One of the most common questions asked by the first-time cat owners is, of course, “how much food should my cat eat?” – And even if you had a cat for years, it’s quite possible that you’re still wondering whether your pet is getting too much or too little food. Feeding a cat isn’t something complicated, but it is still based on some variables, like the pet’s age and weight, its activity level, and its current situation: maybe your cat is pregnant or nursing. The brand is also something that matters – the high-quality food that’s dense will inevitably contain more nutrients that the low-quality one, which means that you’ll have to feed smaller portions.
Many cat owners will allow their pets a free access to some brand of dry food, supplementing it with canned food a few times during the day. The dry-only food diet isn’t something wrong (especially in the case of high-quality food), but it will require encouraging your cat to drink more water and thus compensate for the lack of it.
Whenever you bring a new cat into your home, it’s very important to keep feeding her the same amount of food that she’s accustomed to, and then slowly migrate to your own brand. The reason behind this is the fact that the cats are quite sensitive to change, as they’re often dealing with the stress that’s caused by the new environment, which means that it’s of the crucial importance to keep the schedule and the food consistent and thus ease her transition. And once you’re ready for the change, you will have to determine what sort of food will you be giving (raw, wet, dry, or a combo), as well as to determine how much will you be feeding her.
What to feed
The base of a healthy diet would be the flesh-based protein – meat, poultry, or fish. The dry food needs to be high in animal proteins, and also low in plant proteins (cats find them hard to digest). And when it comes to carbohydrates, they shouldn’t make up more than 10% of the ingredients.
The canned meals, on the other hand, need to have as few fillers and by-products as it is possible.
How much to feed
An 8-pound adult cat that’s healthy and active will need some 30 calories per one pound during the day. This means that an average cat will need some 240 calories per day. The dry food contains about 300 calories per cup, while the canned food contains 250 calories in each of the 6oz cans. This means that the 8-pound cat needs 4/5 of a dry food cup or a little bit less than a full 6oz can during one day. You can, of course, adjust these proportions based on which kind of food your cat prefers.
How often to feed
This depends on the food that you’re feeding the cat with. Most of the cat owners are feeding their pets once in the morning and once in the evening, sometimes supplementing those feedings with the free feedings throughout the day.
Even though it sounds like something basic, you can now probably see that there are still some rules when it comes to feeding a cat. One thing that you should remember is to keep your pet from becoming obese – if you can’t feel her backbone and the ribs, she is probably overweight, and you will need to adjust her portions. This will save your cat from all sorts of diseases that come with obesity and will keep both you and her a lot happier.