Healthy diets

How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: January 1, 2019
How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat?

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Cats are carnivorous animals that prefer to eat several times a day instead of once, as if they did in the wild. In addition, they do not eat more than what they need. Even so, the amount of daily cat food depends on several factors, such as age, size, physical activity or personality of the animal. It is our responsibility to provide them with a balanced and high-quality diet to avoid them becoming overweight, or on the contrary, malnourished.

AnimalWised will show you just how to properly feed these pets depending on what stage they are in life. Remember that the daily amount of food for an adult cat will be different than that of a kitten or senior cat.

You may also be interested in: How Much Should I Feed My Puppy?
  1. Feeding lactating cats
  2. How much food should a kitten eat?
  3. How much food should an adult cat eat?
  4. How much food should I give my old cat?
  5. How much should a cat eat? - General considerations

Feeding lactating cats

Lactating cats are fully weaned at approximately 8 weeks, so until then, it is advisable not to feed them anything other than breast milk. They do not need any additional products that provide them with more nutrients. Breast milk contains absolutely everything these small animals need, so do not worry about the kittens taking the amount of milk they need. If we see that baby cats lament or are restless, they may not have been satisfied and need more milk.

In case you cannot give them breast milk, there are some prepared milk substitutes available from veterinarians and specialty stores, but it is always advisable to breastfeed them naturally from their biological mothers.

From the fourth week, we can introduce some solid food/special feed for kittens, crumbled and soaked in water until it has the consistency of purée. Then they can begin to get used to this food. The first weeks of life for a cat are crucial for healthy development and growth.

How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat? - Feeding lactating cats

How much food should a kitten eat?

From 8 weeks (after weaning) to 4 months of age, it is necessary to give young cats 5 servings of food a day , with 5 grams of dry or moist food per serving. Remember that these animals do not usually drink a lot of water, so you should alternate the dry feed with wet food to supplement this lack of fluid. So, if during the first months of life it is necessary to give them 5 meals a day as already mentioned, try to have 2 servings of dry food and 3 servings of moist food, for example.

At this stage of their life, their stomach is very small and cannot fit large amounts of food for each meal, but as our pet grows, they will need a little more food at each sitting. So, from 4 to 6 months of age, it is necessary to increase their portions by 10 grams per intake so they are not lacking any nutrients. You should always try to maintain their ideal weight.

After 6 and up to 8 months, you should reduce their food intake to 3 meals per day, with between 20 and 30 grams per serving. And from 8 to 12 months, meals should be reduced to 2 times per day. This pattern will be maintained throughout their adult life, which will begin at the age of one. Remember that the data we provide here is from a general perspective and the exact measurements of food and calories they will eat per day will depend on the health and weight of your pet. If you have any questions, promptly consult your trusted veterinarian.

How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat? - How much food should a kitten eat?

How much food should an adult cat eat?

From the age of 12 months, our cat will already be an adult and, as mentioned above, the amount of daily food will depend on the weight, physical activity and personality of the breed. But as a rule, a healthy cat with normal daily activity needs approximately 15 to 20 grams of dry food per kilogram of body weight. The amount of wet cat food that is recommended is 1/2 or 1 can per day. Ideally, you should first check the package directions where the exact quantities according to the type of food and weight are detailed. However, if that information is confusing, then you can follow these guildelines:

  • If the cat weighs 1 kg, you should give them about 15-20 grams of dry food a day.
  • ... 2 kg, between 30 and 40 grams.
  • ... 3 kg, between 45 and 60 grams.
  • ... 4 kg, between 60 and 80 grams.
  • ... 5 kg, between 75 and 100 grams.
  • ... 6 kg, between 90 and 120 grams.
  • ... 7 kg, between 105 and 140 grams.

Do not forget that these measurements are indicated for cats with moderate physical activity and without any health problem or allergy. If you have a pregnant cat, for example, they need a greater quantity of proteins, fats, and calcium for the correct development of the pregnancy. We elaborate on this further in our article what is the best diet for a pregnant cat.

Another way of knowing the amount of daily food your cat needs is knowing the calories they should ingest according to their body weight. So, here's the approximate info which refers to the energy needs of a typical healthy adult cat:

  • If the cat weighs 1 kg, they should eat 100 kilocalories a day.
  • ... 2 kg, they should ingest 160 kilocalories.
  • ... 3 kg, they should take 210 kilocalories.
  • ... 4 kg, they must ingest 250 kilocalories.
  • ... 5 kg, they must ingest 290 kilocalories.
  • ... 6 kg, they should consume 330 kilocalories.
  • ... 7 kg, they must eat 370 kilocalories.

As mentioned before, the intake of food in an adult cat should be distributed in 2 portions a day, so it is recommended to alternate dry and wet food to feed our pet correctly and safely.

How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat? - How much food should an adult cat eat?

How much food should I give my old cat?

From the age of 7/8, our animal will go from being an adult cat to a senior cat, and as a consequence, their ability to digest proteins and fats will decrease. Therefore, it is necessary to continue feeding them 2 servings daily but providing high quality and easily digestible foods.

Apart from their ability to digest, we will notice other changes in our pet, such as the quality of their coat (less shiny). Or, the amount of daily physical activity, making them less active and energetic. Still, this process is inevitable, but we can significantly prolong the life of our companion if we feed them in an appropriate way for their age.

How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat? - How much food should I give my old cat?

How much should a cat eat? - General considerations

If you are still wondering how much a cat should eat, you need to take into account the following things:

  • It is recommended to always leave the cat's food at their disposal because they themselves can ration it and eat only when they are hungry, and not for pure pleasure. If you do not do this, your cat will probably be restless waiting to see when they will have their food available and it is possible that they will become stressed (with corresponding consequences.
  • Cats are animals of habit, so it is advisable that they have a fixed daily routine as soon as they begin adulthood.
  • Following the routine issue, it is necessary to feed them at the same place and same time every day, in a quiet place and always away from their sandbox.
  • To feed your cat, use a mat or an easy-to-clean surface to place a metal or ceramic bowl. Some cats prefer to eat in a flat trough, and this helps them avoid eating them too quickly.
  • If you have more than one cat, you must make sure that each one of them has their respective feeder at a considerable distance, so that they do not fight or eat each other's food.
  • Do not forget to keep an eye on forbidden foods for cats , so you can avoid any health problems.
How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat? - How much should a cat eat? - General considerations

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Andrea Ghaddar
My cat is 6.2 kg and ideally needs to go down to 5.5kg. You mention that a healthy cat with normal daily activity needs approximately 15 to 20 grams of dry food per kilogram of body weight. The amount of wet cat food that is recommended is 1/2 or 1 can per day.
Does that mean my cat should eat half or 1 can of wet food per day AND around 90-120g dry food? Or either half or 1 can of wet food per day or 120g dry food? Or best to split it up, say half a can of wet food in the morning and then say 90g of dry food in the evening? I have no idea and my cat doesn't have a stop button and eats everything that comes his way. Best wishes Andrea
Amazing Information
My Tiger is a healthy, strictly indoor neutered male, 13 year old brown Tabby. Because he blocked 11 years ago he has been on a strict wet food diet. and hasn't blocked since. He weighs in at 14 lbs and I would like to get him down to 12 lbs if possible. How many ounces of wet food a day would you recommend? Thank you.
I have a 9 year old tortie that was feral until I adopted her at 1 year old. Weighs between 8 & 9 lbs. she eats twice a day. Dry food in am. wet and dry in pm. She cries whenever she sees us for food. My husband sometimes gives her more dry. She has started climbing up on counter,stove, table wherever she thinks there is food. Yesterday she got on counter and was licking my ham. I have taken her to vet. All bloodwork fine just a few crystals in urine so she is on special food. I also have one of her litter 1 year younger. The mother tries to steal the other cat’s food. The mother would eat until she throws it up. She doesn’t seem to chew anything swallows most whole. She acts ravenous when she sees her food. I am my wits ends. I am afraid she will burn herself on stove or eat something she shouldn’t have.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Bette,

There is no easy solution to this problem. It will require you to keep a keen eye on her and to ensure you never leave food out to which she may have access. This means any unattended food needs to be covered and, generally, to not leave food unattended where possible.

However, there are some tips in these articles which can address the problem in a two-fold way and, we hope, might work for your tortie:
I have a cat with two 45 days old kittens. I don’t know how much food should i give her considering she is still breastfeeding the kittens. Also the kittens have started eating dry and wet simce one week ago.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Nima,

Even though the kittens are still drinking milk, if they have started eating solids they are well into the weaning process. Generally, the kittens will be quite self-regulatory, but check out our kitten feeding guide to know more:
Based on activity of your cat and kitten, also their weight.
My self have been taking care homeless cats. Now just another new mother delivered 6 kittens ( which 2 months ago got another new mother delivered 4 kittens ), both of mother different body type, appetites, hence i given differently

I dont give them manufacture foods. I cooked my self. Steam chicken meat without bones ( 500 gram + 300 grams tuna without bones + 100 grams fresh pumpkin steam from my own land + oat 1 spoon + 100 grams steam chayote been peeled and soaked with salt and rinsed before steam ). I mixed it in bowl and steam it for 15 minutes. And feed it regularly per day for 1 cat with 6 kittens ( week old ).

For 1 slim cat with 4 kittens i given separately high in protein ( steam chicken , steam tuna / fish, cat fish ) about 900 grams per day as she does not like pumpkin or chayote or veggies then i given additional nutrients ( nutri plus gel )
For 4 kittens since the weaned ( 6 weeks ) i given them steam chicken + steam pumpkin or steam chayote ( 5 - 8 times meals per day as stomach still tinny ) , mostly their daily intake is about 200 grams pumpkin or chayote and 500 grams chicken or fish meat

I used pumpkin and chayote as its contained good nutrients required by cat although composition i managed on 80 : 20 ( 80 chicken meat or fish meat , 20% carbohydrates , fiber , etc ) + water from steam fish or steam chicken about 4 - 8 spoons

I mixed all during in heat with add chicken broth from steam and warm it anytime their eating schedule ( 6 am, 9 am, 12 pm , 4 pm, 8 pm, 11 pm ) , yea i given those homeless cats ( beside male cats ) eating schedule 6 times per day

Avaragely i bought at least 1.5 kg chicken + 2 kgs tuna or other fish daily ( 2 male cats can eat up to 1.5 - 2 kgs fish per day )
You stated that a cat should have 1/2 to1can of wet food per day... what size can?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Kirsten,

This is a very valid question, thank you for asking. A standard cat food can is usually 3 oz in weight. The next size up is usually around 5.5 oz. Most cats will need between half and a full 3 oz can, smaller breeds needing half. Larger breeds, such as the Maine Coon may need a little more.
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How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat?