How Much to Feed a Cat

How much to feed a cat? Hero image

Have you ever asked yourself, “how much food should I feed my cat?” It’s a good question. Cats can be finicky eaters, so it can be difficult to determine what and how much a cat should eat. While it would be ideal to be able to say an amount in cups or ounces, feeding a cat isn’t established this way. Instead, your cat, her lifestyle and her food are all factors to consider.

Here are some things to keep in mind before you fill your cat’s dish.  

  1. Food’s purpose
    Food is your cat’s source of nutrition and energy, so this is the basis of how much to feed a cat. Though cats enjoy tasty food, too much can cause them to become overweight which may lead to other health problems. Feed too little and your cat won’t be taking in the calories and nutrients she needs to be active. In addition, treats need to be limited to no more than 10% of a cat’s daily calories to help insure your pet receives a complete and balanced diet.  Table scraps need to be eliminated from her diet for the same reason.
  2. Life stage, activity level and environment
    Since a cat’s needs change over time, how much you feed your cat should evolve, too. Growing kittens and cats who are nursing their young need more calories. Their bodies require more energy during development and when providing nutrients for their babies. Similarly, very active cats need more food than cats who nap most of the day.
  3. Ideal weight for breed
    Genetics determine a lot about a cat’s body. Some cat breeds are large or have a primordial pouch or other loose skin while others are slight and sleek. Knowing these physical traits, along with their body weight,and checking them against the/a body condition scoring chart can help you understand your cat’s physique. Also, consult your veterinarian in order to assess your cat’s ideal body condition. She can help determine your cat’s ideal weight and body condition and advise you on how much a cat should eat.
  4. Food packaging recommendations
    There are a few different resources you can reference if you’re wondering how much food is appropriate to feed your cat. These are good places to gather information:
  • Food packaging
    All pet foods are required to have feeding recommendations and calorie content on the package.  However, some are more detailed than others.
  • Brand website
    Feeding directions are often explained on the pet food’s website.
  • Pet food manufacturer
    Contact the pet manufacturer to ask how much of their food should be fed to a cat. The pet experts on staff can guide you.

Carrying extra weight can be unhealthy for cats. And it typically indicates that your cat is not being fed the right amount. Here are some steps you can take to monitor how much to feed your cat so you can help your cat remain at a healthy weight and ideal body condition.

  1. Never feed scraps
  2. Limit or eliminate treats
  3. Measure out all cat food portions. Use recommendations for amount from the food package as a starting point and adjust as needed.
  4. Consult your veterinarian
  5. Consider weight loss measures or a feeding system like Purina Pro Plan’s Simply Fit


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