Tuesday, June 18, 2024

What Food To Feed Kittens

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The Best Wet Foods For Kittens

What & How to Feed Kittens age 4 to 6 Weeks old

Canned kitten foods typically come in forms that are palatable for them regardless of their dental maturity. Soft pate based foods are excellent for very young kittens who would struggle with kibble. A loaf food is slightly thicker than a pate texture but is still perfect for kittens.

Regardless of the texture, each of the foods recommended here provides a nutritionally complete meal that will also go a long way to catering for your kittens hydration requirements. Below are the best wet and canned kitten foods that are easily palatable and provide all the nutrients and hydration required.

Can Kittens Eat Adult Cat Food

Despite a kitten’s growth, experts advised against feeding your kitten adult food prematurely, as Taylor added it can mean “they miss out on essential nutrients for optimal growth.”

Keiger expanded on that, and added that feeding a kitten adult food is “not the best idea, at least not until the kitten is more mature and then, slowly transition the kitten over. Kittens specifically need the fuel â and vitamins and mineralsâ for their growing bodies. Lack of fuel can delay their growth. Adults, on the other hand, have completed their growth, and are maintaining their body size.”

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.

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Cats With Medical Conditions

Your vet might recommend that your cat is fed a special diet if they are diagnosed with certain medical conditions. These will often be prescription diets, which have been designed to help some cat illnesses such as skin problems, obesity, kidney disease and diabetes. If your cat has an illness and youre not sure which food is best for them, speak to your vet for advice.

Week One Feeding Schedule

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A kitten typically weighs about 3 to 3.7 oz. at birth but will gain weight rapidly from nursing. For the first several weeks of life, a newborn kitten will depend entirely on its mother to provide it with food. Its eyes and ears are sealed shut when it’s born, so it will rely on the pheromones its mother gives off to find milk and warmth. Most kittens do just fine without human intervention, but if a kitten needs to be bottle-fed, either because the mother cat is absent, ill, or rejects the kitten, you’ll want to weigh the kitten regularly to make sure its weight reflects a healthy and normal growth rate of a kitten.

A kitten will nurse for about 45 minutes at a time every 2 to 3 hours for the first week of life. The rest of the time will be spent sleeping. Kittens that are bottle-fed should consume about a tablespoon, or 15 ml, of special kitten formula at each feeding. This is very time consuming for someone who is bottle-feeding a newborn kitten, so if at all possible, you will want to try to keep the kitten with its mother or a surrogate lactating cat who can nurse it.

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Best Splurge: Blue Buffalo Carnivora Woodland Blend Grain


Ingredients: Chicken, turkey broth, turkey, mackerel, dried egg product, duck, turkey liver, chicken liver | Calories: 130 kcal/can | Protein: 12.5% min.

  • Contains both organ and muscle meats

  • High in protein

  • High in calories, so less food may be needed

  • Some kittens dont like the mixed flavors

  • Cost is higher per can than other wet food options

If youre looking for a special food for your kitten and arent afraid of spending a little extra money, Blue Buffalos Carnivora Woodland Blend Grain-Free kitten wet food is a balanced option. It is 95 percent meat-based but still offers the key vitamins and minerals that growing kittens need. Instead of containing just one type of protein, this wet food is a mixture of different animals including fish, duck, chicken, and turkey. Additionally, more than just muscle meat is found in this food, so your kitten will also get the benefits of eating various organs, much like they would if they were wild cats.

Treats For Bonding And Training

Treats are a great way to bond with your kitten and reward positive behaviour. You can use them when your kitten is having cuddles and just after they successfully use the litter tray. Treats can also be used to teach your kitten tricks, like sit, high-5 and up.

  • When giving treats to your kitten, its important that you only give cat-specific products. We recommend shopping at Animates, where you can get advice about kitten treat products.
  • Try one or two new kitten treats at a time, ensuring there are no other dietary changes happening at the same time to your kitten. If nothing changes in the kittens litter tray behaviour, youre onto a winner.
  • As your kitten grows, you can expand the choice of treats. For example, there are kitten dental treats and high fibre treats that help with hairball issues.

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Protein And Fat: Important Nutrients In A Kittens Diet

Kittens grow fastest during the first stage of their life. Proteins and fat are essential nutrients for stimulating that growth. Do make sure you give them the correct proportion of proteins and fat, we recommend 32% protein and 13% fat. Proteins ensure healthy growth while fat gives the kitten the energy it needs to get enough exercise. Apart from giving them enough protein and fat, it is important to make sure the food does not contain any chemical preservatives and artificial scents, pigments and flavourings. This reduces the risk of allergies and other health issues. All Yarrah food is 100% organic, which means it contains no chemical preservatives or artificial scents, pigments and flavourings.

How Much Should I Feed My Kitten

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Generally, kittens start to nibble on solid food at three to four weeks of age. After eight weeks of age, you can start feeding kittens dry or moistened food. The best place to start when figuring out how much to feed a kitten is to look at the recommended feeding instructions on her food. Always make sure to use measuring cups to give your kitten equal and accurate portions and always take into account age and weight when figuring out how much to feed her.

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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.

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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How Much Should My Kitten Drink

Cats generally need to drink around 60 ml per kg of body weight either by drinking or through their food. The temperature, your kittens 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 wet food .

Weeks Seven And Eight Feeding Schedules

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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

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How Long Do Kittens Nurse

Kittens eat liquid-only diets until they are approximately 3-4 weeks of age. At that time, kittens slowly begin eating more solid foods.

If you have a mother cat and kittens, simply leave out plenty of canned cat food so that kittens and the mother cat can eat as they please. The kittens will watch their mother eat and will try it on their own. A pate-style canned food is much easier for kittens than chunky foods. Mother cats naturally wean their own kittens by decreasing the amount of time the kittens are allowed to nurse.

If you have a very young kitten without a mother, at 3-4 weeks of age begin offering a shallow dish of kitten formula with a very small amount of canned pate food mixed in. Bring the kitten to the dish and entice them to eat by using a small spoon placed near their mouth. Most kittens at this age will begin chewing or suckling on the contents of the spoon. Slowly bring the spoon down into the bowl so the kitten tries some of the mixture. This stage is very messy!

Once the kitten begins eating out of the dish reliably, bottle feeding is no longer necessary. This occurs when they eat out of a dish without chewing the sides of the dish and without sucking on the food.

Offer a new dish of formula and canned food at least twice daily, if not 3 to 4 times per day, out of a clean dish. Every couple days, increase the amount of canned food mixed into the formula for about 2 weeks. Kittens should be fully off formula by 6 to 9 weeks of age.

Meow Mix Lil Nibbles Dry Kitten Food

Specially formulated for growing kittens, Meow Mix Kitten Lil Nibbles Dry Cat Food contains chicken meal as the first ingredient and a 38% crude protein content overall. The food includes essential fatty acids and DHA for optimum muscle, brain, and vision development and sources of healthy protein, including ocean fish meal, turkey, salmon, and beef. The food is specially balanced with the vitamins and nutrients that growing kittens need to thrive and is made in the U.S.A.

This food contains grains, including rice, corn, and soy, and has a relevantly low crude protein content. Some users report that their kittens would not eat it due to the strong fish odor.

This freeze-dried dry food from Instincts has a 42% crude protein content that is made up of 81% animal sources, including cage-free chicken, turkey, and fish. The food contains naturally occurring DHA for healthy vision and brain development, omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, and live, natural probiotics and antioxidants for enhanced immune support. This kibble is grain-free and made in the U.S.A. These are all reasons it gains its spot on our list for best kitten dry food.

Several customers report that their kittens would not eat this food due to the pungent smell. Some also reported loose stool and diarrhea and even vomiting in their kittens.

  • May cause gas and bloating
  • May cause loose stool and vomiting in some kittens

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Q Should I Opt For Grain

A. “Grain-free” is a big trend in the pet food industry right now, but barring an allergy, there’s no reason why your kitten’s food needs to be 100% grain-free. Small amounts of grain can provide a good source of both carbohydrates and protein, but by no means should any grain be one of the main ingredients in your chosen kitten food.

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In the comparison table below, weve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. Youll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

  • One of the most protein-packed kitten foods on the market
  • Ultra-soft pate texture is easy for kittens to eat
  • Calorie-dense recipe to fuel growth and development
  • Rich in animal-based protein from chicken, beef, and salmon
  • Soft canned food offers palatable texture and hydration
  • Very low carbohydrate content
  • Wild Pacific salmon as the first ingredient
  • Supplemented with two concentrated sources of animal protein
  • Herring and salmon oils for omega fatty acids
  • Features high-quality animal protein as the main ingredient
  • Hydrating canned food with a strong reputation for palatability
  • One of the most affordable options for kitten food
  • Made primarily with animal-based protein sources
  • Contains menhaden fish oil for DHA
  • Highly palatable and hydrating canned food
  • Made primarily with animal-based protein sources
  • Formulated for all life stages
  • Highly palatable, soft texture is easy for kittens to eat
  • Made primarily from nourishing sources of animal protein
  • Hydrating and highly palatable canned food
  • Calorie-dense at 122 calories per 3-ounce can
  • Primarily made with high-quality animal-based protein
  • Supplemented with fish oil for omega-3 fatty acids like DHA
  • Calorie-dense option to fuel kitten growth and development

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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.

Healthy Kitten Growth Rate

A general rule of thumb in kittens is that they typically gain about 1 pound per month.

Often, a kittens weight is about 1 pound at 1 month , 2 pounds at 2 months , and so on until about 4-5 months.

Kittens do most of their growing within the first year and then stabilize from there. Many of the growth plates of the bones in the kitten skeleton close by about one year old.

At this time, after much of the growth is finished, your vet will typically switch your kitten to an adult diet.

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When Bottle Feeding Kittens Becomes Necessary

At times, a kittens diet needs to be supplemented with or switched to a milk substitute designed specifically for cats. With especially large litters, you may want to give the smaller or less assertive kittens time alone with the queen so they have easier access to the best food availablemoms milk. Bottle feed the kittens who are growing the fastest at this time so they dont go hungry. Feral kittens under the age of four weeks who no longer have access to a nursing mom will also need to be bottle fed.

Do not feed newborn kittens cow or goat milk or human or dog formula only a milk replacer made specifically for kittens will provide appropriate nutrition. Talk to your veterinarian if you are concerned that a kitten is failing to nurse, grow, or develop as expected.

How Often Should Kittens Eat

Cat Food Bowl

Kittens eating formula should ideally eat 7 times per day if 1 week old, 6 times per day if 2 weeks old, 5 times per day if 3 weeks old and 4 times per day if 4 weeks old.

Kittens prefer to whenever they feel like it. However, meal feeding once your kitten is eating solid food can lead to healthier eating habits in the future. Feeding 2 to 4 meals per day is preferred.

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Wet & Canned Kitten Food

Wet kitten food is a popular choice. For most owners, a combination of both dry and canned foods is the ideal outcome. Its often advisable to lead with wet foods as the primary meal and leave kibble around 24/7 to be sure the kitten can eat whenever it feels a little hungry.

Wet food typically works out to be slightly more expensive per meal than dry foods, so a balance of both can work best for your cat and your wallet. Dont be alarmed that the values listed for calories, protein, and fat are significantly lower than those found in dry foods. The reason behind this is that these foods are made up of far more moisture. To compare nutrient analysis, youll need to convert both values to their dry-matter equivalents.

Feeding a cat two cans of the best wet cat food could be the nutritional equivalent of half a cup of dry food portioning is everything.

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