A guide to feeding your cat

Five important things

  • Cats must eat meat. They are 'obligate carnivores' which means cats cannot be vegetarian
  • Choose a cat food that is complete rather than complementary so that your pet gets a complete, balanced diet.
  • Cats like to eat away from other cats
  • Keep food, water and litter trays in different places so your cat knows that their food and water are clean.
  • Your cat needs fresh water, which should be changed daily

Good health starts with a good diet

Learn about the food and drink your cat needs to stay healthy and happy. This guide will help you choose food and manage your cat's weight.

A balanced diet

Your cat needs a balanced diet. The easiest way to guarantee your cat gets the nutrition they need is to give them a good quality cat food.

Cat food is usually called either complete or complementary.

  • complete foods provide all the nutrients, in the right balance, so that no other food is needed
  • complementary foods (such as treats and snacks) must be combined with other foods to give your cat all the nutrients they need

Water is an important part of your cat's diet. You must give your cat fresh water daily.

Dry or wet food?

You can feed your cat dry or wet food, or a mixture of both.

Dry foods
Dry food is popular with some cat owners because it can be left out all day, or placed inside feeding balls to provide a bit of a challenge. If your cat has a medical condition, such as urinary problems, it may need to increase their water intake, so your vet may recommend offering only wet foods.

Wet foods
Available in a wide array of flavours, wet foods may appeal to fussy cats.

How much food?

Check the label on your chosen food for advice on quantities.

Keep an eye on your cat and check their weight to make sure you aren't under- or over-feeding. Preventing your cat from gaining weight is easier than helping them lose weight.

Neutered cats typically need less energy, so consider reducing the amount of food you provide.

How often?

Cats like to eat lots of small meals - around 10-12 throughout the day. Pet cats often prefer the same, although their feeding behaviour depends on their environment and their past experiences.

Fresh wet food should be replaced at least twice daily.

Dry food should be replaced at least once daily.

Related topics

Feeding - Topic

Types of cat food - Topic

Obesity - Topic

Cats and drinking - Topic