How much should my cat eat per day?

Cats are connoisseurs of comfort
— James Herriot

A few weeks ago I showed you how to calculate how much your dog should eat per day. This week I’m showing the calculations for a cat.

We will calculate how many calories your cat needs per day. Of course, it is also very important how those calories are filled in. There must be a good balance in the amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates. The important vitamins and minerals must be in it. If you trace this back to yourself, it is a big difference whether you get your daily calories with fries and mayo or with vegetables and potatoes. In addition, there are a lot of other factors that play a role in putting together a good diet. Think, for example, of essential nutrients, the balance of omega 6 and 3 in the diet, the ratio between calcium and phosphate, etc. And all those factors differ per cat. A young cat that is active outside all day has different needs than an older cat that prefers to lie in the windowsill in the sun all day. Cats with conditions such as osteoarthritis, bladder debris, kidney problems, liver problems and so on also have specific requirements for their diet.

Just like us, cats need X number of calories per day to perform all functions in the body and to maintain weight. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy the body needs at rest for it to function. Either this is what burns a cat if he/she would lie down all day and do nothing else. You can calculate your cat’s BMR with the following formula:

BMR (kcal/day) = BW(kg)0.75 X 70

For a 4 kilo cat, the BMR is 198 kcal/day

Small tip: For most smartphones, if you open the calculator and then turn your phone on its side, you will get a calculator with more functions.

Many cats love to lie in the sun all day and then this amount of calories per day can be sufficient. But a cat that goes outside and is nice and active needs more calories to maintain its weight. The amount of energy that a cat needs to keep its weight stable over a longer period of time is what we call the maintenance energy requirement (MER).

To calculate the maintenance energy, the BMR is multiplied by a factor.

The multiplication factor is:

Intact adult cat 1.4

Spayed/neutered adult cat 1,2

Inactive or overweight cat 1.0

Kitten from 0 to 4 months 2.5

Kitten from 4 months to a year 2

If we take the same 4 kg cat again and assume that this is a neutered cat that also comes outside, then this cat needs 198 x 1.2 = 238 kcal per day.

Now that you have calculated this of your cat, you can look at the packaging of your food. Each food has a different number of calories per unit of food. Just like a kitkat contains more calories than a broccoli. If all goes well, the packaging of your food should state how much digestible energy is in that food. Suppose the cat of our example gets a feed containing 3780 kcal per kg. Then this cat needs 63 grams per day from this feed.

No matter how well you try with this calculation, it always remains an estimate. The resting metabolism varies per individual. For example, a cat that has already gained weight a number of times and lost weight again will have a lower resting metabolism. In addition, the factor you use is also an estimate since we never know exactly how many calories a cat consumes over the day. It is therefore very important to keep an eye on the condition of your cat. We do this by means of the body condition score. Determine your cat’s BCS weekly and adjust the diet accordingly.

Do you have any questions or comments? Or would you like help with your cat’s nutrition? Send me a message, I’m happy to help you!

Holistische dierenarts. Acupunctuur, voedingsadvies en voedingstherapie voor honden en katten.

Hi, I am Anneke

On this blog I share information about acupuncture and nutrition for dogs and cats. New research, tips and recipes will also come along regularly. Have fun reading!
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