Pet parents of cats know the importance of cat health. They often spend a lot of time trying to find the best foods to feed their cats. While cat food quality is important, so too is how much to feed a cat.
Both too little and too much food can lead to cat health issues. Underfeeding can lead to malnutrition and weight loss while overfeeding can lead to significant weight gain, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and a whole host of other complications. Pet parents need to provide an appropriate amount of food to ensure optimal health and happiness. The question is, how much is enough? Here’s what pet parents need to know.
Factors that Impact Dietary Needs
There are a number of factors that play a role in how much to feed a cat. These factors include:
Age. A cat’s age may play some role in their nutritional needs.
Activity level. More active cats need more calories and nutrients than those who prefer to lounge. Older cats tend to be less active, so they might not need to eat as much.
Breed/Size. Larger cats, such as Maine Coons and Ragdolls, need to eat more than smaller cats.
Reproductive status. Spayed and neutered cats need fewer calories than those who are intact. Cats who are pregnant or nursing need a significantly larger number of calories to meet the needs of their growing kittens.
Overall health. Cats who are underweight will need to eat more (for a time) to reach a healthy weight. On the other hand, overweight cats will need fewer calories to help them lose weight and improve their overall health.
How Many Calories Do Cats Need?
Like humans, cats have daily caloric needs. Those needs depend on the above factors. While pet parents can often find feeding instructions on the back of their cat’s food, their cat’s needs could vary significantly from those suggestions. If a pet parent is concerned about how much to feed their cat, the Fuzzy Veterinarian Team is available 24/7 to answer cat nutrition questions.
How Often to Feed a Cat
Many pet parents leave the food bowl out and full all day. While convenient, this isn’t generally a great idea for a cat diet. Cats should eat several small meals. Pet parents can divide their cat’s caloric needs into a set number of meals (between two and six) and feed their cats periodically throughout the day.
Dry vs. Wet Food
Pet parents may wonder whether they should feed their cat wet food or dry food. Many vets often recommend a combination of both. Wet food has a higher water content, which can help prevent kidney issues, and it often has more protein. Pet parents can leave dry food out longer, it's better for a cat's teeth because it doesn't buildup as much tartar on teeth as wet food, and it can be more affordable. Pet parents can offer cat dietary supplements to make up for nutrient deficiencies and should ensure their cat has plenty of access to clean water.
Find an Ideal Balance
Knowing how much to feed a cat will help pet parents keep their cats healthy and happy. If they’re unsure of how much cat food to provide, they can schedule a consultation with their primary vet. Pet parents can also speak to real vets at any time with Fuzzy’s 24/7 Live Vet Chat. With the right cat advice, pet parents can provide the best life for their cats.