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How Much Should I Feed My Cat? catipedia-icon3.png

This is one of the first questions new cat owners typically ask. And while it might seem like a simple one, the answer is anything but. (Sort of like your cat herself.) In fact, there are almost as many answers to this question as there are cats.

First things first: Your veterinarian is the best source to answer this question. He or she knows your cat and can provide more customized information, plus answer any questions or concerns you may have. In the meantime, this article does offer some helpful (but general) guidelines for feeding cats.

To determine the amount to feed your cat, there are many factors to consider, including:

· Her age

· Her weight

· Her energy level

· Whether she is pregnant or nursing

· Whether you feed wet food, dry food or both

· The nutrient content of your cat's food

· Whether she's an indoor cat, outdoor cat or both

DO AN ASSESSMENT

Before you look at cat food labels, an important first step is to take a close look at your cat. Body condition is easy to assess. Is your cat slim and trim with a well-defined waist, or does her tummy brush the floor as she waddles along? Does she spend most or all of her time outdoors? Outdoor cats may need more food during the cold winter months and less in the summer. Age matters too: Kittens should be experiencing periods of rapid growth during those first 12 months, which means they'll eat more compared to adult cats.

And finally, think about your cat's energy level. Is she your beloved "Lady Lounge-a-lot," often mistaken for a sofa pillow? Or a high-energy daredevil who only uses the sofa as a springboard to other adventures? As you can guess, each of these cats needs a different amount of daily calories.

Here's a general guideline that nutrition experts agree on: A healthy, active, 10-lb adult cat requires 270-320 calories per day. As a point of reference, Purina® Cat Chow® Complete contains 388 calories per 1 cup and 291 calories per 3/4 cup. And again, the amount you feed will differ for kittens, nursing mothers, inactive senior cats, obese cats and so on. If you could use some help in this process, ask your veterinarian during the next appointment. Your veterinarian knows your cat's current state of health and can give you a daily feeding recommendation customized to your cat's specific health needs.

CHECK THE BAG

Now that you've taken a look at your cat and maybe even asked your veterinarian for advice, look at the feeding guide on your cat food label. This will give you a general idea of how much to put in her food bowl. You'll often find a range of feeding amounts to cover different types of cats. Where does yours fit in? That's your call. And don't worry - you can always adjust to make sure your cat is getting what she needs.

Once you've determined how much to feed, the inevitable question is, "How often?" Many cat owners feed meals in the morning and evening, while others leave dry food out during the day. In reality cats love to graze, eating multiple small meals throughout the day and night. But when it comes to how much, all that matters is the total calorie count. Decide how often you'll set food out each day, and divide the calories accordingly. Yes, it might seem like a lot of math, but your cat's health is worth the effort!

 

HOW'S IT GOING?

Once you determine your feeding amounts, use them as your guide for a couple of weeks. Then assess how your cat's diet is working. Here are a few questions you might ask:

· Does she usually have some food in her bowl? Or is she waking you up at night for more?

· Is she cleaning her bowl, but becoming a bit heftier? Or too thin?

· Is she eating happily, and maintaining healthy weight and body condition?

A couple of final thoughts: If your cat needs to gain or lose weight, try giving her the daily amount in multiple, smaller meals throughout the day. This will help you determine an amount of food that's better to help her get to that healthy weight. If you see changes related to diet that concern you, contact your veterinarian.

With the right food, fed in the proper amounts, you can help your cat enjoy a healthier, happier life. And while she may not always appreciate your role as her personal chef, you'll know that the effort you put into her seemingly simple bowl of food means she'll get much more from it than enjoyment.

References

  • Coates, Jennifer, DVM. "How Much Should I Feed My Cat?" <http://www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets/cat/jcoates/2012/june/how_much_should_you_feed_your_cat-23694>
  • Shojai A. The Purina Encyclopedia of Cat Care. 1998: 334.
  • Vigil L. Nestlé Purina PetCare Senior Nutritionist (Cat Portfolio). Interviewed Dec 2014.

TOPICS: NUTRITION DIET

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FAQs

Below you'll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our company, our products and caring for your cats. If you have a question that isn't addressed here, please feel free to contact us.

Q: How can I email or talk with the Purina Pet Care team?

A: If you would like to talk with us, please contact us here or call us at 1­-888­-228­-2469.

Our Hours of Operation:

  • Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST
Q: How are Purina Cat Chow products different from other healthy pet foods?

A: Inside every bag of Purina Cat Chow you'll find a selective blend of protein, fat, and fiber. Everything we use in our premium cat food formulas has a place in your cat's healthy diet.

Q: How can I be sure of the quality of the Purina Cat Chow products?

A: Our top priority is the quality of the food that nourishes not only your pets, but the pets we share our lives with, too. So from source to bowl, the quality of our food is assured by taking the following steps:

Ingredient Sourcing

  • Purina ingredient sourcing and processing meet or exceed FDA, USDA or AAFCO standards for pet food. And every supplier of ingredients for Purina products must meet our stringent standards for ingredient specifications, product safety, sanitation and manufacturing practices.
  • Ingredient Testing
  • All of Purina's North American manufacturing facilities have on-site quality assurance laboratories and staff. And we're working to expand the use of technology to further screen ingredients for quality assurance.
  • Ingredient Tracking & Control
  • 99% of all Purina pet food products sold in the U.S. are made in Purina-owned U.S. manufacturing facilities and Purina's sophisticated tracking system ensures important measures of control: All raw ingredients are tracked from time of receipt at our plants, through their inclusion in finished products, and on to retail stores.
Q: Where is your food manufactured?

A: 99% of all Purina-branded pet food products sold in the U.S. are made in Purina-owned U.S. manufacturing facilities. Purina's sophisticated tracking system ensures important measures of control: All raw ingredients are tracked from time of receipt at our plants, through their inclusion in finished products, and on to retailers.

Q: I am unable to find a particular product in my area. Can you help me locate it?

A: Yes, we can help. Although distribution of our Purina Cat Chow products is national, not all stores carry all sizes and varieties. Contact our Customer Service department via our Contact Us page or call us at 1­-888­-228­-2469.

Q: Do you offer coupons?

A: We offer coupons in local papers, through direct mailing programs and via emails to registered members. We don't have a regular section on our website itself. We suggest you watch for sales or promotions at your local retailer.

Q: Where can I find articles and information about my cat?

A: We believe there's always more to learn and to share and that discovery should be fun. It's one more way we're helping you and your cat share a better life together. Visit Catipedia for articles and information and... a little bit of fun.

Q: Where can I find articles and information about my cat?

A: We strongly recommend talking to your veterinarian for immediate answers to urgent situations. While CatChow.com is an excellent resource of information provided by cat care experts, your veterinarian can provide the best care for your individual cat..

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