How Much Wet Food Should You Feed a Kitten Each Day?
Feeding your cat a healthy diet includes a high-quality food source and knowing how much to feed your cat. Wet food is a great source of nutrition for your cat as it's easier to digest, and your cat gets more nutritional value out of it.
Wet food has multiple benefits, which are covered in detail below. However, too much of a good thing can be bad for your kitty. This article includes a guide to help you determine how much you should feed your cat.
The Benefits of Wet Food for Your Cat
Cat Diet and Metabolism
Unlike dogs or humans, cats are obligate carnivores - that is, they require meat for optimal health. From a nutritional standpoint, a wild cat’s natural diet consists of meat-based protein, with moderate fat intake and minimal carbohydrates. Wet food is similar to actual meat, with 75% water content, and amounts of amino acids and fatty acids similar to what is found in meat. In fact, more veterinarians are saying that cats should be fed wet food for optimal health.
Activity Level and Weight Management
Although it isn’t known why, cats eating a diet of wet cat food tend to be more active than their dry cat food counterparts. Additionally, cats eating dry food lose weight when switched to a wet food diet. This is is likely due, to much lower carbohydrate content combined with increased activity.
Digestive and Urinary Health
Because wet cat food is similar to actual meat, it is much easier for a cat to digest. This means that a cat gets more nutritive value out of it, and is less likely to have gastrointestinal issues. Cats with urinary tract and/or bladder issues often see marked improvement when switched to a wet food diet.
Even though there is not much scientific evidence to support this, wet food supposedly helps with managing kidney disease, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and feline idiopathic cystitis (an inflammatory condition that causes bloody urine and frequent urination in cats).
Feline diabetes is a medical condition where the cat’s body cannot make enough insulin to regulate high sugar levels in its blood. This condition is a direct result of the high-carbohydrate dry cat food. Cats, like humans, can have Type I and Type II diabetes. Type I can usually be managed with diet alone, while Type II requires administering insulin. The symptoms of diabetes in cats include rapid weight gain, lethargy, and thirst. In severe cases, your cat may vomit frequently and stop eating altogether.
Wet cat food is substantially lower in carbs, and as such, is an inherently better choice for your cat. Switching to wet food will prevent your cat from developing diabetes. If your cat already has diabetes, a switch to wet food will help manage its diabetes. If you think your cat may have diabetes, get it examined by your veterinarian, and follow her recommendations.
How Much Wet Food to Feed a Kitten Per Day?
Feeding a cat (or kitten) the right amount of wet food isn’t as simple as a graph showing how many ounces by age, weight, and activity level. Like humans, a cat’s needs constantly vary. This chart from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) offers great information to help you decide how much wet food is best for your kitten.
To help make this chart of optimal benefit, here are some things to consider for cats at each stage of life:
A cat is a kitten up until about 6 months in age. During that time, a kitten requires 3-4 feedings throughout the day. During the course of a day, a kitten can eat anywhere from half a can of wet food to two cans. Start with the recommended amount on the can, and watch for signs your kitten isn’t getting enough food (ie. meowing for more food) or that they're eating too much (ie. vomiting a lot).
Like a baby, a kitten will let you know when it’s hungry. If you find your kitten begging you for food between feedings, you probably should increase how much you’re feeding it. If your kitten starts getting fat and less active, cut back a little bit on how much you give it each feeding. Truth is, with fast growth, high metabolism, and high levels of activity, it’s difficult to overfeed a kitten.
At 6 months of age, you can begin feeding your cat as an adult. Start with the recommended amount on the can for your cat’s weight, and watch for changes in weight gain or loss and activity level. Using the chart above, you can feel if your cat is getting too much or too little food. Adjust as necessary to maintain optimal health in your cat.
A cat is generally considered to be a ‘senior’ at 7 years of age. At this stage in a cat’s life, it may become less active, developing arthritis or other conditions that affect its mobility. A cat at this age generally doesn’t need as much wet food to keep it at a healthy weight. In fact, older cats are the most prone to becoming overweight due to overfeeding.
It’s easy to get so accustomed to feeding a cat a certain amount that we don’t think about it anymore. As your cat ages, pay attention to its activity level and cut back a bit on how much you feed it a day. Your cat will age more gracefully, and feel better, too.
How We Feed Our Cats
Here at CatCatCat we like to feed our cats a a mixture of both dry and wet food. We do this by feeding them kibble throughout the day with the help of an automatic cat feeder and then at night we give each one half a can of wet food.
Eevee, our youngest, is about 9lbs and Pixel, our oldest, is about 14lbs (he's a big cat - not fat). Because of their weight differences, Pixel often eats some of Eevee's wet food, but Eevee doesn't eat much, so he doesn't seem to mind.
While this article digs deep into the benefits of wet food for your cat and provides you with a guide on how much to feed your cat, it is still just that - a guide. Keep an eye on your cat, watching for weight gain or loss, or changes in activity level when changing a cat's diet. And, whenever in doubt, consult your veterinarian.
Go forth, and feed your cat with confidence!
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