• Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

How Many Times a Day Should a Cat Eat? (Feeding Schedule)

Bynewsmagzines

Feb 13, 2023
black and white cat eats liquid food from a plate

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black and white cat eats liquid food from a plate

If your cat is anything like mine, he’ll come bounding into the kitchen and rub against your ankles, purring anytime he gets a whiff of food being prepared. When your cat does this, it’s easy to think that they must be hungry—but that’s not necessarily the case.

Overfeeding your cat can lead to obesity, which in turn, can result in illnesses, such as arthritis and a shorter lifespan. At the same time, a cat that isn’t getting enough food each day will quickly lose weight, which also leads to serious health problems.

So, how many times, exactly, should a cat eat each day? The answer will depend on various factors, including your cat’s age and health, but typically, an adult cat should only be fed two meals per day.

Keep reading for a more detailed feeding schedule!

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How Much Should You Feed Your Cat?

When figuring out how much to feed your cat each day, consider your cat’s age, size, activity level, health, and body condition.

kitten eating dry food
Image Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock

Feeding by Age

Kittens

Kittens must be fed more regularly throughout the day than older cats. They are growing at an incredible rate, and if they don’t get the correct amount of nutrients and calories, this could result in health problems when they are older.

Kittens under the age of six months should be fed 4–5 times per day. Between 6–12 months old, feed your kitten three times per day.

Bear in mind that every kitten is different, and if you’re uncertain whether your kitten is getting too much or not enough, speak to your veterinarian.

Here’s a general guide on how much you should feed your kitten each day based on their age and weight:

  • Kittens between 5–19 weeks old: 1 oz of food per pound of body weight
  • Kittens between 20–51 weeks old:1/2 oz of food per pound of body weight
  • Kittens over 52 weeks old: can now eat the adult amount

Adult Cats

You should aim to feed your cat twice per day—once in the morning, and once in the evening. Try to feed your cat at the same time each day. Cats are creatures of habit and they’ll appreciate the regular schedule, but there are other benefits too.

With a regular schedule, you’ll quickly notice if your cat’s feeding habits have changed, for example, if they aren’t eating as much as usual. This will alert you if there’s a health issue. Typically, an adult cat needs around 30 calories per pound of its body weight, per day. For example, an 8 lb cat would require around 240 calories—split over two meals.

Depending on your cat’s overall health and activity levels, it may need either fewer or more calories than the average cat.

As a general guide, here’s how much food an adult cat should consume per day based on their weight::

  • Cats weighing 5 lb (2.3 kg):1/4 cup to 1/3 cup
  • Cats weighing 10 lbs(4.5 kg): 3/8 cup to 1/2 cup
  • Cats weighing 15 lbs (6.8 kg):1/2 cup to 3/4 cup
British-shorthair-cat-eating
Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

Pregnant or Nursing Cats

Pregnant cats will need to consume one and a half times to double the amount of food they would usually need. You could even switch to kitten food at this time to help her get the extra nutrients she needs.

Nursing takes a lot of energy, and your cat could need up to quadruple the amount of food she usually consumes.

Pregnancy can cause cats to go off their food. If you notice your cat not eating properly, you should contact a veterinarian for advice.

Your Cat’s Health

Consider any health issues your cat has when planning out its feeding schedule.

Diabetes: If your cat needs insulin injections, you’ll probably need to schedule their feeding times around these. Speak to a veterinarian about how much and when it is best to feed your cat.

Hyperthyroidism: An overactive thyroid will cause your cat to feel hungry all of the time. It’s very easy for these cats to gain too much weight. You could try splitting their daily requirement of food into several smaller meals to see if it helps. Speak to a veterinarian for more advice if your cat is still begging for food.

Tooth problems: As your kitty ages, he may develop gum disease or other dental issues. If you find that your cat is going off dry food as he ages, try switching to wet foods—these should be easier to chew.

ragdoll cat eating cat food
Image Credit: Snowice_81, Shutterstock

Activity Levels

When deciding how much food your cat needs, consider the activity level of your cat. Outdoor cats are likely to be more athletic than house cats. They spend most of the day roaming around the neighborhood—burning lots of calories as they do so!

If you have a house cat, the number of calories they burn throughout the day will differ depending on how active they are. Do they lay around sleeping all day? Or do they get plenty of exercise and play?

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Do Cats Get Bored of Eating the Same Food Every Day?

The answer to this question depends on your cat! While some cats certainly wouldn’t mind a little variation in their meals, many would rather stick to what they’re used to. By sticking to what it knows, you and your cat don’t have to worry about sensitivities or stomach upsets.

On the other hand, I like to mix things up for my cat a little bit. Though his diet usually consists of wet food twice a day, I occasionally give him small pieces of cooked, boneless chicken or fish as a treat.

Feel free to treat your cat occasionally, but keep them away from harmful foods, such as grapes, raisins, alcohol, onions, and garlic.

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Conclusion

You should try to feed your adult cat twice a day, while kittens will need feeding more regularly. Feeding your cat at the same time each day will help it get into a routine and alert you to any potential health problems if it deviates from its norm.

Whether you opt to go for wet food or dry food, make sure you read the guide on the back of the box and feed your cat the correct number of calories. A veterinarian will be able to tell you how many calories your cat needs each day.


Featured Image Credit: Elizabett, Shutterstock

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