Reasons Your New Kitten Might Not Be Eating
There are lots of considerations to make when getting a new kitten – and what to feed them should be a major thought!
A tasty meal can help your kitty feel settled, happy and give them the energy they need to grow and play all day! When you first adopt your pet, its often best to find out what food they are already used to eating, and serve that for a while to minimise changes and stress while they settle into life with you.
But what can you do if your new furry friend seems off their food? There are lots of reasons that your kitty might turn their nose up at a delicious dish, such as stress, illness or otherwise. However, as kittens are so small – and need lots of energy to stay healthy – its important to quickly identify why your kitten has lost their appetite and seek veterinary help if they dont eat for 24 hours or more.
I’ve Heard Conflicting Advice About Feeding My Cat
Feeding your cat does not have to be mysterious. By recognizing a few key concepts and attributes of cats we can create a very reasonable feeding plan for them.
Cats are creatures of habit. We can use this fact to our advantage by creating a regular feeding schedule and sticking to it. Feeding an adult cat at regular times provides the security and predictability of a routine. Meals become a cornerstone event of the day around which other activities are added. A feeding routine helps your cat cope when there are changes in the household .
“A feeding routine helps a cat cope when there are changes in the household.”
A feeding routine makes a necessary food change easier. When your cat is used to eating at the same times each day, her body becomes conditioned to expect food at those times. Hunger can be a great motivator! If the stage is set for increased hunger followed by meals at regular times, then transitioning to a new food will often be seamless and straightforward.
Cats have a simple stomach anatomy – just like humans. Because cats have a simple stomach structure, once the stomach is filled with food, it will empty within a few hours as food moves into the small intestine. After 8 – 10 hours, an empty stomach begins to send signals to the brain stimulating a hunger response. For this reason, at least two meals per day are best for your cat. Imagine if you only got to eat breakfast each day, and that was it!
What Are The Pitfalls To Watch Out For
Just like human babies, kittens develop at different rates. So whilst some may be chowing down their gruel in no time, they may have siblings who are struggling to get the hang of things. It may simply be that they need more time to get used to solids. Still, it is a good idea to weigh all kittens daily to pick up any problems early. Even if they are still nursing from their mother. A healthy kitten should gain at least 10 grams a day. If, after introducing solids, the kittens weight gain curve flattens or they become dull and lethargic, that is the cue to take the little one for a checkup with the vet to see if an underlying cause can be identified.
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How Should I Begin The Weaning Process
To begin the weaning process, start by separating mother and kitten for a few hours at a time. This will gradually lessen the kittenâs dependence on their mother and her milk. Both mom and kitten should have their own special area, complete with a litter box, food, and water.
As the kitten becomes more socialized and independent, they’ll be able to spend longer periods of time away until they are completely weaned.
Remember that removing a kitten from their mother too quickly can have negative consequences for both mother and baby, such as aggression and other anxious behaviors. Kittens learn how to play, eat, interact, and use a litter box by observing their mother or another adult cat. Ideally, a weaning kitten should be left with their mother.
At What Age Can My Kitten Drink Water
Weaning a young kitten isn’t limited to regularly feeding it wet and dry foods rich in protein. It is also about introducing water to it. Water is essential for keeping your kittens in good health. This age is also suitable for litter box training.
After one month, Kittens become steady on their feet, and exploration of their environment begins. At this time, they will slowly start to eat solid food. Thus, it is appropriate to introduce water to your little kitty in small, shallow water bowls, convenient for lapping up. Providing your kitten with fresh water will keep it well hydrated. When your kitten has finished eating, make sure it burps.
During the first months, start interacting with your pet kitten and try to put it in contact with water by playing with it in a puddle or with tap water. This will make your kitten want to drink water. Make sure you dry the little kitty immediately with a warm, fluffy towel and keep it warm. If you notice any issues in the kitten’s health during the weaning process, contact your vet and get the kitten examined immediately.
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When Can Kittens Start Eating Solid Food
If there is one thing that we can all agree on, it is that kittens are insanely cute. Those of us lucky enough to have their homes overrun by the little critters will be very aware of the responsibility to ensure that they get the best care. A crucial part of this is successfully weaning them from milk onto solid food. The Cats Protection League survey in 2020 found that 16% of all neutered female cats have one litter before they are spayed. Given there are 5.3 million owned female cats in the UK, that equates to a lot of kittens that need to be weaned onto solids. So, whether breeding was intended, or the kittens were an accident, knowing when to start weaning them onto solid food is essential for giving a kitten the best start in life.
Try To Verify The Age Of The Kittens
This is important because you dont want to take a nursing kitten away from their mom or leave a kitten with their feral mom too long if you want to socialize them.
- Under one week: Eyes shut, ears flat to head, skin looks pinkish. Part of umbilical cord may still be attached.
- 1 week-10 days: Eyes beginning to open, ears still flat. A kitten this age is smaller than your hand.
- 3 weeks: Eyes are fully open, ears are erect, and teeth are visible. Kittens this age are just starting to walk and will be very wobbly.
- 4-5 weeks: Eyes have changed from blue to another color and/or kittens have begun to pounce, leap, and are more mobile. Kittens this age will begin to eat gruel or canned food.
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Carefully Introduce Kitten Food
When your kitten is about 4-5 weeks old, youll want to begin the weaning process by carefully introducing your kitty to their food. You can do this by mixing their kitten food with their formula so that they still recognize the taste. You can do this by spreading this kitten food and formula mixture around their mouth and letting them lick it off. You want them to get adjusted to the food on their own terms. Once they get comfortable with the taste of the kitten food, then theyll be more inclined to eat it on their own.
After youve introduced them to their food, then you can put the food in a bowl and have them eat it themselves that way. Make sure you keep a close eye on them during this process and dont force them to eat it at a certain pace. Let them get used to eating the food on their own.
They Feel A Little Stressed
If your kitten is still adjusting to their new home with you and settling into their environment and routine, its normal that they may feel a little stressed and go off of their food. Motion sickness from the journey home, unfamiliar smells and sounds, changes in the home and even recent vaccinations can all make your kitty go off their food.
Creating a safe comforting home environment can help your pet to feel more secure and relaxed, so make sure your pet has a quiet environment and all of the resources they need . Using a FELIWAY Classic Diffuser can help your pet settle and feel supported in their home environment – releasing comforting messages to relax and reassure your kitten. If however your kitten remains stressed or off of their food, its important to consider other causes such as illness that may be affecting their appetite.
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Are There Foods I Should Avoid Giving My Kitten
Its OK to feed your kitten treats, 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, seizures, and even death.
- Milk may cause diarrhea 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.
What To Feed A Sick Kitten
Depending on the age of the kitten, you can offer a milk replacement product or a high-quality canned or dry kitten food. The specifics of what you should feed a sick kitten depend on their age, so below are some guidelines for your kittens life stage. Remember to always offer plenty of fresh clean water in a clean bowl. Sometimes, providing extra water bowls can encourage a sick kitten to drink, so provide several spots to drink if you can.
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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.
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Weeks Seven And Eight Feeding Schedules
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. 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.
The Spruce / Emilie Dunphy
When Can Kittens Eat Dry Food & Wet Food
As kittens begin to wean, they can start to nibble solid foods. Starting with wet kitten food or moistened dry kibble will help through the transition.
Start by combining one part of warm water and three parts of dry or wet kitten food . Over the next two weeks, gradually decrease the amount of water and increase the amount of food.
Once your kitten is fully weaned and eating solids, choose whichever option is recommended by your veterinarian and works best for your situation.
Above all else, make sure the wet or dry food you choose is specifically formulated for kittens.
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Why Does My Cat Just Lick The Gravy Off Her Food
The most likely reason your cat isnt eating the whole meal is due to a random bout of fussiness. Our felines can make their own preferences for texture and flavours. Your pet might like the taste of gravy in wet food, but dislikes the texture and flavour of dry food. Your cat might also have an aversion to certain foods.
For example, they might be allergic to wheat, which is a common food for cats in the UK. If you are concerned about your pets food allergies, it is important to check with your vet before introducing any new food into their diet.
Choosing A Type Of Solid Food
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What Do You Feed A Kitten At Four Weeks Of Age
Newborn kittens get all their nourishment from their mother cat. Kitties should be fed food appropriate for their age. As they have high energy and protein requirements, highly digestible proteins, omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants for healthy development are the recommended foods for your kitten.
The amount of feed given to your kitties must comply with the weight and the guidance label on your chosen kitten food. However, it is recommended that you consult a veterinarian who will suggest the feeding amount depending on the characteristics of your kitten. You can start feeding your kitten high-quality canned or dry kitten food, moistened with a bit of kitten milk, or put on a bit of wet food to make it easier for them to chew.
At four weeks, the kittens will be old enough to eat gruel as their primary food. You can easily make homemade gruel by mixing the high-quality kitten food -dried and wet, with warm water or milk. You can give them the gruel two or three times a day. They can also have formula milk three times a day.
Canned food is easy to eat for many kittens, but it does not have the teeth-cleaning capabilities of dry food. Choose a kitten food that is specifically formulated for kittens and is free from corn and ash. Finally, when the kittens learn to lap up KMR, start with wet kitten food and less formula to make a delicious gruel. Slowly increase the consistency of the mixture and maintain a perfect balance between all the nutrients.
Weeks Two And Three Feeding Schedules
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. 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. Between days 8 through 18, its weight should increase to about 10 oz. and it will begin to crawl around shortly after its eyes open.
By the end of week 3, a kitten will be able to stand up and will have begun to interact with its littermates. Playing, ear-biting, wrestling, and exploring behaviors will begin and are important parts of socialization.
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