Cats for all their lovely attributes have this awful reputation, that of being finicky eaters and it is not entirely unfounded. If you have a cat at home, you may have seen how it endlessly fusses over the food that you serve him. He will only eat food that tastes good, without regard for whether it is good for his health or not. A downside of this attitude is obesity, which is taking on gargantuan proportions and is one of the major diseases ailing most cats. But it is not as much the cat’s fault, as it is ours; we let them eat injudiciously thereby sowing seeds of bad eating habits in the cat.
For the cat to be healthy, you must feed it a balanced and nutritious diet. You must also take special care about how much and how often you feed it. We have a few important tips that you can refer to when feeding your extended family member:
How often you need to feed your cat will depend on a number of factors like its age, the food you are feeding it, among others. If the cat is a kitten you may have to feed it more frequently, than say and an adult cat. This is because though kittens need more nutrients, almost twice that of an adult, for their growth and energy, their small tummies don’t allow them to gobble them all up in a single sitting. Consequently you have to space the feedings. As it grows, you can go on increasing the quantity while decreasing the frequency. While the kitten is growing up, make it a point to regularly take its weigh to ensure that it is not overweight. Here are a few guidelines that you can follow for feeding canned food like Whiskas, Royal Canin or Purina to cats of different ages:
At 6 weeks: Since the kitten can only take small helpings, space four or more feedings regularly throughout the day.
At 3 months: Gradually increase the serving but bring down the frequency to around three.
Around 6 months: By this time you can serve meals twice a day.
In case of adult cats: A cat gains adulthood at the age of one year, and you can continue to feed it twice daily. However being adults, they may from time to time also need supplementary dry foods.
Dry food for cats: If you are feeding your cat dry food, or even canned cat food, you may need to feed an adult cat twice daily, preferably at night and in the morning.
Determining how much to feed
The Animal Medical Center in New York states that an active healthy cat needs 30 calories per pound to see it through the day. Since a healthy cat weighs around 8 pounds, it comes to around 240 calories per day.
The recommendation of the Animal Medical Center aside, there are many other factors that determine how much you should feed your cat: metabolic rate, the level of physical activities it indulges in, and environmental conditions like temperature. And all these factors collude to make it extremely difficult to arrive at fit-for-all solution. To add to the confusion, the same amount of different food frequently has different caloric requirements, meaning that you cannot treat all food similarly. The best way to deal with such a tricky situation is to follow the feeding guide given here.
5 pounds ( 2.3 kg)
¼ cup (30 gm) to 1/3 cup (40 gm)
10 pounds ( 4.5 kg)
3/8 cup (45 gm) to ½ cup (65 gm)
15 pounds ( 6.8 kg)
½ cup (65 gm) to ¾ cup (95 gm)
When buying cat food, match this list with the label printed on the cat food. Overfeeding is not a good thing and can make the cat obese and lazy, so a good idea to avoid overfeeding is to measure and separate the daily ration and stop feeding the cat once that ration runs out.
Luckily, the cat food market has evolved tremendously in recent times and there are many good options that you can choose from. But still before buying, do take some time to do the necessary research.
The body condition of the cat also has a say on the amount of food it needs to be fed. If it already has a normal body weight, give it a helping that is an average of the recommended ranges. If instead it is a little underweight, give it bigger helpings. Conversely, if it a little underweight, you have to feed it smaller helpings.
It is advisable that you record the weight of the cat every two weeks, because you have to alter its diet accordingly. Also, figure out the size of the helpings that help your friend maintain its enviable, ideal body condition. It will make your job that much easier.
Lauren is a homemaker who loves pets. She owns 2 pets, a cat named “Macavity” and a dog named “Chilly”. She is currently living in NYC with her family. In her part time, she loves to share articles on pets and home improvement. You can get in touch with her on Google Plus.