How Much to Feed and How Often?

One of the main questions we get is “how much should I feed my cat”.. as though there were some magic number we could reply with that would be valid for every cat.

Unfortunately there isn’t. There is a guide. When feeding raw, an adult cat should, according to the guide accepted by .. well.. everyone.. be eating between 2-4% of their body weight daily. This depends on activity level and metabolism.
Let’s take our CEO Oliver as an example of this and do the numbers. Oliver weighs 5kg. He is a lazy CEO but when he is awake he is active. He is indoor though, so not as active as an outdoor cat might be.. so I am going to calculate his requirement at 3%.
5kg @ 3% worked out like this 5000 / 100 (50) x 3 = 150gm
This is the amount I should be feeding Oliver. This is a good general guide for a healthy, relatively active, adult who eats only raw food. This guide is only a guide though. Use it as such. Oliver some days will eat much more than this and some days much less.
In summer he will be less interested in food and in winter he will scoff it down like he’s starving. Do I worry about this? Do I fret if he only eats 120gm of food? No I don’t. I take other things into consideration.
  1. Has he eaten anything all day? - Yes he ate 120gm, that is sufficient. As long as he is eating at least one meal per day of approx 60gm, I am not going to panic yet
  2. Is he active and not lethargic? - yep he is his normal crazy self
  3. Is he toileting as usual - yes no changes there
  4. Are his eyes clear bright - well yes.. they always are

 

If any of these were answered with a NO then I would be re-evaluating the situation.

How Often

Think of a cat in the wild when deciding on how often to feed your cat. A cat in the wild or on the streets feeding for itself will catch many small prey over the course of the day (or night as would naturally be the way).
These would be consumed immediately, not put away to then be eaten all in one go at one large meal. They would also not be eating it slowly over many hours (think of kibble being down for grazing) Cat are not grazer.They are opportunistic eaters.They will eat their whole prey once killed then move on.
You need to replicate this by feeding many small meals over the course of the day. At least 3 meals, more if possible. These meals do not need to be evenly spaced out, they can be worked around your schedule. An example of this below, and how I feed mine
  1. First feed at 5am
  2. Second breakfast at 8am before I leave for work
  3. First dinner at 4pm when I get home
  4. Second dinner at 8pm after play session
  5. Final dinner at 10pm before I go to bed
It’s not difficult to do this, take this info and adjust it to suit you and your own cat’s schedule

Feed the Cat in Front of You

Take this info and adapt it to your own cat. Some cats eat more than the guide allows and some much less. Priscilla is older and eats less. Ava is always hungry and will eat non stop if I let her. Personally I am not too much of a stickler on weighing portions. I feed them what they will eat.
Note the guide relates to raw feeding. Cats fed on a commercial product full of carbs will always eat more to get the protein they require. If you are here you are striving toward a raw diet. Keep that in mind when making your calculations.

Feeding Kittens is a whole different thing

When feeding kittens we take the guide and we throw it out the window
Kittens are growing, and they are growing fast! When raw feeding kittens, and we must stress that when raw feeding kittens it is imperative to get the balance correct, they must be fed on demand. This means as many meals and as much food as they want. If you are looking for numbers to help you understand it, then try this. Kittens will eat between 5-10% of their body weight daily depending on the growth stage they are at.
Kittens go thru growth spurts, and will inevitably be much hungrier when growing and less hungry in between. This is totally normal. Please apply the same criteria as above to gauge their health, but if your kitten stops eating for more than 12 hours, please go immediately to a vet!
The rule of thumb is offer a meal of approx 50gm and see what happens. If kitten is still looking for more, give her more. If she eats it and walks away content then you’re on the right track. If she eats half of it, put it back in the fridge and offer it again in an hour. You will soon learn what size her portions need to be. Remember this will be a fluid thing so adjust it constantly to her requirements.
The frequency of meals offered to a kitten needs to be a bit higher than an adult. Try feeding at least 5 meals a day, more if they seem to want more. Let your kitten guide you. Never
Kittens should be fed this way till they reach adulthood. Average sized cats reach adulthood at 1 year of age. Large breeds at 2 years. Again this is a guide. There is no magic switch we flick that makes them adults and means we need to start restricting. Oliver, in my opinion, kept growing till he was 2 years old.
The take home message is this. Take note of the guide. Apply it, then adjust it to suit your own cat.
Every cat is different. Feed each cat according to their own needs. Watch their health, their weight, and don’t over stress over the numbers. Ensure your cat is eating a Balanced Diet. Make sure they are enjoying their food. Don;t force them to eat anything they don’t like to suit your own ideals.
Feed small, frequent meals. Ensure they are satiated. Enjoy your cats and love them as much as you can for they are with us for a short time.

General Guide