Things Your Cat Wants You To Know: Feeding #3
Things Your Cat Wants You To Know
How much should you feed your fabulous felines? Below we’ll explore calories, treats, and lifestyle.
1. Indoor ‘Couch Potato’ Kitties vs Outdoor Hunters. I have 3 indoor-only kitties. Two are ‘Couch Potatoes’ or have very low activity levels, while my Tuxedo is medium activity as she likes to play fetch. Outdoor kitties may have varied needs as well. Perhaps you have an outdoor sun lounging cat with low activity. Or an active hunter with higher caloric needs. Maybe your kitty sneaks food from a neighbor. There are many factors that affect the amount of food/calories your kitty should get.
2. What about my Kittens? Intact male and female cats do burn more calories and have higher caloric requirements than neutered cats. A pregnant and nursing Queen has even higher calorie demands. I typically recommend free feeding a pregnant and nursing Queen and giving her kitten food as raising babies takes a lot of energy.
3. I’m not fat, I’m fluffy! So how do you decide if your kitty is over or underweight? You should be able to feel your cat's ribs on the side, but the backbone should not be prominent. They should have a definable waist. Use this handy chart to help you evaluate your kitty.
4. So how many calories should I feed my cat? In general, a 10-pound cat only needs about 230-250 kcal (kilocalories) of food a day. In general ¼ cup of dry twice a day is enough for a 10-pound cat. But calories do vary between brands. Wet food contains fewer calories by volume, so you can actually feed your kitty more wet food each day than what they might get with dry food. In general, a 10-pound cat can get one 3.5 ounce can of food 2-3 times a day depending on how many calories the can has.
5. Where do I find Calorie information? I wish it was easier to find, but it’s not. The best bet is to look at the product label and see how many calories or Kilocalories there are per cup of food on an as-fed basis. Or Google it and get the information from the manufacturer. For example, I feed Royal Canin Indoor Cat Food. The company says there are 325 kilocalories per cup of food as fed. I also feed Fancy Feast Classic Pate. This has 99 kcal/can. Opal should weigh 11-pound, she’s currently 11.6-pound. She’s medium-low activity level. I’m currently feeding her ½ cup of the dry/day, so that’s about 162 calories and 1 can of FF/day for 99 calories. That equals 261 calories a day. Which is about what she should get. Though I probably need to increase her exercise and decrease her kibble amount somewhat. Whereas Buggs, my older ‘Couch Potato’ kitty weighs 8.5-pound. She is lean, always has been. She gets 2 cans of FF/day so that is only 198 calories. Sometimes she doesn’t quite finish it all. But her weight is ideal.
6. Meow! Where’s my Temptation? When giving treats, and I’m totally down with giving treats, you need to calculate that into the total calories for your kitty every day. Temptations, for example, are 2 calories each. The company recommends 15 treats a day. That’s 30 calories your kitty is getting. If you are already feeding 230 calories a day to your 10-pound cat, this is extra that packs on more pounds. So take away some kibble to compensate for the treats. Or use some of their daily kibble allotment to use as treats. Free feeding cats only works if you have a nibbler cat(s) that maintain a healthy weight. Most of us have multiple cats, some nibblers, and some gobblers. In this case, you need to measure out daily food requirements for each cat and consider feeding them in separate rooms. My older kitty is fed separately from the younger gobblers. If you have any questions about the food you are feeding your kitty, please bring a photo of the label of the can in with you on kitty’s next exam. We’re happy to take a look at it and see if you are feeding good quality food and if the amount is appropriate.
Thank you to Dr. Vicky for our “What Your Cat Wants You to Know Articles”.