In our daily lives, we make a lot of mistakes regarding our diets. It isn’t a surprise if we make mistakes while feeding our pets. Being a human, it is easier to explain the problem we face with our food but not as a cat. Raising cats is quite difficult, and cats can not explain what is wrong with the food and eating habits. They have health constraints, distinctions in taste, and dietary needs. Thus being a pet owner, it becomes essential for you to make the right choices when it comes to feeding your pet cat. You have to know how many calories should a cat eat to maintain healthy weigth and skin coat. We are here to help you with our cat calorie calculator guide, lets get into it.
How Many Calories Should a Cat Eat?
There may be variations in the nutritional requirements of cats, as it depends on a variety of factors such as age, life stage activity level, etc. There are some general guidelines that a pet owner must follow to ensure the dietary needs of the cat are met. Factors affecting the Dietary needs and cat calories per day.
Cats at different life stages have different nutritional requirements. For example, the necessity of a kitten and a pregnant cat can not be the same for food. This is because the nutrients absorbing capacity varies at each stage of a cat. The same thing can be affected by the age-related fitness ailments of the cat such as Arthritis etc.
Young kittens are more energetic than adult cats and thus burn more calories. Their diet should contain protein-rich foods such as chicken or fish to aid in the growth of muscles. Generally, 60-65 kcal/pound is suggested for kittens.
Adulthood (more than 1 year)
As the cats above 12 months of age are regarded as adults, they remain active and seek a lot of maintenance at this stage and in upcoming years. This cat stage demands high-quality foods rich in carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and less fat. Around 20 calories per pound for indoor cats and 35 calories per pound for outdoor cats are recommended.
Senior cats(above 7 years)
At a later stage of their lives, they undergo some physical changes and have reduced metabolism and activity levels. They need foods that are easy to chew, contain less fat, calories, and high-quality protein that is easy to digest. Age-related health problems should also be considered while deciding a diet for your cat. For senior cats, nearly 280-360 daily calories relying on normal lean weight is suggested.
It is the basic parameter required to know the energy requirement of an organism. An animal with high-fat content will require less energy as compared to the one with high calories. Hence, greater fat to muscle ratio requires fewer calories and less fat to muscle ratio requires more calories. To determine if your pet is facing any health issue or not, perform a body condition score (BCS).
The cats, who are physically more active (involved in going out and exercising), need more energy than those lazy cats who spend most of their time indoors. It is mostly seen that its owner’s lifestyle decides the activity level of a pet. For instance, a cat who is not actively involved in going out and spending most of the time napping indoors will need very little energy. On the other hand, a timely cat taken outdoors and involved in routine exercises will need more energy. Therefore, while making choices for the food, check whether your pet’s lifestyle is active or sedentary.
Usually, we see the labels on the food packet to check the number of calories a cat needs. It contains essential information regarding how much food is to be served to the cat according to their weights and activity levels. But one major problem with the labels is that they do not consider individual feline’s requirements. Therefore, it is necessary to calculate your pet’s calorie requirement to identify how much food your cat needs to stay fit.
Cat Calorie Calculator
Pets’ calorie needs are also known as maintenance energy requirements, and this is a method that most veterinarians use to calculate the cat’s calorie needs. The following point is to be considered.
- Calculate the accurate weight of your cat in pounds
- Divide it by 2.2 to get the weight in kg
- Determine the RER (Resting energy requirements) of your cat (calorie required for energy burnt by your cat when at rest).
RER= 30x body weight in kg +70
Maintenance energy requirements (MER)= RER x appropriate multiplier
Appropriate multiplier: It includes weight gain and weight loss needs of a cat, whether it is neutered or intact, and a lot of other factors. It is very important to consult a veterinarian about your cat’s health and get her tested before changing her diet patterns, as sudden changes in the diet may lead to some serious health consequences. Also, a veterinarian is an animal expert, this will give you more accurate results for the health checkup of your cat.
Other factors affecting the calculation
Neutering or spaying: Some cats producing very limited hormones (estrogen and testosterone) observe less metabolic activity in their body. And a drop in the production of testosterone may even lead to decreased muscle formation in both male and female cats. To know the calorie requirements of such cats, use: RER x 1.2
Intact adults: These cats observe more metabolic activities in their bodies as they possess the lost hormones of fixed cats. This eventually increases their calorie needs. Calculate it by the given equation: RER x 1.4
Obesity prone or sedentary: Some cats are healthy and like to spend most of their time indoors sleeping and doing daily tasks. These cats’ calorie requirements are the same as calculated.
Weight Loss: Once your veterinarian declares your cat to be overweight, use the given equation to calculate her calorie requirements and get it checked by your vet.: RER x 0.8. So you can opt for low calorie cat food for weight loss without any hesitaion.
Weight Gain: It is safe to consult your veterinarian regarding the high calorie cat food for weight gain. Many people consider a healthy weight cat as too thin sometimes and start putting her on a weight gain diet. This can be problematic.
To know the weight gain requirements of an undernourished cat, use: RER (ideal weight) x1.8
- Kittens (> 4 months): Growing cat babies require high-calorie foods to aid their developmental process. To calculate their calorie intake use: RER x 2.5
- Kittens (4months to 1year): These kittens’ calories needs are higher than this of adults and are calculated as RER x 2
Mistakes people make when feeding cats
- Overfeeding: It is not intentionally done that cats are offered more food than they need but as a matter of love and care. At the moment, this doesn’t cause any problem but can be a serious issue in the long run. It is the sedentary lifestyle of our cats that causes problems, not only overfeeding. Obesity in cats is a major problem and is associated with other diseases. It can also cause problems like urinary tract ailments, Arthritis, etc.
- Going vegan or vegetarian: Cats should be given meat in a timely manner as they are obligate carnivores as they need to have meat in their diet to survive. Taurine, an amino acid found only in meat, is very important for them. Its deficiency may cause heart problems and blindness in them and death also sometimes.
- Excessive dry food and less water: This is seriously a big issue that easily captures attention. The cats are less sensitive to thirst and produce concentrated urine. Providing them with less liquid food may lead them to urinary tract diseases. On the other hand, water forms 69-70℅of an adult cat’s body weight. Prolonged water deficiency can cause serious health issues and, in severe cases, may even lead to death.
- Unbalanced homemade diets (causing nutrient deficiency)
- Adding garlic to food to cure parasitic infections
To determine the ow many calories does a cat need, you just have to be simple with your calculations. Before making any kind of changes to your pet’s diet, always make sure to consult with your veterinarian, and he will guide you the best. People on their behalf must ensure the health and happiness of their pets.