Knowing how much to feed your cat each day is, unfortunately, a question without a one-size-fits-all answer, and requires an element of understanding your cat, their needs, and their preferences.
Every cat is unique
There are a number of factors that play into your cat’s metabolism rate, and thus how much food they need to eat each day to maintain their ideal weight: age, size, the amount they exercise, and whether they are pregnant or nursing. Generally, naturally large cats require more food to power their larger muscles, older cats are more sedentary so need to eat a little less, and kittens are undergoing energy-demanding growth-spurts.
Most pet food manufacturers provide a daily food allowance based on the size of your cat. To help you feed your cat the correct amount for their activity level, James Wellbeloved provides cat feeding guides for three activity levels: lean/very active, normal and indoor/overweight. But remember these are just guidelines and this quantity should be adjusted according to body condition.
Neutering can also influence your cat’s activity levels. In general, post neutering cats show a decline in activity and consequently this is coupled with a need to decrease their calorie intake.
A balanced diet
What you feed your cat also plays a big part in how much you are feeding them. Cat food is available in different formats: wet and dry. The decision on what format to feed is up to you and your cats’ preference, with both options offering benefits. If you decide to feed a mix of the two, be sure to work out proportions correctly so your cat isn’t overfed.
If you are in any doubt, your vet will gladly help you calculate a healthy diet.
Personality is key
The two great measures of whether you are feeding your cat correctly are: to check their weight and body condition score (we recommend once every two weeks), and to cater their food according to their behaviour. House-cats are likely to live a more sedentary lifestyle than outdoor cats, so their diet will need to reflect their energy requirements. Equally, just as humans change their habits throughout their lifetime, so do our feline companions. As cats age they generally become more sedentary and as a result an older cat doesn’t need to eat as much relative to their weight as a growing kitten or a high-energy middle-aged cat to maintain its ideal weight.
So, pay close attention to their behaviour, body shape and weight, and, if you notice a tubby middle emerging or their energy starts to sap, it might be time to adjust the portions.