Am I underfeeding my cat?

maksidris

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She’s about 1.7 years old. I’m not exactly sure of her age bc she was feral when the adoption center took her in and guessed her age to be 1. Since I adopted her, it’s been 8 ish months I’m assuming her age to be 1.7 ish. She is a smaller cat than the average. I would guess her to be about 7-9 lbs.

I’ve been feeding her one Fancy Feast can per day, splitting the can in half for breakfast and dinner. I also add a couple of tablespoons of Rachael Ray Nutrish dry food on top of the fancy feast. Upon my realization that i may be underfeeding her, I read the calorie count on the can and it says 71/can. The kibble is about 350 per cup.

Based on this, I feed her about ~90 kcal/ day. Which I realized is less than what she should be getting per day. I also feed her treats throughout the day, but not always.

Despite the low calorie count, she seems healthy. She poops frequently and she does not look skinny at all. If anything, since I adopted her, she’s gained some weight!

But I’m not really sure and perusing the web gave me little information.

Since she seems healthy and not overweight (I do not want to overfeed my cat bc obesity is bad for health), should I continue feeding her that way? Or should I increase her wet food to 2 cans per day, and split a can for breakfast and dinner, in addition to the kibble. Or should I increase the kibble to like 5 tablespoons (half a cup is about 350kcal, which is too much) and keep the wet food the same?

Thank you for any info! I’ve attached photos of her below for reference.
 

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maggie101

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I have a 7pd cat 9 yrs old. As a kitten she ate a lot but at 1yr+ it was more like 4 oz a day. She is fed 3x a day plus in a timer late at night. I worry I'm not feeding her enough but she is not underweight. Maggie is 9 pds.bigger cat and eats almost 1 5.5 oz can a day. All very playful. Since I don't feed any dry She would eat 4 oz a day
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. The calories do seem to be a bit low. But, I think your estimate is off a bit, if you are feeding 2 tbsp of kibble at 350 calories per cup - that would be just under 45 calories. Add that to the Fancy Feast at 71 calories per can - the total she is eating seems it would be closer to 115 calories per day. And, that could vary if you feed her different versions/flavors of Fancy Feast, as they are not all the same in calories.

But, estimating her weight to be between 7 and 9 pounds is a pretty big range to work with. If you use the basic standard that a cat needs about 20-25 calories per pound of body weight, then theoretically a 7 pound cat could use to eat between 140 to 175 calories per day. For a 9 pound cat, that would be 180 - 225 calories. Of course, some cats require more calories than others, some require less. This is just a basic guideline to use.

I would weigh your girl to see how close you are to her actual weight. Simply stand on a scale to determine your weight, and then pick her up and weigh the both of you. The difference is her approximate weight. This approach isn't perfect, but would give you an idea about what she actually does weigh.

Once you know all of the above, you can probably more easily determine if you need to add any food to her current routine. If you do, I would opt to try more canned food as it is generally more healthy than dry. And, instead of doubling up - you might just try adding an extra 1/2 can to see how she does. The other half can be refrigerated for use the next day.
 
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maksidris

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Thank you for your response Feebys! I actually meant 350 per half cup. I weighed her and she comes in around roughly 8 lbs.

Even though the calorie count seems low, she does seem healthy and not frail. She is active and loves to just walk around the apartment. I've started adding a little more kibble with her breakfast and dinner, but maybe I should just feed her an entire can for morning and another can for dinner, which would even out around 140ish calories per day, based on wet food alone. But now that I look at it, it seems like that's maybe pushing it to overfeeding because I also give her kibble and treats throughout the day. What do you think?
 

FeebysOwner

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I didn't find any dry food of Rachel Ray's that would amount to 700 calories per cup. So, I am still not sure that 350 isn't the caloric total for a whole cup, not a half cup. That being the case, she is still likely getting about 115 calories per day, and if she sustains that weight on what you feed her, and she seems healthy and happy - perhaps you don't need to increase her intake at all.

You said you are giving her treats as well, so depending on how many you give her that could increase her daily caloric intake over 115 calories very easily. You might want to figure out the calories involved in those treats too and add that to her daily calories.

Whatever you do, if you choose to increase her calories, adding an entire whole can of food is overload. If you choose to add more canned food, since she is only eating one can a day, giving her a whole additional can per day seems a bit much. Perhaps, 3/4 of a can per meal, rather than 1/2 - that would be adding one half a can a day. The other half can be refrigerated for the next day. You could also add another 1/2 can meal to her regimen, rather than increase the amount in the two meals a day (that is 3 meals a day).

Have you looked at a cat size chart to evaluate where she is at? Here is one you can use (see chart below). If she fits in the ideal category, maybe you just leave things be as they are now.
Body-Condition-Feline-Chart.jpg
 
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