Information for Cat Owners
How Much to Feed Your Cat
Although every cat's needs are different, here are some general guidelines for how much to feed a healthy adult cat. If you have a kitten, a lactating queen, an overweight cat, or an older cat, her nutritional needs will be different; please consult your veterinarian. Remember, 1 cup = 8 ounces.
|Feeding Chart for Dry Food (Kibble)|
|Weight of Cat||Amount Per Day|
|0-5lbs||up to 1/2 cup|
|5-10 lbs||1/2 cup - 2/3cups|
|10-15 lbs||2/3 cups - 1 cups|
|Feeding Chart for Wet Food (Loaves, Soups, Stews, and Casseroles)|
|0-4 lbs||3 ounces - 3 3/4 ounces|
|5-8 lbs||5 1/4 ounces - 7 1/2 ounces|
|9-12 lbs||8 ounces - 11 1/4 ounces|
|13-16 lbs||10 1/2 ounces - 15 ounces|
|17-22 lbs||15 ounces - 20 1/4 ounces|
The Nutrients a Cat Needs
In nature, cats make their own choices when it comes to meeting their nutritional needs, but we must make those choices for our domesticated cats. Cats are carnivores; those in the wild eat 90% protein and 10% carbohydrates and greens.
A cat's dietary needs are very different from a dog's, and a cat will not do well on a diet made for dogs. Cats need wet food because 70% of their water intake comes from wet food. Cats also need more protein and fat than a dog might. Felines require certain vitamins, like retinol and niacin, and certain amino acids, such as taurine, daily. Taurine, found only in animal tissue, is essential for good eyesight.
Protein, which is made up of amino acid chains, is the backbone of all growth and tissue repair in a cat. Cats need a high-protein diet, as protein is their primary source of energy. Protein is also used in the processes of circulation and kidney function and to maintain the support structure of the cat's body (tendons, bones, muscles, and ligaments). The best sources of digestible protein for cats are chicken, beef, fish, eggs, and dairy products like cottage cheese and yogurt.
Cats don't have the same need for carbohydrates as dogs because they get a lot of the calories they need from other sources. This doesn't mean that you have to stop feeding carbohydrates; your cat just may not need as many.
Since a cat's diet consists mainly of protein, fat, and water, vegetables and fruits are not as necessary as they are for dogs. However, they are good sources of vitamins, minerals, and fibber. Fibber helps keep a cat regular and prevents hairballs, which, if not taken care of, can cause an intestinal blockage. Therefore, fruits and vegetables can be added to your cat's daily diet and will only benefit your pet.
Fats are the most concentrated source of energy for your cat. Fat is an excellent source of linoleic and arachidonic acids, which are essential for a healthy skin and coat. Fat also provides vitamins A, D, E, and K. Cats' livers metabolize fat for energy. What fat the body doesn't use is stored or released through urine. A cat with a fat deficiency will not grow well and will have dandruff and dry hair. She may become listless and can be more susceptible to disease or infection.
A cat's vitamin and mineral needs, while basically the same as a dog's, can be more challenging to meet.
Here is a list of the vitamins and minerals that are essential to a cat's good health:
• Vitamin A is used by the eyes, reproductive organs, and skin.
• Vitamin B: As there are several B vitamins, I have listed them separately. Vitamin B-12 and niacin are used for the functions of enzymes in the body. Pantothenic acid is used to metabolize energy. Riboflavin is used for the functions of enzymes in the body. Thiamine (vitamin B-l) is used for energy and to metabolize carbohydrates.
• Vitamin D helps maintain mineral status, phosphorus balance, and skeletal structure.
• Vitamin E defends against oxidation damage.
• Vitamin K helps with blood clotting, bone protein, and other proteins.
• Folic acid is used to metabolize amino acids and helps synthesize protein.
• Calcium is used in the formation of bones and teeth, muscle contraction,
transmission of nerve impulses, and blood clotting.
• Chlorine helps with the acid/base balance in the body.
• Copper helps the body metabolize iron and form blood cells and connective tissues.
• Iodine aids in thyroid hormone utilization, growth and development, and metabolic rate regulation.
• Iron helps with metabolizing energy and utilizing hemoglobin and myaglobin.
• Magnesium assists with the structure of bones and teeth, is used in enzyme functions, and helps with hormone secretion and function.
• Manganese aids in neurological and enzyme functions and the development of bones.
• Phosphorus assists with DNA and RNA structures, locomotion, and metabolism of energy and balances the acid/base ratio.
• Potassium helps with transmitting nerve impulses and enzyme reactions.
• Selenium helps the body's immune response and defends against oxidation.
• Sodium helps balance the acid/base ratio and helps with the generation and transmission of nerve impulses.
• Zinc promotes healthy skin, healing of wounds, and utilization of proteins and carbohydrates.
Commercial pet food manufacturers add vitamins and minerals to dry and canned
foods to ensure a balanced diet. Although the meals in this book are healthy and
well-balanced, make sure to add a vitamin/mineral supplement (choose one
specially formulated for cats, made of natural whole-food ingredients, and
containing no preservatives or artificial ingredients) to make the meal
nutritionally complete. Your vet can help you determine the proper vitamins and
minerals to give to your cat in supplement form. Never add a supplement before
or during the cooking process, or when food is still hot.