There are many factors that have a bearing on how much you should give a cat to eat. If you buy cat food in pouches, these can vary in size and calories. Sometimes the packaging contains a feeding guide, but not always.
It’s important to feed your cat the right amount as you don’t it to become overweight which can lead to poor health and possibly shorten its life. How many pouches you feed your cat or kitten is quite easy to calculate.
Cats need 3 to 5 pouches of food per day. The exact number depends on the nutritional value of the food in the pouches along with your cat’s age, size, and how much activity it engages in. Kittens should be free-fed which means you should offer them as many pouches as they will eat until they are a year old.
Feeding your cat the right quantity of food at the right time is key to ensuring it has the best chance of a long, healthy life. We investigated just how many pouches a cat should consume per day and focused on cats over a year old as it’s from this point that you should adopt a routine and try to stick with it if possible.
It goes without saying that the bigger your cat is (for instance the Maine Coon) and the more active your cat is, the more food it will need. Also, it depends on how many treats and dry food they are fed!
When 2 pouches of cat food enough
The amount you feed your cat should be based on its ideal weight for its size rather than the weight it is. If you are feeding a cat 3 pouches and it is gaining weight, this suggests 2 pouches is enough for your cat.
You might find your cat seems hungry if you reduce it to 2 pouches in one go so try gradually reducing the amount to 2 pouches over the course of a week.
How much should I feed my cat on a daily basis?
You already know a lot about cats, but as you know, they are creatures of habit. Like me, they like being in a regular routine and may actually show signs of anxiety if they don’t have it. Having a routine also makes it easier for you to manage.
The general rule for cats is to feed them little and feed them often. However, this, as we all know, isn’t always possible. You might have a job and may only be able to feed them in the morning and then when you get back from work, at least from Monday to Friday.
Another option is to invest in a pet feeder, these are especially good if you’re out of the house often for longer periods. This is of course not ideal but sometimes can’t be helped.
If you want to check out the best-automated pet feeder, we’ve done some research (and have some experience) in this so check out what we think by clicking on the link (opens in a new tab for you to check out the great reviews over at Amazon).
Feed your cat in the same place, at the same time
Try and ensure that you feed them in the same location and also at the same time of the day. Ideally, the location should in a quiet location and somewhere that they feel safe.
If you have children, find somewhere where you know they won’t be running around and disturbing the cats whilst they are eating.
They like to feel safe and secure whilst eating and having lots of passing traffic is off-putting. Also, if they are still using a litter tray, don’t put the food anywhere near this. Cats like to be clean and how would you like to eat your dinner next to the toilet?
If you have more than one cat, consider having separate feeding areas for each cat if they don’t get along, although hopefully, you won’t have to do this.
In the summer months, you’ll have to be a bit more careful with the location and also how long you leave the food out . If you have flies then don’t leave the food lying around for ages.
The flies will lay their eggs in it and it will make your kitchen smell like something you certainly wouldn’t want to eat, let alone your fussy cats! Actually, some people use the simple rule that if you wouldn’t eat from the plate your cat is using, then they shouldn’t either.
Monitor how much your cat eats
This photo reminds me of my son after his first day at school for some reason. He was so tired he just fell asleep whilst eating. Ah, those were the days.
Anyway, when you introduce the new routine, keep an eye on your cats. Weigh them every month if you remember and make sure they’re not getting too heavy.
Type 2 diabetes is a real concern for overweight cats and remember, it’s down to you. If they have food put in front of them, cats are programmed to eat it.
In nature, they wouldn’t know when they would be getting their next meal so they take advantage of most opportunities.
By the way, struggling to keep your cats on the scales? Of course, you would be. Weigh yourself, then get off and pick one of the cat’s up. Take the difference and there’s your cat weigh. See, I’m not as stupid as I look.
So, if you’re looking to gauge your cat’s weight then it’s broadly between the below ranges:
- Larger cats (13-25 lbs)
- Small to medium (8-13lbs)
Here are a few other breeds and their average weights:
|Cat Breed||Avg weight (lbs)|
You can see the problem with the above though, can’t you? Basically, your cat can weigh between 8 and 25 lbs (although typically they’re not this big as you can see in the table!), that’s a big difference.
So, investigate what weight your particular breed should be and try and maintain the weight of yours to somewhere in the middle! But you’ll know just by looking whether they’re putting on a few too many pounds.
So how many pouches should you feed your cats? Well, it depends on several factors, including:
- Breed (the bigger cats obviously requiring more)
- Age (as they get older they will become less active, needing less food)
- Size (can vary, you can get exceptions in all breeds, both large and small)
- How active they are (remember the older they get the less active they are)
The research we’ve performed suggests for one cat, between 3 and 5 pouches will be required. If anything, try them with less at first and make sure they finish it. Give them between 30 minutes and an hour to finish the food before removing it, don’t leave it down throughout the day.
Our cats and our experience
To give you a personal example, we have two Maine Coon girls. They’re 18 months old. One is very active and the other a bit more lethargic. They have 3 pouches each per day. They also have a bowl of kibble to nibble throughout the day.
Sometimes though they just stop liking a particular variety, no idea why but they just go off it so we swap between two varieties and this seems to work. Now and then they have plain white fish as a treat.
Hopefully, you know now how many pouches you should feed your cat. It’s a difficult question to answer but play around with the quantity and how hungry you believe the cats actually are.
There are signs. For instance, our Rosie will jump on our bed and at around 4 am, meowing really loudly if she’s hungry. Mona will just appear in the kitchen squeaking until eventually she is fed.
The best thing you can do though is to get the environment right, in a quiet corner of the house. Give them the same amount of food at the same time every day, if possible. If that’s not possible then just do the best you can.
Of course, plans don’t always go how you want. Ours tend to just dislike the food we give them every few months, so we change it to something else, and the cycle repeats.
One Last Thing
Many people think they own their cat. Of course, they are mistaken as really, the cat is in charge. All is explained in this cat’s guide to owning a pet human.