The ins and outs of the optimal cat diet
A quality diet ensures your cat lives their best life from kittenhood to their golden years. What is a proper cat diet, though, and how to achieve it? With various types of cat food to choose from, determining a proper cat diet can be challenging. What are the essential nutrients a cat needs to thrive? The topic is quite broad and might even scare new cat parents, but don’t worry because Untamed is here to explain:
- How much you should feed your cat based on their age and weight
- What your cat should eat and how to make the right food choice
- How to recognise the signs of an inadequate cat diet
- What to do about picky eaters
- How to change your feline’s food without them going on a hunger strike
Necessary nutrients from kittenhood to adulthood
The key to a quality life for a cat is to provide enough calories and nutrients to keep them happy and healthy. The exact amount of calories and nutrients your cat needs depends on various factors—most importantly, which life stage they are in:
Depending on the breed and activity of your feline, you might have to increase or reduce their meals, but the following recommended values is a great starting point.
Kitty diet 101
The three essential nutrients for a growing kitten are:
Required percentage on a dry matter basis
Helps muscle growth
Up to 20%
Helps bone growth
Even though it doesn’t seem like it, kittens have a higher caloric intake than adult cats because they are growing rapidly. Specialists suggest feeding your kitten around 100 to 130 calories per kilogram of body weight during the first four to six months. If you notice a smaller or weaker kitten or if they eat less than the rest of the litter, feed them more to help them grow and develop faster.
Take a look at the kitten feeding chart below:
Weight (in grams)
Formula (in millilitres)
Every 2 hours
Every 2–3 hours
Every 3–4 hours
Every 4–5 hours
Every 5–6 hours
During weeks six, seven, and eight, you can mix some formula with wet or dry cat food, but make sure the meal is no larger than half a cup. If your kitten is sound asleep, don’t wake them up to feed them. You can use a syringe until they are ready for a bottle.
Stroke the kitten on the back with your finger or toothbrush to simulate their mother’s licking.
Source: Emrah AYVALI
The basics of healthy adult cat nutrition
Adult cats require more complex nutrition, featuring:
- Proteins and fats—called crude protein and total fat on cat food labels
- Numerous vitamins and minerals
- The tiniest amount of carbohydrates
Essentially, you want the most significant part of your cat’s diet to be protein (over 50%), followed by fat (under 20%). Carbohydrates shouldn’t exceed 3% of your cat’s nutrition.
Keep in mind that feline organisms aren’t designed to digest plant-based protein. Cats are carnivores—like their relatives in the wild—and rely on animal-based protein from:
Let’s get to the meat of the matter!
Image (c) Untamed
Cat parents want only the best for their furballs. We understand and want to help you achieve that. Untamed recipes feature the best meat and fish to provide your feline with that precious protein while satisfying their delicate palate. Our assortment has options for every kitty, even fussy and sophisticated eaters!
Is this all for me, human?
Image (c) Untamed
Check out the recommended daily caloric intake based on a cat’s weight:
Keep in mind that those are only approximate values. Depending on your kitty’s breed and activity levels, you will have to adjust the portions, but don’t worry, cats usually stop eating when they’ve had enough. If your cat starts meowing louder than a French horn, they might still be hungry.
Mooooooom, you can’t tell me that was the entire lunch for today! I’m looking at you.
Source: Amar Preciado
Cat diet tips for senior furry pals
Senior cats have a significantly slower metabolism, so you want to look for food with whole meat proteins that have a high digestibility rate. You should also look for foods that feature a higher percentage of antioxidants, which can slow down the ageing process of your precious feline friend.
The table below shows the digestibility of the best protein sources for cats:
Chicken, rabbit, and turkey
Kidneys, livers, and hearts
All our products are made with natural ingredients and contain no known allergens. If your kitty is struggling with digestion, soothe their upset tummy with our single-source protein meals, such as:
- Chocka Chicken
- Tuck-in Tuna
There can only be one in the box.
Image (c) Untamed
Different feeds for different needs
When shopping for cat food, you notice that the majority of cat food isles are dominated by dry and wet food categories—but which is better for your cat?
Is dry food good for your cat’s diet?
If you want to feed your cat with dry food, keep in mind that:
- Most commercial options are typically packed with carbohydrates. A high amount of carbs might endanger your feline’s health and cause obesity and diabetes
- The caloric value of dry food is significantly larger than that of other types of cat food, which can be beneficial if your cat should put on some weight, but it might lead to overfeeding in other cases
- The lack of moisture in dry food can lead to dehydration and urinary problems. If you want to include dry food in your kitty’s diet, you can pour some water or chicken broth over it, but don’t forget to serve a wet meal every now and then
In conclusion, most commercial dry foods aren’t an ideal cat food option, and if you feed it to your cat, do it in moderation.
Is wet food the best option for a healthy feline diet?
Wet food may be a better choice for a healthy and happy kitty because:
- It has a super high water content
- Your feline can enjoy a larger portion while not overeating because of the lower caloric value
- The texture can be appealing to your cat
- Cat food companies often offer a line of therapeutic wet food specially designed for cats with particular health conditions, such as allergies, kidney problems, digestive issues, etc.
The main downside of wet food is that it’s generally more expensive than dry cat food, but it is an investment in your feline’s well-being for the long term.
Mom, are you pawsitive you emptied the entire tin?
Image (c) Untamed
The good, the bad, and the ugly of cat food
All commercial cat food items are not the same, and it’s up to you to choose which products will work for your feline. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the cat food available across stores:
When buying commercial cat food, go for products that have a high protein content (above 50%) and a minimum amount of fats. Avoid the ones that go overboard with fillers like animal derivatives, grains, sugar, or vegetable proteins.
Sharing is caring—human foods that cats can handle
A snack every now and then won’t harm your kitty, provided you give them small portions. You can use many items from your own pantry to treat your feline—or if their pleading eyes while you eat are the problem, you can share some of your food without remorse.
Here are some human foods your cat can enjoy:
Before sharing these foods with your cat, keep in mind that:
- These are only snacks and not the main ingredients of a healthy cat diet, so you should offer them to your cat sparingly and in small quantities
- Treats should make up only 2% of your cat’s diet
- Diabetic cats should never eat fruit
- You need to check up on your feline to see if they’re having a hard time digesting a snack they're eating for the first time
Cat diet no-nos
Some of the cat diet no-nos that could seriously harm your feline are:
- Alcohol—it leads to digestive issues, choking, coma, and death
- Chocolate and coffee—these contain toxins theobromine and caffeine that can cause severe problems and even death
- Citrus fruits—these are very harsh for a cat's stomach because of the citric acid they contain (they can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and an upset stomach)
- Coconut flesh and water—these cause digestive problems
- Fat trimmings—this lead to severe digestive issues and inflammation of the pancreas
- Garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, chives, and scallions—these veggies cause gastrointestinal problems and damage to erythrocytes (red blood cells)
- Grapes and raisins—they can lead to kidney damage and their eventual failure
- Milk and cheese (in large amounts)—cause digestive issues such as diarrhoea, constipation, and vomiting, especially in lactose intolerant cats
- Mushrooms—they usually lead to drooling, digestive problems, tearing, and liver damage
- Nuts—they cause digestive issues and inflammation of the pancreas (often accompanied by inflammation of the liver and intestine)
- Raw bread dough with yeast—yeast leads to bloating and twisting of the spleen
- Salt (in large amounts)—salt leads to tremors, seizures, digestive issues, dehydration, and even death in cats
- Seeds and skin of cherries, plums, apples, or pears—these cause respiratory problems and shock because of the cyanide compound
- Small and uncooked bones—bone splinters can lead to choking or rupture to your feline’s organs
- Xylitol (sugar-free food sweetener)—it leads to vomiting, lethargy, and liver failure
Signs your furry friend isn’t feeling feline
An unbalanced diet can affect your cat in different ways. Some warning signs include:
- Inconsistent appetite
- Sudden increase or decrease in water intake
- Low energy
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Bland and rough coat
- Dull eyes
- Sudden weight loss or gain
If you notice any out-of-the-ordinary behaviour, consider taking your cat to the vet. Nutrient deficiency can cause severe health problems, such as:
- Skin, bone, and eye deformation
- Muscular dystrophy
- Nutrient malabsorption
- Slow or no growth
- Fatty liver
Fussy and picky eaters
Is your cat refusing to eat? Fussy and picky eaters can give us a hard time, but we love them, and that’s why we want to make sure they eat well. If your demanding feline is rejecting food, the reasons could be:
- Sudden change in:
- Type of food
- Food brand
- The flavour—if your feline is used to chicken, switching to fish may prove to be challenging
- Way of serving food—since we love our feline friends so much, we tend to spoil them. If you had a particular way of preparing their food, you might have to stick to it (this can include heating the meal, cutting the food in a specific way, adding water to dry food, and similar)
- The food bowl being dirty
- Stale food
- Hot weather
- A snack your cat caught before mealtime
If you tried your best to fix the issues mentioned above, but your feline still isn’t eating, they might be having health problems and require veterinary assistance.
Tips on how to find the purrfect meal size
Depending on your furry friend’s age, size, and activity, they need 40–45 calories per kilo of healthy body weight. You can feed your adult and senior felines once or twice a day, but in some cases, that might not be the best approach. If your cat tends to wake you up at night seeming hungry, splitting a daily food portion into multiple small meals may be better than adding more meals and overfeeding them.
Other benefits of smaller portions include:
- Less bloating
- Better digestion
- Better weight management
- Increased energy and activity
Are you ready for a pawsitive change in your cat’s diet?
Many cat parents introduce a new brand or type of food abruptly, which is a shock for their furballs.
Luckily, there is a way to ease your feline’s transition from one food to another, and we’ll show you how. Before we get started, keep in mind that this process needs to last for at least one week. Ideally, the introduction period should last for two weeks because if you allow more time for your cat to adjust, you’re more likely to succeed.
You want to introduce the new food gradually. Start by making it approximately 20% of the entire meal or even 10% if you’re going for a steadier pace. After that, you will increase the percentage of the new food:
- Every 2–3 days by 10% if the process will last two weeks
- Every day by 20% if you’re doing it for one week
If you opt for the quicker method, check up on your kitty and their bowl to see their reaction to the change. An adverse reaction of your feline might require you to slow down the process.
The perfect cat diet—at your doorstep
With Untamed, you never have to question whether your cat is getting all the nutrients they need. Quality human-grade ingredients ensure your kitty gets only premium treatment.
- Require no additional preparation—our meals are gently steamed and ready for serving
- Are delivered to you at your convenience
- Come with no shipping fees
The best treatment for your cat and the planet
We strive to treat the planet like we do your cat. Our sustainable packaging—the recyclable cardboard boxes and aluminium tins—ensures the environment doesn't suffer from our package waste.
Get your purrsonal Untamed cat food trial box
We treat every Untamed cat as if they were our own, and we do that by getting up close and personal. Complete our questionnaire to ensure your trial box of tailor-made cat food caters to your furry friend’s needs and tastes. To get started:
- Visit the Try Now page
- Answer a few brief questions about your cat
- Place your order
You will receive your trial box within a day. If our meals get the green light from your cat, we can deliver a fresh batch of food every month. Don’t worry, there’s no hidden commitment when you get a healthy cat food subscription with Untamed—you can modify, pause, postpone, or cancel an order anytime!
Human, if I don’t get lunch anytime soon...
Image (c) Untamed
Once you try Untamed—you will never look back
Untamed is the result of one cat’s recovery story. The first member of the Untamed family is Sian, who got sick and wasn’t feeling better despite the efforts of multiple vets. With the help of a nutritionist, we took matters into our own hands and switched Sian to a human-grade diet, which resulted in him feeling better than ever before.
The idea behind Untamed is to provide the best cat diet available on the market that’s made with a whole lot of love and whole meats.
After switching to Untamed, our customers' furry friends have shown immense progress in the form of:
- More energy
- Tidier litter boxes as a result of a consistent digestion
- Fabulous, thick, and shiny coats
- Consistent weight
- Fewer hairballs
If you want the same for your feline, join our wild pack!