What To Feed Kittens
Your kittens dietary requirements are going to be different from an adult cats dietary requirements. To help a kitten grow healthy and strong, their food typically requires:
Higher protein levels
More calories per cup
Higher amounts of certain nutrients
Your new kitten will likely have tons of energy and engage in rowdy play, so their food needs to support their body as they burn calories exercising as well as expend energy for growth.
Why Is My Kittens Poop Runny And Smelly
The cause for foul smelling stools in cats or humans can be very similar. It can be the food eaten, the bacteria in the colon1, and on occasion serious health problems. Additionally diarrhea and the presence of excess gas can cause bad odors. Many feline disorders are accompanied by diarrhea and foul smelling stools.
Meat Them Where They Are
The most important rule of weaning is not to rushdo things on the kittens timeline, not yours! Try offering the kitten some small bites of wet food on a finger, a spoon, or a tongue depressor, and see if they will accept it. If theyre interested in eating, see if they are able to access the food in a dish. Remember that this is a new skill for them, so many kittens will find it difficult to eat out of a dish for the first several days. No rush!
Once the kitten has eaten some solids, its time to supplemental feed with a bottle Supplemental feeding ensures that your kitten is getting all of the calories and nutrition she needs during this slow transition. There’s no such thing as “tough love” for kittens, and if she isn’t understanding how to eat yet, you’ll still need to supplement to make sure she’s staying healthy and well fed.
You may also choose to offer the kitten a slurrya mix of formula and wet food, which is used to help transition the kitten from one food to the other. You may begin by just introducing a small teaspoon of wet food mixed with the formula, which allows the kitten to acclimate to the new proteins and flavors. As the kitten becomes more comfortable eating meat, you’ll begin increasing the ratio so that there is more wet food present at each feeding.
Weigh the kitten throughout the weaning process. If her weight drops or steadies, youll need to supplement with a bottle, try a different method of eating, or scale back to kitten formula.
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Why You Should Feed Wet Food To Kittens
During the weaning phase, you can offer your kitten a variety of dry and wet foods to give them a diverse diet. When feeding dry food, try to avoid fatty, fried, or high-fat meats. Also, avoid any foods with nitrates and salt. Bacon and hot dogs should be avoided as they contain high levels of salt. You can provide your kitten with lean meat, preferably diced and cooked.
When introducing wet food to your kitten, make sure that it is not cold. If the temperature of the food is too high, it could cause digestive problems, such as diarrhea. Then, slowly introduce a small amount of wet food at each feeding. You can also gradually increase the ratio so that more wet food is available for your kitten at every feeding. Its important to weigh your kitten periodically to monitor how well its doing with solid food. If you notice that your kitten is losing weight, you might need to supplement with a bottle or use a different feeding method. If hes not gaining weight, you may have to switch back to formula and gradually wean him from it.
Another reason to give your kitten wet food is that it encourages them to drink more water. Water is extremely important for cats, and its especially important to encourage them to drink more. Kittens often dont drink much, but the wet food diet will encourage them to drink more water and stay hydrated. A cat water fountain is a great way to encourage your kitten to drink more water.
If You Should Feed Wet Food To An Orphaned Kitten
When you adopt a kitten, you may be wondering whether you should feed it wet food or dry kibble. Orphaned kittens have very different nutritional needs from adult cats and therefore require special cat food. Until they are about four to six weeks old, a mother cat will provide all of the nutrition they need. But once they are orphaned, they will be completely reliant on you to provide them with these nutrients.
The first time you feed a kitten, it will take a few days for it to get used to the new food. It may also take two or three feedings before it catches on. The best way to start feeding your kitten is to mix slurry with a little bit of wet food. Start by giving it a small amount at a time and gradually increase the amount at each meal. If you notice the kitten is not eating, give it a stroking or a gentle pull on the bottle. However, dont force it. You should teach it to eat by itself, and eventually, it will be able to feed itself.
It is important to note that kittens need more protein than adult cats. In fact, the minimum protein level recommended by AAFCO for healthy kitten food is 30 percent protein, compared to 26 percent for adult cats. As a result, high-quality kitten foods will contain meat or fish as the first ingredient. Plant-based sources of protein and carbohydrates should be limited. Generally, wet food contains more protein than dry food, but you should still consult with your veterinarian before you begin giving your kitten this new food.
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Reduced Risk Of Urinary Tract Infections
Kittens are especially susceptible to urinary tract infections because they drink so much fluid while eating wet food. Studies show that wet food reduces the risk of infection by 60% in cats. Wet food is nutritious and delicious, plus it provides more hydration than dry food. Many cats also prefer it!
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.
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What’s The Best Type Of Food For Kittens
Kittens must be weaned on good quality, nutritionally complete kitten food. Kittens have specific calorie, protein, and calcium requirements for healthy growth. They also need adequate vitamins and minerals.
Look for a manufacturer who employs board-certified veterinary nutritionists, or someone with a Ph.D. in animal nutrition, to work on their formula. Consider looking for a brand that is part of the Pet Food Manufacturers Association . To be a member, the manufacturers have to meet higher quality standards than the legal minimum.
You can find out more in our vet’s guide to which kind of kitten food is best for your young cat.
How Much To Feed A Kitten
Kittens are growing rapidly at this young age and eat a lot of food compared to adult cats. We want to provide their bodies with everything necessary for growth, but we also want to develop healthy long-term eating habits.
Feeding guidelines are variable by kitten. However, most often, using the feeding directions on the bag or can of food is a good starting place, and then you can adjust as needed for your kitten. Your veterinarian can use metabolic formulas to calculate the number of calories required per day based on your kittens current weight.
We want kittens to come hungry for their meal, but we also dont want them to be feeling so hungry that they devour the entire meal in a few seconds. Often, young kittens may eat ¼ to ½ cup of food at a time.
If your kitten is thin, we may need to increase the caloric requirement per day. If your kitten is gaining too much weight too quickly, we may need to cut back. Your veterinarian will use a tool called a body condition score to assess your kittens weight.
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What Constitutes A High Quality Kitten Food
1. quality, digestible animal protein
Cats are carnivores and need meat protein. The first thing to check is whether your kitten food has a high level of meat protein say no to pea protein or potato protein and always ensure its a named source e.g. chicken rather than animal or meat so you can trust and know whats in the food. Secondly, is it a high quality and highly digestible meat protein? This is important for delivering sufficient levels of all of the essential amino acids your kitten needs. Percentages are a dangerous and confusing game the rules of labelling are currently quite vague. Some manufacturers name the exact % of ingredients in the food, some quote the % of meat that makes up the overall protein level.
Always be sure to compare things on a dry matter basis for a level playing field. E.g. for fresh meat, take into consideration that roughly 70% of this is water. So, for example if a food has 20% fresh chicken, taking into consideration the level of water, this is equivalent to 6% of dry chicken. Optimal levels of protein should be between 30-36% for kittens and the majority of this from meat, not vegetable protein look out for pea protein or potato protein in the ingredients list. Vegetable protein isnt easy to digest for our feline friends nor contains all the amino acids they need.
2. docosahexaenoic acid or dha
3. a complete diet
What Do You Feed A 4
Youll start by feeding the tiny cat whats known as gruel, or moistened cat food, as well as some dry kibble, formulated for baby cats. A small-batch gruel recipe calls for one-half can of wet kitten food with one-quarter can of formula. Put one half of a can of gruel and dry food in one dish in your kittens crate and a bowl of water in another dish.
Adult cats generally drink 50 to 60 milliliters of water per kilogram or 2.2 pounds of body weight. You can put that out for a kitten, but dont be surprised if she doesnt drink it all. The kitten should still have formula three times per day , or she should be allowed to nurse as desired.
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Final Word On Caring For And Feeding Newborn Kittens
If youre caring for an orphaned kitten, you may be confused about when youre supposed to start feeding him solid food. Its a slow process that takes about a month. Weaning may also look a little different for nursed kittens and bottle-fed cats. First, let the mother take the lead if youre looking after a mama cat and her kittens. Interfering as she weans her kittens from nursing can make it more challenging for everyone. Whether the kitten is eating from Mom or a bottle, you can start putting out gruel, dry food, and a water dish at four weeks. Let the kitten explore, and dont worry too much about how much theyre eating. Most of their nutrition and hydration are still coming from milk or formula. Youll gradually reduce the amount of milk or formula the kitten gets while increasing solid foods, and eventually, your kitten will only eat cat food and will only drink water. As always, discuss any concerns with a vet.
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.
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How Much Wet Food Should You Feed Your New Kitten
- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
Kittens are too sweet for words. We love their little meows, their playfulness, the way their tiny little claws cling to us when we scratch their bellies. Speaking of their belliesits important to feed our kittens right, and that can feel complicated to do. Especially when it comes to wet food.
How much wet food should you feed your new kitten? We set out to answer that question and give you some other important knowledge when it comes to keeping your kitty healthy.
How Much Wet Food Will Feed A Kitten
As kittens grow, their food requirements will increase too. Follow the guidance on the kitten food packaging for the amount to feed depending on age and weight. Younger kittens will be fed several smaller meals a day, decreasing in frequency and increasing in portion size as they get older. If you are concerned that your kitten is not gaining weight as they should be, seek veterinary advice.
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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.
How To Encourage Kittens To Drink
Cats are opportunistic drinkers so place a few bowls around the house, making sure each one is in a calm place, away from food bowls and litter boxes. Also try:
- Using glass, porcelain or metal bowls many cats dont like the taste of water from a plastic bowl.
- A wide, shallow bowl filled to the brim so your kitten can keep an eye on their surroundings while drinking.
- Letting your kitten drink from a water fountain or tap some prefer running water.
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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.
If you want to read similar articles to When do Kittens Start Eating Food and Drinking Water On their Own?, we recommend you visit our Healthy diets category.
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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How Do You Introduce Kittens To Food
Remember, weaning is a process, and it may be a little harder for a bottle-fed kitten to navigate without the instincts of his birth mother. No need for any kitten-parent guilt, thoughyoure doing a ton to help lay a great nutritional foundation for the little guy. Patience and monitoring will be essential as your kitten transitions to a new dietary source.
At four weeks, offer the gruel, dry food, and water, but dont stress about how much the kittys eating. You do want the kitten to start getting used to the taste and texture, though. If youre bottle-feeding, you can offer gruel off a spoon or from a tongue depressor if the kitten doesnt seem to be eating from a dish.
At five weeks, swap baby cat kibble for kitten kibble and formula for water when making the gruel. If you were using a tongue depressor at four weeks, try to transition from it by slowly lowering it towards the dish of gruel to signify thats where the food is going to be in the future. Keep half a can of kitten kibble in a dish for each kitten you are caring for, plus gruel or wet food. Set out a water bowl too.
Weeks five and six are transitional. You want to keep feeding kittens milk or formula plus kibble to mitigate any digestive issues. Slowly reduce the amount of formula while increasing the amount of kibble. By seven weeks, the kitten should be eating mainly dry food, and he should be fully weaned at eight weeks.