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How much to feed?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi, I am new on the forums, and a new cat owner as well. My boyfriend and I just adopted two brothers from a shelter, Mase and Dexter. They are both 6 months old and the sweetest little things. We are having a little problem with feeding though. The shelter they were at always kept food out for them to eat, but for 6 month old kittens, Dexter is 9 lbs and Mase is 9.5 lbs. I don't want them to always have access to food so they don't gain more weight than they should. So we feed them at 8 am and 4 pm a scoop and a half each of food (the scoop is 1/4 cup) like I read on another website. But as soon as dinner came, they ate so fast like they had been starving. So we started giving each a half scoop at noon hoping it would hold them over till dinner, but they still act like they are starving. I am scared I am not giving them enough because they still are developing kittens, or if they are just pulling our legs. If anyone could help out it would be greatly appreciated!! smile.gif

Edited by Mase Dexter - 11/18/11 at 10:58am
post #2 of 11
Kittens burn a lot of calories just from growing and are incredibly energetic and playful, so most vets recommend feeding them 3 or 4 meals a day and keeping them on kitten food until they're about a year old. It's very rare for a kitten to be fat, so I wouldn't be overly cautious.

I'm trying to remember how much Jamie weighed at 6 months. It was 3.5 - 4 kg, I believe (8 - 9 lbs.), so your kits' weight sounds about right.

How much food you give them per day really depends on the brand - 1 cup of Brand A might equal 1/4 cup of Brand B, so you need to read the feeding recommendations on the package. If they're acting half-starved they may not be getting enough, and three meals a day would be more reasonable for kittens that age than two. Have you tried feeding them at least one meal of wet (canned) food a day?
post #3 of 11

Kittens, and even as they get older, will scarf up food, so don't assume that they are starving when they are eating really fast.  When they are kittens, they can eat a ton of food and won't gain weight.  It is when you free feed them, or when they get to about 1 years old, is when they start to get a belly. 


I was always worried I fed them too little or too much, but my vet gave me the best advice- look at them, and if they seem like the right weight, your feeding them a good amount.  If they get fatter, cut back a little.  Like humans, if our pants get too tight, stop eating.  Importantly, disregard what the back of the food bag says- that is way too high of a serving for your cats.


Also, 9 lbs is pretty big for a six month old (big boned; not necessarily overweight).  To see if they are the right weight, you want to be able to feel their ribs with only a little layer of fat over it.  The ribs shouldnt be sticking out, and you should definitely be able to count and feel the ribs with a gentle touch.

post #4 of 11

What food are you feeding them? 


I agree with jcat that you might want to start giving them some wet food, if not entirely switching to wet. It could be that they aren't feeling satiated because there isn't enough protein in their kibble (appetite in cats is largely influenced by their protein intake). Some good info on cat nutrition can be found at this link:

post #5 of 11

Congrats on the 2 new babies running amok in your homeclap.gif Kittens tend to have a high metabolism and burn off more body weight than an adult cat due to their seeming never ending activity ;) Your kittens sound about right weight wise.   I don't know if you intend to introduce wet into their diet.  If you do;  You might feed a measured portion of dry and then the wet at different times throughout the day.  You can also buy a timer feeder which will release the dry kibble at different times/intervals during the day. You can control the portions that way.   The Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition's guidelines for feeding is 80% wet/20% dry. I free feed my 4 and split cans of wet for them 2x a day.  I've been lucky though.  I don't have any over eaters in the house.  Kibble tends to be calorie dense so if free fed; an adult cat can really gain weight if left to free feeding.  

post #6 of 11
Kittens need more food than adult cats because they are growing you don't have to worry about overfeeding your kitties for a while. I agree that you should mix it up and give them some wet food too. Not only because of the protein but they also appreciate it slot more than dry food. I feed my cats a half cup of purina one dry and half of the small cans of we twice dailyt. They love it. My 3 yr old had some weight issues with an all dry diet so I started giving her wet good and she actually lost a few pounds. The key is she stopped gaining weight. She eats a lot less dryfood now where before she was constantly crying for more dry food. I feel like that is what puts on the pounds.
post #7 of 11

I let Morey, Mitch, and Malachi eat all they wanted at 3-4 meals each day when they were kittens - and still do that though they are 16 months old.  They do still eat a lot - about 10 ounces each day.  However, they are fed a raw diet, so I do not worry about them getting overweight.  They seem to "self-regulate" much better on raw than other cats do on dry/wet food.

post #8 of 11

I'm glad somebody else asked this question as I was wondering the same thing.

I just got a six month old kitten, it was a stray. He weighs 6 lbs, 12 oz and (to me) seems the right size (not too big, not too skinny, although he's very fluffy so it's hard to say for sure).

The rescuer who had been feeding him said she gave him three Fancy Feast cans a day (which seems a lot to me as my previous cat, who was overweight and I was trying to get him to cut back, only ate one of those a day plus some diet kibble (at his max he weighed 19 lbs).


Anyway, I have read more up on food now, and have been trying to switch the kitten to a higher quality food (I picked up some BLue Wilderness kitten wet food (anybody have any opinions on this?) as well as some of their dry formula (a high protein duck formula, which is supposedly more dense). I have only had the cat a couple of days now, but so far he seems to eat a lot. The first day I gave him the Fancy Feast since that is what he is used to and he ate all of that, plus the Blue wet food (3 oz) and some kibble.


This morning I put a 3 oz. can of the Blue out and he ate it all in one sitting like he was starving. (Should I divide that up into two and give him half in the morning and half in the evening with maybe a little bit of the dry Blue Wilderness kibble to munch on if he needs it?). Or just let him eat as much as he needs to until he's a certain age?


I know he's a kitten and growing and I don't want him to starve. I also don't want him to get overweight like my last cat (I didn't know as much about cat nutrition when I had him in the beginning and just gave him food at mealtimes plus kept out kibble for him to munch on as needed. When he got older he got overweight and i had to regulate his food more).


But I guess I'll just keep an eye on him and see if he starts looking too fat and then I'll cut back.

post #9 of 11
Originally Posted by redvelvetone View Post


I just got a six month old kitten, it was a stray. He weighs 6 lbs, 12 oz and (to me) seems the right size 


It's important to think in calorie amounts rather than volume amounts of food, since different products can vary widely in caloric density. At his age and weight, he should be eating somewhere around 300-340 calories per day. 



Originally Posted by redvelvetone View Post

The rescuer who had been feeding him said she gave him three Fancy Feast cans a day


The average can of Fancy Feast is around 28 cal/oz (can be as much as 33 or as little as 23 depending on the flavour). So he would need roughly 10-12 oz a day of Fancy Feast for his growing needs. Wellness (a better quality food with no by-products) is roughly 35-40 cal/oz, so you could feed less (8-9 oz per day).


Originally Posted by redvelvetone View Post

 as well as some of their dry formula (a high protein duck formula, which is supposedly more dense). 

Dry food is usually the culprit in causing cats to get fat. I personally think cats should only eat wet food, for a plethora of reasons that you can read about here:


post #10 of 11

OK thanks for this info. I will check the calorie amounts on the Blue Buffalo kitten wet food he ate today

post #11 of 11
Hi and congraz on your kittens biggrin.gif. I have always look at the calories/cp. Usually it is 20 calories per pound (weight of cat). For kittens it is more 25 - 40 calories per pound. You also have to use your own judgement according to how the kitten is looking/growing, etc. Some kitties require more calories than other's. But it gives you a general idea about how much your kitten should be getting:wavey.gif
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