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How much food should an adult cat be eating? [Aug. 16th, 2009|02:19 pm]
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cathealth

[leilablu]
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Hi, another first time poster here so I'm sorry if this seems redundant!

I've had two adorbable cats (Nelly and Mr.Numchucks) for about 5 years now, both of whom are having weight problems I think mostly due to my parents using one of those self-feeding food dispensers for them. I'm away at college for most of the year, so despite my efforts to try to get the to put the cats on the a twice a day measured out feeding schedule, nothing has come of it.

So I'm wondering, measured out how much should an adult cat eat? We've kept them strictly on dry food, should we start to include some canned food in their diet as well? If so, how much dry and how much canned should we be feeding them? What are your favorite brands of food? What should I be doing to make sure they meet all of their nutritional needs? just any other tips about cat's diets that you'd like to share I would be so grateful! :)

Thanks!
- Leila

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[User Picture]From: sithlet
2009-08-16 06:42 pm (UTC)

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Depends on their weight. Might be best to ask your vet. Obviously a cat with a naturally larger frame should be eating more than a naturally small cat. My domestic short hairs, one of whom is very big-boned eat far more than my brother's Cornish Rex cats.
[User Picture]From: catsite
2009-08-16 06:50 pm (UTC)

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I see your situation all the time.

First, you need to tell your parents (or cat caretakers while you are away) that it is very important that they feed your cats twice a day by measuring their food out -- and that leaving food out 24/7 for them to eat as much as they want is completely unacceptable.

Second, what type of dry food are you feeding? So much dry food contains grains. Grains = carbs, which will easily make cats fat since cats can't process and store carbs that well. If your cats will only eat dry food, try Wellness CORE - a grain-free food with plenty of protein. Otherwise, I'd feed canned -- Wellness grain-free is great here, too.

I personally feed my cat a raw diet -- but this isn't possible for everyone. I strongly recommend wet food for cats, as obesity isn't the only concern with cats eating dry food. Dry food can also lead to dehydration, bladder infections, crystals, diabetes, and a host of other problems!

Third -- do not rush out and buy some "weight loss formula" dry food. It won't matter if it still contains grains - your cat will still gain weight on it. Just feed LESS of a good quality food.

Start feeding your cats slightly less each day -- ideally, a cat needs 20 x it's ideal weight in calories a day. You can find out the calories per cup (or can) of food by asking the company - or sometimes it is listed on the company's website or product. Most cats only need around 200 calories a day - commonly found in 1 4-6 ounce can of cat food.

Be sure that your cats are always eating SOMETHING each day. Overweight cats can easily develop "fatty liver disease" (hepatic lipidosis) if they go for more than 24 hours without food. So it's important that if you switch your cats food, they take to it and don't go on a "hunger strike" against the new stuff. For this reason, switch foods gradually to prevent any problems (also including vomiting, digestive upset, etc).
[User Picture]From: mspurrmeow
2009-08-16 07:43 pm (UTC)

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I agree with what's been written above, but just for the record, my preferred dry food calls for 1/3-1/2 cup per day for a 9-lb 12-year old cat. Age, weight, structure and type of food are all necessary components. If they are getting cheap stuff, they may need more simply because it's not as concentrated. Older cats need less than younger ones. Higher-quality food will cut portions as well as waste. My girl only gets food when she asks for it properly. No free-feeding for her.

We have fed four cats together before and kept the portions limited. If they are hungry, they fight harder for it in a feeding frenzy.

Having cats is easy, taking good care of them takes work. Maybe your parents don't have the time and energy you had for your fuzzy ones?
[User Picture]From: tesserae_
2009-08-17 03:24 am (UTC)

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I feed three cats on Innova Cat & Kitten (not Evo) and they split 1 cup of dry food a day - roughly 1/3 cup per cat. Plus they each get a tablespoon of wet food in the morning because they like it, but no treats and no people food. They free-feed, but if all the food is gone by noon, they wait til I put more down in the evening to eat again. Their weights all seem to be stable and while while they're very happy to see their breakfast in the morning, it frequently doesn't get finished right away, so nobody's going hungry!

Find out if your folks are feeding treats - mine spend all day feeding treats to their two cats to make them do tricks, and that can pack on a lot of calories.

Good luck!
[User Picture]From: leilablu
2009-08-17 03:33 am (UTC)

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thank you so much everyone for all of your help. I'm writing out a meal plan for the cats so that my parents can refer to it when im not at school. it seems like we were doing so much wrong! Treats, too much food, and the wrong type of food too.

Today I switched their normal feeding bowl, to one with only a measured amount. They haven't eaten much at all today though, I think its because they arent used to a change in routine, but hopefully they'll get the idea soon.

Thank you again!