Feeding Kittens Wet Versus Dry Food
Wet and dry cat food are commonly available in kitten formulations, and there are pros and cons to feeding each. To decide which option best suits your kittens needs, talk with your veterinarian and get their recommendation. Here are some pros and cons of each:
Wet cat food is higher in moisture, so it can be beneficial in keeping kittens hydrated, flushing out the urinary tract, and helping kidneys stay healthy. However, wet food tends to stick to the teeth more, which can be associated with dental disease and painful cavity-type problems for cats.
Dry cat food is easier to feed in mutli-cat homes and can help scrape tartar from the teeth. However, some cats can overeat with dry food and gain excessive weight, which can be associated with arthritis, heart problems, blood pressure problems, respiratory problems, or diabetes mellitusjust to name a few.
How To Help Prevent Your Kitten From Becoming Overweight
According to a statistic from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, approximately 50% of cats seen by vets are overweight40% of which likely fall into the obese category. So, how do you know if your cat is obese and what can you do to help prevent your kitten from becoming overweight?
In order to determine if a cat is obese, you can perform a rib check, profile check, and overhead check. A rib check involves running both hands across a cats rib cage, while a profile check requires you to get a side view of your cat. An overhead check is simply looking at your cat from above. If you cant feel your cats ribs, cant see their waistline, or there are heavy fat deposits around the face and limbs, those are signs of obesity.
You can prevent your cat from becoming overweight by making sure youre feeding them a healthy diet. Start by choosing the right food, then carefully measure quantities and stick to a feeding schedule to prevent overfeeding. You should also avoid giving your cat any human food. Consider using cat toys and other objects and activities to keep your kitten active exercise is an essential part of preventing kittens from becoming overweight.
Six Months To One Year
Your kittens growth will have slowed and, although they are still growing and changing body shape, he will need far fewer calories. Whether they stay on kitten food or change to adult food varies depending on their breed and whether theyve been neutered your vet can help you decide.
At this age, two feeds a day is fine, and this frequency of feeding will continue right through your cats adult life. Having said this, wild cats eat several smaller meals each day, so if your cat is more of a grazer then you can do this too. The most important thing is to make sure his recommended daily calories are split between the meals so that you know, no matter how often he eats the number of calories per 24 hours is still the same.
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Feeding Kittens: What When How Much
Experts answer six common questions about kitten food and more.
When it comes to cuteness, few critters can compare to kittens. If youve just acquired a kitten , youre probably learning all about kitten care. You want to do what you can to ensure that your adorable baby grows into a healthy adult. Proper feeding is a big part of the health equation. After the first four weeks of mothers milk, a kitten gradually transitions to kitten food, and is completely weaned at about eight weeks. Heres what you need to know once youve brought your kitten home.
When To Stop Feeding Kitten Food
Kittens grow fast and before you know it, youll need to switch to adult cat food. For most cats, this transition should happen around her first birthday.
Large breed cats like Maine Coons, however, take a little more time to mature. They may need to continue eating kitten food until between 18 months and 2 years of age.
Your kittens first year goes by fast, but ensuring she’s getting the right nutrients during this time will help support her in the years to come.
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How Much Food Should I Feed My Kitten
As kittens age their calorie needs change, so it can be difficult to decide exactly how much to feed them. Rather than guessing, its worth calculating your kittens energy needs.
Young, unweaned kittens need 20-25kcal for every 100g of bodyweight each day. You can use the calorie content on your kitten milk replacer label to determine how much milk you should feed your kitten. Weighing your kitten regularly can help to ensure theyre taking enough milk to grow properly.
Once your kitten has fully weaned, usually around eight weeks, hell need to be taking in around 250-280 calories a day. However, this can vary between breeds and individuals, so you should take your vets advice into account. Start by feeding the amount of food recommended on the cat food label, then adjust as necessary to make sure your kitten gains weight at the right rate.
Once your kitten reaches six months of age or is neutered, you can start to reduce their daily calorie intake to their adult requirement. On average, this is 200kcal/day, but this depends on your cats weight. Your vet will be able to advise, or a calorie calculator can help you.
How Can I Know Im Selecting A High
Mindy Bough, CVT, senior director of client services for the Midwest Office of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals emphasizes the importance of high-quality kitten food. I dont recommend generic or store brands, Bough says. Buy from a reputable company — one that veterinarians recommend more frequently, she says. Research has determined these kitten foods provide excellent health.
But how can you be certain a kitten food is of high quality? One way is by checking the label. It should at least contain the following: Meets the nutritional requirements of kittens established by the American Association of Feed Control Officials . AAFCO is a group of state and federal officials who regulate pet food. 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. In fact, remember that too much of a good thing can be bad for your kitten, causing severe medical problems. Use supplements only if your veterinarian recommends them.
Also use caution with homemade diets. For example, all-meat homemade diets can be low in calcium, leading to a mineral imbalance that causes hyperparathyroidism, a disease more common in rapidly growing kittens. If you use a homemade diet, make sure its been formulated by a reputable nutritionist, Bough says.
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Feeding Schedule For Your Kitten
Many people feed their new kitten by simply filling a bowl with dry food and leaving the food available the entire day. However, establishing a feeding schedule for your kitten is a good idea. A feeding schedule for your kitten allows you to control the kittens diet more easily and make sure your kitten does not overeat and gain too much weight.
Your new kitten should eat three times daily. Morning, afternoon, and evening is a good choice. You can arrange the schedule to fit in with your own routine, although it is best to keep a consistent routine from day to day.
Use the feeding guidelines on the food label as a starting point to determine how much to feed your kitten. Split up the daily portion into three equal parts and feed 1/3 at each feeding. The feeding guidelines provide a starting point but youll need to monitor your cats body condition and adjust the feeding amount accordingly. If your cat is gaining too much weight, decrease the amount of food. Conversely, increase the amount of food offered if your cat is too thin or is not gaining weight as expected.
Encouraging your kitten to exercise may not be a problem. However, as your new kitten ages, it may become more difficult to get him to exercise. Some cats do become couch potatoes and these cats are at risk of becoming overweight or even obese. Here are some tips that you can use in feeding your kitten that may aid in keeping your kitten lean.
What Do Kittens Eat
Newborn kittens obtain their mother’s antibodies through colostrum during the first hours of life and, later, from their mother’s milk which provides the kittens with the nutrients they need to put on weight in their first weeks of life. If the mother rejects her litter and does not produce milk or one of her cats is weak or sick, they must be fed with milk formulated for baby kittens. This also goes for any abandoned kitten we find, as they will need those special nutrients in order to survive and develop into an adult.
Newborn kittens will need to be fed every 2-3 hours until they are three weeks of age. In addition, we must provide them with warmth at all times, since they are not yet capable of thermoregulation by themselves. Kittens will open their eyes when they are 10 days old and start growing their teeth when they are 20 days old.
Kittens will need lots of calories to fully develop, these calories will reach 130 kcal per kg daily at 3 weeks of age. From this moment on, the frequency of feedings can be extended up to 4-5 hours. It is important to use formula for cats, although if you do not have it, you can opt for an emergency puppy formula if necessary.
If your kitten is less than 3 weeks old, you will also need to help your kitten defecate. A daily record of weight, meals, elimination and general behaviour must be kept, as well as maintaining a good temperature . They will also need to be in a warm and safe area in your home.
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What To Feed Newborn Kittens From Birth To 4 Weeks Of Age
The best food for kittens from birth up to around 3 or 4 weeks of age is their mothers milk. You simply cant beat nature! This is especially true during the first day of life.
The milk that mothers initially produce is called colostrum. It is extremely nutrient dense and even contains antibodies that help protect kittens against infectious diseases. After kittens are 1 or at most 2 days old, they can no longer absorb antibodies through their intestinal tract.
Thankfully, most queens are excellent mothers and will provide their newborn kittens with all the care they need. The best way to check that kittens are getting adequate nutrition during this time is to weigh them daily. In general, kittens should gain approximately ½ to ¾ of an ounce each day. Momma cats should have 24/7 access to fresh water and a cat food labeled for growth and reproduction or all life stages so they can produce enough milk for their litters.
Tips For Feeding Newborn Kittens
Once you’re used to feeding newborn kittens, you should feel comfortable with the process, but there are tips you can use to be more successful right away.
- Buy extra nipples for your bottle. If you find you need to cut the nipple to facilitate feeding, it’s good to have some spares on hand in case you cut too much.
- You can test out how well your nipple will work by turning the filled bottle upside down to see if it drips. You should see one drop at a time come out. Any flow stronger than that and you’ve cut too much.
- Using a smoothie shaker can make mixing the powdered formula much easier and prevent unmixed clumps from forming.
- Use a kitten weight chart to keep track of your kitten’s growth and use this to guide you with your feeding amounts.
- Your kitten should gain about a 1/2 an ounce a day or about four grams per week. If your weight chart indicates your kitten is not gaining enough weight, contact your veterinarian immediately to discuss.
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Sterilize Your Bottle Before Feeding
The first thing you’ll need is a small pet bottle that you will use to feed formula to the kittens. You can pick up kitten/puppy bottles at your local pet supply store, or order them online. It’s important to note that you must sterilize these bottles before you use them.
- Newborn kittens are extremely susceptible to infections and germs, thus you want to ensure the safest possible environment for your pet.
- Sterilize both the bottle and the nipple in boiling water. This should take about five minutes.
- Allow both pieces to cool properly. You do not want to burn your newborn.
- Your last step after sterilizing is to lay out a large towel, a rougher textured cloth and a bowl of warm water on the table next to a chair. The water temperature should be about 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Often Do You Feed Newborn Kittens
Neonatal kittens need to be fed on a regular basis day and night. For the first week of life, they need to be fed about every two to three hours. After that, you can usually stretch it out to every four hours.
These kittens should be bottle-fed using kitten milk replacer , which comes in either liquid or powder form. Its the equivalent to formula that you would use for a bottle-fed baby, except its formulated for cats. The formula, bottles and nipples are all available over the counter at most pet supply stores. You dont need a prescription. The instructions will give you a guideline on how much to feed based on the weight of the cat.
When preparing the bottle, be cautious of milk flow. If you make the hole in the nipple too big, the kitten can actually aspirate, or drown. The bottles come with instructions on how to prep the nipple for milk flow. However, if you are struggling, I would advise you to seek help from your veterinarian. Never cut off the entire tip of the nipple, as this is often what causes cats to aspirate.
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Special Considerations When Feeding Kittens
While there are general rules when it comes to feeding a kitten, its important to keep in mind that health conditions can impact the way you feed your kitten. Conditions such as diabetes and hyperthyroidism can lead to changes in appetite and other symptoms that may affect a cats diet. You may want to talk to your veterinarian about how your cats medical condition may affect their diet and feeding schedule.
You might be concerned if you notice your kitten isnt eating normally. In some cases, you may notice an irregular diet in kittens as a result of tapeworms, which live in the intestines and absorb nutrients from food. However, an irregular diet may also be a result of pet anxiety, especially if you notice other signs of anxiety.
Irregular eating may be caused by anxiety or tapeworms, but there are other potential causes. Your cat may simply need time to adjust to the food youre feeding them, or you may need to switch the location of their food bowl so they feel more comfortable while eating. It could even be that your cat has simply eaten too much that day.
What To Feed Kittens 6 To 10 Weeks Of Age Weaning Comes To An End
Mom cats usually start to drastically limit their kittens access to milk at around 6 weeks of age. When they are 8 to 10 weeks old, most kittens are fully weaned and eating only solid food and drinking water. Bottle-fed kittens can be transitioned a little quickerfull weaning by 6-8 weeks is reasonable.
So, what should you feed your kitten toward the end of weaning? Canned kitten food is still the best optionbut if you want to switch to or add dry kitten food, start by soaking it in some warm water. Food and water should always be available to young kittens to fuel their rapid growth and development.
Whenever possible, kittens should remain with their mother and littermates until they are at least 8 weeks old. These first two months are vital from both a nutritional and a behavioral standpoint.
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Do Kittens Need Feeding At Night
Yes, kittens can need to be fed at night. They have a small stomach which is filled with a small amount of food and so they need to be fed after every 3 hours which means you need to take care of them 8 times a day!
You shouldnt wake them up if they are sleeping. Make sure they urinate after eating.
What To Feed Kittens
As important as it is to feed kittens the right amount of food, the type of food they eat is even more important. Growing cats need a complete and balanced diet, so you need to know what to feed kittens as well as how often to feed them.
In the beginning, kittens need milk or a milk replacement to get the nutrients they need to survive and grow. Once your kitten is four to six weeks old, you can start feeding them solid foods. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, you should feed your kitten a specially formulated kitten food that contains the calories, fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals that growing cats need.
While your cat needs a nutrient-dense diet in the rapid growth and development stages, maintenance becomes an important part of feeding practices as they grow older. Most inactive adult cats can be fed a diet thats lower in fat, which may also require an increase in insoluble fiber. Treats should account for less than 10% of your cats daily caloric intake. Of course, its important to consider activity level when it comes to your cats diet as they age.
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