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How Long To Feed Kittens Kitten Food

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How Much And How Often

An eight-week-old kitten is about to enter a period in which she will gain weight quickly.1 Unlike an adult cat that might be fine with just one meal a day, kittens need multiple meals spaced throughout the day. One large meal that contains all of their nutrition for the day would be too difficult to digest properly. Kittens need those calories all day long!

At eight weeks old, a kitten can be fed four times a day, with approximately a half a cup served at each meal.2 This can vary based on your kitten’s breed and body condition and your veterinarian’s recommendation. Because a kitten has so much developing yet to do, a high-protein diet is ideal. And kittens should always have access to fresh, clean water.

Do Maine Coons Use Litter Boxes

A: Maine Coon cats will use litter boxes as long as they are large enough for them to have enough space to comfortably go to the bathroom. Youll also need to consider the age of your cat. If you have a senior cat youll need a tray that is easy to access, or kittens wont be able to jump into top-entry trays.

Learn When To Switch From Kitten Food To Cat Food With Purina And Blains Farm & Fleet

As a general rule, cats that are less than one year of age are considered kittens. It is important to feed your pet a kitten formula for up to one year. The exception would be larger breed cats, such as the Maine Coon, which do not reach adult maturity until they are 18 months to two years of age. Learn more about switching from kitten food to cat food with Purina and Blains Farm & Fleet.

Feeding A Newborn Kitten

In an ideal situation, the kittens mother will nurse them for their first few weeks. The nutrients in her milk helps the newborn kittens transition from milk to solid food. Consuming these important nutrients in her protein-rich milk helps form the kittens immune systems and offers protection from disease.

If you stumble upon a litter of new kittens whose mother is unable to feed them, these orphaned kitties will need to be bottle-fed a suitable replacement for their mothers milk. Newborn kittens up to 4 weeks old should be fed a kitten milk replacement formula . Carlene Strandell, founder and director of the non-profit Smitten with Kittens, a foster-based kitten rescue that operates in Tallahassee, Fl., says you need just two things for feeding a newborn: a kitten bottle with a nipple, and kitten replacement formula. Once you have those two essential items, then you can begin to bottle feed the kitten their special formula.

RELATED: How to Bottle Feed a Kitten the Right Way

What Is The Difference Between Kitten Food And Cat Food

How Long to Feed Kitten Food

The difference between kitten food and cat food is not always very obvious, and most foods generally look the same, with slight changes in size. Appearance aside, the difference is quite outstanding. While kitten food is formulated to give a growing kitten everything it needs, the nutritional requirements of an adult cat are very different.

One of the largest changes between kitten food and adult food is the balance of fats and proteins. Adult food contains considerably less protein and fat, along with less vitamins and minerals. While it may seem that adult food is not as healthy for your cat, it tailors to the lowered requirements. As your cat is no longer growing, it doesnt need the boost in nutrients, or calories, that it did as a kitten.

How To Help A Cat To Recover From A Tooth Extraction

The most important steps to help a cat recover after a tooth extraction are the following:

  • After the tooth extraction, only soft food is allowed for about a week. The main reason for this is to prevent the food to be stuck in the open sockets or sutures in your cats mouth. 
  • Ensure that you are following the instructions for medication that the veterinarian has given you. Anti-inflammatory pain medications, such as Metacam, will help reduce the pain for 48 hrs. If taking them orally is uncomfortable for her, mix a small amount on her food . While narcotics like Buprenex will also help your pain, the effect will only lasts for 8-10 hours, thus, giving it twice a day is recommended. Buprenex can be used by injecting it directly under the skin or squirted on the gums or under the tongue. These medications should be maintained until she is fully recovered.
  • Wait for at least two weeks of recovery before you can start brushing her teeth or giving her dental treats.
  • Keep observing her for the next few weeks. If you notice her having problems closing and opening her mouth or experiencing discomfort, pain, lethargy, lack of appetite and vomiting contact your vet.

How Much Should My Kitten Drink

Cats generally need to drink around 60 ml or 2 oz per kg of body weight either by drinking or through their food. The temperature, your kitten’s exercise levels, and their physical condition affects how much they need to drink, as well as their diet. A kitten fed dry kibbles will drink more than one fed with wet food .

Are There Foods I Should Avoid Giving My Kitten

Its OK to feed your kitten , as long as you follow the 10% calorie rule, Larsen says. This means that treats should make up less than 10% of your kittens total calorie intake. But this doesnt mean its a good idea to turn your leftover table scraps into treats for your kitten. Also, take precautions with the following foods:

  • Raw meat or liver may contain parasites and harmful bacteria.
  • Raw eggs may contain Salmonella and may decrease absorption of a B vitamin, leading to skin and hair coat problems.
  • Raw fish may lead to a B vitamin deficiency, causing loss of appetite, , and even death.
  • Milk may cause in weaned kittens and cats because they lose the enzyme needed to break down milk.

In addition, onions, garlic, chocolate, coffee, tea, raisins, or grapes can be toxic to kittens and cats.

Amy Flowers, DVM

Feeding Kittens 8 Weeks To 6 Months Oldand Beyond

Between 8 weeks and 6 months old, continue feeding your kitten three to four times per day. Only offer food formulated especially for kittens that says complete and balanced on the label. By the time your kitten is 6 months old, you can cut back meals to twice a day until they are a year old. 

RELATED: How Much Should I Really Feed My Cat?

Kitten Feeding Schedule: How Much To Feed Your Growing Kitten

Adrienne Kruzer, BS, RVT, LVT, has worked with a variety of animals for over 15 years, including birds of prey, reptiles, and small mammals.

Editorial Process

Just like human babies, kittens do a lot of growing in the first year of their lives. The kind of food and how much a kitten consumes directly affects their growth rate and development. 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.

When Should I Feed My Cat

When you feed your cat essentially comes down to what works best for their needs. “A variety of feeding styles can maintain good health” in cats, points out the Feline Life Stage Guidelines published the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Animal Hospital Association .

One option is to allow them to eat freestyle with food available 24/7. This method is great if your cat has self-control, but many cats tend to overeat due to anxiety, boredom or health issues. You can also look into automated cat feeders that can regulate how much food your cat eats each day if your cat is prone to overeating.

Breaking up your cat’s caloric intake into two or three smaller meals per day works well for most healthy cats, say experts such as Francis Kallfelz, DVM, Ph.D., at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, as long as they don’t have dietary restrictions due to medical issues.

Other Precautions To Take Into Account

Coinciding with the beginning of the ingestion of solid foods and on their own, the first internal parasite will be given, very important to maintain the health of our kitten. On the other hand, we must offer access to fresh and clean water. The bowl of water should not be too close to the food and, of course, away from the litter box, if possible in another room.


If you want to read similar articles to When do Kittens Start Eating Food and Drinking Water On their Own?, we recommend you visit our Healthy diets category.

How Long Do Maine Coons Need Kitten Food

Feeding Your Kitten

Because Maine Coon Cats reach maturity later than other breeds, you may want to keep your cat on kitten food longer. Most cats make the switch around 4 to 5 months, but some vets suggest keeping Maine Coons on kitten food up until 9 months.

You Might Also Like: Why Does My Cat Lick Herself After I Pet Her?

Food For Active Growing Kittens

Just think about it: Kittens are often more active and playful than adult cats, but they are also growing and developing at a rate that adult cats dont experience. Because of this, they need nutrients that will sustain this growth.

Kitten food generally contains more omega fatty acid DHA that helps your kittens brain and vision develop properly.

Kitten food will also contain all the necessary minerals and vitamins necessary for developing your kittens immune system, plus the optimal calcium to phosphorus rate needed for your kitten to grow into a healthy adult cat.

This is not to say that adult cats dont need high-quality food anymore. They absolutely do.

Why Its Crucial To Calculate How Much Food To Feed A Cat

You might wonder why its important to determine the exact amount of wet cat food you should give your cat? As of 2017, an estimated 60 percent of cats in the US are classified as clinically overweight or obese. Thats about 56.5 million cats who are too heavy, and extra weight has a dramatic, negative effect on feline health.

Overweight cats are at an increased risk for congestive heart failure, skin disorders, infections, diabetes mellitus, complications associated with anesthesia and surgery, hepatic lipidosis , and some types of cancer.

Feeding cats wet food is never as simple as just opening up a can and letting them eat until theyre full. Indoor cats, in particular, tend to burn few calories throughout the day, and they become bored, which we all know can lead to excessive eating and weight gain. Pet parents need to take a strategic approach to measuring out cat food to prevent or deal with weight gain in cats.

How Should I Transition My Kitten To Adult Cat Food

It is important to transition to adult cat food gradually. Your pets digestive system is home to billions of bacteria that keep their gastrointestinal tract healthy. These microbes aid in the digestion of food, fight off potential pathogens, make nutrients and vitamins, and bolster the immune system. Unlike humans, pets eat the same diet every day, and therefore develop microbes to digest that specific diet. When the diet is abruptly changed, the gastrointestinal-dwelling microbes do not have time to adjust and digest the new food. This can result in severe gastrointestinal upset, with vomiting and diarrhea. To avoid this, I always recommend slowly transitioning your pet to their new food. The general guideline is to transition your kitten to an adult diet over 7 days as follows:

  • Days 1 and 2, add ¼ of the new diet to ¾ of the old diet
  • Days 3 and 4, add ½ of the new diet to ½ of the old diet
  • Days 5 and 6, add ¾ of the new diet to ¼ of the old diet
  • Day 7, transition fully to the new diet

From 2 Months To 3 Months

You will see some progression on kittens feeding when they finally reach at least 10 weeks. 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.

The kittens can eat kitten foods and they will start to develop preference of foods and it will last for the rest of their life. Both canned and dry foods are okay and it is up to the owners. However, when the kittens are not used to dry foods yet then you can mix them with little amount of water.

While for the wet foods, you need to store them into refrigerator and when it is the time to feed the kittens, you can warm the foods. Feed a kitten 12 weeks of age should have the same pattern.

How To Mix Gruel

Small batch : ½ can of wet kitten food mixed with ¼ can of formula .

Large batch: Whisk 8 cans wet kitten food with 4 cans of fresh, warm formula . At this age, kittens like their food a little lumpy so they can chew.

Note: Substitute the warm water for formula in gruel for kittens 5 weeks and older.

Helpful tips when using gruel:

  • When introducing kittens to gruel, put gruel in a flat dish and place kittens near the dish. If they do not start to eat on their own after a few minutes, use tongue depressor or spoon to scoop gruel into kittens mouth. You may have to open their mouth and put a little in. You can also put a little gruel on their nose and see if they will lick it off. Sometimes the kittens need to adjust to the new taste.
  • Once kitten starts to eat gruel off the spoon or tongue depressor , slowly start to lower it towards the dish of gruel. The kittens should easily transition from the spoon or depressor to the dish .
  • During the weaning process, kittens still need to be bottle-fed three times per day to ensure they are receiving proper nutrients.

Feeding A Kitten Over 8 Weeks Of Age

Once a kitten has surpassed eight weeks of age, they should be fed twice a day with normal kitten food. Solid food should not be an issue for kittens of this age but they may still try to nurse on occasion. Between eight and ten weeks of age, a kitten should be fully weaned and preparing to leave its mother if you plan to find the kitten a new home. 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.

Why Do Maine Coons Not Meow

If youve never heard a Maine Coon chirp before, then youre probably wondering what they sound like. Often called chirps and trills, Maine Coons generally do not meow unless another breed of cat lives with them and has taught them that skill; instead, they use their own unique vocalizations to communicate with people.

How Do I Feed A Weaning Kitten

How Long Can A Cat Survive Without Food

If kittens are not orphaned, you don’t have to feed a bottle. They can still nurse when they are with mom. Just want to have some time away from mom to give her a break and decrease their dependence on her.

While your orphan kitten is weaning, you should feed them kitten formula from a bottle or shallow bowl. When bottle-feeding, always tilt the bottle and make sure the kitten is on their stomach, never their back.

When kittens are still drinking formula, you will need to burp them. Burp a weaning kitten by placing them on your shoulder or on their stomach and patting them gently. You will be able to hear or feel them burp. 

To encourage a kitten to make the shift from bottle to bowl, dip your finger into the bowl and let the kitten lick formula off your finger. Gradually direct your kitten to the bowl patiently until they learn the process.

How To Make The Transition

Once your kitten is reaching maturity and its time to start transitioning to adult cat food, its important to make the transition gradually, slowly increasing the amount of new food and decreasing the old food.  Typically, this process occurs over a period of a week to 10 days, but keep an eye on your cat to see how she is handling the switch, as its difficult to predict her reaction until she tries it.

Letting your cats digestive system get acclimated to the new food is the main reason for taking the switch slowly.  Because cats generally eat the same thing every day, the microbes they develop in their intestinal system are tailored to digesting that specific diet.  As a result, quickly changing your cats diet doesnt give the microbes in your cats gut enough time to adjust, which can lead to an upset stomach and symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.

In order to prevent this, start with a small amount of the new food mixed in with the old food for at least the first two days.  Then, transition to a 50/50 split between the old and new food for 2 or more days, and then increasing to 75% new and 25% old.  Finally, after 7 or 8 days, you can try giving your cat only the new food.

Alternatively, you can provide two separate food dishes instead of mixing, but still providing less of the old food to encourage your cat to at least try the new food.

When To Stop Feeding Kitten Food

The age at which a kitten reaches adulthood can vary by breed and other factors. Typically, kittens will be fully grown by age 1 and you should stop feeding kitten food and switch to an adult diet then. Its important to stop feeding kitten-specific food when the time is right and transition to an adult diet so your cat does not become overweight.

When switching from kitten to adult cat food, do so as a gradual transition over 7-10 days as changing your cats food too quickly can cause stomach upset. Always introduce the new food by slowly mixing it with the current diet.

Days 1-3: 75% kitten food | 25% adult foodDays 4-6: 50% kitten food | 50% adult foodDays 7-9: 25% kitten food | 75% adult foodDay 10: 100% adult food

Many kitten foods are nutritionally formulated to meet the needs of both kittens and adult cats so always refer to the label for the AAFCO nutritional statement!

Stella & Chewys offers a variety of raw and kibble diets that are formulated to meet your kittens needs. Learn more about choosing a diet for your kitten.


What Should I Feed My Adult Cat

If your kitten is approaching 12 months old, you might be wondering which adult cat food to switch to. Again, we generally recommend wet cat food over dry for the same reasons we prefer wet kitten food.

We’d highly recommend Tiki Cat Luau Variety Pack Wet Cat Food, which contains a range of fish and poultry flavors, due to its high protein content and overall quality ingredients. BFF OMG Rainbow a Gogo Variety Pack is another excellent wet food choice for adult cats. Looking for a kibble to feed your adult cat? Try ORIJEN Biologically Appropriate Fresh and Raw Dry Cat Food, which contains 90% animal ingredients and has a much higher protein content than most dry cat food.

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

How Do I Select The Right Adult Food For My Cat

The cat food that you choose for your pet is very important. It needs to be well-balanced and your cat has to enjoy it! Changing from kitten food to adult food is a big step, but one that your cat will certainly thank you for. High-quality cat food contains a great balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, fiber, fat, and minerals. This gives your cat everything it needs to stay healthy, have a shiny coat, and strong bones and muscles.

Not all cat owners land on the right adult food immediately, with cats being notoriously picky when it comes to food. Testing out a few adult foods, and keeping an eye out for any intolerances, will make sure that you select food your cat loves.

Related Post: Best Senior Cat Food

Choosing The Right Food For Your Adult Cat

With so many options out there, it can be quite complicated knowing which ones to try and which ones are to be avoided at all costs. 

Its important to find the best cat food that offers your feline the same-high quality nutrition as their kitten food used to. For happy and healthy adult cats, you should consider the following things:

  • Have high-quality ingredients been used to make the food?
  • Does it provide a complete and balanced diet with appropriate levels of protein, fat, fibre, vitamins, and minerals?
  • Has the brand met or exceeded the regulatory standards?

No matter what the packaging says, your cat will in fact be the best indicator as to whether a particular type of food is purr-fect for them. Be sure to look out for:

  • Bright eyes and clean teeth
  • Small, firm, stools

Other Tips To Get Your Cat To Eat After Tooth Extraction

The solution is to keep trying to find a food that she might like in her condition.

  • Give her human food that she is used to eating but make sure to mince it into tiny bits.
  • Make sure to give her lots of water, is good too.
  • Try feeding her mashed cooked egg yolks.
  • If she refuses the soaked dry food in water, you can try mixing tuna juice to soften the dry food.

When To Switch From Kitten Food

Nothing is more adorable, sweeter or cuter than a kitten. One of my main motivating desires to become a veterinarian was so I could care for all the lovable kittens and puppies. I get so excited seeing kittens and puppies walk through the doors of my animal hospital. But with adorable and cute comes a lot of work and a ton of attention.

A kitten has different nutritional needs than adult cats, so it is important to educate my new pet parents on kitten nutrition and when to switch from kitten food to adult cat food. We want these little guys growing up to be big, strong and healthy. Just like human babies, for a kitten to develop and grow properly, they need different kinds of foods at different stages of their lives.

So, lets discuss the proper pet nutrition and diet for small kittens and get an idea of when we need to switch over to adult-based nutrition and care.

What Type Of Food Does My Kitten Need Wet Or Dry

Pet Owners Ask: How Long Can Kittens Go Without Food

Its important that very young kittens have at least some canned food to eat as part of their diet. Very small kittens have very small teeth and cant chew dry food well. Without some canned food, they wont get enough nutrition to grow properly. If you are feeding your kitten both dry and canned foods, then twice a day canned feedings are sufficient. If theyre only eating canned food, they should be fed four times daily.

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