What Should I Feed my Kitten?Petmania Pet Care Advisor
Feeding your kitten the right food and providing a balanced diet is important as it will help support her unique growth and developmental needs. If you’re a first time kitten parent, it can be overwhelming when trying to make the best decision for your kitty’s diet. In this blog post, we’ll help you understand what to feed your kitten to help set her up for many happy, healthy years as an adult cat.
Timeline of a Kitten’s Dietary Needs
Your kitten will go through an intense growth spurt in their first few weeks that will help to build a strong skeleton and muscle mass. This means they will require protein and other key nutrients in their diet, such as antioxidants for immune system support.
What To Feed: She will be on her mother’s milk for the first four weeks, and then begin to gradually transition to soft, kitten-friendly food. Feed her kitten food mixed with milk replacement formula to form a soft slush.
How Often? Feed once every six to eight hours.
What to Feed: She will be completely weaned at about eight weeks and on solid canned food or kibble.
How Often? When kittens are 8 weeks old, they can be fed four times a day to help fuel their daily nutritional needs. This can differ depending on your kitten’s breed and body condition. Always follow your veterinarian’s recommendation.
Tip: If your kitten was a little older when you brought her home, we recommend sticking to the food the breeder was feeding her to prevent any upset tummies and unnecessary stress. Once your kitten has settled into her new home, you can begin to transition to a different food by adding the new food gradually to her older one over a period of seven days.
What to Feed: By this stage, your kitten should have all her baby teeth and be weaned off cat’s milk. Start out with wet kitten food as her stomach and teeth will still be tender.
During this phase, your kitten is still growing very quickly and will need lots of calories throughout the day to support that growth. About 250-280 calories per day will be needed for your growing kitten, with larger breeds like Maine Coons and Ragdolls needing as many as 360 calories a day.
How Often? Five meals a day
What to Feed: A kitten’s growth will start to decelerate between 4 and 12 months, but they will still have a high energy requirement as they develop muscle mass. Feed her energy-dense, easily digestible food that contains all the right nutrients to help support her growth and development.
How Often? As you approach the 6 month mark, you can begin feeding your kitten three times a day. Weigh your kitten regularly and adjust the amounts accordingly. Always follow your veterinarian’s recommendation.
What if My Kitten is Neutered?
If your kitten is neutered, her feeding guidelines may need to be slightly adjusted. After your cat is neutered, cut her food intake by about a quarter as she’ll require less calories. Monitor her Body Condition Score throughout her growth, and if it starts reaching a 6/7, switch her to a kitten sterilised food or lower her feeds. If she begins to lose weight, you can slowly increase the meal size again.
What Not to Feed your Kitten
There are certain foods that should not be fed to your kitten
- Cow’s Milk
Don’t feed cow’s milk to your cat. It can add an unhealthy amount of fat to your cat’s diet and cause an upset tummy.
- Raw meat or liver
Don’t feed your kitten raw meat or liver as it may contain parasites and other harmful bacteria.
- Raw eggs
Avoid giving your kitten raw eggs as it may contain salmonella. This can cause a decrease in Vitamin B absorption, leading to skin and hair coat problems.
Chocolate, avocados, onions, garlic, and dairy products are all very harmful to cats, no matter what age they are. Always avoid feeding your cat these foods, and if you suspect they’ve ingested one, immediately contact your vet.
Got a Question? If you have a question about finding the right kitten food or just kitten care in general, speak with one of our Pet Care Advisors in-store today.