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Feeding Guidelines for Your Cat
Feeding Guidelines for Your Cat

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Cat Feeding Guidelines

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Ensuring proper nutrition is crucial for the health and well-being of your feline companions. On average, cats require a balanced diet that includes proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. The quantity of food depends on various factors such as age, weight, activity level, and health status.


Creating a cat feeding guide involves determining the right portion size and choosing high-quality cat food. Be cautious not to overfeed, as obesity can lead to health issues. Consult your veterinarian to establish an appropriate cat feeding routine and to address any specific dietary needs your cat may have.


Feeding guidelines for your cat

How can you make sure you are cat feeding the right food at the right time and in the right quantities? If you are choosing new cat food, deciding on a feeding schedule, concerned about a food-related health condition, or wondering about supplements or treats, check out our cat feeding guidelines.


Cats are carnivores, and this means that they cannot survive solely on a plant-based diet as they won’t get all the required nutrients from it. To stay healthy and survive, cats require at least 70% of the nutrients found in animal meat. So, your cat’s diet and choice of food should be prepared accordingly. To start, you can begin by making a cat feeding plan to ensure that they get the nutrition they require.


How do I make a cat feeding plan?

You can divide your cat’s daily diet into two main meals which are spaced no more than 12 hours apart. Alternatively, you can divide the food into multiple meals such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, do ensure that these meals provide the cat with enough calories and other nutrients - not more or less than recommended.


How to identify my cat’s feeding habits?

Once your cats are set on a regular feeding schedule, you will slowly begin noticing their usual cat feeding habits. Habits such as playing with their food, eating alone, and hoarding food are quite normal for cats. So, if you notice any of these, you don’t have to be worried. A few habits that you may have to be mindful of are:
 

  1. Not eating all the served food (served as per regular amount)

  2. Sudden gain in weight

  3. Cat going more than 24 hours without eating


If you notice your cat showing either of these habits, book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.


Factors that affect how much to feed your cat

Determining the appropriate amount of food for your cat involves considering various factors to meet their unique nutritional requirements.


Age

A cat's diet evolves throughout its life stages. Kittens, in their early months, undergo rapid growth and development, necessitating a diet rich in calories, proteins, and essential nutrients. Senior cats, however, may experience changes in metabolism and activity levels. Therefore, a diet tailored to maintain their weight and support ageing joints becomes essential. Adjusting portion sizes according to these distinct life stages is crucial for promoting optimal health and longevity throughout a cat's life.


Size

The size of a cat is a fundamental determinant of its calorie requirements. Larger cats, with more extensive body mass, generally need more food to sustain their energy levels, fuelling their larger bodies. Conversely, smaller cat breeds may require more controlled portion sizes to prevent overfeeding and mitigate the risk of associated health issues, such as obesity. Tailoring your cat’s diet to its size ensures that their unique metabolic needs are adequately met, promoting a balanced and healthy lifestyle.


Activity level

More active cats, such as those who engage in regular play, exercise, or outdoor activities, burn more energy and may require additional calories to support their dynamic lifestyle. On the other hand, sedentary indoor cats may need a carefully measured diet to prevent weight gain and associated health concerns, emphasising the importance of adjusting food intake based on the cat's activity level. Ensuring the cat receives the appropriate number of calories supports overall health and prevents issues related to weight management.


Indoor or outdoor

The living environment — whether a cat resides indoors or outdoors — directly impacts its energy expenditures. Outdoor cats often engage in more physical activities, such as exploring and hunting, requiring a higher calorie intake to fuel their adventures. Indoor cats, with a more sedentary lifestyle, may need portion control to avoid excess weight gain and the potential health issues associated with obesity. Recognizing the environmental differences between indoor and outdoor living helps tailor the cat's diet to their specific needs, promoting a balance that aligns with their lifestyle.


Body condition

Body condition concerns the animal’s overall health and body weight. For a cat who is overweight, you need to prepare a diet that is low on calories. With regards to the overall health condition, if your cat is facing any kind of ailments, their food intake may change or need to be changed. Your vet will advise you on what foods your pet may need to consume or avoid. They may also suggest changes in the cat’s feeding guidelines per the animal’s unique health requirements.


Health status

Cats with specific health conditions may require special dietary considerations. For instance, cats with diabetes may need a carefully regulated diet to manage blood sugar levels, while those with kidney disease might benefit from a diet that supports renal function. Cats with allergies may require hypoallergenic diets to prevent adverse reactions. Consulting with a veterinarian ensures that a cat's nutritional needs are met while effectively managing any existing health conditions. Regular communication with a vet helps adapt the cat's diet to evolving health requirements, promoting overall well-being, and addressing specific health concerns with precision.


How often should I feed my cat?

It is important to consider your cat’s age when deciding how many times a day to feed it. Below is a comprehensive cat feeding guide by age to ensure that your feline friend receives the appropriate nutrition at every stage of life. 

Age

Schedule

1 week

Every 2 hours

1 to 2 weeks

Every 2 to 3 hours

2 to 3 weeks

Every 3 to 4 hours

3 to 4 weeks

Every 4 to 5 hours

4 to 5 weeks

Every 5 to 6 hours

5 to 8 weeks

Every 6 hours

8 to 16 weeks

Every 6 to 8 hours

4 to 5 months

Every 8 hours

6 months to adulthood

Every 8 to 12 hours


How much should I give my cat to eat?

The amount to feed your cat depends on your pet’s age, size, and activity level. It is important to make a proper cat feeding guide or follow feeding guidelines, which list the daily-recommended portion, are included on all IAMS™ packages. Start feeding with this amount and adjust according to your pet’s needs. Remember to divide the portion accordingly if you feed more than once a day.


What is the best way to introduce a new diet to my cat?

When changing your cat’s diet, it’s important to introduce the new food slowly. Start by offering your cat’s daily portion in a ratio of 25% new food to 75% old food. During the next three days, gradually increase the amount of new food and decrease the amount of old.


Cat feeding guide for wet and dry food

Once you have understood your own cats’ feeding guide based on age and other factors, it is important to figure out what kind of food to pick — wet or dry. Both these types of foods have their unique benefits, and each one can prove necessary for different stages of a cat’s life to fulfil nutritional requirements. Since each of these types of food finds its place in a cat’s feeding guidelines, let’s take a closer look.


Identifying the better option: wet or dry food for cats

Making the right choice between wet and dry cat food involves considering various factors. Let us delve deeper into the benefits of each to help you make an informed decision tailored to your feline companion's needs.


Benefits of dry cat food:

  1. Dry cat food is incredibly convenient for pet parents. It is easy to store, has a longer shelf life, and doesn't require refrigeration once opened.
  2. The crunchiness of dry kibble can contribute to better dental health. Chewing on the hard texture helps reduce plaque and tartar buildup, promoting healthy teeth and gums.

  3. Dry cat food is generally more budget-friendly than wet food. It offers an affordable solution for cat parents.

  4. Dry food tends to have a higher caloric density, meaning that smaller portions can provide the necessary energy for your cat. This can be beneficial for weight management.


Benefits of wet cat food

  1. Wet cat food contains a significant amount of water, addressing the hydration needs of cats. This is particularly beneficial for cats who may not drink enough water on their own.

  2. The soft texture and varied flavours of wet food make it highly palatable. This can be advantageous for picky eaters, enticing them to consume essential nutrients.

  3. Wet cat food often offers a variety of proteins and nutrients. This diversity supports a well-rounded and balanced diet, contributing to your cat's overall health.

  4. Wet food can be easier to administer for cats with specific health issues or those requiring special diets. It allows for the incorporation of medication or supplements, making it a practical choice for certain medical conditions.


The ideal choice depends on your cat's individual preferences, health requirements, and lifestyle. Some cat parents opt for a combination of both wet and dry food to provide a balanced and satisfying diet for their furry companions. Always consult with your veterinarian to tailor the diet to your cat's unique needs.


Is it necessary to feed both wet and dry food?

Although our wet cat foods are nutritionally complete and balanced for a cat’s diet, it is not necessary to offer wet food at every feeding. Our dry foods are formulated with high-quality protein sources such as chicken, lamb or fish and contain all the essential nutrients pets need.


You can also consult your vet regarding your cat’s feeding guidelines, and they will make changes if necessary. Also, it is best to consult your vet before making any major changes in your cat’s meals, like adding or switching to a raw food diet for cats. Your vet may conduct a nutritional evaluation of your cat to determine if you can switch to a raw diet for cats or specify which food they require for a healthy living.


Will my cat be bored eating the same food all the time?

No. Boredom with food is a human trait. Cats are creatures of habit and usually are content with just one food. Cats generally eat to meet their energy or nutritional needs. They have very short digestive systems, and if their diet is abruptly or constantly changed, digestive disturbances can occur. Also, constant changes can make your pet a finicky eater.


Is it ok to moisten dry food?

Adding water will not change the nutritional value of dry cat food. However, once moisture is added the food should be eaten relatively soon, and any uneaten portion should be discarded to avoid spoilage. Feeding your cat dry food is usually encouraged because of the benefit to your cat’s dental health.


Will it hurt cats or dogs if they eat each other’s food?

Cats and dogs have different nutritional requirements and should not eat each other’s food. For example, cats require a much higher level of taurine in their diet. An occasional venture into each other’s bowls will not be harmful but is not recommended on a regular basis.


Can I supplement pet foods with vitamins, minerals, oils, etc.?

Our foods are nutritionally complete and balanced. Adding vitamins, minerals or oils can offset the balance the food provides. One of the benefits of feeding a high-quality product is that it has been carefully balanced in proper ratios to provide optimal nutrition, so nothing needs to be added.


How can I learn more about pet nutrition?

Contact the IAMS Pet Care and Nutrition Specialists toll-free at 1-800-675-3849.

Frequently asked questions

  1. How much should a cat eat daily?
  2. The daily food intake for a cat varies based on factors like size, age, and activity level. Generally, adult cats may require 200-300 calories, but consult your vet for precise recommendations.

  3. How much food should I feed to my cat?
  4. The amount of food depends on your cat's size, age, and activity level. Follow the cat feeding guide lines on the food packaging and consult your vet for personalised recommendations.

  5. How often should cats eat wet food?
  6. Offering wet food 1-2 times daily can enhance hydration and provide variety. It is crucial to balance wet and dry food to meet your cat's nutritional needs.

  7. Do cats need feeding every day?
  8. Yes, cats require daily feeding. Establish a consistent feeding routine to meet their nutritional needs and promote overall well-being.

  9. How do I know my cat is hungry?
  10. Signs of hunger in cats include vocalisation, increased activity, and approaching the food bowl. Monitor your cat's behaviour and feeding schedule to understand their hunger cues.

  • Anti rabbies Vaccine
    Anti rabbies Vaccine
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    Anti rabbies Vaccine

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    Rabies is a dangerous virus that affects the warm-blooded animal kingdom. It spreads through the bite or starch of an infected animal, making the infection easily transmissible amongst animals and humans alike. Since there is no effective rabies treatment yet, the only solution to combat this fatal virus is through vaccination. Veterinarians recommend anti-rabies vaccine for pets to protect them and their humans from this deadly virus.
     

    Anti-rabies vaccine is one of the core vaccines for cats, in addition to the 4-in-1 cat vaccine. It helps prevent the cases of rabies in cats and kittens, contributing to the overall health of your feline friend. However, before getting your cat vaccinated with rabies injections, it is essential to know a few details about this disease and how to prevent it. So, let’s dive right into it.
     

    How does rabies spread?

    The rabies virus depends on the host body for survival. As the virus cannot survive outside of the host body, it spreads through open wounds and mucous membranes in the eye, mouth, and nose. The virus transmits through the saliva of the infected animal. If a rabies carrier bites or starches your pet, then it too becomes infected with the virus. Typically, the incubation for rabies in cats ranges from a few days to a few years.
     

    Since rabies is a deadly infection, it is imperative that you, as a cat parent, watch out for its symptoms. So, let’s take a look at a few signs of rabies in cats:

    1. Fever

    2. Lethargy

    3. Low appetite

    4. Difficulty breathing

    5. Hypersalivation

    6. Difficulty swallowing

    7. Abnormal behaviour

    Curing rabies is not an option post-incubation as there is no proper medication available in the market yet. Hence, keeping this fatal infection at bay is of paramount importance. And how can you do that? By ensuring that your cat is vaccinated with an anti-rabies injection.
     

    Do indoor cats need rabies vaccination?

    Anti-rabies vaccine for cats is a must. Veterinarians monitor rabies shots for both indoor and outdoor cats. While there is a misconception that rabies vastly affects dogs, it can find its way to cats and other warm-blooded animals as well. Cat’s rabies vaccination prepares your indoor kitty to fight the deadly virus. Hence, do not skip on annual booster shots for both indoor and outdoor cats.
     

    While you may think, your indoor cat is safe from the fatal disease, it is best to ensure complete healthcare for its overall well-being. Cats often socialise with outside cats by licking, sniffing, or starching each other. Indoor cats can get the rabies virus if they socialise in this manner with an infected outdoor or stray cat. Anti-rabies vaccination is the best way to avoid any remote possibility of your kitty getting infected. It builds antigens in the cat’s body, so your fur baby can tackle the rabies virus.
     

    How often should cats receive rabies vaccination?

    Various brands offer anti-rabies vaccines for cats in the market. Hence, it is best to seek a veterinarian’s advice regarding  vaccination. They will take multiple factors, such as your kitty’s age, breed, and lifestyle, into consideration before recommending a brand. Similarly, when it comes to the frequency of taking the anti-rabies vaccination, it all depends on the type of vaccine recommended for your pet. If your vet recommends an adjuvant vaccine, your cat might have to be inoculated once every year. On the other hand, if they suggest a non-adjuvant vaccine, you must note that these vaccines are generally administered once in three years. 
     

    When to schedule feline anti-rabies vaccination

    Anti-rabies vaccine is one of the core vaccinations for cats. It prepares your cat to fight the virus by boosting immunity. The first dose of the anti-rabies vaccine is administered once the kitty turns 12 weeks old. After the initial dose, depending on the type of vaccine, you will need to get your feline friend vaccinated either annually or once in three years.
     

    Side effects of the anti-rabies vaccine

    As a cat parent, you must know the potential side effects of this vaccine. So, let’s take a look at them:

    1. Low-grade fever

    2. Lethargy

    3. Low appetite

    4. Swelling and redness at the injected site

    Cat parents should monitor not only the anti-rabies vaccine but also other core vaccines like 4 in 1 cat vaccine, FeVac 5, and 3-in-1 cat vaccine. Regular vaccination and annual health check-ups ensure your kitty leads a healthy life. So, ascertain that you provide your fur baby with all the care it requires.