Set Up A Feeding Station
This is a great solution for kittens and cats that are a bit on the shy side when it comes to eating, especially for strays that might need to feel completely safe in order to eat. If youre a creative person you could build a feeding station from wood, or other materials youre comfortable using.
You could also use your kittens carrier as a place where they can eat without the attention of the older cat, and of course, they wont be able to steal food that isnt formulated for their needs. Enclosed litterboxes can also work great, where instead of a litterbox, you can place their food and water bowl.
Of course, youll still have to make sure that your kitten is eating their own food, but with training based on positive reinforcement, you can make this feeding station their favorite place! Which in turn could help them love kitten food more than they love adult food!
Does Your Kitten Need A Feeding Schedule
Cats generally prefer to feed via grazing and as long as you arent constantly refilling the bowl, they are pretty good at regulating their own weight through a combination of play, exercise, and nibbling rather than gorging. Still, its important for kittens to build that good habit and you can help by doing the following:
- Feed your cat three times a day-morning, afternoon, and evening. For a kitten, splitting up a portion into three equal parts is usually sufficient. Then you can adjust the food portions as your kitten needs, based on weight gain or loss.
- Helping kittens exercise regularly by providing toys, things to climb on, and feeding puzzles to let kittens work out how to get treats.
- Make sure your kitten always has access to fresh water
Canned food can be left out for about twenty to thirty minutes and then any leftovers should be tossed. Once your cat can have dry food, it can of course be left out longer.
When Do Kittens Start Drinking Water
Weaning kittens off their mother is largely about getting them to transition to eating solid cat food. However, you also have to teach kittens to drink water. When feeding off of their mother, kittens can easily remain healthy and hydrated. Yet when transitioning to solid food drinking water is a must. Without this complimentary water intake, your kittens will be dehydrated.
You should easily be able to tell if your kittens are dehydrated as youll notice that your kitten is weak and sleepy. Water is important in almost every bodily function. Without enough water, kittens blood volume decreases, and their muscles and brains dont receive the blood flow that they require.
Therefore, it is a good idea to introduce your kittens to water at the same time they start trying solid food: at around 4 weeks of age. This ensures that the liquid missing from eating milk is replaced. Your kittens should be moving around and exploring your home by this age, so place a few dishes of fresh water around for them to explore at their own pace.
Make sure you only leave small shallow bowls out that your kitten can easily drink from. Moreover, ensure you always supervise young kittens around water. Kittens have a hard time regulating their body temperature and need to be dried if they get wet.
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How To Choose An Adult Cat Food
Make sure to choose an adult cat food that provides the same high-quality nutrition as a premium kitten food. Downgrading to a basic nutrition brand at this stage of your cats life may upset their digestive system and wont provide them with the same type of nutrition they were raised on. Premium foods like IAMS are formulated to meet all of your cats needs and provide additional benefits. Theyre specifically designed to provide your cat with a formula that features:
- High-quality ingredients
- Complete and balanced levels of protein, fat, moderately fermentable fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which make costly supplements unnecessary
- High-quality recipes and great taste
- Standards that meet or exceed Association of American Feed Control Officials standards
- Nutrient-dense formulas that are right for each life stage
- Product guarantees
All of these premium features add up to a happy, healthy cat. With premium dry cat food, you can expect to see these important indicators of good health:
- Exceptional muscle tone
- Clear, bright eyes and clean teeth
- Small, firm stools
Founded on decades of research, premium formulas from IAMS help maintain your cats health and help provide her with the nutrition she needs for a long life.
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.
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Weeks Four And Five Feeding Schedules
During weeks 4 and 5, a kitten will slowly increase how much food it consumes in a meal. Feedings will occur less frequently and a bowl of formula or other liquid kitten food should be made available for a kitten to start drinking from. By the end of week 5, a kitten should only be nursing three times a day but at each meal it should be consuming about 3 tablespoons of milk or formula.
A kitten should weigh about 14 to 16 oz. by the time it is 4 to 5 weeks of age if it is eating enough food. Towards the end of week five, you should be offering the kitten more food from a saucer than it is consuming from nursing. The food should graduate from being a liquid to eventually more of a gruel by using less and less water with canned kitten food over the course of a couple of weeks. This will be a messy stage of a kittens life since it usually ends up walking in the food, but it is a necessary step to begin weaning it off of its mothers milk.
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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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Reasons Your Kitten May Not Be Eating
If your new kitten is not eating well or has diarrhea, call your vet and schedule another checkup.
Sometimes intestinal parasites can cause gastrointestinal upset in kittens. It is common for kittens to come home already infected with parasites. They can get some parasites through the placenta before birth as well as in the milk from the mother cat.
Some of these parasites can also be transmitted to people, so good hygiene and preventive care are important.
How To Get Your Cat To Eat
If your cat has stopped eating its normal food, check to see if there’s a recall on that particular food. It’s another good reason why you should consider keeping your cat’s dry food in its original bag so you can check the bar code. Sometimes a cat can sense that something is wrong with their food and won’t eat it.
Depending on the reason why your cat has stopped eating, you may be able to coax your kitty to start eating again. However, its not normal for a cat to stop eating if their food has not changed, so a trip to your veterinarian is recommended to rule out medical reasons.
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Keep Track Of The Kittens Weight
Are you taking the time to record the kittens weight?
Think about this while figuring things out. If not, you will have a situation where the kittens weight isnt in control and continues to ascend to unreasonable heights!
Always jot down what the kittens weight is and keep track of how its doing. If it is trending down then you might have to add a few calories while the opposite happens if it is skyrocketing.
Even a weekly weigh-in is more than enough.
This will allow you to see whether or not there are unreasonable increases in the kittens weight.
What Can Make A Kitten Reject Solid Food
Is your kitten not excited about the idea of switching to solid food? Check out some of the reasons why your kitten might be uninterested in food:
- Your kitten doesnt have siblings to learn fromIf youre fostering a single kitten, weaning can be challenging as the kitty doesnt have siblings to learn from and follow
- Kittens dont like the taste of the food you offeredSome kittens are particularly fussy and wont eat any wet or dry food you picked out for the occasion
- Your kitten might be sickIf you notice that your kitten is uninterested in solid food, try feeding them from the bottle. If the kitten rejects all food, visit the vet as soon as possible
- The dish youre serving food in is inaccessibleIf the feeding dish is too tall, your kitty might not be able to reach the food and could give up
- You separated the kitten from their mother too suddenlyEarly and sudden separation can cause various developmental issues and even anxiety and aggression. When separating kittens from their queen, do it gradually. Remember to keep the separation intervals short at first, then slowly build up to more extended periods until your kittens are independent
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When Can Kittens Eat Dry & Wet Food
Although kittens shouldnt eat adult cat food before theyve fully matured, they can begin eating dry kibble and wet kitten food much earlier.
By three to four weeks, kittens can begin eating moistened dry kibble or wet food. Between six and eight weeks, kittens are fully weaned from their mothers milk and can eat dry or wet kitten food.
We Avoided Foods That Contained Animal By
Animal by-products are one of the most misunderstood ingredients in cat food.
Most people have responded to the AAFCO definition of byproducts with the same sort of nausea that you might feel if served a platter of these ingredients at a restaurant. And yet much of the products that fall into the definition of by-products are highly-nourishing parts of an animal carcass that your cat would love to eat. And theres nothing disgusting about that.
Digestibility and quality control are the real problems with animal by-products. These vaguely-specified ingredients may be produced from any number of animal parts from any number of different animals.
A former AAFCO president once emphasized how loosely regulated these ingredients are that You dont know if its cattle or sheep or horse or Fluffy.
Besides not knowing what type of animals contributed to the by-product stew, you dont know if it contains more wholesome liver or nutritionally void chicken feet. If you want to ensure maximum protein digestibility, avoid meat by-products and other vaguely-named ingredients like meat, poultry, and meat and bone meal.
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Your New Kittens Nutritional Needs
Did you know that a tiny kittens weight may double or even triple during the first few weeks of life? That said, your kitten has a lot more energy needs than those of an adult cat. Given their tiny tummies, kittens cant get enough calories in one meal, meaning you will need to make sure to feed your baby more often throughout the day.
Just like adult cats, kittens need fat, some fatty acids, and vitamins. However, they have a higher requirement for protein, amino acids, and minerals, as well as some vitamins. Formulated kitten food provides for these extra needs, and should be given to your kitten until age 1. Dont forget to provide your little one with plenty of fresh water to ensure proper hydration.
How To Introduce Wet Food To Your Kitten
It can take a bit of time for some cats to get used to new or different food. For kittens, soft, wet food should be scooped into a small, low dish and served at room temperature. Serve just a small amount as small kittens dont eat much and will step all over some of it anyway!
When kittens start eating solids, they may only eat a tablespoon at a time, so dont give them too much or youll end up wasting most of it. And as said before, you may have to try a couple of brands before finding one that your kitten will enjoy.
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What Is The Difference Between Kitten And Cat Food
Our cats are obligate carnivores, and once theyre off their mothers milk, theyll need a meat-based diet in order to survive and thrive. Taurine and protein are especially important for their development, while carbohydrates are not a good option since theyre not as easily digestible. As a result, the best cat foods typically have higher protein and lower carbohydrate content.
This rule that applies to the feline species, isnt the only thing we should pay attention to when it comes to our cats diet. Its also important to understand that each life stage of a cat requires different nutritional attention.
According to Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM Kitten, adult cat, senior, and geriatric cats are four significant life stages we need to address nutritionally. He also adds that diet is extremely important for a growing kitten.
For this reason, foods that are designed for kittens have the right nutritional value and requirements for a growing tiny ball of fur to develop into a magnificent adult cat, something an adult cat food simply cannot offer.
A Kittens Nutritional Needs
So, lets take a look at what kittens need in order to grow into healthy and fluffy overlords. Firstly, food formulated for kittens is more calorie-dense, to suit a youthful creature that wants to jump around and explore their environment.
Youll also find a higher amount of protein, fat, and a fatty acid called DHA which is responsible for retinal function and brain development. Its also important to remember that the growing organism of a kitten needs the right vitamins like calcium and phosphorus to grow strong bones.
Jennifer Larsen, DVM, Ph.D., nutritional consultant, and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis, states that kittens have a higher requirement for protein, amino acids, and minerals, as well as for some vitamins. For example, kittens should get about 30% of their energy from protein.
Thankfully proper kitten food should tick all those boxes!
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Foods To Avoid Giving Your Feline
As with many animals, you should only give treats occasionally and in small amounts. Treats shouldnt make up more than 10% of your kittys total calorie intake. However, this doesn’t mean they cant finish the last scrap of chicken or salmon from your plate once in a while. Just make sure that anything you offer them is cooked thoroughly and free of any sauces, seasonings, or other ingredients. Be aware, though this might encourage them to beg or even steal your food. So, if youre keen for mealtimes to be peaceful, its best not to start a bad habit.
Its important to ensure that your kitten or cat can’t get their paws on toxic ingredients like onions, garlic, chocolate, tea, coffee, grapes, or raisins. It’s also best to take precautions when it comes to raw meat or liver, which can contain harmful bacteria, and raw eggs, which can lead to problems with their skin and coat. Similarly, raw fish can trigger a vitamin B deficiency, cause seizures, or be fatal, and milk can cause diarrhea. Read five human foods that are poisonous to cats to learn more.
Kittens Are Ready To Try Solid Foods At 4 Weeks Old
Weaning a kitten from a 100% milk diet to solid food is a delicate business. Some kittens might start showing interest in their mothers food from 3 weeks of age. Most will be ready to be introduced to kitten gruel by 4 weeks of age. At this stage, you should be actively encouraging kittens to eat solid food. Kitten gruel is a mash of high-quality kitten food mixed with kitten replacement milk formula. It is designed to be easy for the kitten to lap up.
As kittens get used to the gruel, the amount of milk added can be reduced gradually. It helps to serve the gruel in a flat dish. Such as a saucer or even an upside-down Tupperware lid if there is one to spare. This allows easy access to the food. Expect feeding to be very messy for the first few days. But most kittens should complete the transition to kitten food by 6 weeks of age.
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