a cat on a scale

How many calories does your cat need per day?

Your cat needs a base amount of calories or energy to maintain her body. A grown-up Maine Coon will need more energy intake than a lightweight breed like a Siamese cat. Here’s a guideline based on the body weight of your cat. The amount of food required depends on whether she has been neutered or is active. Be aware that this is for adult cats only. For kittens, please read our article on how much you need to feed your kitten.

The following table, is based on FEDIAF recommendations1. Those are based on the National Research Council (NRC)2 and independent research. Generally speaking, thousands of studies have been conducted to get to these numbers. Most if not all European pet food producers take them into account. Since TCE is seated in Germany, we use European guidelines instead of American’s, which would be based on AAFCO recommendations.

The FEDIAF recommends that cats weighing 4 kilograms or 8.8 pounds should intake the following amounts of calories based on their maintenance energy requirement (MER):

For 75 kcal/kg as the constant:
MER = 75×(4)0.67 = 190 kcal/day

For 100 kcal/kg as the constant:
MER = 100×(4)0.67 = 253 kcal/day

These are the basic amounts of minimum recommended calories per day for indoor and/or neutered cats (75 kcal/kg0.67) and active cats (100 kcal/kg0.67). The power of 0.67 is only there because the energy animals require decreases as the size of the animal increases. The calculator automatically adds a safety margin of about 12 % to this amount. So we ended up with a rounded 216 calories per day for the indoor/neutered cat and 284 calories per day for an active cat weighing 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds). Now it’s time for you to pick your cat’s ideal calories per day on the table based on her body weight.

Minimum daily calories needed for cats based on body weight

Calories / body weight3kg (6.6lbs)4kg (8.8lbs)5kg (11lbs)6kg (13.2lbs)
Indoor/neutered (kcal/day)176216247280
Active (kcal/day)234284329372
Calories / body weight7kg (15.4lbs)8kg (17.6lbs)9kg (19.8lbs) 10kg (22lbs)
Indoor/neutered (kcal/day)310339366393
Active (kcal/day)413451488524

If your cat is not overweight and healthy, rather feed her as much as she wants to eat! With a high-quality feed, lots of play-time, and daily usage of a scale there’s usually not much you can do wrong. Good monitoring is of importance here. You want to stay up to date with your cat’s body weight to adapt quickly.

Now that you know how many calories a day your fluffy friend needs you can learn more on how to compare calories of cat food.

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