How many calories do indoor cats need? Are you feeding your cat too much? Or instead, you are giving your cats too little food? It is challenging to know only based on how a cat is behaving since cats are famous for demanding treats and food at all times.

The typical rule-of-thumb recommended by a vet will be that an indoor cat should eat 20 calories for every pound they weigh. Since a can of 3oz (85g) of cat food is generally 90-100 Kcal, an average adult cat will be fine with 2-3 cans a day. In contrast, dry food has between 300-350 kcal per cup.

There are a few ways to determine what should be your cat’s daily calories intake. Let’s see what they are.

how many calories do indoor cats need


Cats typically need much less food than we might think. Given that indoor cats don’t often exercise as much as outdoor cats, their caloric needs will vary. If you feed a regular cat wet food, usually 3 oz (85g), you may discover that your cat will always leave 1/3 or 1/4 of it in the bowl.

In other words, cats are not going to eat the entire can. We may think it is not enough food, looking at how small a can is. However, in most cases, cat owners overestimate how much they eat. Although some cats can demand food often, they really want the treat.

They are more greedy than hungry.

Asking yourself how many calories indoor cats need is a fundamental question to ensure your cat stays happy and healthy. But, of course, their needs will change due to their age, energy level, and weight, so it’s a question you should ask yourself often. 

Unless you have a Main Coon or a large size cat, you can estimate what your cat’s daily calories intake should be by age. Or at least you can do that if you have an average cat that genetically does not grow too big or too small.

Here is a grid that can help you figure out what your cat may need daily, without complicated calculations or using a cat calories calculator.

Cat AgeAverage WeightCalories NeededWet Food Daily Dry Food Daily
6 months-1 year2.5-3.5 kg (5.5-7.7 lb)110-154 kcal1 can (3oz)1/3 cup (2-3 oz)
1 year- 2 years3.5-5 kg (7.7-11 lb)154-220 kcal1,5 – 2 cans (3oz each)1/2 -2/3 cup (4-5 oz)
2 – 6 years3.5-5 kg (7.7-11 lb)154-220 kcal1,5 – 2 cans (3oz each)1/2-2/3 cup (4-5 oz)
7-10 years4-5.5 kg (8.8-12 lb)176-240 kcal2-3 cans (3oz)1/2-1 cup (6-8 oz)
10+ years4-5.5 kg (8.8-12 lb)176-240 kcal2-3 cans (3oz)2-3 cans (3oz)

Take the data in this grid as a general indication.

For example, cats becoming older may tend to eat less or otherwise have problems eating; thus, you can feed them only two cans a day, and they will be fine. Or younger cats that are move active may require a bit more food.

You can observe your cat and learn how he behaves with food. In my experience, my cat, at three years old, is fine with three cans a day (3oz) or two cans and 1/2 cup of dry food. I am lucky with cats because all of them don’t over-eat.

I can fill the food bowl with dry food, and they will eat only what they need. Both of them are slim cats and not overweight. I know of others who have to give their cats a daily quota of calories. Otherwise, they would over-eat and become fat.

The above grid can come in really handy to judge what your cat should eat in this case. But, of course, outdoor cats would need more food and so larger breeds of cats.


The typical rule-of-thumb recommended by a vet will be that an indoor cat should eat 20 calories for every pound they weigh. However, you might have to adjust this number slightly if you want your cat to lose or gain weight. 

It’s always a good idea to talk with your vet before adjusting your cat’s calories, as you don’t want to risk underfeeding or overfeeding them. 


Indoor kittens will usually need more calories in their beginning stages of life, as they not only have more energy to expel, but they are also still growing. In general, they might need 100-150 kcal a day. It means you can feed them one wet food can a day (3 oz).

Possibly add some dry food if you see your kitten very active and running all day long. In fact, this period of cats’ life is also when you want them to gain weight, as it’s a sign they’re growing healthfully. 


A cat is usually considered an adult when they are around two years old. This is when you want to be sure you’re paying close attention to how many calories they eat daily. Unfortunately, this is also when your cat could develop bad eating habits if they are not monitored. 

It would be best if you were making an effort to help your cat exercise at this life stage as well, to encourage them to stay active before they get too old. In general, you could feed an adult cat an average of 2 to 3 cans of wet food a day (3oz) or a full cup of dry food.

If you want to keep your cat slimmer, you can feed him more wet food since dry food contains too many carbs. However, food quality is essential since cheap food can have too many additives, and your cat can gain weight even if you do not feed him a lot.


There is conflicting data on whether or not cats only eat when they’re hungry or if they’ll eat anything you give them. Most pet parents will tell you it’s the latter. 

Most cats prefer to graze on food sporadically throughout the day, which can make controlling their eating a little challenging if you can’t be home at all times. 

In my experience, most cats can adjust the quantity of food they eat if they have not been spoiled at a young age. I can see that cats eat their food until they are full, then come back after a while to eat a bit more, but in general, they do not over-heat as humans do.

Some cats might have some problems controlling their food intake and become fat. However, I believe that indoor cats can learn good eating habits from their cats’ parents and humans when they are young, and they will do much better later on in like judging how much they need to eat.


You can feed your cat a combination of wet and dry food. While they might prefer wet food, they should also be getting dry kibble. However, wet food should be the central part of their diet. Indoor cats may become fat if they eat too much dry kibble.

Many cat foods will have information regarding how many calories are in a standard cup of their food and will advise you on how much you should feed your cat based on their weight. 

No specific number can determine precisely how many calories your indoor cat needs. You will have to adjust any advice you are given based on your indoor cat’s lifestyle and energy level. All you can do is your best and seek out veterinarian advice whenever you aren’t sure.


In general, if you buy cans of 85 grams of cat food (3oz), you will get about 100 calories. However, some food brands can have different sizes and provide higher-calorie food. Also, the type of meat, such as fish, chicken, or beef, can change the caloric intake.

But looking at the calories is not enough. Low-quality food can have more calories because it is filled with carbs and additives. You do not want it. You want wet food with high meat content, from a natural source, with no additives, colorants, and other fillers.

It is better to buy less meat but high quality. It is also good to cook fish and chicken for your cat. It will help him to get good calories and stay healthy.


Do indoor cats need fewer calories?

Indoor cats need fewer calories because they are less active than outdoor cats. However, some indoor cats are still very active. They do not work as much as outdoor cats since they do not need to hunt, fight with other animals, etc.

How many calories should a 10-pound cat eat?

A 10 pounds cat needs between 200 and 300 calories a day, depending on how active they are. The breed, genetics, and other factors can determine if they need more calories or less.

How many calories does an 8 lb cat need?

Depending on the activity level and breed, an 8lb cat might need between 150 and 250 calories a day. On average, two cans of wet food and a bit of dry food will be enough to meet the daily calories intake.

Why is my cat always hungry but fat?

Ruling out medical issues, your cat is always hungry but fat because most cats like to eat a bit, and often, instead of eating an entire can of wet food and asking you for more food many hours later, they prefer to eat a little but often. Each time they eat, it is just a bit of food, although cats owners think they eat a lot.

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