When To Wean Kittens
Normally, the kitten weaning process begins at about four weeks of age. With mom, theyll start to try to eat her food, and shell push them away from her, says Benson. But if youre weaning a kitten that has been orphaned, you can start a little earlier, between three and four weeks.
When they start biting and chewing on the bottle, theyre ready, says Benson. At this point, you can start to introduce kitten food.
When Do Kittens Start Eating Solid Food
Breastfeeding a kitten lasts about 9 weeks, and when their teeth begin to come in, after about four weeks, they can begin to eat food. We must feed them with food appropriate for their age. It is advisable to moisten it a little with water to make it easier to adapt to the process of chewing, or add a bit of wet food .
The food that cats must take from the end of lactation to one year of life must be composed of highly digestible proteins, antioxidants and omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. This feed must be of high quality and the amount to be given is estimated according to the weight and the guidance tables that come on the containers. However, depending on the characteristics of our kitten, the veterinarian can tell us if they should eat more or less.
The commercial names of food for growing kittens have names such as “kitten”, “growth”, etc. So look at this detail to select the best food for your little one.
If you prefer, you can make homemade food for this stage of life but, our vets recommend a complete feed, since it is very difficult to maintain a perfect balance between all the nutrients.
Refrigerate The Wet Food After Opening
As soon as you open a wet cat food can, refrigerate the leftovers immediately.
This will slow down bacterial contamination from occurring and help the food last for longer periods of time.
Wet foods should be stored in their original cans to avoid contaminating other items in your refrigerator with bacteria that aren’t meant for human consumption!
Wet Food: The Downside
There are disadvantages to the canned variety, though. Wet food generally costs more for its volume, so pet parents on a strict budget may prefer dry food to canned for monetary reasons. Open cans need appropriately sized lids when storing them to keep them fresh and prevent odor from permeating the rest of the refrigerator . Some cats dislike cold food, though, so you may need to put her canned food on a microwave-safe plate and warm it 3-5 seconds before serving. If your cat isn’t particularly hungry, she may leave wet food scraps in her bowl or on her plate, which should be tossed after being out more than four hours.
Also, if you have a long-haired or light-colored cat, you might be averse to feeding wet cat food because it can get on her whiskers and nose. But cats are meticulous groomers and will typically clean their own faces, and over time your cat should learn to be less messy of an eater. If you happen to have a cat that is a little lazier and doesn’t clean themselves as regularly, you might look into serving them food on a flat plate and purchasing some cat-safe wet wipes to help clean your cat after eating.
Can Kittens Eat Adult Wet Food
Kittens should preferentially be fed diets that are designed for their life stage. This is because they have different requirements from an adult cat as they are growing really quickly. A kitten diet will be higher in protein and contain the right balance of calcium and phosphorous to support healthy bone development. Kitten diets often contain Vitamin E and selenium to benefit the immune system and DHA omega fatty acid for neurological development. The diets will also be very calorie dense to meet energy demands.
The mother of the kittens will also have increased energy demands during later stages of pregnancy and lactation. It is therefore common to feed her on a kitten diet. This also makes it easier when the kittens start to eat solid food, as they can be fed the same kitten diet as their mother.
Is Urinary Cat Food Safe For Sensitive Tummies
If your cat has a milder sensitive stomach, you might be able to get away with feeding him the canned version of his favorite food. Check the list at to find some good options with relatively low levels of carbohydrates and high levels of moisture to benefit the bladder.
For cats with a severe food sensitivity or food allergy, I often recommend feeding a moist/canned version of hypoallergenic food such as Royal Canin Selected Protein .
Ask your vet for help choosing cat food if your cat has a sensitive stomach and urinary troubles.
Can Kittens Eat Cat Food
Even the most hardened individuals cannot help but to melt a little when presented with a cute kitten, be that just a photo or cuddling a little bundle of fluff directly.
There are countless materials and resources dedicated to kittens, from websites to retail stores, but with such a dazzling array of information, how do you know the right thing to do when it comes to feeding your gorgeous new kitten?
This article is going to explore the nutrition element in much more detail and explain why its so important that every kitten receives the right food during growth.
In short, well be looking at why kittens shouldnt be eating adult cat food.
Lets start by exploring what makes a kitten, well a kitten!
For Weight Loss Wet Cat Food
Moisture is the winning factor here again for wet cat food. The high water content of canned cat food makes it perfect for your cats weight loss or maintenance since water helps your pet feel full. The high protein and low carb content help, too, since it promotes satiety, keeping your cat from returning to the bowl hungry after only a few hours.
It can be hard for cats to lose weight when fed only a kibble diet. Since kibble is dense and doesnt include a lot of moisture, it can be easy for your cat to overeat. Restricting your cats food is not easy to do while still maintaining balanced nutrition, so canned food may be the way to go, even if youre only replacing a meal a day.
Increase Your Cats Water Intake
Our pet cats originate from wild desert cats. Naturally, in the wild cats do not need to drink lots of water because they get most of their bodies hydration needs met by the moisture in their carnivorous diet. For this reason, cats did not evolve the same thirst drive as humans did.
It is critical to ensure that your pet cat drinks enough water, especially if they eat a diet of mostly dry food. Depending on their activity level and environmental conditions, cats need 120-400ml of water per day, from their food and water.
If cats are slightly dehydrated over many years, they are prone to developing urinary tract issues. The kidneys and liver get over-stressed, resulting in bladder problems, urinary tract disease, and kidney failure. By encouraging our cats to consume more water, we can avoid these problems.
Best For Total Health: Wet Cat Food
Canned cat food is our clear winner when it comes to your cats best health. Your cat will benefit from including wet food in its diet, whether you choose to switch to all canned food or just to serve it a few times a week.
On top in terms of urinary tract health, meat protein content, and weight loss, canned cat food can provide numerous benefits to your feline. However, your pets best food choice must always be weighed against all pros and cons.
Theres no one-size-fits-all food solution for any pet. Choose what works best for your pet and your lifestyle. And above all else, always choose the best value food you can afford for your cat, whether dry or kibble, homemade, or raw.
Are you a dry food or wet food feeder? Let us know which format works best for your cat and why!
Dry Cat Food Benefits
Dry cat food is less expensive than canned food, so people who are on a strict budget or those that feed community cats may choose this option.
Dry food also does not have to be stored in the refrigerator and can be left out much longer than can food. This is a good option if you free-feed your cats, but any portion not eaten by the end of the day should be discarded.
You can also use dry cat food in automatic feeders or in puzzle feeder toys.
Why Do Cats Suddenly Go Off Their Food
Cat in the kitchen refusing food
You may have a cat for a while and all of a sudden shes gone off her food. But, why does this happen?
If your cat has suddenly gone off her food it could just be the taste of the new food. Sometimes it could be a dental problem such as a simple toothache. However, in extreme circumstances, it could be a serious health issue such as kidney failure or intestinal issues.
If in doubt its advisable to consult with your vet. So, now you know there could be several reasons why your cat has suddenly gone off her food. Regarding their diet, can cats live off just wet food alone?
To Convert Your Cat Food To A Dry Matter Basis:
While it may not make a big difference for a kibble food, wet foods can contain significantly more actual protein when you look at the Dry Matter Basis. Always check!
For an easier option, use our dry matter calculator in How to Read & Understand Pet Food Labels.
Put Its Favorite Cat Treat In The Middle Of The Wet Food
This trick is a winner. If your cat doesnt feel appealed by his wet food anymore simply put his favorite treats in the middle of the wet food and wait. Your cat will first go for the treats but his following reaction will be eating the whole meal nonstop. You can put one, two, or three treats in its wet food, making sure to stick them inside the food, leaving the top exposed so your cat can smell them.
The Type Of Wet Food I Feed My Cat
I feed my cat Wellness Healthy Indulgence wet food which comes in pouches with several varieties and flavors. In the beginning, I fed her the Morsels Chicken variety, and later I switched to the Gravies Chicken & Turkey variety which I have been feeding her for the last year.
She has always loved her wet food and eaten every single piece of it. But lately, shes been approaching the food, sniffing it, and walking away. This is very strange behavior but not unusual. Actually, I found a thread in the CatSite forum about this problem. I wanted to learn more about why cats do this and why my cat Sophie is doing it. Heres what I discovered:
Why You Should Trust Us
Over the last year, weve reviewed more than 80 cat food brands, including almost all of the top names in the industry. To stay on top of the latest cat food science and trends, we read scientific reports, attended industry events, spoke with cat food experts and insiders, and tested foods in the real world.
Based on this knowledge, weve selected the following ten brands and products as the best in the business. Each earns its place with a combination of impressive ingredient quality, nutrient profile, and company reputation.
Understanding A Kitten’s Diet
As mammals, kittens will obtain their initial food energy from their mother’s milk. While we will do what we can to help them develop, the mother will be in charge of adapting their diet. When the kitten is a newborn, milk is sufficient to meet all of their developmental needs. Eventually, the mother will begin the weaning period at about 8 weeks. During this time she will encourage them to eat solid food .
Unless there is a threat to their health, kittens should not be removed from their mothers until at least 8 weeks of life, although preferably up to 12. Once the kitten arrives in our home, we will need to provide them with food to sustain them. Since the kittens should be weaned by their mother, this means we should only have to provide solid food.
If a kitten has been separated prematurely from their mother, then we should know what to expect. Not only will the kitten not be able to eat adult cat food, they will not be able to eat solid food at all. Instead, they will need to be given a formula or replacement kitten milk. While you can buy this from a pet store or veterinarian, our article on what to feed a one month kitten will explain in detail what you need to consider.
For all the above reasons, if a kitten is able to eat solid food, it is best to provide them with a kitten-specific option.
Basic Kitten Feeding Guide
The following information is general advice, but as each kitten is an individual, seek veterinary advice, particularly if your kitten has any special dietary needs or has a reaction to a standard diet.
The basis of your kittens diet should be a high quality balanced premium commercial kitten food that is appropriate for their life stage and health status. By reading the label, you can check that it complies with the Australian Standard for the Manufacturing and Marketing of Pet Food AS 5812:2017 . It is best to start feeding wet kitten food and introducing dry kitten food as your kitten grows . Never feed puppy or dog food to your kitten as it will be deficient in taurine, an essential protein that cats can only obtain through food.
You can also offer some natural foods to provide variety. Natural foods include fresh human-grade raw meat such as diced up raw lamb meat or pieces of raw chicken meat. You should check with your vet first that raw meaty bones are suitable for your particular kitten .
Raw food offered to kittens should always be fresh. Avoid feeding too much raw meat until the kitten is 20 weeks of age This is important to help avoid certain nutritional deficiencies during growth.
Kittens should be offered food at least 4 times per day.
Take care not to overfeed or underfeed your kitten. Your vet will be able to weigh your kitten, assess your kittens body condition score and provide advice.
Your Cats Particular Health Needs
The best cat food for your cat will be unique to their lifestyle and nutritional needs.
For example, if your kitten or cat is of normal weight and healthy, then a kitten or adult maintenance diet should be sufficient. If your cat is overweight, it may be best to look for a low-fat diet.
If your cat has a health condition, your veterinarian may prescribe a specific diet formulated for that disease. For example, kidney diets are recommended in most cats who develop kidney disease, or a urinary diet may be more appropriate in cats who have lower urinary tract disease.
Is Kitten Food Ever A Good Choice For Adult Cats
Yes, sometimes, kitten food can be beneficial to your cats health. Since its higher in calories, fat, and protein, kitten food might be an excellent choice to occasionally supplement or integrate within your cats regular food routine if theyre suffering from weight loss or struggling to gain weight.
As always, check with your vet before switching to kitten food, but if your cat is underweight, a great quality kitten food to try is. This wet kitten food comes in morsels in gravy or a pate and is made with high fat, protein, and carbohydrate formula to help kittens gain weight quickly. As a result, it can help cats struggling to gain weight. Royal Canin also makes , though its always best to feed young cats wet food primarily and dry food as a secondary option.
For Hydration: Wet Cat Food
Many cat nutrition experts warn against feeding cats a strictly dry kibble diet. Dry kibble diets average around 7-12% moisture content, making your pet prone to dehydration if they don’t drink a significant amount of water.
Add to that the high sodium content of your feline’s food, which causes water retention and more dehydration, and your pet is seriously moisture-deprived. Since cats have a low thirst drive, your cat is likely at least mildly dehydrated if they are being fed a dry food diet only. Even mild chronic dehydration can lead to urinary tract issues and health complications.
In the wild, cats would receive most of their hydration from the prey that they would eat, which is typically 60-70% water. At 70-80% moisture content, canned or wet cat food is very close to your kitty’s natural prey diet.
Try to choose a wet food that is close to 70% moisture content. While hydration is good, you don’t want to be paying for mostly water.
What Should You Do If Your Cat Wont Eat Wet Food Anymore
Calico cat refusing wet food.
If you have noticed that your cat is not eating the wet food anymore you may be curious or keen to find a solution, right?
To get your cat to eat wet food check with your vet to make sure that she is not sick. If she doesnt simply try another brand, it could just be the taste. Alternatively, stick with it, and try cleaning her food bowl. Failing that, consider buying some more bowls.
You have learned what you should do if your cat wont eat wet food anymore. But, is it possible to try mixing wet and dry cat food?
Avoid Carrageenan Approach Xanthan Gum And Guar Gum With Caution
The most notorious cat food binder is carrageenan. While the carrageenan used in cat food is food-grade and theoretically wont cause inflammation or cancer, theres substantial evidence suggesting that food-grade carrageenan isnt as safe as it should be.
Xanthan gum is generally considered safe but might not be right for every cat. Its the product of simple sugar fermentation and may carry traces of the fermentation medium. Cats who are allergic to the soy, wheat, dairy, or corn used to make xanthan gum may have an allergic reaction. Some non-allergic cats experience diarrhea or GI discomfort after eating xanthan gum due to its high fiber content.
What Do You Feed A Cat That Refuses To Eat
If you have a finicky cat and she is refusing to eat what can you do?
To feed a cat that refuses to eat. If you are not using wet food try this first. If you already feeding her wet food, try heating the food first to see if this makes it more interesting for her. Failing that, try to add some fish oil, eggs, or some broth.
Another thing you can try is fresh food. But, wait until later on in the day when she has developed more hunger.
How Much Should A Cat Eat
You should read the instructions on your chosen cat food for detailed information on how much you should feed your cat. You will also need to change the amount of food for kittens, adult cats and senior cats, so make sure you take this into consideration. For example:
Kittens have small stomachs and high energy needs, so they need to be fed little and often. Remember to check their food and replace it four times a day. It is imperative they are fed specific kitten food which provides nutrients required for growing and is more energy dense.
- Adult cats
Your cat is an ‘adult’ when they are between one and eight years old. Your adult cat needs to be fed once or twice a day, but some will regulate their food intake, so their daily ration can be left out, particularly if you give them dry food.
- Senior cats
Cats over eight are considered ‘senior’. As your cat grows older, their nutritional needs change and you can buy special foods that cater for them. These foods may have less protein and a balance of minerals and vitamins designed to keep them in good health.
Too Long Eating The Same Food
Just as humans, cats get bored eating the same food for too long. Cats need some change after a long period of time. Usually, a cat gets bored eating the same food for about a year. So if youve been feeding your cat the same food for over a year and he or she stops eating it, you may want to consider changing the brand or variety.
How Long Can Wet Cat Food Sit Out
wet cat food should not sit out for longer than two hours.
If you are going to be gone from home and the wet cat food needs to stay at room temperature, place it in a shallow pan so that no water will pool on top of the food. Wet food should never come into contact with anything else because this can cause bacteria growth or spoilage.
If your canned wet cat foods have grown some funky greenish molds along its surface – just discard it as quickly as possible since molding is an indication that aerobic bacterial have gotten into the mixture which could make felines sick.
Senior Cats And Kitten Food
Senior cats, or cats over 11 years old, are also not recommended to eat a kitten food diet. While eating a can of kitten food here or there is generally considered safe, long term intake can be an issue for many senior cats.
New evidence suggests that high phosphorus levels in kitten food can lead to serious kidney issues, particularly for senior cats. Consuming these phosphorus levels isnt an issue for kittens since they only eat kitten food for their first year of life, but feeding a senior cat kitten food with increased levels of phosphorus can cause kidney issues and even kidney failure. The best cat food for seniors cats meets the specific nutritional needs of older cats.
Whats The Difference Between Kitten Food And Cat Food
A young cat is considered a kitten up to 12 months of age. After being weaned from their mother , kittens will consume a diet targeted to helping them grow and flourish into a full-grown cat.
The contents of kitten food are a little bit different from adult cat food in several ways. In general, kitten food contains:
- Higher levels of fat: Kitten food has a minimum of 22 percent protein versus adult cat foods 18 percent protein.
- Higher levels of protein: Kitten food has a minimum of 8 percent fat versus adult cat foods 5 percent fat.
- More vitamins and nutrients: Kitten food contains a larger dose of vitamins than adult cat food, such as calcium and phosphorus, needed for cats to grow and develop. Adult cat foods contain much lower levels since these vitamins are no longer needed for growth and can be harmful to some adult cats .
- Higher calorie count: Since kittens are growing, they need more calories. According to, kittens need roughly 520 calories per cup, while adult cats require only 500 calories .