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How Much & How Often Should I Feed My Cat?

family-footerWhen it comes to your cat’s health and happiness, nothing is more important than ensuring the proper diet and nutrition. This includes choosing the right type of food for your cat and following recommended guidelines for how much and how often to feed your pet.

Here’s what you need to know to ensure your cat maintains a healthy weight and receives all the nutrition he needs.

Wet or Dry Cat Food?

Dry pet food:

  • Is cheaper
  • Lasts longer once opened
  • May be better for your pet’s teeth and gums
  • Gives you the option to leave it out if you prefer free-choice feeding

Wet pet food:

  • Has up to 78% moisture content, making it a good source of water
  • Is more palatable for finicky eaters
  • Has higher protein and fat content with fewer carbohydrates to more accurately mimic a wild animal’s diet
  • Usually has no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives

How Much & How Often to Feed Your Cat

Try out different feeding methods:

  • Free-choice feeding: As the most convenient option, free-choice feeding is when you fill your kitty’s bowl with dry food and leave it out all the time. The animal chooses when and how much to eat to fulfill his dietary needs. Keep an eye on your cat’s weight if you decide to free-choice feed. If you can’t feel his ribs when running your hands down his torso, you may need to choose a different feeding method.
  • Portion-controlled feeding: This is when you measure out a certain amount of food and offer it as a meal at specific times of day. Twice a day portion-controlled feedings spaced eight to 12 hours apart is ideal. You can use wet or dry food with this feeding method. To choose the amounts, check the suggested serving size on the label and divide it in half for twice daily feedings. Again, keep an eye on your cat’s weight and adjust the serving sizes as you see fit.
  • Timed feeding: This option makes food available to your cat for a certain amount of time, perhaps 30 minutes, twice daily. The animal is free to eat as much as he likes within this time period, which ensures he gets his fill without the option to return to his bowl later when he’s not really hungry. Try to align you and your cat’s schedule to ensure timed feedings don’t occur when your cat is napping.
  • Treats: To encourage a healthy weight, try to limit treats to less than 10% of your cat’s daily calories. A healthy option is to offer a small dish of wet cat food in place of traditional treats.

Cat Health Tips from Germantown Vet

If you’re concerned about your kitty’s health, or you need help with pet weight management, get the tips you need at Germantown Vet. We can help you select a food, serving size, and feeding method so your cat thrives.

For answers to your questions, or to schedule an appointment, please call our Germantown, MD vet clinic at (240) 252-7467.

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