Life Stages and Cat Food

How often you feed your feline friend will depend on the personal preference of both you and your cat.

Some cats will eat small bits of dry cat food throughout the day, and others will eat a full meal of either dry or canned food once or twice a day. If you're feeding canned cat food, any leftovers should be thrown out after half an hour, so dry food may be the better choice if your cat is a 'grazer.'

The amount you feed will also depend on activity levels, life stage and healthy weight and growth maintenance. The label may provide suggested guidelines based on weight.

Here's a chart to use as a guideline.

Life Stage Age Meals Per Day
Kitten 6-12 weeks
3-6 months
6-12 months
4
3
2
Adult 1 to 6 years 1 or 2
Senior 6 to 20 years 1 or 2

Kittens

After weaning, kittens should be fed a very soft, easily digestible food four times a day, as their permanent teeth won't appear until they reach four to five months, and the transition from a milk diet to a solid diet can be stressful on their sensitive systems. If a kitten is having a hard time with her food even after you've soaked it in warm water, chicken or turkey human baby food can be fed for a short time while you re-introduce kitten food gradually.

Adults

Adults should be fed once or twice a day. A high-protein, high-moisture, meat-based diet with very little carbohydrates will most closely resemble their diet in their natural environment, and will help reduce the risk of kidney problems. Dietary needs and amounts will change during pregnancy and lactation.

Seniors

Aging may bring decreased activity levels and changes in your cat's nutritional needs. The amount of cat food may need to be decreased to reduce the risk of obesity and associated health problems. Some older cats may benefit from a special 'geriatric' diet if they are experiencing a medical condition related to changes in their nutritional balance brought on by aging, which should be checked with a vet.

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