Cat Feeding Guide – Wet And Dry Food

After hours and hours of research and many many dollars spent trying different cat foods, here is a collection of helpful tips on the best cat feeding guide and what I feed my cats (for both wet and dry). 

Dry vs Wet Food For Cats

One of the first questions I had about what to feed my cats was whether cats should be fed dry food or wet food. 

I had heard that “wet food is bad for cats’ teeth“ but “dry food can give cats kidney stones because they don’t get enough water”. Is any of this true? 

According to the Association of American Feeding Control Officials (AAFCO), there is no right or wrong in terms of feeding only dry food or cat food. 

What they do advise is that you feed them a variety of foods in moderation. This includes type of meat, dry food, and water. And, after asking different veterinarians everytime I took my cats to the vet, they agree. 

The good thing is that the pet food industry is so competitive and pet owners are getting more conscious about what they feed their cats.

As a result of that, there are more and more brands of cat food out there that uses only the good ingredients and eliminates what is unnecessary and bad for cats’ health. 

So, the next question is – what should you look for on the back of the food package?

how to determine quality cat food brands

Cat Nutrition Requirements

What you should look for on the packaging label of wet cat food is the same as dry cat food, except for moisture level, since moisture will be already high in wet food. 

Cats need the same basic nutrition requirements as humans, but there are certainly some things that differ. 

The following is a dumbed down version of the nutrition requirements for cats that AAFCO recommends:


Cats needs complete amino acids, which come from animal protein: meat, fish, eggs, poultry. Plant protein has incomplete amino acids, so a plant-based diet for cats would be nutrition deficient. 


More specifically, essential fatty acids, e.g. omega-3 and omega-6. This is also found in meat and fish.


There are macro and micro minerals that you cat needs in his/her diet. The macro minerals are: calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, and sodium. The micro minerals they need in their diet are: boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc. 

Although all these minerals come from various sources, you would capture all these minerals when you feed your cat a healthy mixed diet of the following: 

Meat (including flesh, bone, liver), fish, poultry by-products (i.e. dairy, eggs), unrefined grains, and sources of fiber. 


Just like humans, cats need an array of vitamins. The source of their vitamin comes from meats. Cats cannot convert plants into vitamins. 


There was a controversy decades ago when cat food brands neglected taurine in the cat food and that caused deficiencies in cat health that jeopardized cats’ health. All cat foods should have taurine for cats to form bile. 

Taurine is an amino acid found in muscle meat and organs like heart, kidney and liver and in seafood


Arginine is another amino acid, like taurine, and aids the kidneys to remove waste and boosts immune system and help injuries. Arginine is found in meats like turkey, pork, and chicken.

Arachidonic Acid

Arachidonic acid is an essential fatty acid that acts as an anti-inflammatory response and aids in the functioning of gastrointestinal systems. This fatty acid is also found in meats and also in poultry products like eggs and dairy


Niacin is a type of Vitamin B, which without it can lead to loss of appetite and inflamed gums. Niacin is found in chicken and turkey as well as liver and tuna


Obviously, cats need water. Especially if the cats are on a dry food-only diet, they should be consuming as much water as possible. If your cat is NOT drinking enough water, hell no – go read this and get your cat to drink more water

The minimum requirements according to AAFCO for the major nutrients are:































Vitamin A

5000 IU/kg

Vitamin D

500 IU/kg

Vitamin E

30 IU/kg





Pantothenic Acid






Folic Acid


Vitamin B12




Vitamin K


What to Feed Your Cat

To summarize, cats are carnivores, so they don’t actually need carbohydrates. Their sources of protein, fat, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals all come from meat

Rather than giving them one type of meat everyday, give them a variety of meat and fish- everything in moderation

Include in their diet dry food, wet food, various meat such as chicken and turkey. Also give them fish such as tuna. 

Poultry by-products such as eggs and dairy also have the essential protein cats can benefit from. 

When you’re considering meat, give them a variety of meat products, such as chicken liver and hearts as well. 

Simply speaking, think about their origin. Cats as wild animals would hunt animals smaller than them. They didn’t eat plants or beans.

raised food bowl for cats

How to Determine Quality Cat Food Brands 

The nutrition requirement on the cat food label will show you how much minimum percentage of the daily intake that package of cat food consists of. 

If any of them are missing an ingredient from the above list of cat nutrition requirements, then you ought to switch to a cat food that does list them all. 

Quality brand of cat food follows the nutritional guidelines suggested by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Look for brands that say they meet the AAFCO standards. 

Other things you should look for on the labels are: 

  • Avoid grain or corn meal fillers in their ingredients list. Even though it’s not bad for the cats, this just adds unnecessary calories to their food, and can result in cat obesity. 
  • Avoid preservatives. Just like human junk food, if there’s a chemical you can’t pronounce, then don’t get it. 

How Much Should I Feed My Indoor Cat

It may sound obvious, but I think there are a lot of people who don’t actually know that they should follow the feeding guideline on the back of the cat food package.

how much should i feed my indoor cat

But hey, I’m not judging. I was the same until I really did my research. 

In fact, I’m still trying to get Charlie to lose a couple pounds, which is really hard because he begs for food (MUCH less now than before)

It’s important for your cat to be on a diet in terms of how much to eat, because obesity in cats is really dangerous for your cat’s health. 

The first thing you must know is how much your cat weighs and how much a cat with similar length of limbs and bone structure should weight. 

For example, my Charlie who is a Maine Coon mix of some sort is a big-boned guy. His limbs are super long and his paws and shoulders are massive compared to an average cat. 

He weighs about 17 pounds. He weighed 18 pounds at one point and my Vet said he can afford to lose a couple of pounds, so he’s since lost a pound after following a strict diet. But he has another pound to go. 

Nala is a svelte and small cat who weighs 9 pounds. The normal weight for her is about 8 pounds. (She has Napoleon Syndrome so she goes and whacks Charlie simply because he’s bigger than her.)

Once you know how much they weigh, do the math based on the back of the food package.

cat feeding guide wet and dry

For example, the dry food I give my cats says that for a cat that weighs x lbs, give x cup of dry foods. Based on the weight Nala and Charlie should be, the feeding guideline is:

  • 8 lbs – ⅔ cup
  • 14 lbs – 1 cup

Now, I give my cats wet food as well. And the wet food can says give your cat 1 can of wet food for every 6 – 8 pounds of your cat’s weight. 

I give the cats ¼ cup of wet food per day. Then, I work backwards on calculating how much dry food I should give them. 

  • For Nala, she can afford to have 1 can of wet food since she falls within the “1 can per 6 – 8 lbs.” Since I give her ¼ can of wet food, that means she needs to be fed 75% of food requirement. So for dry food, she can have ⅔ cup. And, 75% of ⅔ cup is ½ cup. 
  • For Charlie, he can afford to have a little less than 2 cans of wet food. Since I give him ¼ can, he can still have almost a full cup of dry food. But, he’s a big boy and is not active at all. So, I give him about ⅔ cup of dry food. 

So, in summary, I give Nala ¼ can of wet food per day and ½ cup of dry food per day. And, for Charlie, I give him ¼ can of wet food per day and ⅔ cup of dry food per day. 

(If you have any questions on figuring out the math, then leave a comment below. I confused myself so much in the beginning and had to write it down one by one..)

Free Feeding vs Timed Feeding

I used to free feed my cats in the beginning – this is basically leaving food out all day for your cats to nibble on throughout the day. 

But then both my cats would eat when they’re bored and they would get lazy and this cycle would perpetuate. 

So, I shifted to timed feeding. I give them food at 7am in the morning and at 7pm at night. What I give them is almost the same for each meal. 

Timed feeding is especially important for multiple cat household, because one might be more dominant than the other and always eat more than the other. 

Timed feeding not only controls how much they eat but it also helps to stop your cat’s begging for food. I know it may seem counterintuitive, but giving them a sense of routine around the clock helps their body stick to that routine. 

If you’re currently free feeding, I would encourage timed feeding, and see how that goes. It might help your cat slim down if he/she is on the unhealthily bigger side.

raised cat food bowl

What I Feed My Cats, Nala & Charlie

Now to the piece de resistance. Probably what you’re all looking for. 

Full disclosure that I’m still trying to search for the best food for Nala and Charlie. But having said that, I’ve tried a lot. 

For some, Nala & Charlie reacted with their dislike to it. Some food kept making my poor Charlie throw up. And some other ones, I just didn’t like the ingredients on the back.

After a lot of research and trial and error, what I feed my cats are as follows:

hound and gato lamb chicken salmon cat food

hills science dry cat food oral  hills science diet oral cat dry food

fish oil for cats omega 3 pet

omega 3 fish oil for dry skin cats


Well, folks, I applaud you if you read the whole thing above. I don’t have the strength to go back and read what I wrote… But, I did my best to share with you what I’ve learned up to now on a cat feeding guide that I am happy with now.

It’s important to stress that every cat is different in terms of their sensitivity to food and what works the best. But, after a lot of editing different foods, what I’m feeding my cats now has been the best combination.

They don’t have food sensitivity, they genuinely enjoy it and their coat is shiny and healthy. The strict feeding amount has also allowed them to stay in the right range of weight.

I hope you found this helpful and leave me a comment if you have any questions or suggestions! Good luck!