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Feeding Your Adult Cat

By: Ed Kane

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You can either feed him at least two meals a day or leave food out for snacking. In order to fulfill his needs, feed him one ounce of canned food daily, or 1/3 ounce of dry food, per pound of body weight. Most young cats (one to four years of age) are very active and self-regulate their food intake, thereby maintaining a healthy body weight.

As your cat ages, he may slow down and begin putting on extra weight. Monitor his weight - if he's becoming too fat, consult your veterinarian.

Remember, water is also an important nutrient. He needs fresh clean water daily. Your cat drinks about twice the amount of water as he consumes in dry food, though since canned cat food in greater than 75 percent water, he barely drinks when his diet consists of canned cat food only.


The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is an organization that publishes regulations for nutritional adequacy of "complete and balanced" cat foods. Diets that fulfill the AAFCO regulations follow the national consensus recommendations for feline foods and will state on the label: "formulated to meet the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profile for...(a given life stage).

Consider Your Cat's Age

  • For kittens (up to 8-9 months of age): Feed your kitten a consistent canned, semi-moist, or dry cat food designed for kittens.

  • For adult cats (1-9 years): Feed your cat a consistent canned, semi-moist, or dry cat food designed for an "adult" cat.

  • For senior cats (8-9+ years): Feed your cat a consistent canned, semi-moist, or dry cat food designed for a "senior" cat.

    Consider Your Cat's Body Condition

  • Underweight cats: Feed your cat 1-1/2 times the "usual" amount of food and make an appointment to see your veterinarian about your cat's body condition. Consider switching to a food with higher protein and fat content.

  • Lean cats: Many healthy cats are a bit thin, especially active young male cats. Consider increasing total daily food or caloric intake by 25 percent. Weigh your cat every week, if possible, to chart progress.

  • Chubby cats: If your cat is a bit overweight, try increasing the daily exercise routine. Gradually increase exercise over two weeks unless limited by a medical condition. Many cats like to play. If these measures fail, cut out all treats and reduce daily intake of food by up to 25 percent.

  • Fat or obese cats: Stop all treats except hairball medicines if needed. Increase exercise gradually over 2-3 weeks if not limited by a medical condition. If these measures fail, reduce the total daily food amount by 25 percent to 40 percent, switch to a low fat/high fiber diet, and call your veterinarian to discuss plans. Inquire about prescription-type reduction diets that can really be effective while providing balanced nutrition.

    Preferred Food

    There are a number of prominent manufacturers of high quality cat foods, including Iams (Eukanuba), Hill's (Science Diet), Nature's Recipe products, Nutra Max, Pedigree, Purina and Waltham, among others. Follow the label recommendations, but use your own judgment in determining how much to feed. Always provide your pet with fresh water.

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