It's the responsibility of cat parents to educate themselves on how much food they have to feed their cat to meet their daily requirements. With so many types of canned food, however, it can be confusing. Additionally, how much you need to feed your cat depends on varying nutritional guidelines, how old your cat is, its weight, and other variables.
How Much Canned Food Your Cat Needs
Your cat's weight makes a huge difference when it comes to how much daily canned food it should consume. For example, a 17-pound cat with a muscular build and large bone structure will require more calories and associated nutrients to maintain his weight than a nine-pound cat with a more slender build would. Likewise, a cat who needs to gain or lose weight will need differing quantities of food.
Similarly, your cat's activity level can help determine how much canned food it needs per day. Two identical 17-pound cats, as described above, will vary in their requirements. Similarly, a three-year-old cat who races around the house may require more than an eight-year-old who sleeps most of the day. Consider how much energy your cat is using along with how much it should be burning.
Feeding Your Cat
Your cat's food content varies depending on cuisine. Fish flavors, in particular, should be fed in minimal amounts. Although most cats love the taste of fish, an exclusive fish diet has the potential for harm. Pet MD says "Cats that are fed large amounts of tuna, particularly red tuna, tend to be more prone to [the disease] steatitis." This is especially true with lower quality fish proteins that are often used in cat food. If your cat enjoys fish, try eliminating fish-flavored cat food. Instead, give him or her a small treat of human-quality albacore tuna on occasion.
Many cats fed a high-quality premium cat food will eat less than they did on poor-quality "grocery store" food. This is because their bodies have an innate ability to judge when they have reached the proper nutritional level, and they will stop eating when that level has been reached. As a result, feeding cats high-quality foods has the added result of making the situation more economical.
It's also important to note that cats who are "free-fed" with dry food, in addition to their regular meals of canned food, will eat less canned food overall.
Cat Food Guidelines
To make it easier for you, most cat food cans and packages offer feeding guidelines that are printed right on the package. You can also check the websites of the food manufacturers just to be sure. PetSmart, for instance, has a calculator for the basic cat food it sells. With the calculator, you can input information like the cat's age, weight, and activity level, so that it can give you tailored results for your specific cat.
If your cat seems healthy and active and is not constantly begging for food, you can generally assume that he or she is getting the proper amount of canned food.