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How Many Calories To Feed Cat

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How To Get A Cat To Lose Weight

How Much Food Does My Cat Need?

In order to get a cat to lose weight, you will need to slowly reduce the amount of food you give them. A good way to do this is to reduce the number of calories you give them until your only feeding them enough to maintain their resting energy requirements. Introducing a diet this way will be easier on your cats body, and it will make it less stressful for your cat to lose the weight.

If you want a quick way to figure out how much to feed your cat in order for them to lose weight choose the weight loss option from the cat calorie calculator above. If on the other hand you just want a rough calorie range then you should feed your cat 18 to 20 calories per pound in order for them to lose weight.

Otherwise, if you prefer to do the calculation by hand, you can figure out your cats resting energy requirement, and that will be the number of calories they need to eat each day in order to lose weight.

Calculate Calories Currently Fed

Take your cats total daily intake of food, treats, and supplements and weigh everything using a scale.

Use the labels to calculate the number of calories your cat is consuming right now.

Now take a look at the label to see if its the correct number of calories recommended based on your cats weight.

Is it more? Is it less?

Why Do Cats Need Wet Food

Many veterinarians recommend that cats eat a diet of exclusively or mostly wet food. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, cats are obligate carnivores and are not designed to ingest many carbohydrates . Dry food will automatically contain many more carbohydrates than wet food. For many cats, dry food consumption leads to obesity.

Secondly, most cats are not big water drinkers and tend to keep themselves on the edge of dehydration. Wet food naturally provides more water in the diet, which supports the kidneys, urinary tract, and overall health.

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How Much Should A Cat Weigh

In order to figure out a healthy weight for a cat, you have to consider their breed and their age. First, a cats breed will influence their final adult weight more than any other factor. For example, a small dwarf Munchkin cat will weigh considerably less than a Main Coon cat.

For the most part, though an average domestic cat should weigh anywhere from 8 to 12 pounds when they are an adult. Of course, every cat is different and just like with people some will be big boned and others will have a lighter frame.

A good way to judge if your cat is overweight or underweight is to inspect their body shape. If their ribs are showing and their midsection is sunken in, then they are definitely underweight. Otherwise, if you cant even feel their ribs and their midsection is bulging out, then they would generally be classified as overweight.

What Sort Of System Should I Use For Feeding My Cat

How Much Wet Food to Feed a Cat Every Day

The way you feed your cat can be almost as important as how much you feed them.

In the past, many people have given their cats free choice , free-feeding, or ad libitum i.e. offering them as much in their food bowl as they wish to eat. In particular, a bowl of dry food has often been continually topped up, allowing the cat to eat this whenever they wish to do so.

It is now recognised that feeding cats using this method is likely to lead to cats eating too much, leading them to be overweight or obese. Instead, cat carers should calculate the correct daily amount to feed, and either weigh this amount daily, or use a feeding container to give the measured amount every day as their cats food supply.

Many people already know these facts but they are still left with the question: how much should I feed my cat? This article will help you discover how much food you should be feeding, so that you can ensure that your cat stays at their optimal body weight.

Whichever method is used to calculate how much a cat should be fed, it is impossible to generalise for every individual cat, because of several variables that are not the same between different animals.

The first three variables can be factored into calculations:

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Do I Need To Be Concerned About Offering Treats And Snacks To A Mature Senior Or Geriatric Cat

It is important to include treats and snacks in your discussion with your veterinarian about appropriate food choices for your mature cat. Unfortunately, many cat treats are just as unhealthy as the ‘junk food’ people consume!

“Snacks from the table are not balanced at all and may contain high levels of fat and sodium.”

It is best to choose commercial treats that reflect the nutrient balance of the chosen senior ration. Snacks from the table are not balanced at all and may contain high levels of fat and sodium.

With just a bit of planning and monitoring, you can lay the nutritional foundation for your cat’s healthy senior years.

Contributors: Krista Williams, BSc, DVM Robin Downing, DVM, CVPP, CCRP, DAAPM

How Many Calories Should I Feed My Cat

On average, cats should eat between 20 35 calories per pound of weight. The number can be higher depending if they re an indoor cat or outdoor cats. Outdoor cats will need to eat more calories to account for their exercise levels.

So for example, if you own an 18 pound Maine Coon cat, you would need to feed them between 360 630 calories of food for their weight.

Below is a Cat Feeding Chart By Weight And Calories:

Cat Weight
20 lbs 200 calories

This is not an exact science though, and every cat has different needs. Your veterinarian can help you answer this question for your cat. However, you can also use this helpful calculator to determine the right amount of calories for your feline depending on their size and determine how much to add or subtract if the cat needs to adjust its weight. This chart also helps you find calories in many typical cat foods.

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Common Feline Health Problems And Their Ties To Diet

There is a very strong and extremely logical connection between the way that we are currently feeding our obligate carnivores and many of the life-threatening diseases that afflict them.

Diabetes: Diabetes is a very serious and difficult to manage disease that is not uncommon in cats. We do not know all of the causes of this complex disease but what we do know is that many diabetic cats cease needing insulin or have their insulin needs significantly decrease once their dietary carbohydrate level is decreased to a more species-appropriate level than that found in many commercial foods.

Given this fact, and given what we know about how the cat processes carbohydrates, it is not a stretch to say that high carbohydrate diets could very well be a significant factor in causing diabetes in some cats.

Please see this paper discussing the elevated blood glucose in cats after eating a high carbohydrate meal:

There are countless cases of successful diabetic remission when cat caregivers remove all dry food and all high carbohydrate canned food from their cats diet.

In addition to the issue of carbohydrates and how they affect the blood sugar level of some cats, dry food is very calorie dense, is very palatable, and is usually free-fed. This often leads to obesity.

Fat cells produce a substance that makes the other cells in the body resistant to insulin. This promotes the diabetic state.

Brewers rice, corn gluten meal, pork fat , chicken by-product meal

About Dr Pete Wedderburn Dvm

How Much Should You Feed Your Cat?

Dr Pete Wedderburn qualified as a vet from Edinburgh in 1985 and has run his own 4-veterinarian companion animal practice in County Wicklow, Ireland, since 1991. Pete is well known as a media veterinarian with regular national tv, radio and newspaper slots, including a weekly column in the Daily Telegraph since 2007. Pete is known as “Pete the Vet” on his busy Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, regularly posting information on topical subjects and real-life cases from his clinic. He also write a regular blog at His latest book: Pet Subjects, was published by Aurum Press in 2017.

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Figuring Calories For Your Cat

The calorie estimates provided here are simply government estimates based on research. For the most part, these are the same figures that cat food companies use when they give feeding suggestions on their labels. There are more precise ways to figure how many calories your cat needs per day but they involve a little math on your part.

Most adult domestic cats should ideally weight around 10 to 12 pounds. You can use your cats ideal weight for this formula to determine how many calories to feed per day:

Ideal weight in pounds divided by 2.2 will give you your cats ideal weight in kilograms

Calculate your cats Resting Energy Requirements based on this ideal weight then use this formula:

70 x ¾ or 70 x

Or, you can use this formula:

Calculate your cats Resting Energy Requirements based on his ideal weight then use this formula:

RER in kcal/day = 30 + 70

Both of these formulas will give you the same result.

To help your cat lose weight you can use multiply the Resting Energy Rate by 0.8 to find out how many calories your cat needs per day.

If your cats ideal weight is 12 pounds you would divide 12 by 2.2 and get 5.45 kilograms for your cats ideal weight. Then multiply by 30 and add 70 to get 233.6 calories per day. If your cat needed to lose some weight to reach this ideal weight, you would multiply 233 times 0.8 to get 186 calories per day.

How Many Calories Does My Cat Need: Calculating A Cats Calories Per Day

Assuming your cat is at a healthy weight and average activity level, you can use a formula to estimate the amount of calories your cat needs in a day:

Calorie needs = 1.2

A healthy, 10-pound cat with an average activity level will need to eat around 260 calories a day to maintain his weight. This amount is only an estimate and should be based on the catâs needs – if he is overweight, he will need less calories. If he is very active, he will need more. If this is a pregnant or nursing cat, she will need a lot more calories. Sick pets, such as those with cancer or kidney disease, will likely need more calories as well. Feeding kittens is a little more complicated because of how quickly they grow. Your veterinarian will be able to discuss ideal ways of meeting your catâs calorie needs further if needed.

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How Much To Feed A 5 Pound Cat

265 calories 451 calories

A large 13 pound cat will need to eat 424 calories each day just to maintain their current body weight. If you think your 13 pound cat might be a pound or two overweight you can reduce the amount you feed them to 265 calories per day until they lose the weight. A large breed cat might be slightly underweight at 13 pounds. In that case, you should feed your cat 451 calories a day until they reach a healthy body weight.

Transition To Better Cat Food


Chances are youre feeding kibble.

59.5% of cats in the US are overweight and obese. 82% of us feed kibble .

Instead of cutting calories, transition to better quality cat food first.

Kibble is very low in moisture and meat-based protein. AKA nutrition that your cat needs.

So feeding less kibble does not solve your cats weight issue.

Feeding less kibble will further rob your cat of the nutrition that he needs.

Additionally, overweight cats are at high risk for fatty liver disease if they lose too much weight too quickly.

Heres what I recommend:

Cats are extremely sensitive to dietary changes. Any new food should be introduced very slowly.

If you switch food too quickly, you will make your cat sick.

If you prefer to have everything in one place, check out my Switch Your Cat to Raw eBook Course.

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You Can Also Calculate How Much To Feed Your Cat By Reading The Label

Most commercial pet foods include a guide to feeding quantities on the label of the packaging. Typically there is a chart, with the cats weight in the left column, and the recommended amount of food in the right column e.g 4kg and 65g for dry food, or 4kg and 2 sachets or pouches for wet food, a mixture, such as 4kg and 30g dry food plus one sachet of wet food.

Sometimes there are different recommendations for active and inactive cats, neutered or entire cats, and for cats that are obese, overweight, or at their correct body weight.

These recommended amounts represent the manufacturers calculation of the correct amount of daily food for an average cat.

Often, a range of recommended quantities is given, rather than a single specified amount. This is recognition of the fact that it is impossible to say precisely how much any individual cat should be fed: there is always variation based on a number of factors.

There is an untrue myth that pet food manufacturers deliberately overstate the recommended feeding amounts on the label in an attempt to make people use more pet food. In fact, the recommended feeding amounts do represent a reasonable estimate that is useful for many cat owners who may not be able to calculate correct feeding quantities using other methods.

How Much Should I Feed My Cat To Promote Weight Loss

In order to answer this question, your veterinarian will examine your cat to determine its ideal body weight, based on its body size and build. Formulas and charts have been developed to assist your veterinarian in determining this weight, as well as the number of calories required to achieve it safely.

In general, the average domestic cat should weigh approximately 8-10 pounds . Based on your cat’s degree of obesity, your veterinarian may recommend an initial target weight that is higher than the ideal weight. For example, if your cat is 18 pounds , you can calculate its ideal weight to be 10 to 12 pounds , but a more realistic initial goal may be 15 pounds . After the cat loses this weight, a re-evaluation will be made to determine whether further weight loss is needed.

Here are some general guidelines for daily calorie needs based on your cats weight:

Ideal weight
12 230

Note: This is a general guideline only and is not meant as a substitute from your veterinarian’s specific recommendations. If your cat fails to lose weight on this amount of calories, the total will need to be reduced further.

“The amount of food that is necessary to provide this number of calories will depend on the calorie content of the food.”

For many cats, the best way to lose weight is with a canned diet food fed several times per day, rather than leaving food down all of the time. One of the reasons canned diet foods work better is because finicky felines often prefer wet food to dry.

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Calorie Requirements For Cats

High-calorie cat food comprises well-balanced nutrients, with protein as the primary ingredient. Also, it is free of artificial flavors and preservatives. We all know how picky our cats can be about the taste, smell, and texture of their food. And if the cat is for some reason not feeling like its usual self, then these senses are heightened even more.

There are several reasons why a cat or kitten could be undernourished, and you may need the assistance of high-calorie cat food.

The following is a list of reasons and circumstances when your cat could require high-calorie cat food:

  • A rescued cat or kitten that is severely malnourished
  • A frail or elderly cat
  • A cat that has lost weight due to sickness
  • A cat that has undergone surgery and is now in the recovery stage
  • A cat that’s a picky malnourished eater
  • A cat that might not have eaten for several days for various reasons such as being lost, relocated, or surviving a natural disaster
  • A cat that is suffering from stress and anxiety and
  • A cat that is recovering from dental treatment.

Determine How Many Calories Are In Your Cats Food And Treats

How Much to Feed a Cat (the Right Way Using Body Condition Score)

You can find this information on the food package or online. In general, dry food has more calories per ounce than canned food. You may see the calorie listing as âcalorieâ or as âkilocalorie,â which is the same thing. Once you know the calories in what you are feeding, you can figure out how much your cat needs. Treats should account for less than 10% of your catâs calorie intake.

Every food has a unique calorie count. Take human food, for example: 1 cup of cooked green beans has about 44 calories, but a cup of macaroni salad is around 360 calories. Cat food is the same way in that some formulas are more calorie dense than others .

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How Do I Find The Right Nutritious Food For My Cat

This part is, shall we say, a little complicated.

If you look at the back of a can of cat food, youll see the ingredients listed the same way they are on human food: by weight, most to least. However, the way this weight is distributed in cat food varies from wet to dry food because of the moisture or lack thereof.

To get to the bottom line, you need to look at the Guaranteed Analysis, which gives you the amounts of the following:

  • crude protein
  • ash
  • moisture

Without understanding those key components, your cat may not be getting enough of what they actually need in their food. Food is more than just about flavor!

In addition to those components, additional calculations are required to find the content of the food as it relates to nutritional recommendations.

So you have a couple of choices. If you like math, whip out your phone calculator and use the info found here to calculate the nutrients youre looking at. If youre not a math person, you can use the tool located here to do the calculations.

Crude Protein

Theres a reason your outdoor kitty brings you gifts of dead mice and birds, and why they love to go fishing. Felines are carnivores, and they crave protein. They may be able to stomach tiny amounts of dairy as a treat, but their bodies are not built to process dairy and vegetable matter. The Association of American Feed Control Officials recommends a diet of at least 26% protein for cats, but most cat foods contain more.

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