Cat licking its lips

Feeding a cat and cat nutrition

Feeding a cat must be planned to meet the cat's natural nutritional needs. Cats are obligate carnivores, so their diet should be rich in meat. Cats require more animal-based protein and fat than dogs, which is why dog food is not suitable for cats.

Read this article to learn more about feeding a cat and what type of food your cat needs.

What is the best food for my cat?

Feeding a cat is easiest with high-quality complete cat food, as this ensures your cat gets all the nutrients it needs. A meaty diet rich in animal protein will keep your cat’s belly full, supports its wellbeing, and helps prevent obesity. See PrimaCat's guidelines on how to assess the quality of cat food.

Wet cat food should be the main part of a cat's diet, as cats need to obtain most of their required fluid intake from their food. If a cat's diet is heavily based on dry food, it may not consume enough water, which can harm the health of the cat's urinary tract.

Although cats are carnivores, feeding a cat only fish or meat without supplementary vitamins and minerals can lead to various deficiencies. Fish and meat are considered as supplementary foods, because they do not contain all the nutrients the cat needs.

You can also prepare your cat's food from scratch, but this requires careful study of cat nutrition. Read more about the cat's natural diet.

Do you know what kind of food a growing kitten needs? Read our article on feeding a kitten.

Feeding a cat PrimaCat

How much food for a cat?

Usually, the cat will only eat as much as it needs and can regulate its own eating. The cat food packages have instructions for dosing the food, from which you can get a good basis for estimating the amount of food your cat should eat each day.

Feeding a cat is on the right track when the cat is active, its fur is shiny, and it maintains a healthy weight. It is important to keep a close eye on how much your cat eats, especially if it starts to put on too much weight. Signs like a dull coat or fragile nails can also suggest your cat might be missing important vitamins or minerals in its diet.

For guidance on how to check your cat's body condition score, look up our easy-to-follow tips

Does your cat eat supplementary foods such as PrimaCat Fillets and Soups or meat and fish alongside its complete food? Check out our instructions for dosing supplementary foods.

How many times should I feed my cat a day?

A cat's natural diet includes several small meals a day. Once you know your cat's eating pattern, you will know when to fill your cat's food bowl. You can also keep food constantly available for your cat. If the food cannot be available for the cat freely, you should feed the cat at least 23 times a day.

Practical tips for feeding a cat

  • Provide wet and dry food separately, as cats usually do not want to eat them mixed.
  • Did you know wet cat food can be freely available to your cat in the same way as kibble? Cat will not eat spoiled food, so be sure to empty any leftover food from the bowl often enough and clean the bowls.
  • Many cats prefer to eat their food at room temperature. Leave the wet food taken from the refrigerator to warm up in the bowl, so the cat can eat the food when it is warm enough for the cat.
  • Wet food should not be taken away if the cat does not eat it straight away, as it might well appeal to the cat later. Sometimes the cat may eat part of the food initially and return after some time to finish the rest.

Feeding a cat will be easier when you observe your cat's eating habits. This way you can find out what kind of food your cat prefers to eat. At the same time, you may notice possible changes in the cat's behaviour more easily, which can help to spot health problems.

Different nutrients in cat food


Feeding a cat is based on proteins of animal origin, which are the main source of energy for the cat, in addition to fats. Plant-based proteins are poorly utilized by cats.

Proteins act as building materials for muscles and tissues. Only from animal protein, i.e. meat or fish, does the cat get the amino acids that are essential for its vital functions. These include arginine and taurine that the cat’s body cannot produce by itself. Deficiencies of the essential amino acids can lead to blindness, heart disease and other serious health problems.

Contrary to many other mammals, protein intake regulates a cat's sense of fullness. Cat foods containing large amounts of plant-based proteins, which cats poorly utilize, often lead to obesity because cats need to eat much more of it than meat-rich cat food to feel full.

PrimaCat Feeding a Cat



After proteins, animal fat is the cat's second most important source of energy and an important nutrient for the body. For example, salmon oil provides the cat essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which affect the health of the cat's skin and fur, as well as the functioning of the kidneys.

Carbohydrates and fibre

Cats derive little benefit from carbohydrates in their diet as their digestive system is geared towards processing food rich in animal protein and fat. However, they do need some fibre for the normal functioning of their digestive system and to help the passage of hairballs through the intestines.

Sugar, a type of carbohydrate, is not suitable for a cat's diet and can cause digestive problems and obesity. Learn more about the disadvantages of sugar in cat food.

Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS) are types of fibre suitable for cats, acting as natural prebiotics. Prebiotics help promote a balanced and healthy gut microbiota in cats, as they feed the beneficial gut bacteria. When added to cat food, FOS and MOS prebiotics support the movement and digestion of food in the intestines and help strengthen the cat's immune system.

PrimaCat cat food is designed for the needs of a carnivore. The main ingredient of our cat foods is always meat or fish, and they contain a limited amount of carbohydrates. Only highly digestible ingredients are chosen as sources of carbohydrates and fibre, and never wheat or sugar. PrimaCat's popular Classic wet foods are always grain-free.


Water is one of the most important elements in feeding a cat. It transports nutrients, affects the removal of metabolic waste from the body, regulates body temperature, and reduces the acidity of cat urine, which prevents the formation of painful urinary stones.

Cats naturally have a weak sense of thirst, and they must get most of their hydration from their food. The common prey of cats contains 60–80% water, which is why you should offer the cat wet food in addition to kibble or choose only wet food.

Always make sure fresh water is available for your cat, preferably in several places. Read our tips on how to get your cat to drink more water.

Check out PrimaCat cat food range and find your cat's favourite!