How Much and How Often Should You Feed Your Cat

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Cat eating a treat from owner's hand
Photo by Piotr Musiol on Unsplash

There are plenty of us with kittens and cats as pets, and there are perhaps just as many who want our feline friends to live long and happy lives. A big factor in our cats’ lifespan is centered around their food intake, particularly what they eat and how much of it. However, a lot of pet owners don’t think about each cat’s individual needs and just guess when giving him or her a dinner plate. Just guessing can be dangerous for a cat’s health, though, and can cause problems ranging from malnutrition to obesity, which over 57% of pet cats in the United States struggle with.

How Much To Feed a Cat

A lot of us like to base our cats’ caloric intake on the recommended serving sizes listed on the labels of cat food bags, but these serving sizes are not actually recommended for every type of cat. Factors like a cat’s age, breed size and activity level play a part in deciding how much food he or she will need since, for example, kittens and juvenile cats will need more calories to grow healthily while senior cats with low energy will need much less to keep a low body weight. On top of that, the natural size of a cat comes into play since larger breeds will need more calories while more petite breeds will need less.

For healthy, active, adult cats, it is recommended to give about 30 calories of food per pound of body weight a day. So, for example, a healthy, active, eight-pound cat should eat about 240 calories a day. For indoor cats that are older and not as active, scale back the food intake by about one-fourth to one-third, and for outdoor or younger, highly active cats, add about one-fourth to one-third more calories of the total amount calculated for the cat’s body weight.

Another important factor to consider is whether or not a cat is pregnant or nursing; these cats will need to eat one and half times more than they normally do.

How Much Dry Food To Feed a Cat

Cat eating food from a bowl

Felice P Wolke on Unsplash

After you figure out how many calories a cat needs, you also need to figure out what to feed a cat. Dry food is the most common staple for cats and kittens since it has a high nutritional value within a lower total of calories compared to wet cat food.

However, feeding your cat only dry food can cause problems because cats are genetically “trained” to get most of their daily water intake from their food, and dry food obviously does not have enough water content in it to keep a cat healthy. That being said, it is recommended that owners feed their cats a diet of about two-thirds dry food to one-third wet food while the total calories of both types still equal the cats’ daily recommended calories.

How Much Wet Food To Feed a Cat

While it is recommended that owners give their cats a mix of dry and wet food, some cats tend to prefer wet food alone, and feeding just wet food can be fine as long as it is a brand that offers a lot of nutritional value.

How Often To Feed a Cat

“How often should I feed my cat?” is a common question asked by pet owners new and experienced alike. However, the answer is that as long as you are feeding your cat only his or her daily caloric intake, it doesn’t matter how often you feed the cat.

Some cats prefer to graze all day long and some like eating at set meal times. Pay attention to what your cat specifically wants and, when in doubt, just feed him or her twice daily.

Cat feeder

Using an Automated Cat Feeder

For owners that don’t like measuring out cat food deliberately by hand every day, there are timed cat feeders that can help. These machine-like feeders will dish out the exact amount of food your cat needs at times you can set, making your job much easier.

Take, for example, an Easy Feed Automatic Feeder, which has a six-liter food storage capacity and can dish out 50 different portion sizes. A cat feeder like this makes it easy to give your cat the right amount of food on a daily basis, but it can also be used when you want to travel or leave your kitty at home for long periods of time without worry.

Whatever and however you feed your cats, be sure to give them the right portion sizes for their needs and they will be sure to live long and healthy lives.

About the Author

Cat eating a treat from owner's hand


Kari is a long-time pet lover and owner. She has experience raising cats, dogs, rabbits, and aquatic life. Whenever she's not writing, she's probably baking homemade dog treats or camping with her family and their own four-legged friends![...] Author Details

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