Tips for Feeding Your Cat or Kitten

We've noticed a few questions from our community about finding the best ways to feed your cats, so we prepared a list of tips and best practices.

Whether you have a finicky or overzealous eater, your cat's instincts may shape preference in ways you've never thought of. You'll ultimately have the best handle on your cat's desire for taste, smell and texture, but here are a few other factors to consider in making feeding time more effective and enjoyable. 

Bowl vs. Plate

A cat's whiskers help it navigate its surroundings, determine the width of openings, and communicate mood. Here are tips for choosing a dish that works with your cat’s whiskers, not against them.

Tip 1: Use a shallow bowl that your cat cat can grab food from without impeding the whiskers.

Tip 2: Choose a dish large enough to hold a day's worth of food, with a lip just tall enough to keep the food contained while letting your cat easily observe the room.

Tip 3: If you constantly find yourself cleaning up after your cat, consider a wide plate large enough to catch stray kibble or canned food.

Proper Placement

In nature, cats like to have a clear view of their surroundings in order to detect the approach of rivals or predators. So where you place the dish plays an important role in your cat's level of comfort at feeding time.

Tip 1: Placing a cat's dish in the corner of a room may put your cat on edge because it’s difficult to see the surroundings. This is especially true in homes with multiple cats or a dog.

Tip 2: To lessen the tension, try positioning the dish in the open to maximize sight lines.

Feeding Toys

If your cat is overweight or has a tendency to gulp food in a single sitting, consider using a puzzle feeder or a food distributor ball. They are also great for engaging the natural curiosity of active cats.

Tip 1: Find these at your pet store, or search online for simple ways to make your own.

Tip 2: Both puzzle feeders and food distributor balls stimulate your cat's desire to hunt and work for food.

Tip 3: By rewarding effort with a bite or two of kibble, they prevent your cat from rapidly polishing off an entire meal. Please check the feeders after use to make sure your cat is actually eating the recommended daily amount of food.

The Physiology of Side-Chewing

Cats chew with their back teeth, particularly when working on larger pieces of food. When doing so, the cat will often turn its head in a contorted way. Some people interpret this as difficulty chewing and fear the cat may choke.

Tip 1: Don't discourage side-chewing. In reality, your cat is simply using the best teeth for the job.

Tip 2: This technique lets your cat to enjoy different textures and may help clean the molars in the process.

How to Tell if Your Cat is Overweight, in Ideal Body Condition or Too Thin

Here are three simple ways to tell if your cat’s diet needs adjustment.

Rib Check: Place both of your thumbs on your cat’s backbone and spread both hands across the rib cage. You want to be able to feel your cat’s ribs. This is important, as the coat of many cats will make a visual check difficult.

Profile Check: Examine you cat’s profile – it’s best if you are level with your cat. Look for the abdomen to be tucked up behind the rib cage – this is ideal.

Overhead Check: Looking at your cat from overhead, identify whether you can see a waist behind the ribs.

If you find that your cat’s ribs and waistline aren’t where they’re supposed to be, adjust your cat’s food accordingly. 

Cat weight graphic

How much should you feed your cat?

Pet obesity is a common phenomenon. To help keep your cat to maintain an ideal body condition, it's important to follow the Feeding Instructions and our Recommended Daily Feeding Amounts on the packaging of your Purina ONE pet food. You can also find them at PurinaONE.com

If you only feed dry food to your adult cat, we suggest setting out the recommended measured amount of food each morning so your cat can eat as he or she pleases throughout the day.

The amount of food required to maintain an ideal body condition will vary depending on age, activity and environment. It's important to monitor your cat's weight and adjust intake accordingly.

If your cat is active or curious, try dividing the daily portion into several bowls and place them in different locations throughout your home. This helps to add interest by allowing your cat to discover sources of food throughout the day.

If you feed your cat a combination of dry and wet food, please reduce the daily intake of dry food to prevent overfeeding.

Be sure to provide fresh water in a clean container daily and try to monitor the water intake to make sure your cat is properly hydrated.

Be sure to follow the Feeding Instructions and our Recommended Daily Feeding Amounts on the packaging of your Purina ONE pet food or PurinaONE.com.

How much should you feed your kitten?

Kittens will generally start to nibble on solid food at 3 - 4 weeks of age. After 8 weeks of age, kittens will normally eat dry or moistened food at will.

We recommend that you begin offering moistened dry food at 3 - 4 weeks old and make it available to kittens at all times through the weaning stage at 6 - 8 weeks old.

Moistening the food makes it easier for young kittens to chew and swallow. During this time, it is best to take the recommended daily amount of food and split it into several servings.

Only moisten one of these servings at a time rather than preparing the entire daily amount at once and leaving it out all day for grazing. This will help keep the food fresh and encourage your kitten to eat.

Make sure to add no more than one part water to three parts dry food and use warm (not hot) water.

The total daily amount of food required to help maintain your kitten's ideal body condition will vary depending on age, activity and environment so please monitor your kitten's weight and adjust the food amount accordingly.

Always provide fresh water in a clean container each day and try to monitor the water intake to make sure your kitten is properly hydrated.

Be sure to follow the Feeding Instructions and our Recommended Daily Feeding Amounts on the packaging of your Purina ONE pet food or PurinaONE.com.