How to Feed Your Cat or Kitten

Every cat owner has questions about the best way to feed their beloved pet. The short answer is, every cat is different. From the fussiest nibbler to guzzlers who lick the bowl clean, every cat has unique instincts that determine their eating behavior. Through the time you spend with your cat, you will become the best expert on your cat’s desires and preferences. The good news is, however, there are feeding best practices that can help almost any cat. Here are some great tips to make feeding your cat easy and enjoyable.

What dish should I put my cat's food in?

Few cat owners know that the biggest factor in deciding which dish to buy for your cat is their whiskers. Cat whiskers aren’t just cute – they also help your pet determine the size of openings, find their way around surroundings, and express their mood. When picking a bowl, you’ll want to choose one that keeps their whiskers comfortable.

Tip 1: Pick a shallow bowl that can hold a day’s worth of food.

Tip 2: The lip of your bowl should be just tall enough to keep your cat’s kibble contained, so your cat can easily munch its food without impeding their whiskers.

Tip 3: If you find yourself constantly cleaning up after a messy eater, save yourself fuss by picking a jumbo-sized plate big enough to catch scraps and crumbs.

Where should I place my cat's bowl?

The placement of your cat’s feeding dish will help your cat feel relaxed and content at feeding time. Even though cats have been domesticated for over 4,000 years, their natural instincts remain strong. Cats like to have a clear view of everything going on around them, so they can see instantly if a rival or predator approaches.

Tip 1: Avoid placing your cat’s bowl in the corner of the room. This will block your cat’s line of sight and may make them tense while eating.

Tip 2: Place your cat’s dish in a place where your cat can see in as many directions as possible. This is particularly important if you have a dog or multiple cats. Your cat will want to keep an eye on what everyone else is doing!

What feeding toys can help my cat?

If your cat is overweight or eats food almost instantly, there’s an easy way to slow down the pace.

Top Tip: Give your cat a puzzle feeder or food distributor ball. By rewarding your cat’s effort with one or two bites at a time, these toys prevent your cat from demolishing a day’s worth of food in just a few minutes. Puzzle feeders also stimulate your cat’s desire to hunt and work for food, keeping your cat entertained and active.

Important: Check the feeder at the end of the day to make sure your cat is eating all its food.

What should I do about side chewing?

Cat owners are often concerned about the contorted way cats turn their head when chewing food. Many fear the cat may be choking or unable to break down the food. However, this contortion actually helps your cat to chew! Cats chew with their back teeth, particularly when chomping down on a large piece of food. When your cat uses this technique, it can enjoy the textures of the food more fully.

Top Tip: Don’t stop your cat from chewing to the side. They’re simply using the best teeth for the job.

How can I tell if my cat is the right weight?

Worried your cat may be underweight or obese? Here are three simple checks you can make to work out if your cat is eating too much or too little.

Overhead Check: Take a look at your cat from above. Can you see your cat’s waist behind its ribs?

Profile Check: Drop down to your cat’s height and look where its abdomen is located. Is it tucked in behind the rib cage?

Rib Check: Your cat’s beautiful fur coat can make it hard to tell if it is the right weight just by looking. To determine if your cat is a healthy weight, place your thumbs on your cat’s backbone and spread both hands across its rib cage. Can you feel your cat’s ribs?

How much should I feed my cat?

Just like humans, every cat will need a different amount of food to stay happy and healthy. Your cat’s environment, activity level, and age all play a role in determining how much your cat should eat. These tips will help you adjust the size of your cat’s meals to keep your cat’s body in tip-top shape.

Tip 1: When determining the ideal amount to feed your cat, a great place to start is the feeding instructions written on the packaging of your PURINA ONE pet food. These instructions include recommended daily feeding amounts that provide a helpful guide of how much your cat should eat.

Tip 2: Gauge your cat’s weight using the three images above and change your cat’s diet according to the results. Don’t forget to include treats in your calculations!

Tip 3: If your cat eats both wet and dry food, decrease your cat’s daily intake of dry food to prevent overfeeding. If your cat eats dry food only, place the full amount in your cat’s bowl at the beginning of the day so your cat can eat whenever she feels hungry. Learn more about wet and dry food.

How much should I feed my kitten?

Working out how much to feed your kitten can be a little harder than with a cat, as kittens are continually growing and developing. Much like adult cats, the amount you should feed a kitten will vary with activity level and environment. You will need to adjust portion size constantly as your kitten grows. Here are three tips to help.

Tip 1: Introduce dry food slowly into your kitten’s diet. Kittens will generally start to chew on kibble at around 3 – 4 weeks of age. Once they reach 8 weeks, they will be able to transition to a dry food-based diet.

Tip 2: Moisten dry food before you place it in your kitten’s bowl. This makes it easier for their little teeth to nibble and break down. To moisten food, add one part water and three parts kibble. Use warm water, but make sure it’s not too hot!

Tip 3: To work out how much to feed your kitten, follow the feeding instructions and recommended daily feeding amounts on the packaging of your pet food. Split the recommended amount into several servings, and moisten each one before feeding. That way the food stays fresh and ready to eat.

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