What Do Kittens Need To Eat
Once kittens are weaned off milk by their mothers, they start to enjoy a more varied diet. If youre wondering what to feed kittens or what kittens eat, its wise to search for products that are specially formulated for young cats and to opt for high-quality foods that are packed with essential nutrients. Kittens need a balanced diet rich in protein for growth and development and increasing energy levels, calcium to develop healthy, strong teeth and bones and DHA to promote brain development and vision.
When To Call The Vet
Watch out for changes in your cat’s eating and drinking behaviour, as this could indicate that something is wrong. See your vet if your cat:
- normally eats well but suddenly stops
- has not eaten for 48 hours
- develops a ravenous appetite
- will only eat with one side of their mouth
- makes a grinding noise when they eat
- starts drinking noticeably more than usual
- loses weight for no apparent reason
- is vomiting or has diarrhoea
Regular eating and drinking is essential to your cat’s health. If your cat doesn’t eat, even for a few days, they can develop a condition of the liver which can be fatal in severe cases.
Can Cats Eat Cooked Chicken
One common question that many cat owners ask is whether it is ok to feed their cat chicken. Cats are carnivores, which means they are meat eaters and in the wild will eat raw meat in the form of their prey. For your pet cat, always ensure that any chicken you feed them is cooked – preferably boiled and does not contain any bones. Remember to include chicken as part of your cat’s daily treat allowance, fed in conjunction with a balanced diet. Feeding only cooked chicken long term can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
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How Often To Feed A Cat
The number of meals you give your cat every day will depend on a number of factors. Up until the age of six months, kittens will grow rapidly and expend a lot of energy, so you should feed them kitten-specific food four times per day. After this stage, their meals will need to be reduced to prevent unnecessary weight gain and you may decide to feed your cat twice a day.
If youre feeding your cat dry food only, you can also leave their daily serving in their bowl and allow them to nibble on it throughout the day whenever they feel like it. Most cats prefer to graze and leaving some dry food out for the day allows them to satisfy themselves.
When Your Kitten Is Ready For Kibble
At the end of nine months, your Maine Coon should be ready to transition to cat kibble. Its important to remember that a dramatic change in food can cause your cat to be sick. There is a 7-day transition plan that will help your cat with the transition.
The first two days are mostly the previous cat food. Only a third of the bowl should be the new food. After, it is an even 50/50. This lasts for another two days. The next two days consist of a majority of the new food. This leaves the last day of only the new food.
Some cats may not enjoy new food. These guidelines may not line up with your cats preferences. If this is the case, just take an extra day in the day your cat has the most adversity to the food mixture.
Rushing your cat into a new diet can cause them to vomit or have other bad reactions. As with any diet change, do so gradually.
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Other Kitten Weaning Tips
When you are weaning a kitten onto solid food, its important to use a food formulated specifically for kittens. These formulas have the higher levels of calories, protein and calcium that growing kittens need. If you are caring for a mother cat and her litter, its okay for the mom cat to eat the same kitten food while shes nursing.
Weaning kittens must be kept warm. Build a nest by lining a high sided box or pet carrier with towels. Benson also recommends adding a layer of diapers above the towels, cutting the leg holes to make them lie flat. Theyre going to get messy, he says, and this makes clean-up much easier. Place a heating pad or hot water bottle under the towels on one half of the box. This gives the kittens plenty of heat, but also a place to cool off if they are too hot.
Kitten weaning is a natural process they may just need a little help from you. The key: a little patience and a lot of love.
How Much To Feed A Cat
As a general rule, start by using the feeding instructions on the back of the cat food packet as a guide to how much to feed your cat. These instructions will be broken down into different amounts depending on your cats age and weight.
However, your cats lifestyle is a factor that needs to be taken into consideration, so you should not rely on this information alone. Youll need to monitor the effects of your cats diet over a period of weeks and adjust accordingly if your cat is losing weight or gaining additional kilos. This process may take some time, but if youre careful and patient, youll be able to find the best amount for your individual cats health and well-being, and avoid overfeeding. Talk to your local Greencross Vets if youre unsure of how much you should be feeding your cat.
Remember that not all cat foods are created equal and choosing a super premium cat food will mean that a smaller serving gives your cat a complete and balanced diet, and also provide the best results for your feline friends overall health. Use our Cat Food Finder Tool or talk to your friendly local Petbarn team for help and advice about choosing the best food for your cat.
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Do Not Disturb The Kittens
It is best to 1st observe from a distance for a few hours to determine if mom is returning to her nest. The mother cat may be out searching for food, taking a break, or even hiding from you. If you see kittens and no mom, wait a few hours before trying to rescue them. The kittens have a better chance of survival with their mom. If mom returns, the best thing you can do is place some fresh cat food and water out for her. It is best not to continue to check on them more than once a day as not to disturb the nest.
Are There Foods I Should Avoid Giving My Kitten
Its OK to feed your kitten treats, as long as you follow the 10% calorie rule, Larsen says. This means that treats should make up less than 10% of your kittens total calorie intake. But this doesnt mean its a good idea to turn your leftover table scraps into treats for your kitten. Also, take precautions with the following foods:
- Raw meat or liver may contain parasites and harmful bacteria.
- Raw eggs may contain Salmonella and may decrease absorption of a B vitamin, leading to skin and hair coat problems.
- Raw fish may lead to a B vitamin deficiency, causing loss of appetite, seizures, and even death.
- Milk may cause diarrhea in weaned kittens and cats because they lose the enzyme needed to break down milk.
In addition, onions, garlic, chocolate, coffee, tea, raisins, or grapes can be toxic to kittens and cats.
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What Treats Can I Feed My Cat
Every cat-owner will be all too aware that cats love treats. If you do opt to give your cat treats, make sure you limit the amount throughout the day so they dont gain weight. Treats specially formulated for cats are a much better option than leftovers or raw meat, although a small amount of cooked chicken or fish is fine.
Food enrichment puzzles and toys are great ways to keep your cat occupied as well as limiting their treat intake. Alternatively, why not treat your cat to a little extra attention or play time? Youll strengthen the bond between you and your cat, without the potential weight gain.
Choosing The Best Kitten Food
When it comes to kitten food, quality counts. Choose only food that has been certified by Association of American Feed Control Officials , which establishes nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods. This means that the food has been tested to make sure it is properly balanced for your kittens growing needs. If youve adopted a kitten from a shelter, find out what the kitten was eating previously and stick with that diet to avoid stomach upset.
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Canned Food Is The Best Choice For Healthy Cats
Canned food is more beneficial than dry food for several reasons. But, it is also more expensive and messier to feed. As fresh-kill hunters, cats in the wild consume most of their water along with fresh prey and do not have a strong drive to drink independently of eating. I believe most dry food cats under consume water resulting in stress on their kidneys and overly concentrated urine. Canned food mimics the water content of their prey in the wild. This encourages more dilute urine that is less likely to lead to bladder and kidney issues overtime.
Canned food also tends to be lower in carbohydrates compared to dry food and thereby higher in protein. High protein, low carb diets are touted by some to be less likely to cause obesity in cats, but this has been disproven in feeding studies total calories consumed is most important. Most cats need 4-5 ounces of canned food per day, total. Pate-style varieties tend to be higher in calories per can than the varieties that more resemble people food with chunks and gravies- this can be useful when trying to fine-tune the number of calories per day being consumed.
Try A New Food For Breakfast
If your cat is used to eating kitten food for breakfast, try a new cat food. Cats are creatures of habit and will usually stick to eating the same thing in the morning.
If you feed your cat a different food for breakfast, they might discover that they enjoy it more, which means transitioning wont be as difficult.
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When To Stop Feeding Kitten Food
The age at which a kitten reaches adulthood can vary by breed and other factors. Typically, kittens will be fully grown by age 1 and you should stop feeding kitten food and switch to an adult diet then. Its important to stop feeding kitten-specific food when the time is right and transition to an adult diet so your cat does not become overweight.
When switching from kitten to adult cat food, do so as a gradual transition over 7-10 days as changing your cats food too quickly can cause stomach upset. Always introduce the new food by slowly mixing it with the current diet.
Days 1-3: 75% kitten food | 25% adult foodDays 4-6: 50% kitten food | 50% adult foodDays 7-9: 25% kitten food | 75% adult foodDay 10: 100% adult food
Many kitten foods are nutritionally formulated to meet the needs of both kittens and adult cats so always refer to the label for the AAFCO nutritional statement!
Stella & Chewys offers a variety of raw and kibble diets that are formulated to meet your kittens needs. Learn more about choosing a diet for your kitten.
Homemade Cat Food Recipes Every Cat Will Love
Please note: These 10 recipes were reviewed and approved by Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Claudine Sievert. Our team cooked and tested all these recipes with our cats.
When it comes to a healthy cat diet, its almost impossible to make it ideal. Whether you use wet or dry cat food, there are always some drawbacks in formulas these can be ingredients, artificial components, flavors, or texture. Each cat has individual needs, and covering them all with mass-market industrial products isnt always the right decision.
Besides, cats are carnivores they eat raw meat and dont need grains. This is what many owners forget about when buying kibbles with wheat and corn. As a result, their beloved pets suffer from allergic reactions, stomach upset, sensitivities, poor digestion and metabolism, excessive weight, and so on.
Ideally, a feline diet should consist of what these hunters ate originally prey and fish. You can help your cat and create an ideal menu for it.
Have you ever tried to make your own cat food? This option would be perfect, and its not as complicated as it seems. Actually millions of people are already cooking homemade cat food, homemade kibbles, and even homemade kitten formulas themselves!
Below you will find our 10 favorite recipes for homemade cat food.
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From Four Weeks To Eight Weeks
How much to feed a kitten 6 weeks ideally? When the little kittens start to reach four to eight weeks of age, then you can start to reduce the liquid feeding slowly. It takes some time to gradually replace the milk with both wet and dry foods.
First, you can mix one part of dry foods with three parts of milk replacement or second, you can mix one part of wet foods with two parts of milk replacement.
From 2 Months To 3 Months
You will see some progression on kittens feeding when they finally reach at least 10 weeks. How much to feed a kitten 9 weeks or 10 weeks is about four times daily since their belly is still too small to contain all those required amount of foods when less often.
The kittens can eat kitten foods and they will start to develop preference of foods and it will last for the rest of their life. Both canned and dry foods are okay and it is up to the owners. However, when the kittens are not used to dry foods yet then you can mix them with little amount of water.
While for the wet foods, you need to store them into refrigerator and when it is the time to feed the kittens, you can warm the foods. Feed a kitten 12 weeks of age should have the same pattern.
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When Can Kittens Eat Dry Food Only
Most vets recommend a diet of dry and wet food, as cats have a tendency to under-consume water and wet food can help keep them hydrated. Speak to your vet to make sure a dry food-only diet is appropriate for your cat. If that’s the case, kittens can start to have dry kibble at around three to four weeks, but they are fully weaned from their mother’s milk by six to eight weeks and can eat just dry or wet kitten food.
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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When Is It Time To Switch Litter
If your cat uses her litter box every day, then you probably shouldnt change litter brands.
However, Its not unusual for cats to outgrow their litter and become averse to the box theyve been used for months. If you try a more a new litter, be sure to transition your cat slowly by combining old and new litters until she adjusts.
Clues your cat doesn’t like her litter:
- Two of her paws are in the box, two are out
- She doesnt dig to bury her waste
- She steps out of the box, shakes her feet
- She scratches the floor or carpet outside her box
- She urinates outside, not inside, the box
Your Cat May Have Trained You To Feed It
The act of feeding is a training exercise between the cat and the feeder. Cats often key on the behaviors and acts that are a preview to feeding them and try to get the feeder to engage in these. A good example is feeding the cats as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. The cats will very often try to get the person up in the morning so that they get fed earlier and earlier and earlier
Another example is the cat running into the kitchen every time the fridge is opened since that is where they know you store the canned food.
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What Are Healthy Activities For My Cat
By now, you should have a healthy exercise plan in place to help your cat from becoming obese, which can extend the quality of her overall health. Always check with your veterinarian to see if your cat has any existing issues that would preclude exercise and ask for recommendations on healthy activities specific to your cats lifestyle needs.
Tips for healthy play:
Leave cardboard boxes and paper bags for cats to pounce on
Play chase with toys, balls, feathered sticks, and flashlight pointers
Get a cat tree and use catnip as an incentive to promote climbing
Have a tall scratch post for her to stretch and scratch on
Set up play dates with other four-legged pals consider adopting a sibling cat or even a pup
Reward tricks with healthy treats. Train your cat to run to you from across the room or climb up her cat tree when you shake a bag of yummy treats