How Much Should I Feed My Cat?
Are you a cat parent? Do you keep pondering how much you should feed your cat? Then here's a brief feeding guide that you need to know for your cat.
Cats, being couch potatoes, are adapted to ‘numerous small portion meals a day’ kind of food habit. So, leaving a huge amount of food for them will make them obese. The answer to how much you should feed your cat depends on various factors such as age, weight, activity level and metabolic rate, reproductive status (whether your cat is pregnant or nursing), body conditions, and overall health.
Underfeeding your cat will also lead to a deficiency of nutrients, and it might suffer from malnutrition. In contrast, overfeeding, which is often a pervasive problem observed in cats, will lead to obesity and many diseases such as diabetes, heart problems, musculoskeletal disorders, high blood pressure, some common types of cancers, and hepatic lipidosis (a fatal liver disease). One way to make sure your cat does not get overweight is to keep them busy with games and exercising.
Hence, it is essential to feed your cat just the appropriate amount of food and adjust the quantity and type according to your cat's growth. This will ensure that your cat remains healthy and happy.
To know the right amount of food or portions to feed your cat, consider consulting a veterinarian who will guide you through the unique food requirements for your cat.
When to Feed Your Cat?
When you adopt a cat and bring it home, make sure it gets accustomed to a routine food habit, which you can maintain by giving your cat the same portion of the same food at scheduled times of every day and then slowly change the schedule according to your way.
Cats are susceptible to environmental changes, which include a change in diet. Hence maintaining the diet and schedule will ease transitions and will prevent random stomach upsets.
Once you know that it's time to transition in your cat's food habits according to your way, you need to figure out the kind of food you will be feeding it. The different types of food diet a cat requires are - wet food, dry food, raw food, and combination food. Determine the calorie counts of each food and figure out how much of which food your cat requires.
Amount of Wet Food or Dry Food to Feed Your Cat
Once you know your cat's calorie requirement, you need to figure out how much food will suffice that requirement every day. The caloric contents are listed on the labels of the food which you buy from stores. It is written as kcal/kg. For wet foods, it is kcal/can and kcal/cup for dry foods.
The basic math to calculate your cat's calorie requirement- divide your cat's calorie needs (kcal/day) by the calorie content of the food (kcal/can or kcal/cup). The value will give you a basic idea of how much to feed your cat.
How Often Should You Feed Your Cat?
As stated earlier, cats are accustomed to numerous meals a day. To make sure your cat doesn't suffer from obesity, divide the everyday meal plan at a minimum of two meals a day or up to six. Remember, smaller meals a day is better.
Always keep monitoring your cat's weight and health conditions to narrow in on how much they should be fed, and consider consulting your cat's veterinarian for routine diet plans and checkups.
Wet Cat Foods vs. Dry Cat Foods
A healthy cat's food habits are the flesh-based protein diet that includes meat, fish, or poultry. Dry foods should be containing higher animal proteins than plant proteins, which cats are not equipped to digest. Carbs should only make up to 10% of the total mix of ingredients.
Cats do not drink water often. Hence enough water requirements should be met by the foods they are consuming. Wet foods are found to contain a high amount of animal proteins with a sufficient amount of water. It predominantly contains fewer by-products and fillers, which again suits the cat diet.
According to experts, an eight-year-old active adult cat requires 30 calories per pound per day. On average, it sums up to be a total of 240 calories per day.
Dry foods contain about 300 calories per cup, whereas wet foods contain 250 calories in each 6 oz can. Using these counts as a guide, you need to feed 4/5th part of a cup of dry food to your healthy eight-year-old cat or less than a 6 oz can of wet food per day. You can always manage the proportions as per your cat's preference for dry and wet food choices.
Free choice of food eating will make your cat obese. Hence, portioning out the meals every time helps the cat to remain active and healthy.
Cat Feeding Mistakes
1. Relying only on dry food
Feeding your cat only dry foods can make it suffer from urinary tract infections due to less water intake. Dry foods alone cannot meet the water requirements of a cat. Dry foods can only meet up to 5-10% of your cat's total water requirement. Whereas wet foods can fulfill water requirements enough and beyond. Hence, it is crucial to feed them with canned food that can provide them enough water.
2. Offering little water
Felines are believed to be evolved from desert-dwelling animals, and hence they have a low thirst drive. Even compared to dogs, cats have blunted thirst desire. So it is the food that must meet the water requirements of a cat. If your cat likes drinking water from a running tap, it is likely to smell chlorine in it and refuses to drink. So it becomes challenging to provide them boiled water which they will not consume willingly. Make sure you provide your cat with foods containing enough water content and meet the demands so that your cat remains healthy and happy.
Now that you have formed a basic idea of how much and how often to feed your cat, remember that these points may vary up to 50% in either direction from an average individual's needs. To sum it all up, keep monitoring your cat's weight and body conditions and adjust food habits. Always remember to consult a veterinarian for a regular checkup and diet plans.