The Hervey Foundation for Cats
How Much Should You Feed Your Cat?

How Much Should You Feed Your Cat?

The amount of food a cat needs varies from cat to cat, but there are some easy tips that will apply to most. As a first-time cat owner or someone unsure of how much food a cat truly needs, these tips can help you determine a healthy mealtime regime for your furry friend. 

Change is Difficult

When you first get your cat home, be sure to continue feeding them the same food they are used to, at the same times they are used to. Change is difficult for cats and regular meals continuing in the same way as always can help them cope with their new surroundings. Once they are more comfortable, you can slowly introduce new food and a feeding schedule.

After determining the type of food needed, ask the veterinarian how much your cat should have in a day. This is so we can find out how many times to feed them, and how much each time. Many cat owners prefer mornings and nights – think 8am and 8pm. It is up to you, but if you feed them twice a day, ensure each meal is half of their recommended daily amount. 

Determining What to Feed Them

There are a lot of cheap cat foods out there. These contain filler and other low-quality ingredients. These are like the fast food of the animal kingdom. The best way to determine what food to give your cat is to take them to the veterinarian. They can do a check-up, determine the cat’s age and health, and pick out a food that will be nutrient-rich – helping them live a long and healthy life. 

Wet/Dry/Raw

Most cat owners will tell you they feed their cats a mix of wet and dry cat food. This is a great approach as there are benefits to both, but cats get a lot of their water intake from eating wet food. An all-dry diet can cause your cat to become dehydrated or constipated unless you give them plenty of water. 

Raw diets are a bit higher maintenance and require more prep. They also have the tendency of spoiling quicker if not stored properly. On the plus side, there are companies that prep and sell raw food diets for animals through pet stores and veterinarians. Talk to your vet before changing your cat over to a raw food diet.  

Grazing

Many owners will leave their cat’s dry food out for them to graze on, in addition to wet food once a day. Grazing is when a large bowl of dry food is left out for the cat to eat on its own schedule. Some cats are able to ration their food on their own, but many aren’t. Many cats have a hard time regulating themselves, and most cats who graze end up overweight/obese.

How Much?

If you are unable to contact a vet or an expert, have a look at this excerpt from Catster.com about how much food to give a cat. 

“According to the Animal Medical Center in New York, a healthy, active 8-pound adult cat requires about 30 calories per pound per day. So, the average 8-pound cat requires about 240 calories per day.”

“Typically, dry food contains about 300 calories per cup, and canned food contains about 250 calories in each 6 oz can. (or, 125 per 3-ounce can). Using these counts as a guide, an 8-pound cat would need 4/5 of a cup of dry food or just less than a full 6-oz can (or two 3-ounce cans) of wet food per day. You can adjust the proportions based on whether your cat prefers more or less dry or wet food.”

Final Thoughts

If you’re just bringing home a cat, continue to feed them the food they are used to in intervals they are used to. Once you have some time, talk to your vet and get advice based on your cat’s needs. Your vet will determine how much they need to eat based on age, size, and activity level. Once that is figured out, you need to figure out a schedule and that’s it! We hope you and your cat live a long and prosperous life together!

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