A meta-analysis was carried out in order to establish the energy requirements of adult cats. Publications that identified cat body weight (BW) were used to generate allometric relationships between energy requirements and BW of healthy adult cats, using log-log linear regression. Energy requirements were expressed in kcal/kg BW to be consistent with those reported by the National Research Council. Mean maintenance energy requirements were 55·1 (se 1·2) kcal/kg BW (115 treatment groups). Three allometric equations were identified to predict the energy requirements for maintenance of BW in the cat based on BW: light (53·7 kcal/kg BW− 1·061), normal (46·8 kcal/kg BW− 1·115) and heavy (131·8 kcal/kg BW− 0 ·366). When reported on lean mass, the allometric equation revealed maintenance requirements were 58·4 kcal/kg lean mass− 1·140 (adjusted R2 0·694; thirty-six treatment groups). The present review suggests that values for maintenance energy requirements based on BW alone may not be an accurate prediction and more detailed information on the age, sex and neuter status, BW and composition would enhance the ability to interpret the maintenance energy requirements of cats.