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How Much Should You Feed Your Cat?

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by Alexander Thompson
Sep 02, 2022
3 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • What Factors Affect Cat’s Eating
  • How Can You Tell When A Cat Is Full?
  • Signs of Overfeeding
  • Conclusion
Usually, cat food packaging contains instructions on how much food to feed your cat at each age and weight stage. Nevertheless, some cat owners, especially novice owners, are still concerned that their cat is not eating enough or overeating. Furthermore, the eating habits of different breeds of cats may vary. So, correctly judging the quantity of food your furkid consumes seems important.

What Factors Affect Cat’s Eating

A cat’s diet can be influenced by a variety of factors. Here are three main ones that affect how much food your cat eats.

Eating Pattern

Cats develop their eating patterns from an early age depending on their owner’s living or feeding habits. For example, some owners feed their cats a raw meat diet while others feed them a mixed diet. Some cats are also raised to eat only finished cat food. Once formed, eating patterns are relatively fixed. Nevertheless, it is not permanent. Cats’ digestive capacities change as they grow older. And in old age, cats have difficulties digesting some food. So, cat parents must adjust their cat’s feeding patterns to suit their physical condition.

Weight

Weight visually represents feeding habits. Usually, cat food bags have a comparison table of cat weight and feeding amounts for an owner’s reference. Cats’ weight fluctuates with age, which is also influenced by their breeds and gender. Some breeds of cats are active and lively by nature, good at hunting, and more slender than others. Therefore, as a cat parent, you need to understand your cat’s habits and the corresponding change in their weight. If your cat’s weight is higher or lower than expected, adjust the feeding pattern or consult your vet.

Feeding Frequency

By nature, cats are solitary hunters like their wild ancestors, and their preys are generally small in size since that is all they can manage to capture on their own. So, under natural circumstances, cats frequently consume small meals throughout the day and night. But, because their owners feed them, cats no longer follow their natural pattern of eating several small meals. Instead, they have to follow the feeding schedule convenient for their owners. So, most times, owners feed their cats two large meals during the day, which is behaviorally and physiologically unnatural for cats.
a human being feeding a white cat

How Can You Tell When A Cat Is Full?

Correctly judging whether a cat is full can effectively curb the occurrence of obesity in cats. For this, you can refer to the following methods.

Observe Whether Your Cat Leave Its Bowl

Most cats stay away from their food bowls when they are done eating, proving that they have eaten enough. It is best to clean the food bowl after your cat finishes eating.

Observe Your Cat’s Belly

Your cat’s belly will bulge once it is full. If you notice that your cat’s stomach is a little deflated, it means your cat has not eaten enough food. Nevertheless, avoid overfeeding your cat to prevent digestion difficulties.

Observe Your Cat’s Eating Speed

Cats always eat in a hurry, like someone grabbing the food with them. But once they are almost full, cats slow down their eating speed.

Observe If Your Cat Licks Its Fur

Cats lick their fur when they are full. They also lick their paws which are easy to get on food. So if you notice your cats licking their fur, it is a sign that they are full.
a gray cat licking its paw

Signs of Overfeeding

Cats have varying eating habits. Some cats eat as long as the food is in their bowl, while others eat only when hungry. For humans, we always have room for extra dessert. Cats also have room in their stomachs for table scraps. If you notice that your cat is uninterested in the food in its bowl, it may have nothing to do with the food, but that your cat isn’t hungry at the moment. At this point what you should do is see if your cat is eating a lot of snacks other than meals. Snacks are the reason why a lot of domestic cats are prone to becoming obese. An overweight cat is 10% to 19% heavier than its optimal weight. Other signs of obesity in cats include:
  • Difficulty in climbing or jumping stairs
  • Sitting or lying down often
  • Reluctant to get up or move forward
  • No visible waistline
  • Tighter collar
  • Less frequent bowel movements
  • More passing of gas
  • The inability of cat parents to feel the cat’s hip or rib bones
a light brown cat lying against a white wall

Conclusion

Feeding your cat is more than just pouring food into a bowl. You can’t rely on your cat to control how much food they eat or their feeding intervals. The ideal feeding method should be based on maintaining the cat’s health and a balance between the owner’s feeding habits and the cat’s eating habits. If you want to know how much water your cat should drink a day, you can find out in the blog Is Your Cat Drinking Enough Water.
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