Is Your Cat Eating Enough Or Too Little
Throughout your cats life you will need to modify her diet to accommodate changing metabolism and dietary needs. Feel your cats backbone and ribs. If the ribs and backbone show through her skin, she is too thin. If you cant feel the ribs, your cat is likely overweight. Adjust her portions accordingly.
Keeping your cat from becoming obese is much easier than forcing an obese cat to diet. And it will make both you and your cat a lot happier.
Determining How Much To Feed A Cat
Different cats have different nutritional needs based on their size, life stage and more. Here are some factors to consider when deciding how much food your cat should eat.
- Age & Life Stage: Kittens have different nutritional needs than adults or senior cats. Pregnant or nursing cats also have different needs.
- Weight: If your cat is not at her ideal body condition, you may need to adjust what and how much you feed her, says Dr. Callie Harris, DVM.
- Activity Levels: Cats who are active and playful throughout the day may need more calories than those who prefer to spend their time napping.
- Indoor vs. Outdoor: Indoor cats may not get as much exercise as an outdoor cat would, so they need fewer calories. Outdoor cats living in regions with cold winters may need more food in the cold months.
The best way to determine how much food your cat needs is to talk with your veterinarian. They can tell you how much food your cat needs based on the above factors.
They can also help you troubleshoot any problems that may arise, such as your cat eating more or less than usual.
How To Calculate Calories For Weight Gain
Some cats can be too thin and may need to put on some extra pounds. Thin cats have a body condition reflected in a narrowed waist, protruding rib cage, and exposed bony processes of the spine.
Here is an example of how to calculate calories for weight gain. Letâs say you have a 6-pound cat and you want to calculate the energy requirements for weight gain. When we look at Table 1, the basic RER requirements for a 6-pound cat is 149 calories. When you look at Table 2, you see a factor of 1.8 x RER for ideal weight.
The calculation is 149 calories x 1.8 = 268.2 calories. This 6-pound cat needs to eat approximately 268 calories to gain weight.
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How Long Will My Cat Need To Be On A Diet
Most cats will achieve their ideal weight within six to eight months. If the process is taking longer than this, something needs to be changed. A healthy weight loss would be close to one pound per month. Some cats may need to go slower while others may shed the pounds more quickly.
“Most cats will achieve their ideal weight within six to eight months.”
For most cats, the secret to weight loss is a dedicated, committed, and concerned family. Cats do not understand that their excess weight is causing them harm. It is up to us as good stewards to protect them from harm and not inadvertently contribute to their premature death or development of debilitating diseases. Together, you and your veterinary healthcare team can help your cat achieve a healthy body weight and condition safely and successfully.
|Contributors: Krista Williams, BSc, DVM Ernest Ward, DVM
Your Cats Dietary Needs Evolve Over Time
As your cat moves through kittenhood, early adulthood, and beyond, his nutritional needs will change. Meeting those requirements at every phase of life sets the stage for good health.
Your first stop when choosing the right food for your cat? The nutritional adequacy statement.
Usually located on the back of the bag or can, this statement indicates whether or not the food is nutritionally complete and balanced for its intended life stage. The label will read, for example, formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO cat food nutrient profiles for all life stages.
Foods that arent nutritionally complete and balanced will usually be labeled for supplemental feeding only. These foods dont contain the appropriate balance of macronutrients and micronutrients and shouldnt be your cats sole source of nutrition.
While youre looking at the label, check out the feeding instructions as well. For the average house cat, the appropriate feeding instructions are usually already placed on the packaging of the cat food.
The nutritional guidelines on the package will point you in the right direction, though you may need to make some modifications to fit your cats exact needs.
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You Need To Measure Your Cats Weight
So, youve done the visual check, but before you can begin calculating the feeding plan for your puss, you need to know its exact weight. Here are a few tips on how it can be done.
Hopefully, you have electronic scales. Place the basket or a box on the scales and switch it on. You should have it show zero, so the next number will be your cats weight and nothing else. If you have one of those boxes loving felines, it may even be a challenge to hit the button before the furry rascal jumps inside. If so, just weigh the box separately afterward and subtract that figure from the previous result.
There may be an obstacle in figuring out the amount of canned food to feed a cat if it resists getting onto the scales. Theres a graceful solution to that. First, see how much you weigh, then grab the kitty and step onto the scales with the purring troublemaker. Proceed with making the necessary mathematical operations to determine its weight.
Feed For Your Cats Ideal Body Condition
No two cats are born equal. Some breeds are extra-large, while others are naturally petite. Feed your cat an amount of food that helps them maintain their svelte figure, whether theyre a beautifully burly Maine coon or a more slender Siamese. Your vet can help you determine exactly what your cats ideal weight should be based on their breed and age.
If your cat has been packing on the ounces, scale back the amount of food a touch until they reach their ideal weight.
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How Many Calories Should Your Dog Or Cat Eat Daily
As you may already know, your pets nutrition is very important. You want to make sure that you are feeding your dog or cat the right amount of food each day to ensure that they remain healthy. Just like you when you are not eating right, your pet can feel sluggish and gain weight if his nutrition isnt properly maintained. So how do you know how much food your dog or cat should be eating everyday?
An dog that weighs 35 pounds and is fairly active needs about 1000 calories per day to keep his nutrition. And a 20 pound dog that is active needs about 650 calories per day. Do you know how many calories are in your dogs food? The average 1-cup serving of dry dog food has anywhere between 325 and 600 calories. Also, keep in mind all of the treats that you feed your dog. A simple dog bone has about 35-40 calories.
Now, lets talk about cats. You might always just make sure that there is food in your cats bowl. Cats do like to have dry and canned food, but if you do dry food only, always make sure her water bowl is filled. On average, 1-cup of cat food is equal to 300 calories and a 6 ounces of canned cat food is about 250 calories. If your cat weighs 8 pounds, he should be taking in about 240 calories per day to keep his nutrition. So, feeding a full 1-cup serving of dry does set him over the caloric intake for the day. Keep in mind serving sizes when filling up your cats bowl so as to not overfeed him.
How Many Calories Should A Cat Eat Per Day
A healthy adult cat on a maintenance diet requires 264 calories per day. Kittens, pregnant and lactating cats require more calories.
The best way to calculate a cats daily requirements is to calculate your cats resting energy requirements which is the amount of energy expended in a day without any activity it is similar to basal metabolic requirements.
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Monitoring Your Cats Weight
Once you know how much wet food should a cat eat to receive the chosen amount of kcals, taking into account any dry food or other treats you may provide, let it be like that for about a week. You can, of course, make daily weight measurements, but you are unlikely to get visible results over the span of two days, and there can be other factors in play. So, a week should be a more reasonable period for assessing changes and planning further actions.
If the cat gains weight over that week, reduce the calories amount, but by much, go with 10% at a time, setting the new norm for the following week. The loss of weight should be met with a similar increase of calories by 10%.
Since no numbers can be precise for all cats, its up to you to monitor their weight and body condition, adjusting the food amount and calories count consistently. Repeat weighing every one or two weeks to see if any new adjustments are required.
How Should I Begin A Weight Loss Program For My Cat
Theoretically, weight loss seems simple enough: fewer calories in plus more calories out equals weight loss. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. You should never put an obese cat on a diet without veterinary supervision.
“If cats do not eat for as little as two consecutive days, they can develop a life-threatening form of liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis.”
The cat’s physiology is different than humans or dogs and if they do not eat for as little as two consecutive days, they can develop a life-threatening form of liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis . Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination of your cat, and will likely recommend some diagnostic testing to ensure that there are no underlying diseases or obstacles to weight loss for your cat.
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Quick Answer: How Many Calories Should A Senior Cat Eat Per Day
About 50 calories per kilogram per day is enough for the typical indoor cat, Michel says. Adjust that up or down depending on your cats health and activity level. Use portion control. To help your cat maintain or lose weight, you may need to measure out the food and feed half the allowed amount twice daily.
How To Help Your Cat Lose Weight
Cats used to being free-fed dont generally like the transition period between free feeding and meal-prepped-feeding. Your cat will complain and beg for food when their food bowl is empty, especially if they arent used to seeing it that way. One way you can get your cat to exercise more is to hide bowls of food around the house. In the wild, cats would work off the calories by hunting. Hiding small portions of food around the house can help your cat work off its calories by looking for hidden food. If hiding food every day sounds like a chore you dont want to add to your repertoire, consider getting a feeding toy. These toys have small holes on them, and the cats must bat the toy and roll it around to get the food out from inside. These methods simulate hunting for your cat and allow them to work for their food much like their wild ancestors would have. If neither is doable for you, consider playing with your cat more! Chaser toys and laser pointers are a great way to get your cat moving. You can even get automatic laser pointer toys that you can set up to help your cat exercise even when youre away. But just like people, most cats would prefer some quality playtime with their humans over a robotic toy.
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Weigh Your Cat To Ensure A Healthy Rate Of Weight
Regardless of diet, limiting access is the key. And a scale to accurately weigh the cat on is handy. Peoples digital scales can be used by weighing the person with and without holding the kitty. Monthly weights at the same time of day are sufficient.
We want about a pound a month of weight loss, not more. Sudden weight loss in a cat can result in serious health issues. Weight loss is hard to accomplish in a cat, no short cuts exist, and it takes an active process to achieve.
Just like people, it is an individualized program for each kitty and dealing with the behavioral consequences of a hungry cat can be one of the largest challenges. The hardest thing for people to accept is that a hungry cat is okay and healthy, it does not require fixing despite what the kitty may think.
Dr. Matt McCormick, DVM
Companion Animal Clinic has been serving Blacksburg, Virginia and surrounding Montgomery and Christiansburg communities since 1974. We are an AAHA accredited veterinary hospital and provide quality, professional care for dogs, cats, exotics, and small mammals. Learn more about our amazing team.
Additional Factors That May Alter Your Calculation
Spaying/Neutering: Cats that have been fixed produce fewer hormones, like testosterone and estrogen. This causes a dip in their metabolism and when testosterone levels decrease, muscle production is more difficult in both males and females.
- To determine the calorie needs of a fixed cat, use this equation: RER x 1.2
Intact Adult: Intact cats retain the hormones that fixed cats have lost, so they are less likely to gain weight. In fact, they usually have a much higher metabolism than fixed cats, which significantly increases their calorie needs.
- To determine the calorie needs of an intact adult cat, use this equation: RER x 1.4
Sedentary/Obesity Prone: Is your cat lazy but at a healthy weight? If they spend most of their time sleeping or theyre up performing routine tasks, then your cat falls into this category. If your cat parkours to the food bowl twice a day, then they probably dont fit this category.
- To measure the calorie needs of a sedentary cat, use the RER you already calculated.
Weight Loss: If your cat has been cleared by your veterinarian for weight loss, use the following equation and run the results by your vet for verification: RER for ideal weight x 0.8
Weight Gain: Dont put your cat on a weight gain diet without checking with your veterinarian first. Many people are unfamiliar with how to determine the body score of a cat and may think a healthy weight cat is too thin.
Kittens Under 4 Months: Tiny, growing kittens have high calorie needs.
Best Choices On Ketogenic Diet
When it comes to dietary protein, eggs are one of the best choices on a ketogenic diet. You can eat up to three large eggs daily, or you can choose to include them as a side dish. While youre on a ketogenic diet, its important to keep in mind that the amount of fat in eggs can influence your blood sugar level. If you have diabetes, you may want to limit your egg intake.
A small egg contains about 0.45g of carbohydrates. As far as the keto diet is concerned, this amount is an unrealistic limit for most people. The average adult should eat about twenty to fifty eggs a day, or else theyll be tempted to overeat. This is why the best option is a well-formulated keto diet that incorporates a variety of foods. This way, youll be able to stay on the ketogenic diet without worrying about your intake of calories.
The purpose of the Keto Diet is to help you lose weight by eating a healthy diet.
Keto Diet is safe with the doctor’s opinion.
You can lose 3 pounds per week with Keto Diet.
Keto Diet is safe for most people and it’s suitable for men and women.
You can lose 10 or 12 pounds per month with Keto Diet.
I Have More Than One Cat But Only One Is Overweight How Can I Feed Them Different Foods
While you may come up with more creative solutions to this problem, here are a few suggestions to start:
- Feed the cats separately – this is the ideal solution for multi-cat households. Feed the overweight cat her diet in one room while feeding the other cat her food elsewhere. After allowing them to eat for a specific time, generally fifteen to thirty minutes, remove any uneaten food until the next feeding.
- Feed the normal weight cat up high where the overweight cat cannot go.
- Depending on the size discrepancy between your cats, you can devise different ways to allow the smaller cat access to food where the larger cat cannot fit. You can use a safety chain or hook and eye closure on a door, so the door opens just enough for the thin cat to get in. Alternatively, you can use a large box and cut two small doors in it to allow the smaller cat in to eat.
- There are now commercial feeding stations that only open when it recognizes your cats microchip!
- Never leave food out while you are away. You cannot control who eats what when you are not around.
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