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Am I Feeding My Cat Too Much?

Updated: Feb 5

Knowing how much to feed your cat can be confusing.  How many ounces, cups or calories per day?


How many calories are in that cup of dry food?  A small can of wet food?  What about treats?

Your cat’s age, activity level, and body condition are all important factors in determining the right amount of calorie requirements, too.


Growing kittens often require more than twice as many calories as an adult cat.

Young, active, adult cats may require more calories than an older, inactive cat, or a cat that easily gains weight.

 

Step One – Weigh Your Cat

The easiest way to do this is to pick up your cat and weigh both of you on a home scale.  Let’s say the scale reads 170 pounds.  Then weigh just yourself.  Let’s say the scale now reads 155 pounds. Subtract the second weight from the first. 170 – 155 = 15.  Your cat weighs 15 pounds.

 

Step Two – Determine Which Category Your Cat Fits Best

1. Active adult cat = 1.2 x RCR

2. Intact/Breeding adult cat = 1.4 x RCR

3. Inactive/easily gains weight cat = 1 x RCR

4. Weight gain for cat = 1.8 x RCR

5. Kitten 0 to 4 months = 3 x RCR

6. Kitten 5 months to 8 months = 2.5 x RCR

 

So, what is the RCR? 

It is the Resting Calorie Requirement for the average cat according to its weight.

But every cat is different, which is why we have six categories above, to help you to accurately choose your cat’s proper daily calorie requirement.


Choose your cat’s category.  Find his weight in the chart. Do the math. 

Body Weight in Pounds

RCR - Resting Calorie Requirement

1

35

2

58

3

79

4

99

5

117

6

134

7

150

8

165

9

180

10

196

11

210

12

225

13

238

14

252

15

265

16

279

17

292

18

305

19

318

20

329

Examples: A 16-pound cat that needs to Gain Weight would be 1.8 x 279 RCR = 502 calories per day

A growing 4-pound Five Month old Kitten would be 2.5 x 99 RCR = 248 calories per day

Step Three – Counting Calories in Your Cat’s Food and Treats

 

All food has calories or kilocalories (same thing) listed on the packaging. 

 

You will usually find them in the Guaranteed Analysis Section – so it’s easy to find.



Let's look at the calories in three popular dry cat foods:


You will see that one cup of this dry food above has 399 calories per cup.



This brand of dry cat food has 370 calories per cup.



 This brand of dry cat food has 460 calories per cup.


Now let’s look at the calories in five popular wet foods:


The above food comes with two trays per twin pack.  Each tray (serving) is 1.32 ounces, which means each twin pack is 2.64 ounces.  There are 41 and 45 calories per tray or 82 to 90 calories in each twin pack.



The above wet food has 156 calories in a 5.5 ounce can; 85 calories in a 3 ounce can.



The above wet food has 196 calories in a 5.5 ounce can; 107 calories in a 3 ounce can.



The above wet food has 128 calories in a 5.3 ounce can; 67 calories in a 2.8 ounce can.



The above wet food has 142 calories in a 6 ounce can; 75 calories in a 3.2 ounce can.


Step Four – So how should I feed my cat?

In step two, you determined which category your cat fit in and how many calories your cat should eat daily.

In step three, you learned where to find the number of calories in your cat food.


Now it’s time for you to determine how many calories your cat is eating on a daily basis. Count the calories in his treats, dry food, and wet food.


What is your cat's current daily calorie count? Maybe it's time to make adjustments?

Let’s say you have a 15-pound cat - compare the calories you are feeding her with the number of calories she should be eating.


Here are a Few Sample Diets for a 15-Pound Cat:


A healthy, reasonably active 15-pound cat should be eating about 265 - 318 calories per day.


Her diet may look like this:

AM Meal – One 5.5-oz can (151 calories)

PM Meal – One 5.5-oz can (151 calories)

Bedtime Treats – 2 Temptations (4 calories)

Total: 306 calories

Or like this:

AM Meal – One 3-oz can (107 calories)

PM Meal – One 3-oz can (107 calories) Before Bed Meal - One 3-oz can (107 calories)

Total: 321 calories

 

Or this:

AM Meal – One 3-oz can (75 calories) Noon Meal - 1/8 cup of dry food (50 calories)

PM Meal – One 5.5-oz can (150 calories)

Before Bed Treats – 6 Temptation Treats (12 calories)

Total: 287 calories 


Here are a Few Sample Diets for an Average 10-Pound Cat: 


A healthy, reasonably active 10-pound cat should eat around 196 - 236 calories daily.

His diet might look like this: 

AM Meal – One 3-oz can (75 calories)

Noon Meal – One 3-oz can (75 calories)

PM Meal – One 3-oz can (75 calories)

Before Bed Treats – 6 Freeze Dried Chicken Treats (12 calories)

Total: 237 calories      


Or keep it simple, like this:


AM Meal – One 3-oz can (67 calories)

PM Meal – One 5.3-oz can (128 calories)

Total: 195 calories


Or like this:


AM Meal – ¼ cup of dry food (100 calories)

PM Meal – 3-oz can of wet food (107 calories)

Bedtime Treats - 10 Temptation Treats (20 calories)

Total: 227 calories


Or like this:


AM Meal – 1/3 cup of dry food (133 calories)

Noon Treats - 5 Freeze Dried Chicken Treats (10 calories)

PM Meal – 3-oz-can of wet food (69 calories)

Total: 212 calories

 

There are a variety of combinations that may work well for your cat.



The chart below has done some of the work for you.

Body Weight in Pounds

Calories Adult cat that Gains Weight Easily. (1 x RCR)

Calories Active Adult Cat. (1.2 x RCR)

Calories Adult cat that needs to Gain Weight. (1.8 x RCR)

1

35

42

63

2

58

70

105

3

79

95

142

4

99

118

178

5

117

140

211

6

134

160

241

7

150

180

270

8

165

198

297

9

180

216

324

10

196

236

353

11

210

252

378

12

225

270

405

13

238

286

428

14

252

302

454

15

265

318

477

16

279

335

502

17

292

350

526

18

305

366

549

19

318

382

572

20

329

395

592


Remember – all calories count!


If you like to give your cat treats – be sure to check the calorie count and feed accordingly.


_____________________________

IMPORTANT!


Obtaining a healthy body condition and weight for your cat is based on providing an appropriate energy balance and meeting all nutritional needs of the cat.


Healthy nutrition depends on several factors, such as: life stage, genetics, spay and neuter status, activity level, existing medical conditions, use of medications, and the quality and composition of the food being fed.

____________________________

 


Sources


For calorie count in a variety of foods listed in this article: www.Chewy.com




Cats Dot Com Feeding Guide: https://cats.com/cat-feeding-guide



Cat Info Dot Org: https://catinfo.org/


Association for Pet Obesity Prevention: https://www.petobesityprevention.org/pet-caloric-needs

  

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