Many cat owners struggle with how much their cat should be fed. There are many factors influencing how much and how often a cat should eat. Most cat food comes with a serving size recommendation on the pet food packaging. This is a good baseline on how much to feed a cat. However, a cat’s individual factors such as weight, age, and general health will dictate how much you should ultimately feed your cat.
In order to establish a baseline, weigh your cat. This is most easily done by weighing yourself and writing down how much you weigh. Then weigh both yourself and the cat. Subtract your weight from this number and you will have your cat’s weight. Keep a log of your cat’s weight in a convenient location and weigh the cat once a week. Doing this over a period of eight weeks will allow you to see if your cat is gaining or losing weight. You will want to adjust how much the cat is being fed based on weight gain or loss. A steady weight indicates that you began with the proper food amount. Any extreme fluctuations of weight gain or loss could indicate a serious health condition and you will want to consult with a veterinarian right away. If you are already aware of an existing health condition, you will want to start with your veterinarian’s recommendation of how much to feed your cat and what type of food.
Kittens, up to an age of six months, need more food than adult cats do. Kittens should be fed three times per day. A healthy kitten should be energetic and gain weight weekly. After six months of age, most cats need to be fed twice a day. Feeding times should be at consistent times each day in order to maximize your cat’s health. Consider your schedule when establishing feeding times. For example, if you work a typical work week at a 9-5 type of job, a good feeding schedule for an adult cat is before you leave for work each day and when you come home. If you work an alternative schedule, do not despair! What time your cat eats does not matter as long as it is consistent. If you have more than one cat, you may want to observe their eating routines for a week or two. This will show you whether or not one cat is eating more of the food and give you an early alert to any medical problems.
You can evaluate your cat’s appearance and personality to rate your cat’s general level of health. Look at your cat’s fur and assess whether it is full and shiny. Alertness and activity level are also good indicators of general health. Finally, does your cat let you pet him or her all over, or are there any areas that seem to cause your cat pain? If your cat generally looks and acts healthy chances are that he or she does not have any major health issues.
On the other hand, known health conditions can impact how much or how little to feed your cat. For example, a diabetic cat would need to eat on the same schedule he or she receives insulin. In the case of a health issue, talk to your vet for a recommendation on what type of food to feed your cat, whether or not it should be in conjunction with medication, and how much food is recommended.
In general, elderly cats may have issues eating dry food. Be sure to check the condition of your elderly cat’s teeth. If your cat has worn teeth or even gum disease, feed the cat canned, wet food. Pay attention to what type of canned food you purchase and the portion-size given to your cat. Some of the gourmet canned food is extremely tasty to cats may try and over eat this type of food.