How many calories are there in a mouse?
The average mouse is about 30 calories. Cats need 20 to 30 calories per pound of weight per day, with snacks comprising no more than 10 percent.
So if we were to look at a seven-pound cat, the caloric intake would be 210 per day. That would be about seven mice per day.
That’s not permission to feed your cat mice, though. Just because they did it in the wild doesn’t mean they should today, because mice carry diseases, worms and possibly poisons.
But that’s in the wild. Cats today are domesticated (except for the ferals) and overweight is a big concern.
A 2011 study by APOP (Association for Pet Obesity Prevention) found that over 50 percent of cats were either obese or overweight. So what is happening that predisposes our domestic felines to a life of sedentary obesity? What is contributing to this problem?
• For one thing, they’re being kept indoors to protect them from cars, predators and poisons. However this results in decreased exercise that, in turn, results in needing fewer calories. You know that well-known phrase, “move more than you eat”? Well, cats these days aren’t moving enough.
• Cats are notorious “nibblers” – they like to eat frequently, and their owners love the convenience of leaving dry food in the bowl. Owners assume cats will “eat as much as they need”, BUT in fact 60 to 70 percent of today’s cats will overeat (above their energy requirements). Often these overeaters started life as strays, undernourished kittens, or rescues, and perhaps they never trust they’ll get enough.
• Unfortunately, another factor influencing the fat cat trend is that some commercial cat food manufacturers haven’t kept up with the times. Some cat foods contain almost twice the calories of what most indoor cats need “per cup.” Imagine trying to lose weight by eating twice as much! No wonder our cats keep piling on the pounds.