How much you should feed your cat or kitten is a very subjective topic, and there is no universal answer. The amount of food that a cat or kitten needs depends on his size, weight, age and activity level. Cats who are allowed to go outside or who exercise a lot will burn more calories and may eat more than a sedentary animal that sleeps all day. Remember that no two cats are alike, even when it comes to food.
All cats and kittens have different appetites, so feeding amount vary. In general, an adult female requires approximately 200 to 300 calories a day. An average male needs between 250 and 300 calories daily. Adult formula dry cat food contains approximately 400 calories per cup, and canned food contains about 150 calories per cup. The actual calorie count varies depending on the brand of food. The average cat needs approximately 8 ounces (227 g) of food a day.
Kittens grow fast, so they need about two or three times as much food as an adult, and they require small meals several times a day. They should be fed food (wet or dry) specifically designed for kittens until they reach one year of age because they need more proteins, fats, and calories than adults. These formulas are designed to promote healthy growth and development. If a kitten is not given the right amount of nutrients or is otherwise poorly fed, he can develop muscle problems, immune disorders, vision problems and suffer retarded growth. An adolescent cat (from six month to one year) may look like an adult, but he is still growing and requires extra calories and nutrients as well.
Seniors are generally less active than adults and should be given several small meals throughout the day. Some older cats will not have much of an appetite, so you should offer an appropriate food three to four times a day and adjust the feeding schedules and amounts according to what he eats.
Pet food manufacturers list their recommended feeding portions on the packaging. Follow their guidelines to determine the proper amount to feed. Do some experimentation and adjust the portion to your pet’s specific needs. For example, if your cat (or kitten) self feeds, offer the recommended amount of food and watch to see how long it takes him to finish what you have offered. If he eats everything in the bowl right away, consider increasing the portion. Pet food manufacturers recommend feeding an adult cat approximately 1/2 to 1 cup (227 – 454 g) of dry food a day.
If you are feeding canned food, give your cat the recommended portion and see how much he finishes. If he leaves the bowl half full, cut back on the portion that you are offering. If he eats it all and then begs for more, increase the portion size. Pet food manufacturers recommend feeding an adult cat or kitten approximately one can of food portioned for two meals a day.
Unlike dogs, cats will stop eating when they are full, so always adjust the portions according to your cat’s size and activity level. You are the best judge of his appetite, so use the portion and feeding schedule that best suits his needs.