How Much to Feed a Cat: Tips for Healthy Diet
Proper feeding of a cat is the key to its health and longevity. Of course, proper nutrition can’t completely protect a pet from diseases, but it significantly reduces the risk of most of them appearing. Which diet is needed depends on the age of the cat, its constitution, and general condition. Food from the master’s table is a bad decision, leading to the appearance of many violations. So what and how much to feed a cat?
Natural Cat Food
Many owners choose a “natural cat food“. It is tasty and healthy. However, do not forget that when choosing natural food, the owner has an increased responsibility of calculating the correct diet. A mistake can result in health problems of your feline friend.
Some are convinced that the cat themself knows the measure in the amount of food. This is far from the case and many purrs are ready to eat constantly. The result of such incontinence is overweight, breathing problems, and other ailments.
Calculation of the diet for a kitten (from 10 weeks to 9 months) can be done according to the following formula:
Kitten weight X 10% = Daily ration
That is, a kitten weighing 2.5 kg should eat about 250 grams of food per day. Sour-milk products should be ½ of the diet and another ½ should be meat.
The diet for an adult cat is calculated based on another formula:
Cat weight X 5% = Daily ration
That is, a cat weighing 5 kg should eat 250 grams of food per day. It can be 130 grams of fermented milk food and 120 grams of meat.
You can add 10 – 15 grams of vegetables per day and 2 – 5 drops of oil.
You can weigh a cat as follows: first, stand on the scales yourself, then – with a pet in your arms. The difference between the two numbers will make up the body weight of your furry friend.
If you are a fan of calorie counting, you can do the same for your cat. A kitten and a teenager need more energy (838 kJ) than an adult cat (353 kJ). As for animals overweight, they need a maximum of 251 kJ calories per day.
What to feed a cat
The following products can be included in the diet:
|Meat||Better to choose lean beef or chicken. It is acceptable to use rabbit meat or lamb. Pork is strictly prohibited! The meat is given raw, but pre-poured with boiling water. However, some cats prefer a cooked product.|
|Fish||Choose low-fat marine fish, clean it for bones and boil. However, abusing the “fish days” is not worth it. Fish can be given 1 time per week instead of meat. Fish should not be given to sterilized and neutered!|
|Offal||A cat can be given a heart, lungs, liver, or kidneys. However, keep in mind that their calorie content and usefulness are lower than those of meat. Offal is given raw, not more than 2 times a week. But in many cats, these foods cause diarrhea and vomiting, so be careful.|
|Sour-milk products (kefir, cottage cheese, sour cream)||They should be 50% of the cat’s diet. Fat content should not exceed 9%. But fat-free is also not very useful: they can lead to diarrhea. Cat’s body does not absorb milk well.|
|Vegetables||A cat can eat almost any vegetables: pumpkin, beets, carrots, cabbage, peppers. Focus on pet addiction. Vegetables are finely chopped, served raw or stewed in water, you can add oil. Potatoes are not recommended.|
|Eggs||Quail or chicken can be added to cottage cheese or kefir (1 piece per week).|
|Bran||They can replace vegetables, they are useful for digestion. They are often mixed with meat or dairy products.|
|Butter||Flaxseed, pumpkin, vegetable, olive is added to food (not more than 5 drops), has a beneficial effect on digestion.|
|Cereals||Hercules, rice can be given in small quantities in the form of cereals (in meat broth or water). They are mixed with meat or fish.|
How Much to Feed a Cat: Rules
In order for the cat to be not only well-fed but also satisfied, you will have to adhere to the diet and observe some rules. The frequency of feeding cats is:
|Adult cat||2 – 3 times a day|
|Kittens (up to 5 – 6 months)||4 times a day|
|Sterilized, neutered cats and cats||1 per day|
How often and how much to feed a cat who is overweight with diabetes?
Obesity is a disease, and you need to show your cat to a vet if they are overweight. Trying to “lose weight” yourself, simply by reducing the amount of food, you can harm the cat: bring them to a nervous breakdown or miss existing health problems that led to obesity.
In rare cases, obesity is dysfunctional – that is, not because “someone eats too much”, but because of failures in the endocrine system.
If the cat has diabetes, then it needs to be fed in small portions at regular intervals – for example, every 3-4 hours up to five times a day, but this is determined by the vets. For cats with diabetes, special ready-made therapeutic diets are also available.
How often and how much to feed a sterilized cat?
Eating disorders are characteristic of a sterilized animal. Especially if the owner does not pamper them with attention: the pet is bored, and food becomes the only entertainment.
To prevent this, give your pet as many new experiences as possible: arrange a climbing vertical, buy toys of different shapes and functions, and teach them some tricks.
If possible, get your cat a new friend. It is likely that the issue of overeating will disappear by itself, the cat will not become a “sofa vegetable”, it will avoid the risk of obesity and related cardiovascular diseases.
There is special food for sterilized cats or cats prone to weight gain, which are rich in proteins, omega-3, and 6 fatty acids, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. Therefore, after eating, the pet does not feel hunger for a longer duration.
A sterilized cat does not need to be transferred to more frequent feeding: they are not sick, and still remains a predator, which in nature has to survive long intervals between meals.
How often and how much to feed an older cat?
Over the years, a cat can become either more voracious, or, conversely, not eat up a previously used portion – it is normal, but if the change in eating behaviour is too sharp – consult your veterinarian.
If the cat is losing weight, the quality of its coat is deteriorating – consult your veterinarian. It is possible that you will need to donate blood for biochemistry: it may be a shortage of substances that can be obtained not by feeding (what if the cat can’t eat a lot!), but with bioactive additives or therapy.
Metabolic processes slow down with age, so an elderly cat does not need to reduce feeding intervals – unless, of course, she is sick and the doctor has prescribed otherwise.
Special diet for a cat
A pregnant cat or pet that has suffered an illness, neutered pets, and also an overweight animal need special nutrition. In this case, the diet is agreed with the veterinarian.
Dry cat food
It is better to choose premium or super-premium food. Also, when choosing, focus on the age of the pet and its state of health. For example, special food is sold for castrated cats. When calculating the portion, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the package.
If you choose the right dry food, your cat likes it and feels good, you should not change it without serious reasons.
The cat is transferred to a new feed gradually, usually within two weeks. All this time, carefully monitor the health of the pet.
Is the cat eating right?
If your cat is energetic, playful, moderately well-fed, and her coat is shiny and silky, then you feed her correctly.
Remember that with age, the diet is adjusted. Kittens need more minerals and protein. After 7 years, the portion is reduced, the amount of protein is slightly cut, as the cat becomes less mobile. As for the elderly cat, try to give smaller pieces, slightly warm the food (up to 35 degrees).To be safe, once in 1.5 years, do a cat blood test for biochemistry. This will determine if the cat is getting enough nutrients.
Which food is better – dry or natural?
Both types of nutrition have pros and cons. If we talk about the industrial diet for cats, then the pet should be fed premium or super-premium class feed. Economy class feeds, such as Whiskas or Kitty Ket, will bring nothing to the cat, except for harm, although at first glance it seems profitable and cheap. The advantage of the finished diet is its balance and convenience in the country. Its disadvantage is the high price in comparison with natural nutrition, as well as the fact that it is almost impossible to purchase food of such a high category in an ordinary supermarket.
Natural feeding for a cat is cheaper and tastier, but for the owner, it will become an unnecessary concern. You will need to constantly monitor the balance of the diet, regularly cook fresh food and give it only room temperature.
The main disadvantages of such feeding are the need to strictly observe the proportions of the components in the diet; they need to regularly enrich the diet with vitamin-mineral complexes; difficulties in giving vegetables – many cats refuse them, even when vegetables are added to meat; the need to clear the fish from the seeds and boil it if it is from the river; searches for dairy products with the necessary fat content of at least 10-15%.
Any errors in the selection of products for feeding a cat will negatively affect her health. The way in which feeding is preferred depends on the personal wishes of the owner of the cat. The exception is when a pet needs to be given therapeutic nutrition, and then only a ready-made industrial diet can be used.
Proper feeding of cats is necessary to maintain their health. Responsible owners do not risk offering their pet food or low-quality food. When getting any pet, it is important to understand that it requires compliance with a number of maintenance rules, without which its quality of life will be less.
You can also read: