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How Much Should You Feed Your Cat, and How Often? (With Chart) 

Your cat’s diet plays a major role in its well-being. If you feed your cat too much or too little, it won’t maintain optimum health. Likewise, a lack of nutrients can lead to a deficient feline while an overabundance can cause obesity and all the problems that come along with being overweight.

Finding the sweet spot for how much to feed your feline can be difficult, especially for new cat keepers. But in this article, you’ll find all the information you need regarding feeding frequency and amount, helping your cat to live its best life and taking the guesswork out of the equation.

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How Often Should You Feed Your Cat?

This seems like a simple question on the surface, but how would you answer if someone asked how often you should feed a human? We all know that it depends greatly on several factors such as age, size, and appetite. Cats are no different. They eat different amounts, depending on similar characteristics such as age, weight, breed, size, and more.

Younger cats need feeding more often than adults. Growing felines require more food per pound of body weight compared to older cats. Rather than stuff all of that feeding into one sitting, it’s best to spread it out across several feedings throughout the day.

As your cat gets older, it will require less food per pound of body weight, which means fewer feedings. Once your cat reaches adulthood, one or two feedings each day will suffice, so long as your cat is getting all the necessary nutrition within those feedings.

cat eating from his dish
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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Cat Feeding Chart

Cat Age Cat Weight How Much to Feed Daily Feedings
Up to 1 week 3-7 ounces Kitty formula: 25-60 ml 6-7
1-2 weeks 5-14 ounces Kitty formula: 40-110 ml 6-7
2-3 weeks 12-16 ounces Kitty formula: 110-125 ml 6-7
3-4 weeks 1-1.5 pounds 11 g dry or 40 g wet food 3-4
4-8 weeks 1.3-2.6 pounds 18 g dry or 65 g wet food 3-4
2-3 months 2.2-4 pounds 20 g-30 g dry or 65 g-110 g wet food 3-4
3-6 months 3.5-7 pounds 30 g-50 g dry or 130 g-165 g wet food 3-4
6-9 months 6-10 pounds 45 g-60 g dry or 160 g-215 g wet food 2
9-12 months 7-15 pounds 50 g-85 g dry or 150 g-300 g wet food 2
1-5 years 8-20 pounds 60 g-105 g dry or 160 g-365 g wet food 1-2
5-10 years 8-20 pounds 60 g-105 g dry or 160 g-365 g wet food 1-2
10+ years 8-20 pounds 60 g-105 g dry or 160 g-365 g wet food 1-4

Source: https://excitedcats.com/how-much-to-feed-kittens/

Cute cat eating on floor at home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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Factors That Influence How Much to Give Your Cat

As mentioned, many factors influence how much food your cat requires. Although younger cats eat more per pound of body weight, they eat less overall. Larger and heavier cats will require more total food. But as a cat gets larger, they can eat more in a single sitting, so feeding frequency decreases, even though the total amount that is eaten continues to rise.

Another factor to consider is your cat’s current activity level. If your cat is sedentary and spends its time lounging in comfortable spots around the house, then it’s not going to require as much food as a feline that’s always running around, playing, or spending a lot of its time exploring the backyard.

You’ll also have to make adjustments for feeding wet or dry food. While either is perfectly acceptable, provided it offers complete nutrition for your cat, they don’t measure out the same. Naturally, wet food weighs more, so you’ll have to feed your cat more of it in terms of weight. You’ll feed less dry food by weight, but it will appear to have more volume in your cat’s food bowl.

Health Dangers for Obese Cats

Obesity is a major problem for domesticated cats in North America. In fact, it’s the most common of all preventable feline diseases. In America, about one-third of all cats are considered to be obese with about half of all cats over the age of 5 being considered overweight.

So, what problems will obesity cause for your cat? To start, it will shorten your cat’s lifespan. Obese cats show an increase in mortality rates 2.8 times higher than cats of a healthy body weight.

If that’s not enough, obesity also makes your cat more susceptible to other diseases that can decrease the quality of their life and shorten their lifespan.

Cat and Coffee
Featured Image Credit: Pxfuel

Cats that are obese show an increased risk for diseases like:

  • Urinary bladder stones
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Anesthetic complications

It’s not just being obese that’s bad for your cat. Obese cats that stop eating might even have it worse. When an obese cat ceases eating, they often form a condition called hepatic lipidosis; a liver disease that can be life-threatening. These cats have a much harder time fighting off infectious diseases since their bodies are already in poor health, which means that diseases are more likely to be serious or even fatal.

Monitoring Your Cat’s Feedings

When cats are stressed or ill, they’re often very good at hiding it. Some of the most obvious signs you can look for are changes to their feeding habits. These can also be an indication of how your cat is responding to its feeding routine, allowing you to make any necessary changes.

If your kitten is eating in the middle of the night, there’s nothing to worry about. Kittens have tiny stomachs, which is why their food must be split into many smaller meals. It’s hard for them to go 8-12 hours without a meal, so it’s fine for a kitten to look for a nighttime snack. Adult cats should be used to a particular feeding schedule though, and shouldn’t need to feed in the middle of the night. If your adult cat begins to exhibit this behavior, it might indicate that there’s another underlying issue.

If your cat is licking its bowl clean every time you feed it, it could be underfed. However, you’ll need more evidence to be certain. Instead of guessing, learn what a cat’s body should feel like so you can assess your cat’s weight. Feel for proper rib coverage and weigh your cat to ensure it’s at a healthy weight.

cat waiting to eat, licking lips
Image Credit: Africa Studio Shutterstock

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Conclusion

There are no hard and fast rules regarding cat feeding frequency and volume. Too many factors are at play, such as the cat’s age, breed, size, weight, activity level, and more. Still, there are some general guidelines that you should follow to ensure your cat is receiving the appropriate amount of nutrition. If you still have questions or you aren’t sure if you’re feeding your cat too much, too little, or if it’s a healthy weight, then you can consult your veterinarian to help you get the basics down for your cat.


Featured Image: liudmila_selyaninova, Shutterstock,