Our furry felines are skilled at many things (that’s why we admire them, after all!) but portion control isn’t often one of them. A recent research study showed that nearly 60% of cats are overweight or obese. Even more alarming: the number of cats and dogs that are excessively overweight is steadily increasing.
When considering your pet’s health, obesity tends to be of major concern since, like with people, extra adipose tissue causes some serious secondary health conditions in pets. Feeding the correct daily calorie content at mealtimes can go a long way towards preventing these health concerns in your cat.
Why is it important to know how many calories you are feeding your cat?
The line between a healthy weight and obesity in cats can be as little as only 2-3 pounds above their ideal body weight. Some secondary conditions associated with obesity in cats include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Certain types of cancer
It’s therefore important to give cats the right amount of food each day in measured meals to prevent excess weight gain over time or help lose weight if they are already overweight. A calorie calculator such as the cat calorie calculator from Pet Nutrition Alliance can help you easily do this.
How to calculate carbs in cat food
In the wild, cats naturally select a high protein-low carb diet. Because of the discrepancy in carbohydrate content between a natural prey diet and commercial pet food, excess carb intake is often considered the primary cause of feline obesity.
Your cat’s food packaging contains the guaranteed analysis and minimums and maximums for each nutrient, including the total grams of carbohydrates and protein. To effectively compare between cat foods it’s important to calculate the Dry Matter Basis of each food you are feeding. The carb content should not exceed 20% of their daily recommended calorie intake.
Generally speaking, dry cat food is going to have a higher calorie count per ounce than wet food which has a higher moisture content. In addition to weight gain, dry food should be limited for cats as the lack of hydration can cause other issues like urinary obstruction.
How many calories does my cat need?
The number of calories your pet needs will vary depending on activity level and age, but as a general rule of thumb “an adult cat needs approximately 25-35 calories per pound per day” (Elliot, 2020). With that being said, kittens will need more because of the fact that they are still growing, and an overweight or obese cat will need slightly less.
As is the case with any diets or caloric calculations, the first step should always be to figure out what you are working with. So, weigh your cat! This can be done at your home or with your vet at your next visit, but it must be done in order to establish a ground zero. You can always use a cat food calculator as well. (The easiest way would be to subtract your personal weight from the weight of yourself holding your cat).
In order for the equation to be accurate you will need to convert this number to kilograms, which can be done by dividing your cat’s weight in pounds by a factor of 2.2. There are many resources available online that you can then use to compare your cat’s current weight to their ideal weight (which typically tends to be between 8 and 10 pounds). If you used a cat food amount calculator you it may show a slightly different result from this calculation because_____
Calculating the calories thereafter will depend on a couple of factors but for starters you will use this equation to determine your cat’s Resting Energy Requirements (RER):
Calories =(ideal weight in kg ^ 0.75) x 70
This number will then be adjusted to factor in your cat’s current activity level and age. Other factors like whether or not, they are spayed/neutered will also come into play at this point! Some of the most common multiplication factors to consider are:
- Normal adult cat – multiplication factor of 1.2x
- Kitten- multiplication factor of 1.2-2x
- If your cat is overweight, the multiplication factor is 1.2-0.8x
For example: Your adult cat that has been spayed and weighs 8lbs (3.64kg) would need this number of calories:
Calories = (3.64 ^0.75) x 70 x 1.2
= about 221 per day! (minus the caloric value of any treats you choose to feed)
*Keep in mind that these calculations are not a substitute for professional advice and you should always consult your cat’s veterinarian before making major changes to your pets diet*
Fresh Pet Food Calculator for Cats
Feeding cats fresh cat food has many benefits, some of which are listed below;
- Helps maintain a healthy weight by being protein-rich and nutrient dense
- Gentle cooking of proteins and vegetables retains nutrition
- Full of natural antioxidants, vitamins and minerals of minimally processed whole ingredients
If you are asking the question, “How much should I feed my cat?" our fresh feeding calculator can help you out! When switching from other types of cat food such as dry kibble to feeding fresh food, make sure to transition your pet gradually.
The steps for calculating fresh cat food is pretty straightforward, and you will only need to know a couple of key pieces of information such as your cat's weight and age. Our feeding calculator allows you to also set up a subscription, which can be very helpful to ensure you never miss a feeding. Good luck cat moms and dads!
About Kafka’s Organic
Kafka’s is a fresh pet food startup based in Vancouver, Canada on a mission to promote healthy, REAL food for cats and dogs. Born out of our founder, Sarah’s deep love for her cat, Kafka the Siamese, Kafka’s Organic now aims to provide the best in nutrition and advice to cat parents everywhere.