How many calories are recommended for outdoor cats based on their weight?
Cats need about 20 to calories per pound and, while it’s not so much a matter or outdoor versus indoor, the amount you feed daily should be customized to meet your cat’s unique needs—such as activity level and age. Here are some general guidelines to follow:
• Always consult your veterinarian or pet nutrition expert on this. This is the best information source. Pet foods do have “recommended servings” on their labels, but they are general and won’t take into account your pet’s own very special needs.
• Kittens: Generally, growing kittens have great energy needs and should be fed three or four small meals a day to meet their caloric requirements. About 30 percent of a kitten’s daily diet should be meat, and about 20 percent should be fat—when you think of it, a similar profile to the mouse.
• Adult cats: Cats need animal protein, meat, and moderate amounts of fat. They must have adequate taurine, as essential amino acid or they will experience severe health problems.
• Senior cats: Many older cats don’t absorb fat as well as they did when they were young and may need more fat in their diets to maintain their energy levels. Older cats need the same amount of protein as younger cats and should not be on protein-restricted diets.
THE CANNED VERSUS DRY FOOD DEBATE
Most cats on an all-canned food diet need at least two three-ounce cans or one five-ounce can of food a day. Very large or very active cats need more. Since wet food is mostly moisture and meat, an all-canned food diet should help your cat maintain an ideal weight.
As for dry, the feeding instructions on the bag will tell you how much your cats need to meet their daily nutritional requirements. Read the label carefully, though, because dry foods can be high in carbohydrate and plant-based foods—and remember, cats are strict meat-eaters and don’t have the necessary enzymes to digest plant matter. In many cats, though, the grains in most brands of dry food turn to fat, causing obesity.