The Best Dry Foods For Kittens. Playing, ear-biting, wrestling, and exploring behaviors will begin and are important parts of socialization. Kitten formula can be purchased in pet stores or online stores. Also use caution with homemade diets. Larsen agrees that it’s fine for young kittens to “free feed,” by making unlimited kitten food available to them all day long, and then to transition to meal eating around four to six months of age. Feeding Newborn Kittens If the mama cat isn’t present to nurse a newborn kitten, you’ll have to feed it with milk formula during its first week. Get your kitten started off on the right paw. Feeding a kitten isn’t as easy as grabbing a bag of cat chow at the nearest convenience store. Feeding not only satisfies a cat’s abundant energy needs, but also provides her with the right nutrients she needs to … Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD, nutritional consultant and assistant professor of clinical nutrition, William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, UC, Davis. Feed the Kitten. There's a lot you need to know to make things go smoothly with your new friend. Use supplements only if your veterinarian recommends them. Adrienne Kruzer, RVT, has worked with a variety of animals for over 15 years, including birds of prey, reptiles, and small mammals. © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. Again, keep watch on the kittens stools to make sure they are tolerating the food well. Growing kittens need as much as three times more calories and nutrients than adult cats . The amount to feed your cat depends on her age, size and activity level. 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dry kitten food to eat during the morning; see how much she eats and increase if necessary Feeding Wet Cat Food vs. Dry Cat Food Most veterinarians recommend that cats eat primarily wet food. This is especially important when you're feeding a kitten and older cat together. Just like human babies, kittens do a lot of growing in the first year of their lives. Learn more about your cat's nutritional needs in our cat feeding guide. “So most kittens want to eat at least three or four meals a day,” she says. By six weeks of age, a kitten should be eating the gruel four times a day and nursing less. Make sure you never feed kittens “Cat Milk,” which is designed for adult cats, or cow’s or goat’s milk, which could give the kittens life-threatening diarrhea. Most kittens do just fine without human intervention, but if a kitten needs to be bottle-fed, either because the mother cat is absent, ill, or rejects the kitten, you'll want to weigh the kitten regularly to make sure its weight reflects a healthy and normal growth rate of a kitten. To find the best dry kitten food for you, you’ll be needing a bit more … If they’re only eating canned food, they should be fed four times daily. The higher water content in wet foods can help treat or prevent kidney and lower urinary tract disease as well as obesity and all its associated health problems. “I don’t recommend generic or store brands,” Bough says. Over time, offer smaller and smaller amounts of the old food along with the new food. Kittens’ needs for fat, some fatty acids, and most vitamins are the same as for adult cats, Larsen says. Kitten Feeding. Very small kittens have very small teeth and can’t chew dry food well. These high energy needs make it harder for kittens to get enough calories in one meal, says Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD, nutritional consultant and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis. Weight gain should be monitored with the use of a gram scale, such as the kind that is used for weighing food in the kitchen. The feeding location will ideally be quiet and out of the way of foot traffic. Check packages for suggested amounts. Feed your cat too little or the wrong kind of food, and he won't … By making sure a kitten is on a proper feeding schedule, you'll be able to monitor your kitten's growth and ensure they are receiving appropriate nutrition. For these reasons, most experts recommend you feed your kitten specially formulated kitten food until age 1. By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD, Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts, Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Kitten Care -- From Adoption to Kitty-Proofing Your Home, Weaning a Kitten from Mother’s Milk to Solid Food. Feedings will occur less frequently and a bowl of formula or other liquid kitten food should be made available for a kitten to start drinking from. 5 important things about feeding your cat Feed your cat a complete food that’s suitable for their life stage, eg kitten, adult or senior cat – the food packaging will advise which life stage it is aimed at. Feeding your cat a proper diet is one of the most important aspects to help keep them at optimal health. As the kittens eat more food and less formula, you will need to have a bowl of fresh water available to them at all times to keep them well hydrated. They progressively become inactive and do not gain enough weight. 1/3 to 1/2 of a 5-oz. But how can you be certain a kitten food is of high quality? But this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to turn your leftover table scraps into treats for your kitten. By the third week, you can tell if the kittens are boys or girls. Solid food should not be an issue for kittens of this age but they may still try to nurse on occasion. Check the liquid’s temperature on your wrist – it should be heated until warm but not hot. Once a kitten has surpassed eight weeks of age, they should be fed twice a day with normal kitten food. One way is by checking the label. If your cat is on a special diet advised by your vet, for weight loss or another medical condition, treats may be a no-no. “Preventing obesity is preferable to addressing it once it’s already occurred.”. Morning Meal. As you might observe, almost all cat feeding guides recommend feeding the pregnant cat kitten food. This can mean feeding your kitten at the same time and place every day. Also, take precautions with the following foods: In addition, onions, garlic, chocolate, coffee, tea, raisins, or grapes can be toxic to kittens and cats. Feeding guidelines, which list the daily-recommended portion, are included on all IAMS™ packages. “If exposed to the same food over and over, cats tend to get a fixed preference for a particular flavor and texture.”, If you’re trying to make a switch to a new kitten food, Larsen recommends not mixing it with the old food. The rest of the time will be spent sleeping. Kittens that are bottle-fed should consume about a tablespoon, or 15 ml, of special kitten formula at each feeding. “Especially control intake around the time of spaying and neutering, which increases the risk for obesity,” Larsen says. Mindy Bough, CVT, senior director of client services for the Midwest Office of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) emphasizes the importance of high-quality kitten food. Pick up and discard any uneaten canned food after 30 minutes or so. After the first four weeks of mother’s milk, a kitten gradually transitions to kitten food, and is completely weaned at about eight weeks. “It’s easier to switch foods if a kitten has been exposed early on to different textures and flavors,” Larsen says. Kittens need different food from adult cats and it will begin to crawl around shortly after its eyes open. Add some of the watered-down formula mix to the dry food to entice the kittens to eat it. “A little bit of hunger will help them make the transition - and resign them to at least trying the new food.”. “If you use a homemade diet, make sure it’s been formulated by a reputable nutritionist,” Bough says. “It’s also a comfort thing -- kittens are snackers at heart.”. Solid food should not be an issue for kittens of this age but they may still try to nurse on occasion. Its eyes and ears are sealed shut when it's born, so it will rely on the pheromones its mother gives off to find milk and warmth. Here’s what you need to know once you’ve brought your kitten home. Proper feeding is a big part of the health equation. Ask your vet what you can and can’t feed to be on the safe side. 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. Feed half of your kitten’s canned food allotment for the day (refrigerate the remaining portion). at birth but will gain weight rapidly from nursing. Of course, it’s not the best option for overweight or obese kittens. How Much to Feed a Kitten — From Four to Eight Weeks Weaning kittens: This is a gradual process. Without some canned food, they won’t get enough nutrition to grow properly. Bowl of water with 1 to 2 cups of fresh water, shallow enough for your kitten to access easily. And don’t forget to provide plenty of fresh water -- it’s a key to keeping cats of all ages healthy. For the first several weeks of life, a newborn kitten will depend entirely on its mother to provide it with food. Kitten Development from Newborn to One Week, Kitten Development in the First Six Weeks of Life, The 6 Best Wet Foods for Your Kitten in 2021. How Long Should a Kitten Stay With Its Mother? Towards the end of week five, you should be offering the kitten more food from a saucer than it is consuming from nursing. Birth to four weeks: Kittens can eat as often as they like. by the time it is 4 to 5 weeks of age if it is eating enough food. This will be a messy stage of a kitten's life since it usually ends up walking in the food, but it is a necessary step to begin weaning it off of its mother's milk. After feeding for a period of time, you be the judge. How do kittens’ nutritional needs differ from those of adult cats? Choose a food that is intended for growth. If you’ve just acquired a kitten (or two), you’re probably learning all about kitten care. If a kitten is nursing from its mother, you'll have to depend on how much the kitten weighs to know whether or not it is consuming enough food. For these kittens, measured portions offered as meals or until gone is a better choice. A kitten’s weight may double or … Remember that making rapid changes in food can cause stomach upset or “hunger strikes.” So you may need to make the transition to a new food over four to seven days. A cat’s life stages for feeding are varied depending on food manufacturer, but this is a good guide: Kitten: 0-12 months Adult cat: between 1 and 7 years of age Since cats, in general, are creatures of habit, it’s important to establish some structure around feeding time for your kitten. Guidelines on what to feed kittens at different stages (ages): less than a week, two weeks, three weeks, four … By the end of the first week, the ear canals of a kitten will have opened and, if it is eating appropriately, it should weigh about 4 oz. Create a Safe Atmosphere. Limited nursing sessions should still be allowed until the kittens are two months old, assuming they are all eating the kitten food that is offered to them three times a day. During weeks 4 and 5, a kitten will slowly increase how much food it consumes in a meal. A kitten’s weight may double or even triple during the first few weeks of life. Free-choice feeding has the additional benefit of reducing stomach distention resulting from rapid meal eating. Between days 8 through 18, its weight should increase to about 10 oz. It’s important that very young kittens have at least some canned food to eat as part of their diet. A 2 to 3-week old kitten will still need to be fed every 2-3 hours and it should consume at least 1/2 tablespoon of formula or milk during each meal. The kind of food and how much a kitten consumes directly affects their growth rate and development. “Young cats need more frequent feeding,” Bough says, “But as they get older, they can go to twice-a-day feeding.”. A Simple Guide to Feeding Your Cat Mealtime is a special time for cats. Hold the … Several times a day, give them access to Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Ultra-Soft Mousse in Sauce Wet Cat Food or a gruel made from warm water mixed into a high quality canned kitten food. Daily weight gain is an indication that the diet is meeting the kittens’ nutritional needs. Even better, look for this: “Complete and balanced nutrition for kittens based on AAFCO feeding trials.” “Complete and balanced nutrition” means your kitten will require no mineral or vitamin supplementation. For specially formulated cat treats, read the feeding guide on the packet for guidance on how to serve and how often. Feeding Kittens at 4 To 6 Weeks Old. Feeding guides on the food can or bag are just a starting point. To support this explosive growth -- as well as high activity levels -- your kitten may have triple the energy needs of an adult cat. Start feeding with this amount and adjust according to your pet’s needs. Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine: “Nutrition for the Growing Kitten.”. The gruel should become less and less watery and dry kitten food should be introduced, along with a bowl of water. This means that treats should make up less than 10% of your kitten’s total calorie intake. It also helps underweight or slow-growing kittens. Gradually reduce the formula and let them eat the food dry. Although some cat foods are labeled as appropriate for kittens and cats of all life stages, these aren’t appropriate for your kitten unless feeding tests support the label claim. If you are feeding your kitten both dry and canned foods, then twice a day canned feedings are sufficient. Feeding guidelines The amount of food you should feed your kitten will vary as it ages. By 5-6 weeks of age, a gruel is no longer necessary because a kitten’s … For example, kittens should get about 30% of their energy from protein. At the beginning start feeding the amount mentioned on the food label. Feed your kitten in a quiet area, away from the hustle and bustle of your home. A kitten in good health will sleep between breastfeeding sessions and will wake up when their mother encourages them to so, when they start to scream and actively seeks the teat.. Feeding: Use specific kitten bottles to feed the kittens with kitten formula. What they do advise is that you feed them a variety of foods in moderation. It’s OK to feed your kitten treats, as long as you follow the “10% calorie rule,” Larsen says. Weigh kittens at the same time daily, not only to ensure adequate weight gain but also to calculate the amount they should be eating with each feeding. Fill a puzzle feeder with approximately one-third of the daily dry kibble ration for the kitten to “hunt and play” with through the day. Feeding your kitten up to four weeks old From birth to a month old, your kitten will be getting all the nutrition they need from their mother when they suckle. You want to do what you can to ensure that your adorable baby grows into a healthy adult. Instead, offer the new food and old foods in separate bowls. From 2 months to 3 months; You will see some progression on kittens feeding when they finally reach at least 10 weeks. A kitten should weigh about 14 to 16 oz. can of wet cat food; refrigerate remaining portion. Bottle feeding kittens — the do’s Feed the kitten with his belly toward the ground. If diarrhea or constipation persists with the change in diet, contact your medica… When it comes to cuteness, few critters can compare to kittens. At the end of week six, decrease meal times to only three times a day. A kitten will nurse for about 45 minutes at a time every 2 to 3 hours for the first week of life. (Darling, Denby, Corduroy, and … When meals are not enough cats wake more frequently and moan. It should at least contain the following: “Meets the nutritional requirements of kittens established by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).” AAFCO is a group of state and federal officials who regulate pet food. If you have multiple kittens, be sure to provide a few bowls of canned and dry kitten food so the kittens do not become food aggressive. If you have two cats, keep their bowls a reasonable distance apart to avoid confrontation or bullying. At about 3-4 weeks of age, kittens can start weaning, or transitioning to solid food. Cats are obligate carnivores and cannot be vegetarian. When the orphaned kittens are three to four weeks old, begin to offer milk replacer in a shallow bowl, then introduce a moist, easily chewable diet. “If the kitten dislikes the new food, this can put them off the old food, too,” she says. Feed your kitten a food that is made specifically for kittens. Pet food labels are required * to carry a statement identifying the life stage (or stages) for which the food is intended. In fact, feeding just once a day should be acceptable for the majority of cats. A kitten typically weighs about 3 to 3.7 oz. The first vaccinations are typically administered at about eight weeks of age, so when the kittens have a vet visit, you can be sure they have been growing appropriately. How much to feed a kitten 9 weeks or 10 weeks is about four times daily since their belly is still too small to contain all those required amount of foods when less often. Sample this Feeding Schedule for your Kitten. This has a very simple explanation: kitten food contains more protein, fat and nutritional elements that are needed for the growth and development process. Your kitty may hide at first, but it will explore when no one is watching, … The mother cat may need to be separated from kittens that are relentlessly trying to nurse more than they should, but by the end of week eight, a kitten should weigh about two pounds from the combination of limited nursing and eating regular kitten food. Take a look at the feeding guides on the kitten food packet label. How to Prepare Your Kitten for Its First Vet Visit, Postnatal Care of a Mother Cat and Her Newborn Kittens. Also look for a food that has been substantiated by a food trial. Cats are often considered the epitome of the “picky eater.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. Mindy Bough, senior director of client services for the ASPCA Midwest Office. That’s why it’s important to find a good quality food designed especially for kittens.