How Much Should I Feed my Cat?

Welcoming a cat into your life is exciting. They become a valued member of the family, and you may find yourself treating them as you would your own child. I know I’m guilty of spoiling my cats! But with that spoiling may come overfeeding, and you might find that your cat becomes overweight. Alternatively, you might be wondering if your cat is eating enough. 

Feeding your cat is not complicated, but does require you to pay close attention to their activity levels, weight, age and preferences. 

You’ll also want to consider whether you’re feeding your cat wet or dry food. As you might already know, cats do best on a combination of wet and dry, as they tend to not like drinking water. 

The brand also has an impact, as high quality food tends to be more nutrient dense. That means you’ll need to feed them smaller portions.

Some owners avoid portioning out their cats’ food, instead giving them access to as much food as they want. This can work as long as the food is high quality and your cat is drinking water.

Whatever method you prefer, it’s important to keep in mind a few points to make sure your cat isn’t getting the food it needs. 

Key Points to Remember…

Some cats are heavier by nature. Maine Coons, for instance, can weigh up to 30 pounds and still be considered a healthy weight. [1] It’s possible your cat’s ideal weight is more than the average cat size. If that’s the case, then your cat will need to eat more. 

If your cat doesn’t exercise a lot, then they will need to eat less. If they have access to the outdoors or they exercise indoors a lot, then they’ll need more food.

If you see your cat begging for food frequently, it’s likely that you aren’t feeding them enough. That’s especially more likely if they are thin.

If your cat is pregnant or nursing, she’ll need to eat more.

If your cat is older, they likely don’t need as much food as they used to.

The key to understanding how much food to feed your cat is to go off the general guideline, and observe your cat’s weight and behavior. If they are gaining or losing weight, adjust accordingly until their body size is stabilized. 

General Guideline

Weight (lbs)Daily CaloriesCups of Food (oz)Wet Food (oz)

When to Feed Your Cat

When adopting a cat, you’ll want to keep feeding them the same type and amount of food on the same schedule.

Gradually you can transition them to a schedule and type of food that suits you both best. When cats are entering a new environment, they can get very finicky about eating, so you’ll want to keep everything the same until they get used to their surroundings. 

Once the time is right, slowly integrate the new food in with the old, and move the feeding times up or down.

If you’re free feeding, measure out the food you want to give them each day and place it out in the morning for them to eat when they wish.

You can also split the daily amount in half, giving them one feeding in the morning and one at night. If you’re feeding both wet and dry, sometimes it’s easier to feed them wet food in the morning and then dry at night, or vice versa, rather than mixing the two together. [2]

How to Determine Calorie Amounts

It’s a little more challenging to figure out calorie amounts in cat food than it is for human food. Dry food, on average, contains about 300 calories for each cup, while canned food is about 250 calories for each six ounce can.

Because cats have preferences, your cat may prefer more wet food than dry, or more dry than wet.

If that’s the case, then make sure to measure out each serving accurately so you can calculate the caloric intake. If you prefer to free feed, it’s still vital to measure out your cat’s food so you know how much they are getting each day.

Cats can get carried away with eating if they have access to an unlimited amount of chow. 

How to Tell if Cat is Eating Enough

Being aware of your cat’s body is vital when trying to determine the proper feeding amounts. You can always weigh your cat to make sure they’re at the correct weight.

But if you don’t have a scale, you can simply observe your cat to see if they are underweight, overweight or just right. A cat that’s at an ideal weight won’t have bones protruding from the skin, and won’t have a large stomach.

When you feel for your cat’s ribs, the last few should be easy to find. If all of them are sticking out, they might be underweight. If it’s hard to feel any of the ribs, they might be overweight.

As always, if there is any confusion about your cat’s weight, consult your veterinarian. They will be able to tell you from a short visit whether they should be eating more, less or the same.


Just like humans, cats can become overweight if they eat too much. Keeping track of their feeding schedules and amounts will help ensure your cat stays at its ideal body weight.

While cats come in many different sizes, you can easily figure out if your cat is overweight, underweight or just right by looking at their frame. Feel their abdomen and ribs, observe their size, and if you have a scale, weigh them.

Once you have your cat at the correct weight, continue feeding them the same amount every day, following the same schedule. Cats thrive on routines, and they will be able to maintain their weight better when they know what to expect every day.

*The content provided in is not, without limitations, medical advice and/or professional advice and should not be construed and/or considered to be. We advise you to contact your pet’s veterinary care physician for specific treatment and care.*

Ashley is the co-founder of She is a professional writer, whose work has been seen in many top publications and websites, like Digital Trends, Opposing Views, Men's Health, and more. She is passionate about all animals, and loves her cats Felix and Lola. Ashley enjoys finding the best products and foods to ensure they're living their best lives possible!