The amount of raw food you can feed your cat is not constant but varies depending on many factors listed below.
- The level of activity
- The cat’s weight and size
- Health status
In general, adult cats can consume 4-6 ounces of raw food a day. Since activity levels depend on the cat’s personality, I suggest you keep an eye on its weight and alter it as needed. The cat should guide you on the amount of raw food it is supposed to feed.
However, this works well only if you have a cat that walks away from food when they are full. Unfortunately, you may have a greedy cat. In this case, you are required to monitor weight and measure the cat’s food.
What is Raw Feeding?
Feeding a cat with raw meat refers to providing it with uncooked meat, bones, and offal, just the way nature offers it. A raw diet is meant to replicate a natural cat’s diet. You can also refer to it as BARF, which means Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
The raw diet is similar to what the cat would have eaten if it lived in the wild. BARF mimic what cats like, such as fish, insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals.
How Much Should a Cat Eat Daily?
In general, we recommend that you feed your cat with 2%-4% of its weight. The total amount should be divided into two equal meals in 24 hours. However, this isn’t a strict guide to measuring diet; you can alter it as required. Put the following in mind as you feed your cat;
Young cats require more food per unit weight to support their rapid growth. Just like other animals, growth is swift during the first few months. It is at this time when kittens require more nutrients per body weight compared to adults. If food is limited in the initial months of growth, mental or physical retardation with long-term and short-term sequelae will be inevitable.
On the other hand, adult cats require less food per body weight compared to kittens. Kittens cannot eat as much as adults, but they need more small frequent raw meals. Therefore, feed them with small meals but frequently.
In addition, kittens need more energy to satisfy their curiosity for adventure throughout the day.
General Guide for Feeding Kittens with Raw Food
The guide is based on the age of the kitten. Below is the breakdown;
- 2-4 months- for cats of this age bracket, give food worth 10-13% of their body weight per day
- 4-8 months – kittens of 4-8 months need 6-10% of their body weight in pounds in a day
- For kittens between 8-12 months, provide 3-6% of their current body weight in 24 hours
This guideline should not be used to restrict food. You can adjust in either way d based on many other factors.
The amount of raw food a cat should consume also depends on its size. More giant cats eat more food compared to smaller cats. However, smaller cat breeds consume more per unit weight since they have a smaller surface area to volume ratio. What this means is they lose more heat energy.
Metabolic Rate and the Level of Activity
Active cats that love playing with other pets or human beings burn more calories than inactive couch cats. A cat that burns a lot of calories eats more frequently. In addition, a cat with a higher metabolic rate eats more than the one with less MR.
The metabolic rate varies with individual physiological differences and the level of activity.
Lactating and pregnant cats need more calories compared with other cats. Therefore, they should not be limited to raw food since it’s crucial for their kittens and fetuses. The nutritional requirements will overwhelm the mother without adequate nutrition, leading to low fetal weight and poor weight gain in kittens.
General Health and Body Condition
Finally, the amount of raw food you should feed also depends on their health and body condition. A sick cat requires more calories to meet the increased metabolic demands of sickness. On the other hand, a cat who needs to lose or is prone to gain weight must be fed less raw food per unit of body weight.
On the contrary, ensure you provide malnourished or thin cats with more calories.
How Much Raw Food Should Adult Cats Consume
As a kitten grows, its calories requirement reduces since metabolism also reduces. As a cat grows, you will realize that it spends less time playing. Adult cats spend most of their time napping in the sun; they only get up to eat or play.
While other cats turn into sun-spot chasers, others tend to conserve most of their energy. Although the amount of raw food you should give your cat depends on many factors, here is a simple guideline showing how much raw food to feed cat.
- For a cat in its ideal weight, provide 2-2.5% of the current body weight daily
- If your cat is older, less active, and overweight, 1.5% of the current body weight is ideal
- For active, underweight, or malnourished cats, give 3% of the current body weight in pounds per day
Benefits of Raw Diet
Whether you feed your cats with a can or bag, they all have the same disadvantages. High-pressure processing and cooking will denature vital enzymes and vitamins in food ingredients, making it less effective. In addition, cooking destroys multiple nutrients that synthetic additives cannot replace.
Processed foods also have ingredients that cannot be easily digested or cause gastrointestinal upsets and allergic reactions in vulnerable cats.
Processed food sometimes have falsified nutrient profile; they do not always contain the right amount of nutrient as indicated.
- Offers better weight control
- Improves food digestion, thus low risk of gastrointestinal upset
- Has better dental health
- Low shedding and better skin coats
- Enhanced mobility due to fewer joint diseases
- Low risk of allergic reactions
How to Feed Cats with Raw Food
After deciding to feed your cat with raw food, follow the following few steps or tips
- Take the food for the next day from your refrigerator and thaw it in a thaw tub provided during your first purchase. The food can thaw in a day, depending on the temperature of your freezer
- Then, pull the opening tab on the raw food package and serve your cat in a non-porous bowl
- After your cat has gobbled, be sure to clean all the dishes and surfaces well
Suppose your cat isn’t used to raw food; it may take time before it is used to the new food. It would be best if you looked for a way of encouraging palatability during the initial stages. Although it isn’t a balanced diet, you can begin by offering chunks of poached meat for the first 4-6 weeks to encourage a smooth transition.
For older cats, you can do light cooking to enhance palatability and digestion. In addition, it will be best if you provide white meat because it is easily digestible compared to white meat.
Just like wild cats, a cat should eat raw food once or twice a day. Feeding it in the evening is vital so that you do not attract flies. For cats with chronic diarrhea or vomiting, consult your vet and start on bone broth until you are sure the gut is healed.
Ensure you offer a balanced diet. However, this does not mean you add vitamins and minerals. Adding minerals and vitamins without consulting your vet can create an imbalanced diet. Although we don’t recommend adding vitamins and minerals, some situations guarantee vitamin and mineral supplementation.
For cats with dental problems, you need to provide minced frames instead of lean meat.
Can Raw Food Cause Problems?
Cats that consume raw foods have more stomach acid than those fed on other foods like biscuits. In collaboration with antibacterial salivary digestive enzymes and short gastrointestinal tract, this acid reduces the risk of diarrhea and other gastrointestinal diseases in exposure to pathogens.
However, just like a human being, you should handle raw cat food according to public health guidelines to reduce the risk of contamination and subsequent food poisoning.
Disadvantages of Feeding a Cat with Raw Food
- Raw food is expensive
- Raw food has a shorter shelf life
- Raw food can be a cause of infective pathogens for susceptible cats
- At times, raw food can be less appealing, especially when it is introduced for the first time
In summary, the amount of raw food that a cat should consume is variable depending on numerous factors like
- Weight status
- Activity level
- Age of the cats
- Basal metabolic rate
- Presence or absence of diseases
- The size or breed of the cat
Although there is a guide to the amount of raw food a cat should consume daily, it can be reduced or increased accordingly based on these factors.