Few things are more exciting, adorable and worrying than a brand-new kitten. Whether you’ve waited for this moment for a long time or you decided to take the plunge and bring a kitten into your family, the worries at the beginning of their life are the same for everyone. You might be wondering about even the smallest or most basic things, such as de-fleaing your cat, appropriate care or simply how much you should feed your kitten.
That’s why we’ve taken the time to do all the research required on your behalf. If you aren’t sure or don’t know how much to feed your kitten, take a read of this article and put your anxiety aside. Below is everything you need to know about feeding your kitten for their optimal health.
Variables You Should Consider When Feeding Your Kitten
If you’ve had a kitten come into your family from a very early age, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of feeding a kitten that prematurely left their mother. If your cat has had kittens and you’re worried that they’re not feeding well, a call the vets may be in order as there could be an issue such as mastitis, which they’ll need some assistance with.
However, older kittens are much simpler to care for- with kittens up to 10 weeks being kept on kitten food only, at the very least. Your cat will also begin to start developing their preferences at this point, so if you find your cat turning their nose up at your food, it might be worth trying a few different brands to see what works for them.
Naturally, there will be some differences between breeds- the most notable being the sizes. If you have a Maine Coon, for example, they’ll likely need a little more food than others- while smaller cats will need less. Another factor within breeds is the level of activity, too. If you know you have a cat that loves to go outside and explore, you’ll need to feed them more as their metabolism is likely to be higher.
- Any dietary advice
All cats are lactose intolerant, so stay away from any foods that contain lactose (such as cow’s milk). There may also be some issues with “preemie” kittens (that left their mother too early), in that they would require much gentler foods on their stomach, as they’re still developing. You’ll also need to know if they have any allergies cropping up, so keep an eye on the behavior of your kitten as they grow and try to nip any issues in the bud, before they become a big problem. If you are looking for more options, check out our guide on cat food for sensitive stomachs.
How Much Should You Feed Your Kitten
- From 2-3 months
Kittens around this age will have very small stomachs, so feeding your kitten around 4 times a day, with smaller portions will stop their stomachs from becoming too full and giving them any digestive issues. Some kitten pouches will be the correct size to match this, but it depends entirely on the brand used. If you’re using dry cat food, you can leave this out for them to free feed, initially (with plenty of water nearby).
- 3-6 months
At this age you’d do well to keep a routine for your kitten, so they know what time the food is coming- which stops them from asking for more and guilting you into overfeeding them! For dry food, between 1/3 cup and 1 cup for each serving should suffice. Keep an eye on their weight to see if you’re over-feeding them and don’t be bullied into giving them more!
Wet food is likely to come in pouches at the correct size, so they’ll need roughly 3 of these a day- while canned cat food should be broken down so one can is eaten, per day- these can easily be reduced if you notice any leftovers.
- 6 months to 1 year
Your routine should now include 2 meals per day for your cat (they may take a bit of an affront to this at first, but they’ll soon get over it). Meals can also be bigger during each feeding time, so check your labels if you’d like to be certain. Each brand will have slightly different recipes so it’s always best to try the recommended amount first, to ensure your cat is getting all the benefits they can from their food.
At this point, your cat will be able to digest raw food, if that’s your chosen method of feeding. Cats are carnivores by nature, so there is certainly some strong evidence to suggest that this is the best method for them (although it can get a little pricey!). The main thing is that your cat still gets their nutrients, so be sure to add supplements if required or mix in some probiotics. For a wider selection of choices, check out our cat probiotics guide.
How to Change Your Cats Food From A Different Brand
If you aren’t sold on a certain brand, there’s no harm in trying out some different types. As mentioned, however, there are some differences between each make. In order to avoid giving your cat an upset stomach, the best method to change between these is to do a slow mix.
On the first day, follow your feeding schedule but add in the new food at a 1:3 ratio to the older recipe. The second day, you can keep the food at a 2:2 ratio, meaning that the third day should have a 3:1 ratio to the old food. This should stop any accidents happening during the change and keep your cat happy.
Remember: Take the cues from your kitten, if you’re noticing a lot of leftovers, then reduce the amount you’re feeding them accordingly, while hungry tums will probably want a little more at first. Keep an eye on their weight as they grow and be careful to pay attention to the feeding portions given on the packet- especially when you and your kitten are getting used to each other’s habits.
- Feeding your Cat or Kitten – International Cat Care