How Much Cat Food Should I Feed My Cat?

A common question among cat owners is “How much cat food should I feed my cat?”. Since each cat’s caloric requirements may differ, it’s difficult to offer a single standardized portion size that works for all cats. Also, since each cat food formula’s nutritional value may differ, this can affect feeding amount. Here’s a quick guide to help you to decide how much cat food you should be feeding your cat.

Activity Level

As a general rule, cats that are more active may be able to be fed larger portions each day without significant weight gain. Cats that are “lap cats”, and spend most of their day sleeping, will need a smaller portion size. Take your cat’s activity level into account when deciding how much cat food to feed your cat.

Canned or Dry?

The portion sizes for your cat’s food will differ greatly depending on if you choose a dry or canned cat food formula. The reason for this is that canned food is usually lacking in some of the “filler” ingredients that are put into dry kibble to allow it to hold its shape. However, this isn’t to say that canned cat food is always more nutritious for your cat. As far as portion size, you will have to evaluate the total nutrition and calories contained in a serving of dry or canned food. Check for caloric density – a calorie-dense food (such as some canned formulas) will mean that you can feed your cat in much smaller portion sizes. For either type of food, you will need to adjust the portion depending on your cat’s appetite and the nutritional content of the formula.


Some people choose to free-feed their cats, mostly for convenience. Free feeding involves leaving a substantial amount of cat food out on a regular basis, and allowing your cat to eat when they’re hungry. However, free feeding isn’t always a good idea. Since your cat may begin eating larger portions, this may cause weight gain, and eventual obesity-related health problems. If you do choose to free-feed, try to limit the feeding to an allotted daily amount, which is equal to the portion you would normally feed your cat per day. For example, if the total amount you would feed your cat adds up to one cup, only leave one cup per day out for free feeding.