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Feeding:

  • Ideally cats should get a few small meals throughout the day.
  • Some cats may gobble their food, so if they get one or two large meals, they may eat too much.
  • The amount of food a cat needs depends upon its age, size, and activity level.
  • Your veterinarian can advise you about the proper quanitity of food for your cat. A rough estimate for an adult cat is 30 calories per pound. An 8 pound cat only needs 240 calories per day.
  • Watch out for obesity as it can start at an early age.
  • Changes in food should be gradual; otherwise, the cat may suffer from diarrhea.
  • Cats must have fresh water daily. Some tap water, however, may contain chemicals that may cause the cat to refuse the water. In this situation, let the tap water stand for a 24 hours, or use filtered water.
  • Cats also like fresh food and may refuse canned food that is starting to dry out.
  • Most veterinarians recommend dry food because it has a better energy balance than canned foods.
  • Dry food can also prevent some dental problems and urinary tract infections.
  • Don't feed your cat people food or dog food -- a cat's dietary needs cannot be met with dog food and often not with human food either.
  • If a cat does not eat for 48 hours, contact your vet!
  • Cats do not chew their food, but swallow it down in lumps, relying upon its strong gastric juices to break the food down.

Source: The Reader's Digest Illustrated Book of Cats, The Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd., Montreal, 1992, p. 198.