If you’re a new cat parent or trying to change your cat’s food, one of the biggest questions you might have is how much wet food to feed your cat.
Ideally, your cat’s diet should consist of 100% wet food, but this might be impossible for many cat owners, and therefore, a mix of wet and dry foods comprise your cat’s diet.
If your kitty has constantly been fed dry food, adding wet food to its diet may be challenging. Thus, we’ve come up with this cat feeding guide that can help you get started with introducing wet food to your kitty’s diet.
Why Do Cats Need to Eat Wet Food?
Most veterinarians would recommend that cats have a complete diet of 100% wet food, and this is because cats are obligate carnivores, and in the wild, cats hunt for food and eat raw meat, which primarily consists of 70% moisture.
It’s important to remember that cats don’t need carbohydrates. And when their diet consists of mostly carbs from dry food, cats tend to become obese. When cats are overweight, they are more at risk for certain diseases, such as diabetes, kidney failure, skin disorders, congestive heart failure, certain types of cancer, and complications associated with surgery and recovery.
In addition, cats are not big drinkers, and they are more at risk of dehydration. When a cat doesn’t have enough water in its system, it can increase the risk of kidney failure, urinary tract infection and impact its overall health.
Since wet food contains a lot of moisture, it naturally provides your cat with water in its diet, supporting the kidneys and other organs in the cat’s body.
Consider: Raw cat food
How Do I Decide How Much Food to Feed My Cat every day?
When you buy wet cat food, it usually comes with instructions on feeding your cat. A can, pouch, or tray may be recommended for each meal, but not every cat needs the same amount of calories.
Particular cats may differ significantly in weight, age, health condition, and even lifestyle. Before you decide how much wet food to feed your cat every day, you need to take a look at certain factors to determine your cat’s daily caloric needs:
Age and Life Stage
A kitten has different nutritional needs from an adult or a senior cat. Kittens usually need 200 calories per day for every 5 pounds of body weight, while an adult cat may need only 170 calories.
An obese cat may need smaller food portions to help it lose weight, while an underweight cat may need more calories to get it to a healthy weight.
Typically, a lean cat needs 170 calories per day if at least 5 pounds in weight. For an adult cat that’s 20 pounds in weight, its caloric needs per day are at 440.
For obese cats, a 20-pound kitty would need to consume less, such as only 310 calories per day, to get back into a healthier weight.
Pregnant or nursing cats need the most calories per day, with a 5-pound cat needing 336 calories of food daily.
An active and playful cat will need more food to replace lost minerals and energy, while a cat that naps all day won’t need as much food.
Indoor cats may not need as many calories as outdoor cats since they typically engage in less exercise.
How Much Wet Food To Feed Your Cat
Let’s now talk about how much wet food to feed your cat. The recommendations above are taken from the National Research Council as a general guideline. Still, of course, as mentioned, there are several factors to consider when calculating your cat’s daily caloric needs.
Typically, wet cat food products come with instructions on how much to feed your cat, but as mentioned earlier, not all cats are made the same. So how do you determine how much wet food to feed your cat? Well, the best answer to this will come from your vet.
While you can always follow a product’s instructions, if you want to be specific with how many calories your cat needs per day, you need to visit a vet for the exact number.
Your vet will weigh your cat and evaluate its lifestyle, breed, health conditions, and other essential factors. The vet will then give you your kitty’s recommended daily calorie needs, and you can adjust accordingly, depending on the wet food instructions.
For example, your cat’s vet recommends a daily calorie intake of 280 calories per day. If you feed your cat wet food or a combination of wet and dry food, you will only have to look at the calorie count since portion sizes won’t matter.
Whether you feed your cat wet food exclusively or a combination of both, you must only consider calorie count and not whether or not the food is wet or dry.
So if you purchased 70 calories per serving of wet cat food in a can, and your cat needs 280 calories per day, you would need to feed her four cans every day.
You can feed your cat one can for every meal and another as a snack in the afternoon, or feed it 3 servings of one can and a quarter per day.
The ideal diet for cats is a daily diet that consists of 100% wet food. However, it may not be possible for many cat owners to provide this diet for their cats as most wet cat food is expensive. Dry cat food is so much more affordable, and you can leave it in a bowl, and your cat can graze on it throughout the day.
On the other hand, wet food needs to be consumed within a half hour or so after opening, or else it will spoil. If your cat won’t eat it right away, then that’s cat food wasted.
Whether you decide to feed your cat an exclusive wet food diet or a combination of dry and wet food, the most important thing to look at is the number of calories of the food you provide.
As long as you’re meeting the calorie needs of your cat, then you’re good to go, regardless of the product’s instructions on the label.
Suppose you’re still unsure after reading this article. In that case, the best thing for you and your cat will be to talk to your vet about it so they can determine how much food your cat needs to be based on several factors, such as weight, age, life stage, lifestyle, and overall health condition of your pet kitty.
Related: Can cats eat dog food?