Last week we covered what you should (and shouldn’t) feed your cat. This week, we’ll be covering how much food you should feed your cat in a bit more depth! Having a chunky kitty is pretty cute, but it can hinder their way of life if they get too big. Cats are small animals. So any excess weight they pack on can make it difficult for them to jump, climb, run, and play. In addition, obesity in cats can lead to a strain on their heart, diabetes and other issues. There are a few things to consider to make sure you’re feeding your kitty enough.
How Old is Your Cat?
Usually, younger cats will need more calories than older cats. An 8-pound kitten will eat more food than an 8-pound adult cat. The same goes for a 10-pound young adult cat versus a 10-pound senior cat. The younger cat will eat more because they need more calories for growing and exercising. Since senior cats are generally less active than younger cats, they don’t need as much food.
Sometimes on packages of cat food, there’s a table indicating how much food should you should feed your kitten or cat according to their weight. This is a good place to start, but you should consider a few other factors as well.
How Active is Your Cat?
Sometimes age is just a number, and your little kitten likes to chill out all day while your senior cat loves to bounce off the walls. A cat whos main job is to hold down their bed during the day won’t need that many calories. The opposite goes for a cat who runs laps around the house or is an outdoor cat. Overall, it will vary on the individual cat.
All cats do need some sort of exercise. If your kitty isn’t that active during the day, try and get them going with fun cats toys like lasers or squeaking mice. If you get your normally sleepy cat running and jumping, they’ll likely be hungrier than usual and need a few more calories for dinner.
What Food Are You Feeding Your Cat?
A big factor in how much food your feeding your cat is what your feeding your cat. Do you feed them only dry food? Only wet food? A mixture of both? Do you need to figure that out as well?
Well good news: we have a blog post up on that if you need some help! It goes over what cats normally eat, the pros and cons of wet and dry food, and also what you definitely shouldn’t feed your kitty. Be sure to check it out after you finish reading this one!
Different Types of Feeding
When it comes to how much you feed your cat, you should also think about how you feed your cat as this can affect their weight too. Will you have meal feedings or free feedings? Here are advantages and disadvantages to both:
- Meal feeding: when you provide food for your kitty at specific times of the day. You can feed them wet and dry food with this method.
- Pros: Food intake is monitored, so if there is a change in appetite, you’ll be able to tell quickly and easily. If you have a multi-cat household, all cats have access to food without one being dominant and eating all the food.
- Cons: Your cat may beg for food between meals. Your cat can’t control how much they eat at a certain time (although if your cat is a food-fiend, this may be a pro).
- Free feeding: This is when you leave a bowl of food out at all times. With this method, only dry food is an option because wet food should not be left out for more than 30 minutes.
- Pros: Your cat can eat multiple small meals throughout the day according to their own schedule.
- Cons: This method can lead to overeating and obesity. It can also be difficult to tell if their appetite has changed or whether one cat is hogging all the food.
No matter what method you deem the perfect fit for your kitty’s lifestyle, make sure you measure food out eat day to best track how much they’re eating.
At the end of the day, your vet will verify if your cat is getting enough (or too much) food. If you have any questions, asking them will get the best answers for your cat. And that will ensure your kitty’s health and happiness!