How much raw do I need to feed and how often should I be feeding my cats?
There are no rules to answer this question but there is a guide. When feeding raw, an adult cat should, according to the guide... be eating between 2-4% of their body weight daily. This depends on activity level and metabolism.
A typical cat of 5kg should be eating approx 3% of his body weight which we work out like this..
5kg @ 3% = 5000(gm) / 100 (=50) x 3 = 150gm
This is a good general guide for a healthy, relatively active, adult who eats only raw food. There are factors that will influence these numbers. In summer your cat will be less interested in food and in winter he will eat more to keep his body temperature high. We recommend you go with the flow and let your cat dictate how much and how often.
If you are worried they are not eating enough, simply ask yourself these questions
Is my cat eating at least 2% of his body weight daily?
Is he active and not lethargic?
Is he toileting as usual
Are his eyes clear bright
If any of these were answered with a NO then I would be seeking vet advice.
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
First feed at 5am
Second breakfast at 8am before I leave for work
First dinner at 4pm when I get home
Second dinner at 8pm after play session
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.
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 DIFFERENT
Kittens are growing, and they are growing fast! When raw feeding kittens, we recommend they are fed on demand. This means as many meals and as much food as they want. 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 seek vet advice.
The rule of thumb is offer a meal of approx 50gm and see what happens. If the 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.
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.
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. Provide variety to avoid boredom and try not to over feed or under feed.