How Much Should I Feed My Cat?

how-much-to-feed-cat

“How much should I feed my cat?” is a question I’m frequently asked, and the answer isn’t as simple as it would seem. Even though every can and bag of cat food provides feeding instructions, they’re pretty much useless.

Think about this for a moment: could you definitively answer the question “how much should a person eat?” Of course not. If you’re a fairly sedentary office worker, you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t!) eat the same amount of food as a professional athlete. Your 80-year-old grandmother won’t eat the same amount as your 10-year-old daughter. The same is true for cats: the amount a cat should eat varies with age, health, activity level, metabolic rate, gender and genetic make up, to name just a few factors.

The most common mistake: feeding too much

The most common mistake cat guardians make is feeding too much – and frequently, that’s because they follow the manufacturer’s feeding instructions on the label. Feline obesity is an epidemic, with more than 50% of America’s cats being considered overweight or obese, and it comes with all the same health problems in cats as it does in humans: diabetes, arthritis and other joint problems, heart and respiratory problems, a compromised immune system, and gastro-intestinal problems.

How much food does a cat need?

Calorie content can vary widely from one brand of cat food to another. Not all brands will disclose calorie counts on the label, and you may need to visit the brand’s website to find the information. General recommendations range from 24 to 35 calories per pound of body weight to keep an average adult cat at a healthy, normal weight. The body condition chart below can help you determine whether your young to middle-aged adult cat is at a normal weight.

feline-body-condition-chart

Click on image to enlarge

In older cats, muscle condition is a better indicator. You will be able to feel bones in senior cats who are overweight if they’re starting to lose muscle mass

Since nutritional needs can vary considerably depending on the factors mentioned above, it’s a good idea to weigh your cat regularly and adjust the amount you feed accordingly.

How often should cats eat?

Leaving food out for your cat all the time is the single biggest factor in causing obesity in cats. Free choice feeding goes against the cat’s natural habit of being a hunter who may only eat two or three small meals a day. For most people, feeding two meals a day is the most practical solution, but if you work from home, you may want to consider dividing the total amount of food for the day into three or four meals.

Special considerations for kittens

Kittens need more food per pound of body weight than adult cats, and they will need more frequent meals. Use label recommendations as a starting point, and feed your kitten as much canned or raw food as she will eat until she is about four to six months old, in three or four meals a day. Since a kitten’s nutritional requirements vary even more than an adult cat’s, remember to monitor your kitten’s weight and body condition and adjust accordingly. Once your kitten reaches six months of age, you can start feeding her as an adult cat.

Always provide plenty of fresh water

You hopefully already know that dry food is not a good choice for cats. Not only does dry food not provide enough moisture for cats to stay properly hydrated and prevent urinary tract problems, it is too high in carbohydrates for an obligate carnivore like the cat. Cats do not have a high enough thirst drive to compensate for the lack of moisture in a dry diet by drinking more water. However, even cats who eat raw or canned food should always have plenty of fresh water available.

What should your cat eat?

The optimal diet for a cat is a properly formulated raw, home-cooked or grain-free canned diet. Please read The Best Food for Your Cat for more information.

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108 Comments on How Much Should I Feed My Cat?

  1. Julianna
    November 29, 2016 at 1:42 am (2 months ago)

    My cat is a little on the chunky side. I feed my 2 cats separately but they both get 1/4 cup twice a day. My cat isn’t very active and she’s very shy/agoraphobic. She likes me but if anyone else approaches she’s really scared so she hardly ever leaves my room. Is there a way to combat these issues and get my fur baby back at an ideal weight? (She’s a 1.5 year old snowshoe siamese weighed at 12lbs.)

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 29, 2016 at 6:37 am (2 months ago)

      Feed her on the low end of the calorie recommendations, and calculate the amount to her target weight, not her current weight.

      Reply
  2. Ashleigh
    September 27, 2016 at 5:13 am (4 months ago)

    Hi I have a Devon Rex he is now 8months old now
    I feed him half a 85 grams can of ziwi peak can cat food in the morning and I have earthborn grain free dry cat food all day but every 4 days I have to refill which is about 1/3 a cup and gets 75grams of raw meat ranging from kangaroo, beef and lamb pre frozen every night he is a really great weight he was quite small for a while not boney but just small he has filled out a lot more. He is very active about 3X a day he goes bonkers for about and hour and I do play with him also. He also has cat grass that he has a bit of every morning as he’s an inside only. I know dry food isn’t the best but I also mix his can food with a tablespoon of water and have placed 4 water bowels throughout my home to make him drink more water. Which seems to work but I do notice he drinks less on colder days. Is this enough meat ? Or should I be feeding him more which is my main question
    Also if people find it hard to switch from dry food try raw meat but freeze before feeding as I’ve been told/researched

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 27, 2016 at 5:39 am (4 months ago)

      You’ll have to do the math and calculate calorie content for the various foods you feed, Ashleigh. Feed your kitty on the high end of the recommended range since he’s so active. Raw meat by itself is not a complete diet, you need to make sure you mix in the appropriate vitamins and minerals. Eliminate all dry food.

      Reply
    • Kim
      December 14, 2016 at 9:52 am (1 month ago)

      Ashleigh, I don’t know if you will see this, but my cats have dined on everything but the ZIWI PEAK canned food. !!! I love it. I did the research and know it is wonderful for them. I feed my kitten and two adult cats 2 cans in the morning, 1 afternoon, 1 evening. Plus refill a fine quality dry all day long. Believe it or not they are the healthiest ever

      Reply
  3. Laura
    August 22, 2016 at 1:36 pm (5 months ago)

    I think it’s very easy to say which foods – canned or dry – and which brands are “best” for kitty based on ingredients. The reality is that many cats have digestive or other health related issues that make it nearly impossible for them to eat the perfect foods. I’ve been there. I’m still there. Let’s feed cats what their systems tolerate and not guilt ourselves that they’re not all eating grain free carb free canned raw foods.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 23, 2016 at 5:32 am (5 months ago)

      Of course every cat is an individual, and health issues need to be taken into consideration. Given that many health issues are caused by diets that are inappropriate for an obligate carnivore like the cat, such as highly processed dry diets and diets with inferior quality ingredients and fillers, it’s up to cat guardians to educate themselves on what’s best for their cat.

      Reply
  4. Eve
    August 10, 2016 at 11:48 pm (5 months ago)

    I have 2 4 month-old kittens that I just brought home five days ago. The foster mom who had her is part of a very reputable cat rescue operation called Cat’s Cradle and sent them home with Rad cat.

    I work all day so I feed them about about 1/2 cup in the morning and in the evening. I also put probiotic in the morning meal. I leave freeze dried cat food by a local all-natural company that has been moistened with water for when I’m gone.

    I think they would eat all the time if they could. Can you recommend mixing it with another high-quality cat food to stretch things out?

    Reply
  5. Christina
    August 4, 2016 at 11:04 pm (6 months ago)

    Hello! I adopted a tortoiseshell cat (probably about 2 years old at the most) in January who is FeLV positive and also pretty thin. We took her to the vet within the first week and she was at 7 pounds. Yesterday I had her at the vet and she weighed 6.8 pounds. I’ve been feeding her Merrick limited ingredient canned food since we’ve had her (she really doesn’t seem to like anything else) and she seems to be a great eater. I feed her 3-4 times a day and she eats about a can a day. She doesn’t always eat when I feed her and if she doesn’t touch it I take the food away after 20 minutes. I’m concerned because while she is not rail thin and does have a small frame, I would prefer her to be a couple pounds heavier. Do you have any suggestions for how I can get a somewhat picky eater with FeLV to put on a little more weight? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 5, 2016 at 12:39 pm (6 months ago)

      Look for brands that are high in calories so that she’ll get more calories even if she only eats a smaller quantity of food. You’ll have to read labels or check websites – calorie count is not always available on the cans.

      Reply
    • Liana
      August 17, 2016 at 1:59 pm (5 months ago)

      Hi Christina,

      What about trying a product called Nutri Cal? It is calorie dense and good for cats who are a bit on the thin side. I used it when my new kitten wasn’t eating enough. You can buy it on Amazon.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        August 17, 2016 at 2:06 pm (5 months ago)

        I don’t recommend Nutrical. It may be calorie dense, but it’s the wrong kinds of calories for cats. The first ingredient is corn syrup, and it goes downhill from there.

        Reply
        • Christina
          August 17, 2016 at 2:40 pm (5 months ago)

          Hi Ingrid and Liana –

          I used this post http://consciouscat.net/2012/03/22/the-best-food-for-your-cat/ and researched each brand to see which canned food had the most calories and that my cat might like based on the fact that she enjoys Merrick limited ingredient duck but only has 131 kcal per 5 oz. can. I tried Weruva TruLuxe (Glam ‘n Punk), Nature’s Variety Instinct Duck, Soulistic Duck, and ZiwiPeak Rabbit and Lamb. My cat enjoyed Soulistic and ZiwiPeak the most and since Soulistic contains A LOT of seafood, I decided to switch her to ZiwiPeak. It’s a little expensive but it’s the only food that she gets excited for when I start opening the can (the smell is STRONG) and she eats everything on her plate. The ZiwiPeak doesn’t have a lot more calories than Merrick (for 5oz, ZiwiPeak is about 156 calories) but my cat seems to eat a lot more of it so I’m happy.

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            August 17, 2016 at 3:42 pm (5 months ago)

            Thanks for sharing this, Christina! I’m glad you found something your kitty enjoys.

  6. Melissa
    July 28, 2016 at 1:53 pm (6 months ago)

    Hi,
    We have a 12 yr-old DSH cat who lives indoors and is fairly inactive. She’ll only eat dry food. She’s always just free-fed, which has worked fine, but lately her weight has been advancing along with her age. I realize it depends on multiple factors, but is there a standard calorie-per-pound chart we could use to start rationing the food? Thanks for all your advice.

    Reply
    • Claire
      July 31, 2016 at 3:02 am (6 months ago)

      Could it be a thyroid issue? A vet visit and health check I would say is a good idea.

      Reply
  7. Deanna
    July 27, 2016 at 7:07 pm (6 months ago)

    I have 4 adult Tabby cats. Any suggestions for feeding time? One runs away from her food I have to put her in a separate room and sit with her to get her to eat.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 28, 2016 at 5:50 am (6 months ago)

      I would feed twice a day, Deanna.

      Reply
  8. Carly Smurphat
    July 27, 2016 at 2:55 pm (6 months ago)

    Also is it normal for my cat to try to cover her food up? She paws at the ground like she was burying it. I think it’s instinct as I know cougars hide food they don’t eat and she doesn’t eat all of her food in one serving she eats some of it in the morning and some in the afternoon then I’ll feed her again and she eats some of it then and the rest of it throughout the night.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 27, 2016 at 4:54 pm (6 months ago)

      A lot of cats try to “cover” their uneaten food, and you’re right, it is a leftover instinct from when they lived in the wild.

      Reply
  9. Carly Smurphat
    July 27, 2016 at 2:48 pm (6 months ago)

    Hello I’m Carly I have an active 3 or 4 month old domestic short hair kitten and I feed her a full can of wet food with a little of dry food mixed in the morning and just wet food before I go to bed. Is that good for her? I’m not sure about her weight as our skale stopped working I think she’s 3 or 4 pounds. My sister says I shouldn’t be feeding her wet food everyday but I disagree. Am I right or is she? I’m a first-time cat owner but I know a lot, I’m trying to keep her fit but I’m not sure how much and what to feed her, Please help me!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 27, 2016 at 4:53 pm (6 months ago)

      You’re right, Carly! You actually should be feeding your kitten only wet food, and no dry food at all. Here’s more information on why dry food is not good for cats: http://consciouscat.net/2010/04/05/the-truth-about-dry-cat-food/ A growing kitten that weighs 3-4 pounds should be eating somewhere in the vicinity of 300 calories a day in multiple feedings.

      Reply
      • Carly Smurphat
        July 27, 2016 at 11:08 pm (6 months ago)

        Thank you Ingrid! I’ll keep track of the calories!

        Reply
  10. Chris
    July 9, 2016 at 3:22 pm (7 months ago)

    I have 3 cats that my girlfriend and I adopted together. They will not touch canned food at all. I have tried setting it out and leaving it with no other options for them. Nothing….. They smell it and walk off. Later in the day I will put out a bowl of meow mix “the only brand of dry they will eat”, and they speed to it a eat like they are starved. They will not even eat canned tuna. Im at a loss. My girlfriend likes to leave a bowl with about 2 cups out all day and throughout the day the three eat all of it. I dont think this a good idea. When the three cats are as selective as they are I am not sure of other options.

    Reply
  11. Cats
    July 8, 2016 at 7:04 am (7 months ago)

    Hi
    I have an 1 year old and 4 months cat but when I give him food he leaves and vomits it all out! And then he goes to his food bag and eats more in there.This has been happening for 5 days in a row. If you reply it would help me a lot

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 8, 2016 at 4:30 pm (7 months ago)

      You need to take your cat to the vet.

      Reply
  12. john
    July 4, 2016 at 4:48 am (7 months ago)

    Hi I have 2 cats and feed them 3times a day around 3/4 cup of dry food each but my smaller cat seems to vomit atleast once a day leaving her hungry any suggestions? Also she eats really fast then trys to eat my other cats food what should ido?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 4, 2016 at 5:40 am (7 months ago)

      Daily vomiting is not normal – if your cat hasn’t had a veterinary exam recently, you need to take her to the vet.

      I’d eliminate all dry food, and you may need to feed the fast eater in a separate room to give the other cats time to finish their meals.

      Reply
  13. Lubna
    June 29, 2016 at 4:40 am (7 months ago)

    Hi! Your blog is god send for me.

    Also I was wondering, do you have a formula for a 8 week old kittens diet?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 29, 2016 at 5:50 am (7 months ago)

      Kittens can be fed the same food as adult cats, as long as it’s high in protein, they just need to eat more frequently, and on the high end of the calorie suggestion.

      Reply
  14. John
    May 30, 2016 at 1:55 pm (8 months ago)

    Hey! I’m just wondering is the calorie calculation of “24 to 35 calories/lb” a per meal calculation, or per day? Thanks for the help!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 30, 2016 at 2:24 pm (8 months ago)

      It’s per day, John.

      Reply
  15. Bobbi
    May 21, 2016 at 8:22 am (8 months ago)

    My cat weighs 23lbs and is rather a long cat. I would like to feed her 4x a day and feed her based on 12lbs.I’m not good at math how much canned food does that come out to per feeding?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 21, 2016 at 8:39 am (8 months ago)

      You’ll have to do the math, Bobbi. The amount of canned food will vary since each brand and formula will have different calorie contents. Also, please check with your vet before reducing your cat’s diet by that much. You may need to reduce the amount you feed more gradually if you’re aiming for an 11 pound weight loss – that’s a lot of weigh, and you want to be sure that your cat loses the weight safely.

      Reply
  16. Marina
    April 20, 2016 at 5:04 pm (9 months ago)

    Can someone tell me in ounces how much wet food should I feed my 6 rear old cat per day? Thanks

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 20, 2016 at 5:19 pm (9 months ago)

      Use the formula given in the article to calculate the amount of calories based on your cat’s body weight, Marina. Ounces will vary depending on the calorie content of each brand.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        April 22, 2016 at 5:56 am (9 months ago)

        Thank you for sharing this chart, Mike. I don’t recommend any of the foods listed on the chart.

        Reply
        • Eliza
          April 27, 2016 at 9:16 am (9 months ago)

          Of you don’t recommend any of the foods in the chart. Could please recommend what type of food should be use for a cat? Thank you

          Reply
          • Stephanie
            April 28, 2016 at 8:19 pm (9 months ago)

            I’ve switched 2 of my cats to canned food and the heavy cat has begun to lose weight. I cannot afford the foods on the recommended cat food list. A completely canned food diet alone is costly. I’m feeding them Fancy Feast and trying to avoid or limit the fish based foods. Is Fancy Feast terrible to feed them? If so, any recommendations for another brand that is in the same price range?

  17. AK
    March 21, 2016 at 1:55 pm (10 months ago)

    Ingrid, I have discerned from the article very clearly, that cats to not need or do not benefit from dried food and that, in no way, is a necessity for good dental hygiene. My cat is a prime example of that. She is a Calico and while she should be 11 lbs (max) she is 15. I have given her dried food (via automatic feeder set for 3 times a day and just over 1/2 cup for the entire day’s consumption) for some time now under the premise that it was helpful for her weight loss and dental care. She JUST had 3 teeth extracted last week due to severe gingivitis so that myth was busted.

    Being that I’m not often home at regular intervals and travel from time to time overnight, an automatic feeder is essential for me. I need to know that 3+ days worth of food can be stored there without inviting ants et al in the event that someone can’t stop in 3x/day to feed her for as many as 4 days at a time. (I can often get someone to come in 1x/day but not 3x/day.)

    Any suggestions? Also, we were told that she could only eat fish because she’s allergic to chicken. We feed her only Blue Wilderness and another all natural brand and want to stick to that.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 21, 2016 at 2:02 pm (10 months ago)

      There are timed feeders that work for wet food, here’s an example: http://amzn.to/1pXV9k6 There are others, I don’t have personal experience with any of them, though.

      It’s unusual that someone would recommend fish based foods for a cat with allergies. I’d probably go with other proteins, such as rabbit, venison, or duck for a cat with a chicken allergy. You can find my the brands I recommend here: http://consciouscat.net/2012/03/22/the-best-food-for-your-cat/

      Reply
  18. Stephanie Boyd
    March 14, 2016 at 7:23 pm (10 months ago)

    I need help for my 21 lb. cat. He’s been tested and everything is good right now. My vet told me to have him eat my diabetic cat’s diet of Prescription M/D food as it would be good for his weight. He’s still fat and from what I’ve been reading this is not good food to begin with. He loves canned food so I’m sure he would do good on switching over. Do I calculate his calories based on his 21 lbs or on a weight loss goal? Please help. I’m desperate for him to be healthy. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 15, 2016 at 6:21 am (10 months ago)

      Calculate the calories based on his target weight, Stephanie.

      Reply
      • Stephanie
        March 15, 2016 at 12:41 pm (10 months ago)

        Thank you Ingrid.

        Reply
        • Stephanie
          May 1, 2016 at 9:56 am (9 months ago)

          Ingrid, thanks for the reply on the Fancy Feast. I’ll check out your link for making homemade cat food. Appreciate your help.

          Reply
  19. Jessie
    February 23, 2016 at 4:54 pm (11 months ago)

    Hi Ingrid, I was wondering what good times are for feeding twice a day. Should it be morning and night?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 23, 2016 at 5:07 pm (11 months ago)

      That works best for most cats, Jessie.

      Reply
  20. Jade
    December 14, 2015 at 2:46 pm (1 year ago)

    What about big cat breeds? For instance, a Norwegian Forest Cat or Maine Coon. I have been unable to find out how often she should eat. I’ve been having trouble with understanding her food intake and how much she should weigh. The vet said that she is overweight but he had no knowledge for these type of breeds. She weighs about 19lbs, and she constantly wants to eat. (I feed her about 3 oz, 3 times a day).

    Can you inform me what to do?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 14, 2015 at 2:56 pm (1 year ago)

      The formula in this article applies to all breeds – it’s based on weight. Feed your overweight cat based on her target weight.

      Reply
    • Kat
      January 21, 2016 at 10:46 pm (1 year ago)

      19lbs isn’t overweight for a maine coon if they are big boned…. can you feel the ribcage and spine or do you have to “dig for it?” Our MC is 20lbs and not overwight.

      Reply
      • Alice
        April 3, 2016 at 8:22 pm (10 months ago)

        I have a Maine coon, and he’s 14 years old and 23-24 lbs. he’s definitely overweight. How much, and how often should I feed him?

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          April 4, 2016 at 5:51 am (10 months ago)

          Follow the instructions in this article and calculate the amount to feed based on his target weight, Alice. Feed him twice a day, no dry food.

          Reply
  21. Krisa
    November 29, 2015 at 10:31 pm (1 year ago)

    I plan to get a couple of “barn” cats…although they will have a very warm, insulated cat home in our garage and we spend as much time as possible outdoors so we will be out with them often. I know that it is important to feed our little hunters but should I be accounting for the calories they are getting from that? How am I supposed to know what and when they are eating in addition to the meals I give them? There are plenty of mice around now, as we have farm field all around, but I worry about once they are adult and here for a while and the population depletes.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 30, 2015 at 7:15 am (1 year ago)

      That’s a tough question to answer, Krisa. I would feed on the low end of the recommended range and monitor their weights closely. You will probably need to adjust and increase what you feed during low mousing times, and decrease when the supply is plentiful. You also don’t want to overfeed or they may not be interested in catching their own dinner!

      Reply
  22. Andy
    November 25, 2015 at 2:51 pm (1 year ago)

    I am still a little confused. My cat is definitely in the #9 category, very overweight. I want to change that and have recently switched him to a freeze-dried raw food (can you still call it raw if its freeze dried? I am also confused about that). Should I feed him 24 calories per pound twice a day or divide that 24 calories per pound over the whole day? Should it be less than 24 calories per pound since we are going for weight loss?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      November 26, 2015 at 4:35 pm (1 year ago)

      The 24 to 35 calories per pound of body weight are for one day’s amount, so divide into two meals. Good question about the freeze dried food. I guess technically it’s still raw food, although some raw food purists probably disagree with me.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        November 26, 2015 at 4:37 pm (1 year ago)

        Calculate the amount to feed based on your cat’s target weight, not his current weight. Just make sure he doesn’t miss a meal. If he’s very overweight, he’s at risk for hepatic lipidosis if he doesn’t eat anything for 24-48 hours.

        Reply
        • Andy
          November 26, 2015 at 5:23 pm (1 year ago)

          Ok, so he is currently 18 lbs and I would like him to be more like 12. So I should feed 24×12 or 288 calories a day. I think the freeze dried is at least better than dry…

          Reply
    • Robert
      November 26, 2015 at 4:41 pm (1 year ago)

      I believe there is an error in your calorie consumption calculations. You recommend 40-50 Kcal per Kg, but then state that preferred diet for a 10 pound cat would be 108-157 Kcal. Shouldn’t that number be 180-220 Kcal (4×4.5=180)? I’m feeding my 11 1/2 pound cat about 170 calories/day, trying to get her down to 10 pounds.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        November 26, 2015 at 5:11 pm (1 year ago)

        The recommendation is 24 to 35 calories per pound of body weight, so a ten pound cat should get between 240 and 350 calories a day. If you’re feeding for weight loss, feed the lower amount and calculate based on target weight, not current weight.

        Reply
        • Patti
          August 23, 2016 at 8:59 pm (5 months ago)

          That’s a lot of calories for a 10 lb cat! I read it should be 20 calories per pound of body weight. ???

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            August 24, 2016 at 5:36 am (5 months ago)

            24 to 35 calories per pound of body weight is the general recommendation. For some cat, 20 may be enough.

  23. Elaine
    September 8, 2015 at 7:13 am (1 year ago)

    I have a active 1 year old tabby that is overweight. I am reading above that dry food should be eliminated from his diet. I feed him 1/2 cup of science Hills Indoor dry and 1/2 in the evening. Then I also feed him half a can of wet (Fancy Feast). I am very worried about his heavy breathing and his overall health. He always seemed to be hungry & begs for food so it’s my fault for him being overweight. I want to make changes before it is too late. How should I adjust his diet so he can start losing weight?

    Reply
  24. sonya
    September 7, 2015 at 11:02 pm (1 year ago)

    I feed my cats both wet and dry. They get a half a can of wet a day mixed with dry spread out into 3 meals. I have a 10 month kitten and a 16 yr old with stage 4 kidney disease and is on a prescription diet. Is this enough canned for them or do I need to increase there amount?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 8, 2015 at 6:13 am (1 year ago)

      Use the calorie calculation provided in the article as a guideline, Sonya. You’ll have to adjust for your cats’ individual needs. And I’d encourage you to eliminate the dry food altogether and feed enough canned food to meet their requirements.

      Reply
  25. Robert Wagers
    September 7, 2015 at 7:57 pm (1 year ago)

    My cat is a British Shorthair mix, about 3-4 years old (a stray). She is overweight at about 11.5 lbs (should be 9-10). I have been feeding her about 175 calories a day, composed of low calorie dry food and less than a 3 oz. can of wet food. She’s lost about half a pound in three months–kind of disappointing. I expected better results with that low calorie count. She gets a fair amount of exercise also. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 8, 2015 at 6:20 am (1 year ago)

      You’ll see faster and healthier results if you eliminate the dry good completely and increase the amount of wet food you’re feeding so that you’re back to around 175 calories a day.

      Reply
  26. Genevieve Thompson
    September 7, 2015 at 6:08 pm (1 year ago)

    My cat Sam Wise is four years this month. He loves his dry cat food. He will go days without eating, refuses wet food. Tried every brand on the market. He seems happy and is not over weight. He will only eat Deli Cat dry cat food. Should I be concerned he will not eat wet food?

    Reply
  27. Marian
    September 7, 2015 at 2:50 pm (1 year ago)

    I feed my 6 months old cat with canned food for dogs. I don’t think the producer put diferent content in those for cats. Am I wrong?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 8, 2015 at 6:26 am (1 year ago)

      You are wrong, Marian. Dog food does not contain taurine, which is an essential amino acid that cats, unlike dogs, can’t make on their own. A lack of taurine can lead to severe heart disease and other health problems. Cats also require a different form of Vitamin A than dogs do.

      Reply
      • muffy
        February 15, 2016 at 3:01 am (11 months ago)

        FirstMate canned dog food does contain taurine 🙂

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          February 15, 2016 at 5:53 am (11 months ago)

          The taurine level in dog food is most likely not high enough for cats, nor will other nutrient levels be appropriate for cats. Cats are not small dogs!

          Reply
  28. Sarah
    September 7, 2015 at 10:44 am (1 year ago)

    ok so, I have a more breed specific question. I adopted an orange and white tabby from the ASPCA about a year ago. when i got him i believed he was 6 months old, when in fact he was only 3 months. He weighed about 6 pounds at the time, not a fat kitty, just big for his age. We’ve come to think he is a maine coon because he just keeps growing, now he’s between 16 and 20lbs. He’s not super big, id say probably a 6 on the scale above, but I’ve been at a loss of how much to feed him. We use a high quality dry food, but because I’m away at school and class at weird hours so I’m unable to provide him a solid feeding schedule. I’ve been giving him a bowl of food and refilling it when its empty, usually once a day, I’d say he’s probably getting 2 cups of dry food daily. Is that too much? I read online that coons keep growing for 3 years, and he is definitely still getting bigger at a 1 1/4 years old, I just don’t want to give him too much.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 7, 2015 at 1:56 pm (1 year ago)

      Discontinue the dry food and put him on a grain-free canned or raw diet, Sarah. Even with an erratic schedule, you should be able to feed two meals a day.

      Reply
  29. Eva
    September 7, 2015 at 10:13 am (1 year ago)

    I have a three year old Persian cat that’s been losing weight since I got her on wet food. She has food out all the time. She’s really thin now, with her shoulders sticking out. She’s a very small cat from the start so she doesn’t need to lose a lot of weight to look thin. I’m thinking about offering her kibble on the side to get her to gain some weight. Would that be ok?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 7, 2015 at 1:57 pm (1 year ago)

      If you haven’t already done so, have your cat checked out by your vet as soon as possible. Weight loss is always a cause for concern.

      Reply
  30. Melissa
    August 25, 2015 at 2:57 pm (1 year ago)

    Hello!

    I just adopted a 3 month old male kitten. I know that at the shelter he was being fed Friskies wet and dry food – the dry food left out all the time. I followed your recommendations as far as acceptable foods (Soulistic, Weruva) for cats and have been feeding them to him since he came home with me – 5 days ago. He loves all varieties so far and his stool looks good. The one thing freaking me out is that he whines for food a lot (stands at the bowl and whines) and he is in my face wanting my food. He has been eating a whole can, 5.5 oz in either 3 or 4 meals a day. I’ve ordered the pro-biotics as well and will give them to him when they arrive. I’m also giving him 4 treats twice a day. They are turkey treats made by Red Barn and seemed like a healthy version.Should I be worried about his seemingly maniacal need to eat everything whether it’s his or mine? Thank you, Melissa.

    Reply
    • Melissa
      August 25, 2015 at 2:59 pm (1 year ago)

      PS – his stool is quite stinky. Is this a result of detoxing from the other food?

      Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 25, 2015 at 3:42 pm (1 year ago)

      I would increase the amount you feed at each meal, Melissa. At 3 months, he’s still growing, and he’ll need more than one 5.5 oz can a day. I would double the amount you’re feeding and continue to divide into 3 or 4 meals each day. I bet you’ll see a difference in his behavior.

      The stink of his stools should be diminishing over the next few days as his system adjusts to the better quality diet.

      Reply
      • Melissa
        August 25, 2015 at 4:09 pm (1 year ago)

        Thank you so much, Ingrid! It’s been so long since I’ve had a kitten and I get nervous trying to do everything right. I’m sure Beardsley will be so pleased to have more food. <3

        Reply
  31. Heidi
    August 22, 2015 at 1:23 pm (1 year ago)

    I was told that a diet of all wet food wasn’t good for cats. The vet said that cats should eat some nutritional dry food to help clean their teeth and also the formulation of dry food has a healthier combination of ingredients they need. I feed my rescues a taste of the wild dry food. Grain free. My little one came from the streets and is not interested in canned food except to lick the gravy my other one came from the spca and craves the canned food. When I got her she was overweight. They both are free Fed dry food and the one who came from the shelter gets 2forks full of canned a day is down to a God weight. They are both fit for their sizes.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 22, 2015 at 2:34 pm (1 year ago)

      The myth that dry food cleans cats’ teeth is one that just won’t die, and unfortunately, many vets mistakenly contribute to keeping it alive. Most cats don’t chew their kibble long enough for any of the scraping action that is the theory behind this myth to kick in. What little they do chew shatters into small pieces. Some pet food manufacturers offer a “dental diet” that is made up of larger than normal sized kibble to encourage chewing, but in my years at veterinary practices, I’ve seen many cats swallow even those larger size pieces whole. Additionally, dry food actually leaves a carbohydrate residue in the cat’s mouth that actually encourages growth of tartar and plaque.

      Reply
  32. Andrea
    August 21, 2015 at 6:02 pm (1 year ago)

    Hi! Really good article, just in the perfect moment, because i’m dealing with food issues, and i need some help. 😀
    Like Elines, i have 2 cats, one (raised with bottle since day 0) is a slow, delicated eater. The other (adopted at 1 year old, body condition 2 of 9, and with permanent hunger) is a gluton and inhaler. Both of them are male, 1,5 years old, neutered, now in body condition 5/9, indoor but active, healthy…but food time is a struggle for me every day to keep them fine! Delicated eater used to eat ad libitum (he simply does not like raw food, or home made food. He does not like canned food either!! He eats dry food, and with no passion at all…hahaha), but when the other cat arrived, with all the hunger in the world, delicated and fancy cat begun to lose weight, while new cat grew huge boobs in no time.
    We also have an epileptic dog, and because of the medication (plus being a dog), she is super hungry all the time, and to improve water intake and a better saciety sensation, we mix dry food with a little bit of water, so it is like a soup of dog dry (weight control) food. She eats 4 times a day, what producer indicates in the bag, and she is super fit.
    Finally we decided to feed them (1 dog + 2 cats) 4 times a day, at same hours, trying to avoid food steeling between them, and it’s been easy with hungry dog and hungry cat, but no with delicated eater 🙁 he is sooooooooooooooo slow!!! he eats 5 or 6 pellets, then leave, then 2 hours later 6 more pellets, and so on. I can’t wait for him to finish (i work and study outside home), and if i leave his leftovers, hungry cat makes them disappear in a blink. It occured to me that maybe, if i use the “soup” trick on hungry cat, he will leave the rests of slow eater cat alone, and apparently is working, and i did it on delicated eater too, and he eats bigger portions each time. They of course have ad libitum fresh water all the time.
    It’s been a month of this feeding system. The 3 of them are fit, but i’m going crazy. It is winter time in my country, and with cold temperature they want to eat all the time, so the meeeeeeeewwww and mooooooooooooowwww besides empty bowls had been like a daily concert.
    What do you think? Am i doing things right? Does anyone know a better way? They are alright now, but it seems to me that they are hungry all the time (none of them had lost weight since they are fit, buy they cry looking empty bowls, and it kills me looking at those poor “puss in boots” eyes!…of course i prefer that than look at them suffering from overweight), and well, that makes me wonder…they are my first cats, and i want to do things right.

    Thanks a lot for reading, excuse me for writting faults (english is not my first language), and i hope you can help me! 🙂

    Reply
      • Andrea
        September 7, 2015 at 3:03 pm (1 year ago)

        Hi again!! I wanted to tell you that my slow feeder is still superslow, but he is starting to like canned food, so, we are happy about it, although a little worry, because he is a little bit thinner now (he already was in ideal body condición). We tried to give him bigger portions, but the day is too short to finish them. So, we are thinking about the microchip pet feeder, but we have a question: if one cat is eating, and the other one “insert” his head before the first cat goes away, does the gate close anyway? Or does it stay open, because that is my cat M.O. to steal my other cat’s food…
        Thanks for reading!

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          September 8, 2015 at 6:23 am (1 year ago)

          That is a good question, Andrea, and I’m not sure what the answer is. I would recommend contacting SureFlap through their website.

          Reply
          • Andrea
            September 19, 2015 at 5:29 pm (1 year ago)

            Hi!
            Well, i reached a dead end here…sure flap has the way to stop thieves from get their hungry heads into others cats bowls. The problem is they don’t ship to Chile :(.
            Then i look for all the list of dry food you recomended, and none of them is selled here, and is almost impossible to find suplements to home made cooking (they are for industrial use)…so, finally i found 2 brands of grain free dry food (i did not find canned yet): Earthborn holistic and Nutrience. Both poultry and fish only. Do you know these brands? Would it be better than feed my cats with royal canin young male (dry) and hill’s m/d (canned)?
            Thanks a lot!

          • Ingrid
            September 20, 2015 at 5:54 am (1 year ago)

            I took a quick look at the Earthborn Holistic line – while the dry food’s ingredients look okay, they don’t look great. If you can find the canned Earthborn, I’d go with that – that actually looks really good. However, if it’s a choice between any dry food and Hill’s m/d canned, much as it pains me to say this, just about any canned food is better than dry food, even Hill’s with its less than stellar ingredients.

            Will Amazon ship to Chile? A lot of the brands I recommend are available through Amazon.

          • Andrea
            September 20, 2015 at 11:28 am (1 year ago)

            Yes…Amazon ships to Chile, but for every can i would be paying in diamonds. I will keep on the search for canned Earthborn. You gave me a lot of hope 🙂
            Thank you!

          • Ingrid
            September 20, 2015 at 11:41 am (1 year ago)

            You could always try contacting Earthborn, Andrea. Maybe they know of a distributor in Chile that you’re not aware of? Stranger things have happened! 🙂

  33. Esme
    August 13, 2015 at 1:26 am (1 year ago)

    You are right about the labels-useless-go with the calories per pound. Mr. M. would eat all day if I let him. We put out his food am and pm only.

    Reply
  34. Elines
    August 11, 2015 at 2:22 am (1 year ago)

    It depends on the cats eating habits too. My first cat Katy we used to feed her twice a day. She was a slow, delicate eater. When we got Sheldon, we had to seperate the cats during feedings because he was a gluton and inhaled his food and everyone elses when he could. He would break into food bags and containers and gorge himself and he got fat. None of our previous cats ever got so fat. I moved out of my home and my sister takes care of Shelly and her new cat Kristen and they both over eat if they are allowed so she has to control their food intake. On the other hand, I have 2 cats now that I actually free feed and my tortie girl Romy looks ideal while my lean boy Mugi appears under ideal. They only eat one or two bites at a time so if we only fed them controlled amounts twice a day they would not eat very much at all. We alternate between junk cat food, grain free dry and wet food to try to keep them interested and eating cause they seem to get bored with food.

    Reply
  35. Pattie
    August 10, 2015 at 1:00 pm (1 year ago)

    I adopted a 7 year old cat about 3 weeks ago that will eat nothing but kibble. I transitioned him to a high quality grain free kibble but he absolutely refuses to eat canned or raw, cat appropriate, food, which my other cats eat. I’ve never had a problem transitioning cats to other food before. Anyone have some good ideas?? He spent over three months in the shelter and had different canned food available every day but refused it there also.

    Reply
  36. Random Felines
    August 10, 2015 at 11:53 am (1 year ago)

    this is a never ending adventure in our house….we have some “seniors”, the baby is just a year old, Ivy could lose a pound or two and Mozart is probably underweight….we’re still working on it though

    Reply
  37. Joy
    August 10, 2015 at 10:26 am (1 year ago)

    Thank you so much! I’m concerned about keeping my kitty at a healthy weight and the visual is a great way to stay on track. Much appreciated!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 10, 2015 at 3:51 pm (1 year ago)

      I’m glad it was helpful, Joy!

      Reply
  38. The Swiss Cats
    August 10, 2015 at 4:51 am (1 year ago)

    Good advice ! We eat wet food, and Mum gives us four small meals a day. Fortunately, we eat what we need and not more, she doesn’t have to always control which amount of food each of us is eating. Purrs

    Reply
  39. Summer
    August 10, 2015 at 2:45 am (1 year ago)

    For the longest time, Binga, Boodie and I all ate the exact same amount of food – and we all have completely different weights! I’m the smallest and Boodie is the largest, and there is a nearly four pound difference between us! Which is okay because Boodie is a larger cat than I am. Binga, the oldest, was starting to look too thin, and my human guessed that this was because at nearly 15, her body wasn’t metabolizing her food as well as it used to, so now she gets a snack for lunch, and it is helping her put a few ounces back on.

    Reply

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