Just like with your kids and other pets at home, feeding your cat the right amount of food is crucial to his or her health and well-being. And it does not matter whether it is dry or wet cat food. As Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM puts it, how much dry cat food your cat should consume per day depends on his dietary needs which are defined by factors such as age, weight, health, and activity level. And while it is recommended that you feed your cat dry food as instructed by the manufacturer, a healthy and active cat will do a great approx. 240 calories per day.
Feeding your cat the appropriate amount of food, however, allows him to retain a healthy body weight. A standard adult dry cat food, for instance, contains about 100 kcal per ounce or 3.5 kcal per gram. To know how much your feline friend needs, I recommend you to always consult your vet as she knows your cat dietary needs better. Make sure that you also check your cat’s body condition score to narrow down on the right amount of cat food, insists Dr. Coates.
Table of Contents
Cat feeding chart per age
According to a publication by Hill’s Pet, there are three feeding methods that you can use to feed your cat, including meal feeding, free-feeding, or combination feeding. All these methods have their benefits and drawbacks. But all things held constant, your cat’s age makes the difference!
|Cat Age||Amount of Food||Number of Times|
|4 to 8 weeks||60 kcal per pound of body weight||Every 6 to 8 hours|
|8 to 16 weeks||250 to 280 kcal/day for small breeds360 kcal/day for large breeds||5 meals per day|
|4 to 6 months||30 kcal per pound of body weight||5 small meals per day at 4 months & 2-3 at 6 months|
|6 months & above||20 kcal per pound of body weight||2 to 3 meals per day|
|Senior cats||30 to 40 kcal per pound of body weight||2 to 3 meals per day|
During their young age (between birth to 4 weeks), kittens should be fed mother’s milk or approx. 2 tbsp. of liquid kitten recipe per 4 ounces of body weight if you are bottle-feeding her.
What times of the day should I feed my cat?
When to feed your cat is also critical and should be taken seriously. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, your cat should eat at least two meals a day, ensuring a difference of 12 hours between the two meals. If you, however, are able to feed him breakfast, lunch, afternoon, dinner, and before going to bed, add VCA, it is also a good schedule.
When Bella, my cat, was 5 ½ months old, I would feed her 5 meals a day using the latter method and she thrived just fine. Of course it was easy for me because I worked from home so I could easily observe the timings. Feeding your cat after more than 12 hours between meals can lead to hyperacidity in his tummy which causes nausea.
Cat feeding calculator
A cat feeding calculator helps you determine how much you should feed your feline friend to make sure that you follow the right feeding schedule and amounts. To use this cat feeding calculator, you select the type of food, your cat’s weight, appropriate lifestyle, and then press calculate. You will get the answers for the amount of calories your kitty needs per day and the selected food’s weight.
NOTE: Make sure that your vet approves these calculations before applying them.
Dry vs. wet food proportions to feed a cat
Both dry and wet cat foods, as we have mentioned more than enough times, should be fed in the right proportions and have an impact on your cat’s health and happiness. But do you know the proportions of dry or wet food your cat should eat?
According to St. Louis Clinic, ¼ cup dry food for an adult cat can be divided into two proportions of 4 meals a day each 1/8 cup. If your cat is obese, ½ cup a day should be decreased to 1/8 cup 3 times per day after one month.
On wet cat food proportions, PetMD states that vets recommend that you have your cat checked by a vet first to determine the number of calories she needs per day. A single can of wet cat food weighs 3 ounces a day or 3 ½ depending on the brand. To know the right proportions, you should divide the number of calories your vet recommends with those offered by the wet food. That will tell you the number of cans he should eat and divide it into three meals.
How long does dry cat food last
You might think, like most pet owners, that dry cat food stays fresh, safe, and healthy for your cat even after opening the bag. According to a blog post by the animal rescue site, antioxidants and preservatives are what keep your cat’s kibble fresh for a long (up to 6 months). But to ensure that this food retains its nutritional value for this long, it must be stored tightly sealed in its original bag. That is the best way of making sure you do not throw away cat food.
Where to store dry cat food
As mentioned above, dry cat food should be stored in its original bag since the manufacturer designs it with fat barriers that retain freshness and taste. The storage space should also be dry with cool temperatures (below 80° F), and the bag should be sealed after each serving to prevent bacterial contamination and retain quality.
It is also common sense that these original bags have the Best Before and product details that might be helpful sometime.
Can cats live on dry food only?
This is a question that many cat parents ask and maybe you do too. According to Dr. Kallfelz of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, most cats are fed dry cat food by their parents and they do just fine. All you have to do, he explains, is make sure that the diet is complete and balanced and provide your cat with plenty of fresh water to drink.
Will too much dry cat food hurt my dog?
First off, cats and dogs have very different nutritional needs which make their foods like chalk and cheese. That being said, the American Kennel Club (AKC) states that if you are unable to buy dog food for a while, your pooch can survive on dry cat food. Beware, however, that the nutrient imbalance of this diet can make your dog have digestive issues, obesity, or even worse, pancreatitis. That is a condition you do not want to deal with.
How much should I feed my cat in grams?
Weight and age have a high impact on how much you should feed your cat. Usually, your cat will weigh 8.8 lbs. on average which means he needs approx. 50 to 70 grams of dry cat food a day. That should be enough for your feline friend.
Is ½ a cup enough to feed a cat per day?
According to Kirkwood Vets, the quality of cat food determines how much food is enough for your cat, especially the protein content it has. If you, for instance, are feeding dry cat food that contains premium proteins, ½ cup will be enough for your indoor cat.
Can you add water to dry cat food/can you mix?
In my opinion, yes, adding water to dry cat food is a good option especially if your cat has teeth problems or no teeth and needs to eat soft food or has dehydration problems. While some say that adding water to dry cat food makes it lose taste, PetMD says it improves it. Maybe you should do that and see.
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.
Hi there! My name is Ben Domb, an owner of two pets and I am one of the co-founders of OurPets HQ. I have several years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition and sharing my thoughts in various blogs and columns. With quarantine and COVID restrictions, I have been spending a lot of time a lot with my dogs and cat and loving it! I also run a small consulting business providing advice to parents on pet nutrition, and especially safe homemade options to try. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org