How Much Wet Food To Feed A Cat Every Day
Jenna Stregowski, RVT has worked in veterinary medicine for more than two decades. Her veterinary experience ranges from routine wellness care and preventive medicine to emergency and specialty care, where she has performed duties ranging from specialized nursing to clinical administration. Jenna has been writing about pet care for over 10 years, including for publications like DVM 360 and DogTime.
As veterinarians increasingly recommend wet food diets for cats, owners are faced with many decisions. Much like dry food, it can be difficult to determine what kind of wet food is best for your cat. Once you find the right type of food for your cat, you need to figure out how much wet food to feed your cat.
How Often And How Much Should You Feed Your Kitten
Its important to feed your tiny newcomer small portions at regular intervals, up to 6 times a day. Some veterinarians prefer free-feeding, meaning providing unlimited kitten food all day long, tapering off to meal eating at around four to six months of age. Free-feeding has the benefit of reducing stomach distention resulting from eating too fast and is helpful to slow-growing kittens. However, this may not be the best practice for obese kittens, who would benefit more from measured portions as recommended by the food manufacturer. Preventing obesity to start with is a lot easier than having to deal with it when it becomes a problem.
Feeding Schedule For Your Kitten
Many people feed their new kitten by simply filling a bowl with dry food and leaving the food available the entire day. However, establishing a feeding schedule for your kitten is a good idea. A feeding schedule for your kitten allows you to control the kittens diet more easily and make sure your kitten does not overeat and gain too much weight.
Your new kitten should eat three times daily. Morning, afternoon, and evening is a good choice. You can arrange the schedule to fit in with your own routine, although it is best to keep a consistent routine from day to day.
Use the feeding guidelines on the food label as a starting point to determine how much to feed your kitten. Split up the daily portion into three equal parts and feed 1/3 at each feeding. The feeding guidelines provide a starting point but youll need to monitor your cats body condition and adjust the feeding amount accordingly. If your cat is gaining too much weight, decrease the amount of food. Conversely, increase the amount of food offered if your cat is too thin or is not gaining weight as expected.
Encouraging your kitten to exercise may not be a problem. However, as your new kitten ages, it may become more difficult to get him to exercise. Some cats do become couch potatoes and these cats are at risk of becoming overweight or even obese. Here are some tips that you can use in feeding your kitten that may aid in keeping your kitten lean.
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Week One Feeding Schedule
A kitten typically weighs about 3 to 3.7 oz. at birth but will gain weight rapidly from nursing. For the first several weeks of life, a newborn kitten will depend entirely on its mother to provide it with food. Its eyes and ears are sealed shut when it’s born, so it will rely on the pheromones its mother gives off to find milk and warmth. Most kittens do just fine without human intervention, but if a kitten needs to be bottle-fed, either because the mother cat is absent, ill, or rejects the kitten, you’ll want to weigh the kitten regularly to make sure its weight reflects a healthy and normal growth rate of a kitten.
A kitten will nurse for about 45 minutes at a time every 2 to 3 hours for the first week of life. The rest of the time will be spent sleeping. Kittens that are bottle-fed should consume about a tablespoon, or 15 ml, of special kitten formula at each feeding. This is very time consuming for someone who is bottle-feeding a newborn kitten, so if at all possible, you will want to try to keep the kitten with its mother or a surrogate lactating cat who can nurse it.
What To Feed Your Kitten
Kittens have nutritional needs that are different than those of mature cats. Feed your kitten a food that is made specifically for kittens. Pet food labels are required* to carry a statement identifying the life stage for which the food is intended. Choose a food that is intended for growth.
Also look for a food that has been substantiated by a food trial. The means of substantiation will be stated on the label too. Foods substantiated through a food trial are preferable to those substantiated via laboratory analysis or through comparison with a similar product.
As for what to feed your kitten when it comes to choosing canned or dry food, kittens can do well eating either. Each has advantages. Canned food provides more moisture than dry, which can be useful in keeping your kitten well hydrated. This may become very important for your cat later in life. Dry food tends to be more convenient to feed and can be left for a longer period in the bowl without having to worry about spoilage.
Dry food does tend to have a higher carbohydrate content than some canned foods, which means that your cat may gain weight easier on dry food than wet, if allowed to overeat. However, cats can gain excess weight on either dry or canned food. Obesity is currently the most common nutritional disease seen in cats. Feeding your cat to remain lean is an important part of keeping your cat healthy.
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Feeding Your Cat At Different Ages & Stages
A cat’s feeding habits will change as they age. Their nutritional needs will, too. “We know that kittens and reproducing cats, queens specifically, have higher nutrient needs than adult cats at maintenance,” said Cailin Heinze, VMD, MS, DACVN, and Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist. Beyond that, Heinze said there is not much research that has been done to tell pet owners what a one-year-old cat needs versus a much older cat in terms of nutrients. “There are a lot of senior cat diets out there, but there are no standards by which those diets have to be designed to meet,” Heinze says.
According to Heinze, it’s possible your older cat might benefit from a senior food, but also possible that they will not. Her best advice is remembering that your cat’s diet is going to depend on your specific animal and making a plan for what nutrients they need at that stage of their life.
Your cat’s weight and health issues will also play a role in determining what and how often they should eat. Asking your veterinarian for guidance, especially if they are on a therapeutic diet, is always an option or you can use a cat food calculator to select a food that is best.
Whiskers Recommended Daily Amount
Whiskers recommend giving a 10-week kitten either:
- 2 and a half pouches of their wet food, or
- 1 and a half pouch of wet food and 25 grams of their dry kitten food
Their wet pouches weigh 100 grams. So this means you should be giving your kitty :
- 250 grams of wet food, or
- 150 grams of wet food and 25 grams of dry.
From looking at the data, both Royal Canin and Whiskers recommend similar amounts, as youd expect. Its important to keep in mind that no two kittens are the same though. Different breeds, sizes, levels of activity, affect how much a kitten will eat.
If your 10-week old is eating a drastically different amount to whats recommended, thats when you have cause for concern and should check in with your vet. If they are within a sensible range, you have nothing to worry about!
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General Feeding Guidelines For Different Ages Of Cats
How Often Should You Feed a Pregnant or Nursing Cat?
Due to the demand on their bodies for nutrients, I suggest leaving food out at all times. Make sure you are providing enough calories for the increase in metabolism they are experiencing during pregnancy and nursing.
How Often Should You Feed a Kitten?
Because of the nutrient requirements for growth and high energy demand, leave food out at all times for kittens up to six months old. You should only feed kittens a diet specifically formulated for them so that they are getting the proper amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Kitten-specific food is designed to be nutrient-dense. This allows them to get the needed nutrients and calories in smaller amounts.
How Often Should You Feed an Adolescent Cat?
For cats between the age of six months to one-year-old, I suggest feeding at least twice daily but again monitor total calories for the day.
How Often Should You Feed an Adult Cat?
For adult cats over one year old, in most cases feeding at least twice daily is ideal. But if need be, once daily is acceptable. This can be impacted by certain health issues, such as diabetes, where it is critical that a cat eats prior to receiving insulin.
How Often Should You Feed a Senior Cat?
How To Calculate How Much Wet Food To Feed A Cat
Sharing your life with a cat is certainly rewarding. Theres nothing quite like cozying up with your four-legged fluffball after a long days work.
But being a pet parent carries with it a lot of responsibility, too, especially when it comes to determining how much food to feed a cat. Feeding cats is more complicated than simply ladling out a few kibbles here and there you need to consider several factors, especially if you choose to give your cat wet food. Determining how much wet food to feed a cat can get complicated, but were here to help.
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How Much Should A 10
Want some reassurance that your kitten is eating enough and developing normally? Want to know how much should a 10-week old kitten eat, and how much they should weigh?
Heres everything you need to know about 10-week old kittens, and some dietary recommendations from top cat food manufacturers
How much should a 10-week old kitten eat?
How Much To Feed A Cat
As a general rule, start by using the feeding instructions on the back of the cat food packet as a guide to how much to feed your cat. These instructions will be broken down into different amounts depending on your cats age and weight.
However, your cats lifestyle is a factor that needs to be taken into consideration, so you should not rely on this information alone. Youll need to monitor the effects of your cats diet over a period of weeks and adjust accordingly if your cat is losing weight or gaining additional kilos. This process may take some time, but if youre careful and patient, youll be able to find the best amount for your individual cats health and well-being, and avoid overfeeding. Talk to your local Greencross Vets if youre unsure of how much you should be feeding your cat.
Remember that not all cat foods are created equal and choosing a super premium cat food will mean that a smaller serving gives your cat a complete and balanced diet, and also provide the best results for your feline friends overall health. Use our Cat Food Finder Tool or talk to your friendly local Petbarn team for help and advice about choosing the best food for your cat.
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What About Feeding Multiple Cats
There is an automatic chip feeder that registers to your cats microchip. It opens when the cat approaches the feeder, and it closes when the cat walks away. It only opens for the cat whose microchip is registered.
You can buy the automatic chip feeders on Amazon . There is a stainless steel plate, sold separately .
My Cat Doesnt Finish Her Meal All At Once I Think She Prefers To Graze What Should I Do
Some cats really can regulate their food intake fairly well. It is still a good idea to create the expectation of mealtimes. This will help make it easier if another pet is added to your family at some point in the future. For grazers, simply measure out the entire day’s portion of food in the morning and offer the bowl several times throughout the day. Choose regular times in order to create the routine we know is helpful. The important thing is to use a measured portion, either with a measuring cup or a kitchen scale, for the day.
“The important thing is to use a measured portion for the day.”
Another consideration is the use of food toys. Many options exist from rolling food toys that just drop out a kibble of food intermittently to stationary food toys that require the cat to work for the food. See the handout Feeding the Mind and Body: Interactive Feeders for Dogs and Cats for more information on these types of feeders. Food toys are almost as entertaining for the people in your family as they are for your cat!
Your veterinarian remains the best source of nutritional guidance for your cat, answering important questions such as the type of food to feed, how much to feed, and how frequently to feed. Feeding time can be an important bonding time. Creating routine and regular feeding times builds fun into everyday activities.
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Cat Food Portions Matter
Cats who have a hard time keeping slim should be fed several measured meals of cat food throughout the day rather than having 24/7 access to food.
How often should you feed your cat? You and your veterinarian can discuss the right frequency based on your situation. But, in general, cats do best when they eat multiple smaller meals throughout the daytwo at a minimum, but more might be better.
The math that you just performed can help inform your decision. In the example that weve used, the cat should be eating 3 1/3 cans per day. Wouldnt it make sense to feed three meals of one can each with the extra third of a can added to the last meal of the day? Whatever you decide, simply divide the number of cans you need to feed in a day by the number of meals you want to provide, and youll have the right portion for each meal.
If youre watching your cats weight, youll also need to subtract the calories provided by any treats you give as well as any dry food you offer. If it helps, keep a log of your cats daily caloric intake goals and then track the food and cat treats you give throughout the day to help keep your cats weight on track.
Cat Feeding Mistakes: Too Much Food
Probably the most common mistake people make when feeding cats is over-feeding, says Joe Bartges, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVN, professor of medicine and nutrition, the Acree Endowed Chair of Small Animal Research, in the College of Veterinary Medicine, at the University of Tennessee. Obesity is the most common nutritional disease seen in cats.
Although a pudgy kitty may look kind of cute, obesity is associated with cat health issues includingdiabetes, arthritis , and urinary tract disease. In fact,Bartges tells WebMD that cats may suffer from something similar to that very human condition, metabolic syndrome.
Its not necessarily that were intentionally giving our cats more food than they need, says Linda P. Case, MS, author of The Cat: Its Behavior, Nutrition, and Health. Its that our kitties are more sedentary, as compared to the days when they were barn cats and more active. They’re little couch potatoes now, their nutrition needs are much lower, so it’s easy to overfeed them.
So how much food does your cat need? Thats a question best answered by a professional, though recommendations range between 24 to 35 calories a day per pound, to keep cats at a normal, healthy weight.
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How Often Should You Feed Your Cat
Written by Tracy Dion, August 2012, and updated and published in Catnip Chronicles, November 2012.
There is a lot of confusion around how often a domesticated cat should be fed. Most cats are either free-fed or fed only once or twice a day, and convenience to the owner is the driving factor.
But is this good for the cats?
Lets look at the science first. According to the National Research Councils Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats, feral cats eat about 8 to 12 meals in any given 24 hour period. Their behavior is geared towards small, frequent meals and they spend a great deal of their time actively hunting.
Their digestive physiology is affected by their eating habits. Smelling food triggers a cats digestive system to begin working, and constantly smelling food as free-fed cats do keeps that system primed and ready to go all day. Like all physiological functions, the GI tract requires energy to operate constantly keeping it on pulls resources from other systems and, depending upon the quality of nutrition the cat routinely receives, can cause problems including premature aging, poor coat quality, and chronic cystitis.
Clearly, then, free-feeding is not a healthy practice.
On the other end of the spectrum, the cats stomach cant expand like the dogs to accommodate large meals, and cats can and often do regurgitate if fed too much at one time, as might happen with a cat fed only once or twice daily.
So how often should a cat be fed?
Never fast a cat!