, Purina Fancy Feast Creamy Delights offers 4 flavors for cat’s varied diet - chicken, salmon, tuna and chicken with sauce – each fortified with proper nutrition like vitamin A, E, K, B12, thiamine, riboflavin, etc in each meal. With more than 2,700 reviews and 4.5 out of 5-star rating by Amazon customers, it is certain that cat parents rave about their kitties’ fondness for each flavor.
Combine wet and dry food, in the meanwhile, helps them absorb enough water instead of choosing only the latter. This diverse diet can bring optimal satisfaction for even picky cats
Consider Home-prepared food
Making your own cat food could be an exacting and time-consuming business. Why do we say that? Because you need to strike the right balance of ingredients such as vitamins and minerals, etc., and you have to store the food properly for a happy and healthy animal.
So what does your cat need to eat as an obligate carnivore?
- Animal fats and protein from meat or fish
- Amino acids like taurine and arginine (from meat or fish)
- Minerals, vitamins
Cat needs animal protein, but they also need other ingredients to balance their healthy diet. Carbohydrates like rice and corn in a modest amount are fine. Though carbs are not too necessary for a cat’s diet, a small amount will provide useful energy for them, and more importantly, helps reduce your home cooking cost.
For those who love cooking, however, this might not be a big issue. And you would find more pros than cons when feeding your kitty pet with your homemade food. Firstly, if you cook for your cat by yourself, you will know exactly what he or she is eating, not eating and which nutrients are absorbed into the tiny body. A cat eats healthy food will have better health, healthy cats are happy cats, and they won’t need to see the veterinarian as often. You, therefore, can save a huge amount of vet costs.
Food to avoid in your cat’s diet: fresh milk, grapes, and dried grapes, raw dough, chocolate, onions, and garlic.
Every cat lover wants their lovely pet a healthy and happy status. All you need to know are paying attention to your pet and learning what is good or bad for them. With the above tips, we hope you now can answer the question “How much I should feed my cat”.