When it comes to our pets, with their wide adoring eyes and cute little head tilt, it can be tempting to over-feed them when they come to us asking for food. And while sometimes the extra treat given here and there is a conscious decision we make, more often than not we are totally unaware when we are over-feeding them.
It is common for cats to be fed a combination of wet and dry food, while dogs will often be fed one or the other. This makes it easier for us to over-feed as we are following two feeding guides and tend not to be too particular about working out the correct percentages needed of each.
Some people choose to leave food out during the day (typically a dry kibble), with the addition of wet meals given morning and night. The meals themselves may be meeting your cat’s recommended feeding guideline, meaning the dry kibble is completely unnecessary and surplus to requirements.
You might compare this to eating your 2,000-2,500 calories a day, but having a constant supply of tasty chips on offer, to dip into as and when you want.
For younger, more active cats and kittens, slight over-feeding isn’t the end of the world, but if not managed, it can quickly lead to obesity and related health problems. You need to be particularly careful with sedentary cats, those that are prone to easy weight gain, and cats that are older.
Likewise, under-feeding can be equally dangerous if allowed to continue, although it is better to have a slightly underweight animal than a slightly overweight one. If you need advice on identifying an overweight cat, we have a blog you might find useful.
Here are some pointers on getting the feeding right and avoiding problems:
- Avoid feeding human foods/table scraps, regardless of your cat’s weight.
- If you feed daily treats, make sure you take these into account when calculating the amount of other food needed.
- If you are feeding both wet and dry, halve the recommended feeding guideline for both, in line with what your cat weighs. So if your cat weighs 2kg and the recommended daily amount of dry food is 50g, for example, you would halve this to 25g and then do the same for the wet food. This ensures you don’t end up feeding twice the amount necessary.
- If your cat goes outside and you are worried about neighbours feeding him/her, you might want to gently speak to them or buy a ‘Please Do Not Feed Me’ collar for your cat to wear.
- If you also have a dog at home, feed them at the same time so your cat doesn’t start tucking into your dog’s dinner too.
If you need any further advice on feeding the right amount for your cat’s age and size, feel free to comment below or email me directly: [email protected].
Written by: Hannah Dyball