Have you ever wondered, “how much should I feed my cat”? Today’s pet parents are much more concerned about their pet’s diet, nutrients, feeding frequency, and calories needed and those spent daily. Measuring these things might seem excessive, but it is a good sign that cat parents care about their pets.
But it is observed that most pet parents are concerned only with the type of food they should offer to their cats. However, it is essential to understand that the quantity of food is also necessary, and as a parent, you should not provide more or less than the required amount of food to your cat.
Your cat’s body needs an adequate amount of all the essential nutrients to make up the body’s requirements. These nutrients include proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and salts. These are the vital nutrients that every cat needs. However, these nutrients should be provided in a fair amount so that your cat does not face any health concerns. Providing less food than the required amount will lead to frailty, and vice versa, lead to obesity.
Around 60% of cats are not offered more or less than America’s required amount of nutrients. And these cats face serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes, muscle and bone problems, and several other conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to identify your cat’s daily caloric requirements and offer the required amount of food.
How Much Should I Feed my Cat?
On today’s menu:
- Factors that affect how much to feed your cat
- How much food should I feed my cat?
- Wet or Dry Food
- How many times should I feed my cat?
Factors that affect how much I feed my cat
Certain factors affect the amount of food you should give your cat. These factors influence the number of calories needed for your cat to carry out essential metabolic processes. These are factors that you should consider before offering food to your cat.
Age is the most common factor that affects the amount of food your cat should eat. Kittens at a young age require more calories because their body is in the development and growth stage. Young kittens need calories to develop muscle, bones and grow in size. However, adult cats don’t need much food because their metabolism is slower than young kitties.
Weight is also an essential factor that determines the amount of food your cat needs. A large body needs a more significant number of calories to function than a small body. Therefore, some large cats like Maine Coons need more calories than some smaller cats.
3. Daily activity status
Daily activity and exercise determine the number of calories your cat needs. For example, an active cat who exercises daily and plays a lot with you spends the whole day moving around needs more calories than an inactive cat. Undoubtedly, cats are notorious for their inert nature, and such cats require a smaller number of calories.
4. Reproductive status
A neutered or spayed cat needs fewer calories than a reproductive cat with intact sexual organs. This is because the sexual activity requires lots of calories that you should provide to your healthy reproductive cat. However, neutered or spayed cats don’t need many calories.
5. Body condition and health
Body condition also determines the amount of food you should offer to your cat. For example, a lean cat needs more energy to gain weight, while an obese cat needs less energy to lose weight. A healthy cat is also known to have a longer lifespan than an unhealthy cat.
How much food should I offer my cat?
There are commonly three models that people follow to feed their cats. These models are feed control, time feeding, and complementary feeding. The most preferred of all is the feed control method. In this method, you calculate the number of calories your cat needs in a day. Your veterinarian helps you in this regard. And you offer only a limited amount of food so that the number of calories does not exceed the required amount. This method prevents your cat from becoming lean obese.
Your veterinarian applies specific formulas considering the factors mentioned above to find out the exact number of calories. However, you should not follow any guidelines to find out the required calories on your own because factors play an essential role in determining the correct number of calories your cat needs.
After finding out the number of calories your cat needs in a day, you should calculate the number of calories mentioned in the cat food. For example, if your cat needs 200 cal/day and your canned food contains 50 cal/can, you need to offer four cans daily to meet the daily calories requirement.
Wet or Dry Food
Pet parents often ask how to choose between wet and dry cat food. Most veterinarians recommend wet foods that contain a large amount of water to keep your cat hydrated. Dry food is also good, and some veterinarians recommend it until you maintain the hydration needs of your cat. The choice ultimately depends on your cat’s preference. Your cat will decide if they want to eat dry food or wet food. In both options, you need to maintain the hydration portion of your cat. Your cat needs to be hydrated in any case.
How many times should I offer food?
You can offer food to your cat from twice to six times a day. Generally, two to three times a day is perfect, depending on the daily activity level.
Your cat needs your attention and care to be healthy and fit. Therefore, you should not let your cat eat freely from the bowl. Similarly, you should not offer food less than the required amount. The best way is to understand the daily calorie needs of your cat and provide a balanced diet containing all the essential nutrients.