“How much should I feed my cat?” is one of the most common questions our patients ask. Veterinarians and cat behaviorists must often answer cat food-related questions, such as what is the best cat food, is dry food better for cats and others. No matter the type of food, the key question is how many grams of cat food per day is needed?
The only straight answer to this question is: Provide your cat enough cat food to maintain a healthy weight and not enough to gain excess body weight. Isn’t that brilliant? But what does it mean?
Table of Contents
- How many grams of dry food should a cat eat per day?
- How much should a cat eat a day chart?
- How much cat food should a kitten eat?
- How much food should I feed my senior cat?
- How many grams of cat food per day should I feed my cat?
How many grams of dry food should a cat eat per day?
If you are using commercial cat food, then the easiest way to determine how much food to give your cat is to check the label on the package. If your cat is not on a commercial diet, you will either need to do some caloric calculations or go by feel (provide a tablespoon per meal and see how your cat’s weight changes).
Note: Note: According to the American Animal Hospital Association, a lean cat needs 70 × Ideal Body Weight (in kilograms) x 0.75 kcal per day. Therefore an average cat weighing 4 kg (8.8 lbs) needs about 210 kcal/day. Please understand that this number depends on many things and is a guideline to start with. This does not apply to a kitten, pregnant cat, or overweight cat.
How much should a cat eat a day chart?
You will find a table on every cat food package (dry or wet) with an approximate amount of food necessary to a cat depending on its weight and/or age.
Most commonly an average cat (4 kg or 8.8 lbs of body weight) needs about:
- 50 to 70 grams (1.7 to 2.5 oz) of dry food;
- 150 to 250 grams (5.3 to 8.8 oz) of wet food;
- 100 to 200 grams (3.5 to 7 oz) of raw food
These numbers are only examples – always check the label.
If you provide your cat different types of food, divide those amounts into meals. For example, if you serve three meals to your cat, then one meal is 20 g of dry food, 50 g of wet food and 35 g of raw food. From there you can change from food to food as you think appropriate.
You don’t have to weigh each meal. Weigh once and either use a measuring cup or note the number of spoons or visually remember the amount. The easiest way is to measure a daily amount in the morning and then serve it in different meals until the cup is empty in the evening. For canned cat food it’ll be easier if you round the daily amount to full cans, cups or trays.
If the package states a range instead of a specific number, always start with the lowest amount of food and modify the amount depending on how your cat’s weight changes.
IMPORTANT: The only thing that tells you whether you feed too much or too little is if your cat puts on or loses weight. Your cat meowing at an empty bowl or stealing from the table is not necessarily a sign of hunger. See here for more help if your cat is constantly begging for food, despite being well fed.
How much cat food should a kitten eat?
Kittens nutritional needs are different than an adult cat. They need more food per body weight than when they are full grown. As cats in the wild hunt, then consume their prey, they are used to eating many meals per day.
A research paper by Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine states that a growing kitten should be given 3 meals per day up to 6 months of age. Their stomachs are smaller than that of an adult cat so they can’t consume as much kitten food at each meal. They still need the calories to grow up strong and healthy. As kitten food is usually higher in calories, protein, and fat to support growth, make sure to follow the guidelines on the packaging.
After 6 months of age to one year of age, a kitten will do well on 2 meals per day. From one year of age (which is adulthood), once a day feeding should be enough to maintain an ideal weight. This assumes your cat is healthy and free from disease. If your cat has health issues, please work closely with your veterinarian to determine an appropriate course of action.
How much food should I feed my senior cat?
Once your feline friend reaches the age of 7 years of age, they are considered a senior cat. You’ve probably seen wet cat food and dry cat food marketed as “Senior Cat Food”. Sounds perfect right? Well, a research study done by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine found those cat food brands that were marked as “Senior Cat” had similar nutritional profiles (e.g. calories, minerals, protein, etc.) except the “Senior Cat” one had more fiber. This is valuable as an older cat will feel more full for a given amount of food due to the fiber content. Further, the paper suggests that this will help promote weight loss or make maintaining your cats weight easier.
How many grams of cat food per day should I feed my cat?
The following are things to consider when talking about cat nutrition.
- Your cats diet may consist of wet food (usually known as canned food) which has 70-80% water in it, or dry food (most commonly known as kibble) which has about 10% water. So if you are feeding dry food only, your cat will require more fresh water. This is even more critical if your cat is prone to urinary tract infections.
- Monitor cat behavior. If your cat is eating everything in sight and still acting like they are starving, there may be a health issue causing this. Please bring this to your vet’s attention right away.
- Free cat feeding is one of the most common ways to have an overweight cat on your hands quickly. This is where dry kibble is left out all the time for your cat or cats to feed on. It is difficult to monitor your cats caloric intake with this method of feeding. This is further complicated with an indoor cat that gets less exercise in general.
- As a loving cat owner, you’ll want to watch your cats weight closely to avoid weight gain. Set feeding times have many benefits especially when you have a multi cat household like we have. You can monitor each cat’s caloric intake.
- For a complete list of our articles we’ve published on feline nutrition, please see our complete list of articles on Cat Nutrition.
Now that you know how many grams of cat food per day to feed your kitten, adult, and senior cat, you can feel happy that you are feeding your cat the appropriate amount.
This way you will be happy and your cat will be happy. And keeping your Pet happy is what we all want.