How Much Should I Feed My Cat?

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As a newbie cat owner, or a seasoned cat veteran who wants to learn more, you may end up asking yourself: how much should I feed my cat? It’s definitely a concern you should be thinking about, because it will affect your cat’s overall well-being and make sure he has enough energy to get through the day.

» You might also be interested in Types of Food to Feed Your Cat and Cat Diets: Help Your Kitty Stay Fit and Trim.

cat eating from a bowl - how much should i feed my cat

Another aspect of feeding your cat, aside from how often you should feed him, is making sure you’re not overdoing it. Cats can suffer from obesity just like humans, and overfeeding your cat can cause just as many issues as underfeeding.

In this article we’ll break down how much to feed your cat, as well as feeding schedules for dry and raw cat food.

Feeding a cat can be a bit confusing at first. It seems like it should be easy. Put food in a bowl and let the cat chow down. But it’s not always that simple, due to different feeding plans and specific recommendations for your cat – depending on its weight, age and health concerns.

There is not a one-size-fits-all feeding plan for all cats. Part of caring for a cat is seeing what works in your cats best interest. Instead, you need to base how much, when and what you feed your cat on their unique situation.

How Much Should I Feed My Cat?

It’s a general rule that you should feed your cat about a 1/2 cup of dry food per day, split into two meals of a 1/4 cup in the morning and evening. So the feeding schedule would be around 9am and 6pm.

two cats eating

For wet food, your cat should eat 8 oz a day if they’re an average weight of about 8-10 pounds. Wet food is a lot less calorie dense than dry food is, which is why you need to feed them more if they’re on a wet food diet. However, you can still feed them on the same schedule with food in the morning and evening. The only thing that is different is the amount of food you serve your cat.

Free Feeding

Free feeding is when instead of feeding a cat specific increments of dry food at scheduled times, you leave a food bowl out for them with dry food in it. The cat is then able to eat whenever they feel hungry, and can come and go as they please.

The benefits of free feeding is that all you have to do is put food in their dish when it’s empty. It works well when there are multiple cats eating from one dish, as they’ll be able to choose when they eat, and not have to all eat at the same time.

I personally find that this is a good option for me and my cat. She can eat when she likes, and lets me know when she’s out of food by following me around or knocking her bowl off the stand it’s on.

cat eating

It’s important to know that free feeding doesn’t work for all cats, though.

Just like humans, some cats like to eat more than others. If you notice your cat eating large portions, eating a lot during the day, or gaining weight, it might be time to switch to a feeding schedule.

Also, you should never free feed using wet food! Leaving wet food out for long periods of time encourages the growth of potentially dangerous bacteria. This can cause your feline friend to get sick, and can lead to death in some cases. Always keep opened cans of wet cat food in the refrigerator when they aren’t in use.

Why is My Cat Always Hungry?

If you’re feeding your cat on a schedule with an appropriate amount of food and they are still pestering you for food, what should you do?

Generally a cat will only bother you for food when they are very hungry, or if they smell something they really want to eat. If you’re feeding your cat enough and they are still acting very hungry, this may be an early sign of diabetes.

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Health Issues That Can Cause Overeating

A cat with diabetes won’t be able to break down glucose to use for energy. This can result in them eating more, trying to make up for the energy loss.

4 cats at 4 different bowls

If you think your cat may have diabetes, or another common cat illness, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian and decide the best course of action for your pet.

Another reason your cat may be excessively hungry is if their food is low quality and lacks in proper ingredients to support their bodies. Cats are obligate carnivores, and get all their energy and nutrients from meat. If their food is low quality, they may not be eating the correct calories to be energized and full.

Try switching up their food and see if it helps. You could even try changing over to raw cat foods to shake things up a bit.

Best Cat Food Options

When it comes to keeping your cat healthy and happy, it’s important to choose the highest quality food. Our team has curated a list of the best cat foods, based on customer reviews, quality ingredients, and price.

You might also be interested in Bad Breath in Cats: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention.


Feeding your cats can be a bit tricky to begin with. Use your common sense, and pay attention to your cats behavior and you’ll definitely find something that works for the both of you.

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2 cats with a bowl of food

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