How much dry food a day should I feed healthy cats who weigh under five pounds?

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The average adult domestic cat weighs between five and 16 pounds, with some of the large breeds, such as the Maine Coon, weighing as much as 20 to 25 pounds.

While commercial pet foods to have a “suggested amount” on the label, please keep in mind that this is a general guideline and will also depend upon things such as activity level, life stage, metabolism and health. Only your veterinarian can determine this.

If, however, you feel that your cat is underweight—and provided your veterinarian has found no health problem, such as diabetes, thyroid or worms—it’s just not a good idea to only feed her dry food, since dry often lacks scent. It’s also often high in carbohydrates that cats cannot easily digest, so there’s the concern about lack of nutrient absorption.

There are things you can do to stimulate her appetite, if you feel she’s just not getting enough nutrition. Among them:

• Always mix some canned food in with the dry: Use half and half. Soft cat food is easier to eat and has a stronger scent, which can help spark your cat’s appetite.
• Add a spoonful of canned water-based tuna to your cat’s food, and pour the tuna juice over the food to entice the cat to eat. Most cats enjoy tuna and will readily eat a tuna-infused meal.
• Another idea is to mix in olive oil. Stir a teaspoonful of olive oil into your cat’s food. Olive oil is high in fat and calories and will help your skinny cat add a few extra pounds.
• Supplement your cat’s daily food intake with a high calorie-paste. These pastes, such as Tomlyn and Nutri-Cal, are packed with calories and nutrients that can help add pounds. Hold the cat gently in one arm and squirt the recommended dose directly on its tongue. The paste is extremely sticky, so wipe the cat’s face with a damp rag to keep it clean.

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