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What to feed kittens, how to eat?

What to feed kittens and how to eat well for kittens to develop in the best way is something that not everyone knows.

Choosing the right food for your kitten is an important decision. Nutrition supports their growth. Giving her high-quality kitten food now will help support her many long, healthy years as an adult cat.

what to feed kittens how to eat - What to feed kittens, how to eat?

If you’re a first-time cat owner, choosing the right food and knowing how much to feed and when is a daunting task. Webforpet.com will help you understand what to feed and when to help your kitten thrive.

What do kittens eat?

Newborn kittens get their nutrition from their mother through nursing. If separated from their mother, a kitten milk replacer may be used. The weaning process may begin around three to four weeks of age, at which time more solid foods can be introduced.

Kitten Nutrition

Kittens need a complete and balanced diet formulated to meet their unique growth and developmental needs.

Look for protein-rich kitten food to support her growing body and high energy. Calcium supports her teeth and bones and DHA helps support healthy brain and vision development.

Can kittens drink milk?

Once a kitten has been completely weaned from her mother’s milk, she does not need milk in other forms.

Although cow’s milk is often appealing to kittens and adult cats, it doesn’t contain the nutrients they need and cannot replace a complete and balanced diet.

When can kittens eat dry food & wet food?

As kittens begin to wean, they can start to nibble (and play with) 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 (it should look like oatmeal). Over the next two weeks, gradually decrease the amount of water and increase the amount of food.

By six to eight weeks, kittens can eat wet or dry cat food at will. With wet food and/or dry food, you can provide a greater variety of flavors and textures, which will help support her adventurous nature. You can also feed a combination of wet and dry food or dry kibble by itself.

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.

How much to feed a kitten

Now you know what to feed a kitten, but how much should you feed her? The kitten feeding guide on the back of the package will tell you how much to feed your kitten.

If you’re feeding dry kibble, you can put an entire day’s serving out at once or divide it in half and feed her twice a day.

You can also divide wet food in half and feed her twice a day. Any leftovers in her bowl should be discarded. You can store an open can of wet food in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Bring it up to room temperature before serving.

The chart below can help you determine how much to feed your kitten. Refer to your kitten’s food packaging and consult with your veterinarian to ensure your kitten is getting the correct amount of calories each day.

Kitten Feeding Chart

Feeding charts are required on all kitten food packaging, but they don’t all look the same. Pay close attention to the chart on your kitten’s food label to ensure you’re feeding her the right amount based on her age and weight.

Here’s a sample kitten feeding chart, similar to what you’ll find on kitten food labels:

Age  Weight (lbs)  Dry Food Amount (cups) 
6 weeks 2/3 to 1-1/3 1/4 to 1/3
7 weeks to 5 months 1-1/2 to 5-3/4 1/3 to 1
6 months to 1 year 5-3/4 to 12 2/3 to 1-1/4

Note: Amounts listed above are for a 24-hour period. Kitten feeding amounts vary from product to product based on calorie content and formula. Consult the feeding chart on the back of your kitten’s food packaging. Individual needs can vary, so consult with your veterinarian regarding special dietary needs.  

When to feed a kitten

Once you know what to feed your kitten and how much, it’s time to create a feeding schedule that works for you both.

Use your kitten’s name when feeding to help her learn her name, while also associating you with a pleasant activity.

Creating a routine and feeding her at the same time each day can help your kitten feel secure and will aid in forming a bond between you two that will last for many years to come.

You can feed your kitten one to three times a day, as long as you don’t give her more than her total daily calorie needs.

For example, you can put dry kibble in her bowl in the morning and she can graze throughout the day. If a twice-a-day schedule works better, give half her daily amount in the morning and a half in the evening.

Same for wet food or a combination of wet and dry food. Just make sure the wet and dry food combined meets the total amount of calories she needs in a day.  When to Stop Feeding Kitten Food

Kittens grow fast and before you know it, you’ll need to switch to adult cat food. For most cats, this transition should happen around her first birthday.

Large breed cats like Maine Coons, however, take a little more time to mature. They may need to continue eating kitten food until between 18 months and 2 years of age.

Your kitten’s first year goes by fast, but ensuring she’s getting the right nutrients during this time will help support her in the years to come.

Taking care of newborn kittens week by week

Taking care of a newborn kitten is not easy. What should you pay attention to when taking care of newborn kittens week by week?

The week-by-week care of newborn kittens may be a lot of work, but the process is filled with satisfaction and enjoyment as you help to raise the kittens.

newborn kitten care week by week - Taking care of newborn kittens week by week

Here is how to take care of kittens week by week that you need to keep in mind:

1-week-old kitten care

  • Make sure they nurse early and keep at it: For the first three to four weeks, your kittens won’t eat any solid food and will receive all of their energy and nutrition from nursing. The exact timing is up to the mom and the kittens, but you should check to make sure the litter is nursing regularly, and there aren’t any problems with the mother’s ability to feed her kittens.
  • Or bottle-feed every three hours: On the other hand, you may be wondering how to take care of a newborn kitten without a mother. If this is the case, you’ll need to use a kitten-safe formula (not cow’s milk), and bottle-feed the kittens every two to four hours. Ensuring the kittens receive proper nutrition is a key element of newborn kitten care, whether they’re nursing or being bottle-fed.
  • Provide a heat source: Your cat is warm, fluffy, and cuddly, and she’ll use all of these traits when caring for her kittens. The newborn litter benefits greatly from her warmth, as they aren’t able to effectively control their own body temperatures during their first few weeks. But what happens when the mother cat leaves the kittens for a time? A kitten-safe heated pad with an automatic thermostat can help keep the kittens warm without becoming too hot. You may also need to supplement the blanket-lined nest box area with a safe environmental heat source. If there is no mother cat present, aim for an ambient temperature of about 90°F.
  • Weigh the kittens. You don’t want to handle the kittens too much at this stage, but weighing them daily will help you monitor their health and growth. Healthy kittens grow incredibly fast! (If it bothers the mother cat when you handle the kittens, you may need advice from your veterinarian before proceeding.)
  • Clean the nest. You want to keep the nest area clean and change the absorbent bedding materials as often as needed.

2-week-old kitten care

  • Begin a deworming regimen: Talk with your vet about deworming your kittens and get a deworming schedule from them.
  • Eyes open: Your kittens’ eyes should probably be open by now. If they’re not open by around day 10, you can try gently wiping the lids clean and applying a bit of petroleum jelly. If their eyes are still closed at two weeks, your veterinarian should check them out.
  • Turn down the heat: You can lower the air temperature of the nest box to about 80°F.

3-week-old kitten care

  • Offer a litter box: Until they’re about three weeks old, kittens require the aid of their mother (or human caregivers, if they’re orphaned) to encourage them to relieve themselves. But at around three weeks old, the kittens begin controlling their own potty breaks. Now is the time to place a kitten-safe litter box in their environment. No need to specifically “train” the kittens; they should get the idea on their own.
  • Scale back the bottle feeding frequency: If you’re bottle-feeding the kittens, you can probably stretch them out to four to six hours between meals.

4-week-old kitten care

  • Socialize: It’s important for kittens to become used to being around and handled by people at this stage. Carefully handle the kittens and get them used to brief periods of human interaction; this goes a long way toward helping them grow up to be people-friendly cats. You might try introducing the kittens to new sounds too.
  • Room temperature: At this stage, the nest box ambient temperature can be lowered to about 75°F.

5-week-old kitten care

  • The solid food: Time to start weaning the kittens. If you’re bottle-feeding, you’ll handle the timing; otherwise, the mother cat will naturally begin the process. What should you feed a newborn kitten? You can start by offering the kittens a combination of solid kitten food mixed with kitten formula. Or, try simply soaking kitten food in water until it’s very soft. (Check with your vet for solid-food-to-formula ratios.)
  • Water: When the kittens begin weaning and transition over to solid food, it’s a good time to offer them water in a kitten-safe bowl too.

6-, 7-, and 8-week-old kitten care (and beyond!)

  • Vaccination time: Talk to your vet about when your kittens can begin receiving their immunizations. Vaccinations don’t take place all in one day; it’s a process that continues for several weeks and requires a few visits to the veterinarian.
  • Playtime: Your older kittens may enjoy playing with a fun toy or two. Some stimulating play will help them develop into healthy, capable cats. Supplying a cat scratcher isn’t a bad idea either.
  • Full meals: Your kittens may not be fully weaned yet, but they’re able to eat larger amounts of high-protein kitten food, spaced out four times a day.
  • Registration: Purebred kittens should be registered with their appropriate breed association. Hopefully, it won’t go to their heads!
  • Saying goodbye: By 12 weeks old, your kittens may leave for their new homes. To help ease the transition, supply them with a pillow that mimics the sound of their mother’s heartbeat. This can help give kittens the familiar feeling of their mother and littermates even in their new home. You can also mimic the warmth of the litter with a heated kitty bed.

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What to feed kittens, how to eat?

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What to feed kittens and how to eat well for kittens to develop in the best way is something that not everyone knows. Choosing the...