It’s Not Just How Much You Feed It’s What You Feed
I would be negligent if I didn’t mention just a word about the other problem we have with feeding our cats. WHAT we feed our cats is a huge problem. Cats are obligate carnivores. They were designed to eat meat and the commercial cat food you buy has far more than meat in it. The carbohydrate levels of cat food, especially dry cat food, are ridiculously high, dangerously high. We have created an obese cat population and one with an increasing number of cases of diabetes.
If you don’t change anything else in the way you feed your cats, please stop feeding dry food. Not only does dry food not have the water content that cats need to maintain proper hydration, but it is too high in carbs and fat and lacking in good quality meat. Check the label. You’ll see by products and maybe even grains and vegetables first on the label. That is not what carnivores should be eating.
Feeding your cats a high protein, moderate fat, and low carbohydrate diet is very easy to do. There are even pure protein cat treats available to reward your kitty after play time or for doing so well on her new diet!
Also, to increase your knowledge and awareness of cat nutrition in general and to make your cats healthier cats, please see CatInfo.org.
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.
Q: How Much Food Do Growing Cats Need
Dr. Leslie: Growing cats may need up to three times the daily calories of adult cats. Make sure the food is formulated for ‘Growth’ or ‘All Life Stages’ to ensure it not only provides added calories needed for growth, but also contains the higher concentration of essential nutrients required for healthy growth.
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How Much Should A Nursing Cat Eat
A nursing cat should eat as much as four times more than normally. Cats with two or more kittens need at least three times more calories than usual. In terms of calories a 10-pound cat nursing at least four kittens should have more or less 603 calories each day, and a 15-pound cat with at least four kittens should eat at least 851 calories per day.
How Much Wet Food Does Your Cat Need
Your cat’s caloric needs depend on several factors. Your cat’s weight can give you a basic guideline of how much to feed. However, it’s essential to determine your cat’s body condition. A lean, muscular cat with large bones may weigh 15 pounds and be at a healthy weight. This cat will require more calories to maintain that healthy weight. However, a 15-pound, small-boned, overweight cat needs fewer calories. The overweight cat should be fed according to her ideal weight, not her actual weight.
Age and activity level also play a role in determining the proper amount of calories needed. A growing kitten needs many more calories than an adult or senior cat. An active cat that runs and plays frequently will need more calories than a cat that remains sedentary most of the time. A nursing mother needs extra calories to produce milk and stay healthy.
If you wish to be accurate in calculating the number of calories you feed your cat, then start by finding out how many calories your cat needs. The National Research Council offers a general guideline of nutritional needs of cats:
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Your Cat May Have Trained You To Feed It
The act of feeding is a training exercise between the cat and the feeder. Cats often key on the behaviors and acts that are a preview to feeding them and try to get the feeder to engage in these. A good example is feeding the cats as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. The cats will very often try to get the person up in the morning so that they get fed earlier and earlier and earlier
Another example is the cat running into the kitchen every time the fridge is opened since that is where they know you store the canned food.
A Hungry Cat Often Looks For Mischief
Another factor to consider is that a hungry cat is a busy cat, often seeking out food, stalking or grumpy towards the other cats , bothering the people around the house, or engaging in other destructive behaviors.
Being busy is good in that it makes the cat more active, which helps burn calories, but the nature of the business is often not appreciated by the rest of the house. By feeding a cat in response to these behaviors, the cat is encouraged to act this way. One of the hardest things to do is to let a cat be hungry without rewarding the associated behaviors.
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What Sort Of System Should I Use For Feeding My Cat
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:
So How Many Calories Does My Cat Need
We are now ready to answer the ultimate question. First, you can look at the cans and bags of what you have been feeding your pet and evaluate how many calories it has been receiving so far. When you get the recommended number, you can compare them and see whether you will need to feed it more, less, or slightly adjust the diet.
The formula is based on the standard daily calorie intake for an average cat and its current weight, producing the amount you should feed it. This number is additionally adjusted by the lifestyle factor. Depending on it, the daily amount of wet or dry food to feed your cat may vary greatly, as the recommended calories amount may vary immensely based on the current weight and your future goals.
However, you can leave it out for now, its important to at least establish how much food it takes to keep your cat satisfied at its current weight without threatening its condition. And in a week, when you have followed this regime, you can weigh it again and see whether its losing or gaining pounds. Then, the lifestyle factor can be used to alter the calorie content based on whether you want to increase or reduce it.
If your cat suffers from serious medical issues, make sure to consult the vet, of course. Usually, though, the health condition may influence certain products and types of foods, as well as the preferred feeding schedule.
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How Much Should A Cat Eat A Day
Dry and wet cat food differ in calories as well as portion sizes. Youll want to ensure youre feeding an appropriate amount of food, whether you feed dry, wet or a combination of both.
The label on the food packaging can give you a general idea of how much food your cat needs. The recommendations may include ranges, so youll need to figure out where your cat fits within those ranges. You can always adjust to meet your cats needs.
If you have questions about how much of a particular food to feed your cat, you can also visit the manufacturers website or call them directly. As always, your veterinarian can also help you navigate how much to feed your cat.
When Should I Feed My Cat
Cats have adapted to eat small meals , interspersed with sleeping and bursts of activity. Providing multiple smaller meals in a day mirrors this natural feeding pattern and can, in turn, increase activity level and reduce the risk of obesity .
This can be achieved by leaving the calculated amount of dry food out for your cat to free feed at will. Alternatively, for cats prone to eating too much, work out at least three meal times in a day that work with your schedule and measure each meal as described above.
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Natural Feeding Behavior Of Cats
Dr. Sarah Gorman, associate veterinarian at Boston Animal Hospital, explains that eating behaviors in cats are a combination of inherited and learned components. Its not just about what is natural for the cat to do with food, but also how that cat has been nurtured to react to feeding time, she said.
Cats are naturally obligate carnivores, which means their diets require nutrients that are only found in meat. In the wild, cats prefer to eat alone, unless they are sharing food with their offspring. If you have multiple cats, it may be in their best interest to separate their food bowls during feeding time.
Firstly What Type Of Food Should Cats Eat
Its critical to feed your cat a nutritionally complete and balanced diet that contains all of the nutrients your cat needs to thrive.
You can meet a healthy cats nutritional needs met by feeding the right amount of the right type of food every day. This diet should give your cat the correct quantities of carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and proteins/ amino acids, including essential nutrients like taurine.
The easiest way to do this is to use a nutritionally balanced complete commercial pet food, whether wet cat food or dry cat food or a mixture of the two types.
Good quality food should be fed in the right quantities, with other aspects being far less important than many owners may believe.
Cat treats can also be offered, in limited quantities. Fresh water, of course, is calorie-free and should always be available to cats. A cats litter box should be monitored by cat carers. Normal feces is an important guide to the suitability of a diet to an individual cat.
The daily food offered to a cat is an important contributor to their overall health.
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How Much Wet Or Dry Food To Feed A Cat
Now you know your cats body weight, how many calories it needs each day, and the calorie content of your cats food, so lets do this!
A good starting place is to find out how many calories your cat should eat from the feeding guide below .
For example, the table below shows a 10lb cat needs 216 calories per day. Simply divide this number by the calories in the food, as shown on the package.
Feed Your Cat At Least Twice A Day
Did You Know …
Like us, a cats stomach structure is simple. Once their stomach has filled it up with food, it begins to empty over a few hours. When their stomach is empty, which usually can take 8 to 10 hours, the brain begins to get signals from the stomach that it is hungry. This is one reason why it is generally recommended to feed cats at least twice daily. We all know what it feels like to skip a meal or have to fast NO FUN! Additionally, your cats stomach can produce extra acid if they go longer than 12 hours without food. This can cause your cat to become nauseated and possibly vomit. I dont know about you, but I am not a fan of cat vomit!
Whatever schedule works for you and your cat, stick to it. Cats like a predictable routine, just as most people do! Their day is designed around feeding and for some cats, it is how they cope with the day-to-day events of the household. Feeding routines can also help you switch foods more easily. A hungry cat will be a little less picky. Finally, a feeding routine allows you to better monitor how much your cat is eating or if there is a change in their behavior when eating. These can signal early health issues that might be missed without a schedule.
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What’s A Healthy Rate Of Weight Loss For A Cat
Just like for people, cats need to either burn more calories or take in fewer calories to lose weight. You do not want your cat to lose more than a 1/2 pound per month. Therefore, even if your cat has a significant amount of weight to lose, such as 10 lbs., do not rush the process. Weight loss takes time. No one likes a diet, which includes cats, so if you attempt to make the process go too quickly you will end up with a grumpy cat.
As a final word, I want you to know I understand how hard it can be to get cats to lose weight. I struggled with one of my cats, so I know the suffering you are enduring. But I want you to know it is possible to get your cat to lose weight and in the long run, it is the best thing for both of you!
Free Feeding Cats Vs Measured Meals
Many cats like snacking throughout the day! It is still important to make sure they do not eat more than their daily allowance if we want them to stay the same weight. Even an extra biscuit or two every day can make a huge difference over the lifespan of your precious pet.
Make sure kitty is not sneaking food from other pets . I do recommend microchip activated feeders for multi-cat households.
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How Much Should A Four Month Old Kitten Weigh
A 4-month-old kitten should weigh around 4.5 kilograms. This is based on the fact that healthy kittens should be gaining 500 grams of body weight per month.
However, this will vary based on your kittens breed. For example, Maine Coons and Ragdolls will weigh more at four months than average-sized cats.
However, if your kitten is lighter than its ideal weight, you should bring it to the vet for an examination. Your kitty might be dealing with a health problem thats causing it to lose weight.
You should also assess your feeding habits because the kitten might not be getting the nutrition it needs.
Take note that being overweight isnt advisable for kittens as well. However, if your pet is heavier than normal, you should increase its physical activities and watch its diet.
One culprit is excessive treats, which are not properly integrated into the cats allowed calorie intake.
How Much Wet Food Or Dry Food To Feed A Cat
The required kcals number stays the same regardless of the type of food, whether you decide to go with wet or dry. People often choose the combination of two, making sure the cat receives the necessary vitamins that come from both options. Its a good way to make their diet more varied as well.
If you like the idea of such an approach, you can start by dividing the necessary amount of energy between the two types of food. Then, check the bag and the can to see the calories content in the specific food, and calculate how much of each you need to take to get the required total.
You can use our cat food calorie calculator to figure out the shares if you decide to go with different proportions. For example, if your cat isnt an avid wet food eater, you can mix some of it with dry food and expect the plate to be clean. Alternatively, if you dont feel like being able to afford canned food all the time, you can use it as a treat from time to time, adding into the meals the same way.
Keep in mind that its all fine as long as there are no medical contraindications and the daily calorie count doesnt change. Dont be guided exclusively by recommendations on the food labels, they are average numbers and may not be ideal for your cat.
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