As cat parents, we all want to know that our fantastic felines are getting everything they need from their food, and only what they need! After all, both overfeeding and underfeeding a cat at any age can lead to a range of health complaints including weight loss or gain, compromised immunity, and a generally unnecessary bodily strain. The trouble is, that with countless cats turning on the cute eyes and the wide-mouthed meow every time we so much as set foot near their food bowls, many of us find it increasingly difficult to strike the perfect feeding balance. That’s why we’re going to consider a few crucial questions that should help you to perfect your cat feeding schedule at long last.
How much and how often should I feed my cat?
If you listened to what your cat wanted, you would fill their bowl to overflowing at least ten times a day, but your cat might not know what’s best for them. That’s why you’re the owner, and it’s why you need to ask yourself how much you should be feeding your cat and when. Unfortunately, there’s no one answer to this question because every cat is unique with different metabolisms, plus it typically depends on your cat’s age and requirements as follows:
Kitten (weaning to 12 months): Three-four meals a day up to six months, preferably of specially prepared kitten food.
Adult (1-7 years): Around 240 calories across two feeds per day
Senior (7 years+): Two servings of a specialised senior food
How do I know when to cut back?
Overfeeding is the biggest food-based mistake where our felines are concerned, obesity can shorten a cat’s life due to issues like diabetes and even liver disease plus excess weight can cause joint problems.
If you can’t feel your cat’s ribs, or if you’ve noticed a layer of low-hanging fat protruding from their abdomen, then it’s a sure sign you need to either cut down, switch the food you’re using, or seek professional advice before secondary issues arise.
Why is my cat so hungry all the time?
For some cat owners, overfeeding is a result of a cat that seems constantly hungry. In reality: meowing as soon as a meal is finished or demolishing everything in the bowl, is rarely a reason to increase meal amounts. Instead, it’s vital to consider why these behaviours are happening and what they mean. Often, a cat who has always demanded food and attention wherever you go is unlikely to be genuinely hungry, meaning that resistance is essential. However, if a cat’s behaviour around food has suddenly changed, or has become more persistent, there may be something else going on. In rare cases, health issues like hyperthyroidism, cancer, and diabetes can lead to increased appetites, so it's always worth checking in with your vet. If all seems well, it may be that your cat simply isn’t getting the necessary nutrients from their food, and that a change rather than an increase is in order.
How do I make sure my cat has a healthy diet?
The specifics of a ‘healthy’ diet for your cat are going to vary a great deal depending on factors including age, lifestyle, and current health, meaning that you shouldn’t hesitate to contact a professional if you’re in doubt about whether they’re getting what they need. That said, some simple steps that you can take to help a generally healthy cat to eat well include:
- Offering a mixture of wet and dry foods, like IAMS for Vitality and IAMS Delights
- Buying high-quality foods with the best nutritional content – look out for foods with a good amount of high quality animal protein like fresh chicken, as this will provide your cat with a healthy, nutritious diet
- Making sure to consider hydration – it is critical that cats are able to access fresh and clean water at all times
- Researching feeding frequencies and amounts – all of our packs will contain feeding guidelines which you can refer to
- Monitoring your cat’s ideal weight
- Attending regular veterinary checks.