When it comes to feeding your cat, it can be difficult to work out what to feed, how much to feed them, and how often. There are many sources of dietary advice, and they often recommend different things. How is a cat owner to know what to do?
The first thing to do is to pick a complete natural cat food that is nutritionally balanced. Butcher’s Really is a great choice; their Really Meaty and Really Fishy ranges will tempt the palate of any cat and contains all the ingredients your cat needs to stay healthy and active.
Don’t be tempted to keep your cat’s dinner bowl full and let him graze all day. This can lead to obesity, and can contribute to the development of diabetes in the most extreme scenarios. Feed multiple small meals per day depending on age, and remove the food bowls after around 30 minutes.
Keep in mind the amount your cat will need on a daily basis will depend on their age and activity level. Essentially you need to feed your cat enough to keep them in lean body condition.
Start by feeding the amount recommended on the packet of your chosen food, and then adjust up or down as needed. His ribs should be easy to feel when you run your hands over his body. When you look at him from the side and from the top, a narrowing at his waist, just behind his ribs should be obvious. If your cat is too curvy, then cut back on how much you put in his food bowl. If his ribs are becoming prominent, you’ll need to feed him a little more.
Adult cats have lower energy needs especially after they have been neutered. This means you may need to to cut back on how much you feed them by as much as 30%.
Similarly, senior cats don’t need as much food so again on the basis that they’re less active and need less calories on board because they won’t be as active they were in their heyday, feed them an amount that will maintain a healthy body condition. One thing to be aware of with elderly cats is that a change in appetite or condition can indicate a medical condition. One common cause of increased appetite with rapid weight loss is hyperthyroidism. This is easily diagnosed with a blood test and treatment is very successful.
There is no single amount of food that suits all cats because active cats, for example, will use more calories in their daily adventures outdoors than house cats, for example.
The PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturers Association) suggests feeling around your cats ribcage area and if you can feel the waist indentation, your cat may be fine or just slightly overweight. You can view their Cat Size-O-Meter here.