25 Sep, 2023

How much food should I feed my cat?

Irina Turcan
How much food should I feed my cat?

If you share your home with a feline friend, there are many questions you might have about how to give them the best care. And one of the most basic of these is ‘how much food should I feed my cat?’ Yet the answer is not straightforward. The amount of food your kitty will need depends on a range of different factors. Let’s get into the details.

What type of food should I give my cat?

Before asking ‘how much food should I feed my cat?’, we need to know what kind of food to choose. Nutrition is key for the wellbeing of our feline friends, so it’s important to feed them a healthy diet. And with so many pet foods available, it’s not easy to decide which to pick.

First, be sure to always buy food that’s specifically designed for cats. You can’t feed your moggy dog food, because the nutrients that kitties and pups require are very different. And while there are some human foods cats can eat, ensuring they get everything they need from them is tricky.

Second, cats are obligate carnivores. This means they have to consume certain nutrients that are only found in meat in order to stay healthy. These include the amino acids taurine and arginine. If you look for a cat food labelled as ‘complete’, it should contain all the nutrients they require. And, of course, always opt for a reputable brand.

Third, you need to choose cat food that’s suitable for your moggy’s individual needs and stage of life. For example, there are different foods for kittens, adults, and senior cats. Feeding your fluffy friend an age-appropriate diet will ensure they get the right nutrition for their unique requirements.

Does my cat need a special diet?

In some cases, your kitty might require a special diet. This is normally because they have a specific health condition that means they need a different balance of nutrients. For instance, you can get cat food for cats with diabetes, obesity, and kidney disease, as well as pregnant cats. Your vet will be able to advise you on whether a special diet is necessary for your pet. You should additionally ask how much food should I feed my cat, because this also varies according to their health.

How much food should I feed my cat?

Ok, let’s move on to the key question: how much food should I feed my cat? Perhaps unsurprisingly, this will vary depending on several factors. These include your cat’s age, weight, health, activity levels, and whether they’re an outdoor or indoor kitty. It might even change with the weather, as our pets often want more sustenance in the colder months. That means it’s impossible for us to say precisely how much you should feed your cat – sorry!

Your vet will be able to tell you what a healthy body weight is for your cat, and how many calories they require per day. You can use this as a guide to know whether you need to increase or decrease the amount they’re eating.

The answer to ‘how much food should I feed my cat?’ also depends on the exact food you’re giving them. Different brands and types will vary in calories, so always check the recommended portion sizes. Companies often give these in ranges, so make sure you know where your cat falls within them.

Generally speaking, it’s good to feed your cat a mixture of dry and wet food. This should ensure they get all the nutrients they require, plus it offers them some variety. Feel free to adjust the ratio of wet to dry food depending on your lifestyle and what your kitty prefers.

How much dry food should I feed my cat?

There are several advantages to feeding your moggy dry kibble. First, it’s a convenient option for pet parents who are out during the day. You can leave dry food in your cat’s bowl without worrying about it going off. They’re then able to tuck in whenever they’re hungry. Alternatively, put some into a puzzle feeder to make mealtimes more exciting! In addition, dry food could be beneficial for your cat’s dental health. Research suggests that its abrasive nature may help to reduce plaque and tartar build-up on their teeth.(1)

However, some older cats or those with dental issues might find crunchy biscuits difficult to eat. Dry food also doesn’t contain much water. You therefore need to take care to ensure your cat stays hydrated, especially if you don’t feed them wet food.  

In terms of the amount of dry food to feed your cat, check the recommended serving on the packaging. Don’t forget to adjust this depending on how much wet food you give your moggy.

How much wet food should I feed my cat?

While wet food seems like a treat for cats, it can be a nutritious part of your kitty’s diet. There are all sorts of different flavours and textures to choose from, so you’re sure to find one they enjoy. Moreover, wet food helps your pet to stay hydrated thanks to its higher water content. Not to mention, it’s easy for cats of all ages to tuck into.

One issue to be aware of with wet food is that because it’s moist, you can’t leave it out for long. To prevent bacterial growth, don’t let it sit in your pet’s bowl for more than 30-60 minutes. Likewise, if you don’t use a whole tin or packet, store the rest in the fridge to keep it fresh. Just remember that your moggy might not like to eat cold food – so take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before feeding time!

Are you wondering ‘how much canned food should I feed my cat?’ Again, it’s best to check the suggested portion on the tin. You can then make adjustments depending on how much dry food you give your kitty.

How do I change my cat’s diet?

There are several reasons why you might need to adjust your cat’s diet. It could be moving from kitten to adult food, or from standard food to a special diet. Either way, it’s preferable to make the switch gradually. Try offering them both the old and new food for about a week, served in separate bowls. Slowly increase the proportion of the new food during this period. That will help prevent any digestive problems and allow your kitty to get used to the new textures and flavours.

Has asking ‘how much food should I feed my cat?’ made you realise you’ve got the amount wrong? If so, it’s better to adjust the quantity you feed your moggy gradually. Rapid weight loss or gain can be detrimental to your pet’s health, so take it slow. Your vet will be able to offer more personalised advice on how to do so if necessary.

What can I add to my cat’s diet to boost their health?

Choosing healthy cat food is vital, but it’s not the only way you can boost your kitty’s nutritional intake. You also have the option to add functional foods to their diet to improve their wellbeing. The best cat supplements for your pet will depend on their health condition, lifestyle, and needs.

For example, Jerusalem artichoke helps enhance your moggy’s gut health, while milk thistle could be great for their liver.(2) Walnut oil may work to support your cat’s brain health, while ashwagandha is an effective way to lower stress. You can also give your fluffy friend sea buckthorn to keep their eyes and fur in top condition, or medicinal mushrooms to bolster their immune system.(3) These are all natural and holistic ways to support your kitty’s wellbeing.

What’s great about such functional foods is that they’re easy to add to your pet’s diet. Simply mix the powders into their wet food, or give them oil straight from the spoon. When it comes to dosage, it’s the same as the question of how much food should I give my cat. Check the packaging of the specific supplements you buy, and always stick to the recommended amounts.

How often should I feed my cat?

‘How much food should I feed my cat?’ is not the only question to think about – timing matters too. Some of this will come down to what suits your schedule, but cats generally prefer to eat little and often. This is partly because they have small stomachs, and also because it fits how cats hunt and eat in the wild.

At a minimum, feed your moggy twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. Automatic feeders are useful if you work long hours and want to split your cat’s food into three or four meals. One key point to remember is that cats like routine. As such, it’s best to feed your kitty at the same times every day where possible.

You can also leave a bowl of dry food out all day for your cat to graze on when hungry. Just make sure that you keep an eye on how much they’re eating if you do!

How many treats can I give my cat?

When considering the question ‘how much food should I feed my cat?’, it’s important not to forget about treats. Otherwise, these can easily add up into lots of extra calories for your pet. The occasional treat is fine, but you must count them towards your cat’s daily allowance of food. That will mean reducing the amount of wet or dry food you give them accordingly.

Another factor to consider is that treats might not be suitable for your cat. For example, if your moggy is obese or has a health condition, it may be best to avoid such snacks. Speak to the vet for personalised advice if you’re unsure. And don’t feel bad about not allowing your cat treats – you can always spoil them with playtime and cuddles instead!

Can I give my cat human food?

So far, we’ve been talking about cat food in relation to the question ‘how much food should I feed my cat?’. But what about giving your cat human food? Well, it all depends on the details. Some human foods are safe for feline consumption, whereas others can be toxic for kitties. It wouldn’t be possible to go through all the possibilities here, so let’s focus on a few key points.

You can give your cat cooked meat and fish, but remove all the skin and bones first. Whole grains and cooked eggs are also fine. However, seasonings like onions, garlic, and chives can be toxic for our pets. It’s therefore best not to feed them scraps from your plate – even if they turn those big eyes on you!

Contrary to popular belief, milk is not good for cats. Most of our feline friends are lactose intolerant, and drinking milk can cause them to vomit or have diarrhoea. Moreover, milk is high in fat and calories, so may lead to obesity.

When it comes to fruit and vegetables, some are ok whereas others could be harmful. So, always check before letting your cat nibble at your salad! And chocolate is a definite no-no. If you’re worried that your kitty has eaten something they shouldn’t, take them to the vet. It’s better to be on the safe side.

What should I do if my cat isn’t eating?

When we ask questions like ‘how much food should I feed my cat?’, we assume our pets will eat whatever we give them. So it may be worrying if they appear to lose their appetite. If your moggy’s eating habits suddenly change, the first thing to do is take them to the vet. This will allow you to rule out any medical causes. You can then try the following tips to encourage your kitty to eat:

  • Keep their food bowl clean
  • Don’t feed your cat near their litter tray, or put their food bowl near a door
  • Use a wide, shallow bowl to feed your kitty, so it doesn't irritate their whiskers
  • Give your cat wet food at room temperature, not straight from the fridge
  • Stick to a regular feeding schedule
  • Try different foods to find a variety your moggy likes
  • Cut down on treats
  • If you have more than one cat, make sure they all have their own bowl to eat from

So… how much food should I feed my cat?

Without knowing your cat, it’s impossible for us to answer this question! At your next vet appointment, find out your moggy’s ideal body weight and individual calorie requirements. Combine this information with the recommended portion sizes on your kitty’s food to determine the correct quantity to feed them. And remember to reduce the amount proportionately if you give your cat any treats. Easy!