Basic Kitten Feeding Guide
The following information is general advice, but as each kitten is an individual, seek veterinary advice, particularly if your kitten has any special dietary needs or has a reaction to a standard diet.
The basis of your kittens diet should be a high quality balanced premium commercial kitten food that is appropriate for their life stage and health status. By reading the label, you can check that it complies with the Australian Standard for the Manufacturing and Marketing of Pet Food AS 5812:2017 . It is best to start feeding wet kitten food and introducing dry kitten food as your kitten grows. Provide some moist foods in the diet regularly e.g., wet can food. Never feed puppy or dog food to your kitten as it will be deficient in taurine, an essential protein that cats can only obtain through food.
Kittens should be offered food at least 4 times per day.
Take care not to overfeed or underfeed your kitten. Your vet will be able to weigh your kitten, assess your kittens body condition score and provide advice.
Please ensure clean fresh drinking water is available at all times but do not provide milk as this can cause gastrointestinal upsets.
Wondering What You Should Be Feeding Your Kitten
Newborn kittens get all the nutrition they need in the first few weeks from their mothers milk. The weaning process generally starts between the first and second month.
After weaning, kittens should have a wet or dry complete food to ensure they have all the daily nutrition they require.
As they grow, they need to be eating high-quality food made with real animal protein. They require a much higher level of protein than adult cats in order to support healthy growth, and increased energy levels.
The right amount of vitamins and minerals is also vital for rapidly developing digestive and immune systems.
Food should be easy to digest and delicious.
Dry food is an excellent protein-packed choice, especially when its grain-free.
When To Stop Feeding Your Cat Kitten Food
When your cat is about 12 months old, its time to switch to a maintenance formula adult cat food, such as Opens a new windowIAMS ProActive Health Adult Original with Chicken. At this age, cats no longer need the extra calories and nutrients found in kitten food. As with any change in a cats diet, remember to gradually transition from kitten food to adult food over a period of several days.
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When Can Kittens Eat Dry Food
Kittens can begin eating solid food at around four weeks old. Begin by feeding your kitten soft or wet canned food. As they grow used to eating solid food and their teeth continue to develop, begin to mix in dry food moistened with a bit of water. Gradually increase the amount of dry food over several days, paying attention to the feeding instructions on the back of the bag. To learn more about feeding your kitten, read our article on how much to feed your kitten.
Adolescence Stage: 6 To 12 Months
As kittens approach adult size, their nutritional requirements begin to change again. Their rate of growth begins to slow, activity levels may decline and they can start eating fewer, larger meals each day. During this stage, kittens begin to look like adults, but they are still growing and need the special nutrition found in kitten food. Continue feeding your adolescent kitten a high-quality kitten food, such as Opens a new windowIAMS ProActive Health Healthy Kitten with Chicken. During the adolescent growth stage, many cat owners are tempted to change a kittens food for variety. But cats do not get bored with a consistent diet of high-quality dry food, and giving a kitten human food and table scraps can lead to undesirable behaviors, such as begging or stealing food.
Additionally, feeding homemade diets, food formulated for adult cats or supplementing an already complete and balanced diet with vitamins could cause nutritional disorders. You can, however, supplement your kittens dry food with a nutrient-dense Opens a new windowwet kitten or all-life-stages food for a nutritious and tasty
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How Do I Keep My Cat Healthy And Happy
Cats are stoic theyll go to great lengths to hide signs of injury or illness. Even though your cat will visit the veterinarian at least once a year, its best to watch her body and behavior closely to catch any issues before they escalate. Look for these signs:
Sleep-a-holic kitty: Healthy cats sleep a lot get to know your cats sleeping patterns. If shes snoozing when she usually plays or ignores affection or a favorite toy, her lethargy might be due to illness.
Eating, drinking changes: If your cat has diabetes, shell drink lots of water. If she has dental issues, she might suddenly stop chewing her favorite kibble. Track how much your cat normally eats and drinks so you can gauge any changes.
Urination problems: Urinating more, less or not at all, or elimination outside of the litter box can all be signs your cat may be ill. See your vet immediately, especially if your male cat is urinating abnormally.
Behavioral issues: Acting aggressively can be a sign of pain and injury, but cats will also hide when theyre sick, so watch your cat’s behavior closely.
Weight loss/gain: Look for protruding ribs and or the development of a pouch. Changes in weight can be difficult to detect because theyre usually gradual. Groom your cat to get a feeling for her body weight and condition, so you can sense when theres a change.
Final Thoughts On Cat Food
Its important to time the switch from kitten to adult cat food correctly to ensure your kitten is getting all the calories and nutrients to foster development and your adult cat is getting the best food for his mature mind and body. The exact moment to begin the transition will depend on your cats age, weight, and breed, and your vet can provide the best guidance. The shift usually happens around a felines first birthday, but it is a gradual process. Youll continue to feed a portion of kitten food for at least a week or two as you complete the transition. Dont worry if a kitten taste-tests a bit of adult food before its time to transition, but try to make sure he doesnt get any more until its truly time to transition for good.
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Her Primary Kitten Food
Your kitten should be eating a good quality kitten food or a food labeled for all feline life stages. Even as you introduce her to other foods, this should be her primary food as too many changes can cause digestive upsets. Feel free to change flavors of food but remain within the same brand to maintain some consistency.
How Do I Get My Kitten To Eat Dry Food
This is a gradual process as part of weaning. Young kittens should be started on wet food for the initial transition from their mothers milk, and can then progress to soaked dry food after about two weeks. They will usually be able to eat small amounts of dry food by the time they are ready to leave their mum.
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Other Precautions To Take Into Account
By starting to eat more solids, the kitten may become constipated, and one way to help is to gently stimulate their gut, by giving gentle massages. We will leave a small litter tray so they can begin to do their needs there.
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.
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What Makes A Food Suitable For Kittens
Kittens are constantly growing and require a diet that is formulated to meet their nutritional needs and supports proper growth and development. This includes appropriate amounts of vitamins and minerals, amino acids, protein, fat, and more. Other nutritional elements significant to a kittens diet include antioxidants to support a strong immune system, higher protein and calorie content for energy, and DHA, an omega fatty acid, for healthy vision and brain development.
When choosing a food for your kitten, look for the following on the label:
- Complete and balanced
- All Life Stages
These statements indicate that the diet is suitable for kittens according to AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles.
When feeding your kitten, be sure to check feeding guidelines on the bag and consult with your veterinarian to make sure your kitten is getting enough food. Kittens can benefit from eating 3-4 smaller meals per day.
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Three Weeks Old Kitten
If you are bottle feeding, youll notice the kittens are drinking much more at each feeding, but at fewer feedings, probably four to five times a day. At this age you can start introducing solid fooduse wet food at first, and try mixing it with kitten formula. By the end of the week, their weight will have increased to close to 15 ounces. They are walking steadily, without too much wobbling.
Tweed is three weeks old!
What Nutrients Does My Kitten Need
Kittenhood is a playful, highly energetic time in a cats life. In addition to being more active than adults, kittens need more energy for growing and developing. These tiny creatures have different nutrient requirements than adult cats do. In general, kittens need the following in an appropriate kitten food:
- More calories, protein and fat than adult cats
- Omega fatty acid DHA, which is important for brain and vision development
- Vitamins and minerals for developing immune systems
- Optimal calcium to phosphorus ratios
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What Happens If I Feed My Kitten Adult Food
The fact that it is not the most appropriate for a kitten to eat adult cat food does not mean that something serious will happen if we occasionally are forced to feed them adult food. If we run out of kitten food and are unable to get some more at feeding time, we can give the kitten adult cat food to tide them over. If it is dry kibble, we should soften it with water to ensure they do not choke on the larger pieces.
However, prolonged consumption of adult cat food could cause alterations in health or development of the kitten. In general, the quality with which commercial diets for cats are formulated today makes it very difficult for us to see serious problems.
If the kitten does present any symptoms of a health problem which may be related to the consumption of adult cat food, we need to take them to a veterinarian. An example of such a health problem might be a five-month-old kitten with struvite crystals causing a urinary tract blockage.
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When Should I Switch From Kitten Food To Adult Cat Food
Kittens should be fed a growth-formulated diet until they are at least 90 percent of their adult weight. In general, kittens reach this milestone at about 10 to 12 months of age. The exception is for larger breed cats. Some larger breeds are recommended to be on growth diets for a longer period of time because they do not reach maturity until 18 months to 2 years of age. Always speak with your veterinarian regarding how long your kitten should be on a kitten diet.
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Bringing Up A Litter Of Kittens: Health Considerations
31st July 2018
You have brought a litter of kittens into the world, either by accident or on purpose, and you are now responsible for their wellbeing.
You also need to ensure that your input over the next few weeks results in kittens that will make good pets for their future owners. To be good pets they need to be both healthy and have the ability to enjoy living with people.
The average birth weight for most cats is approximately 100 grammes, however, it is normal for some pedigree cats to have significantly smaller or larger kittens, depending on the breed. Healthy kittens should double their birth weight in the first two weeks, then continue to gain weight steadily. It is helpful to weigh your kittens to see whether they are thriving and growing as they should.
What Type Of Food Does My Kitten Need Wet Or Dry
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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How Much Should You Feed Your Adult Cat
As your kittens metabolism starts to slow down and he reaches adulthood, you might notice him start to put on excess weight. Obesity is a common issue among adult cats and, when not corrected early on, may lead to complications later in life. Regular exercise and a well-controlled diet will help to prevent obesity and keep your cat in good shape.
Whether you feed your cat homemade cat food or the best commercial cat foods, its critical to feed him the right amount per day. But theres no single amount of food that every cat should eat each day.
Calorie needs vary from cat to cat, with many factors coming into play. When deciding how much to feed your cat, youll have to consider his breed, age, reproductive status, underlying health conditions, and more. In general, however, the recommended daily caloric intake is about 20 calories per pound of bodyweight.
that helps you identify how many calories your cat needs per day.
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 kittens 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.
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When Do Kittens Start Eating Solid Food
Breastfeeding a kitten lasts about 9 weeks, and when their teeth begin to come in, after about four weeks, they can begin to eat food. We must feed them with food appropriate for their age. It is advisable to moisten it a little with water to make it easier to adapt to the process of chewing, or add a bit of wet food .
The food that cats must take from the end of lactation to one year of life must be composed of highly digestible proteins, antioxidants and omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. This feed must be of high quality and the amount to be given is estimated according to the weight and the guidance tables that come on the containers. However, depending on the characteristics of our kitten, the veterinarian can tell us if they should eat more or less.
The commercial names of food for growing kittens have names such as “kitten”, “growth”, etc. So look at this detail to select the best food for your little one.
If you prefer, you can make homemade food for this stage of life but, our vets recommend a complete feed, since it is very difficult to maintain a perfect balance between all the nutrients.
Feeding Kittens 4 To 5 Weeks Old
By the time a kitten is about 4 weeks old, its often ready to start eating solid food. Introduce solid food slowly into their diet by mixing a little canned kitten food with milk replacer on a tablespoon. It may take a few tries, but eventually, your kitten will be interested enough to begin lapping up the mixture on its own. Sometimes it helps to gently rub a tiny bit of canned food on the kittens lips to give them a little sampling of whats available. Never rush this process. A kitten will begin eating solid foods on their own schedulea timeline that can vary from kitten to kitten.
Meanwhile, keep offering milk replacer in a bottle to make sure the kitten is maintaining their weight and getting all the nutrition they require. Weighing your kitten every day or so is also a good way to be sure your pet is gaining weight and developing properly. Make sure to provide a shallow bowl of fresh water once the kitten reaches 4 weeks of age.
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