How Long Should Kittens Eat Kitten Food
The majority of cats reach maturity at around the same time at approximately 12 months old. As such, you should keep feeding your feline friend kitten food until their first birthday, at which point you should gradually switch them over to an adult cat food.
The exception to this is extra-large cats, such as Maine coons, who weigh up to 25 pounds compared to an average cat, which weighs around 10 pounds. Larger cats tend to mature between 18 and 24 months of age, so they should be fed kitten food for longer.
The Great Wet Vs Dry Battle
Back when I was a vet tech, most vets recommended dry food only because it helped keep cats teeth clean, and tartar buildup on cats teeth can lead to infections that can damage the kidneys. Today, however, the updated thinking is you should offer wet food as well because of the high water content which actually helps the kidneys, of course. I will confess to being a very mean cat mom and choose to feed my own cats only dry because I utterly DESPISE the smell of wet cat food . Again, check with your vet to see what works for you and your cat, but it does seem that a balance of wet/dry is ideal .
Kitten Weight Gain And Developmental Milestones
Kittens should gain about ½ ounce every day or 4 ounces per week.; Weigh them at the same time every day with a kitchen or small postal scale. Lack of weight gain in a 24 hour period is cause for concern. Begin syringe feeding the kitten and have a plan in place for who foster parents should contact. To syringe feed the kitten, mix up the KMR as usual and then draw it up in a syringe. Put a nipple on the end of the syringe and place the kitten in the proper feeding position. Try to get the kitten nursing by slowly pushing KMR out of the syringe and through the nipple into its mouth. Make sure it swallows the formula before you push more into its mouth.
Read Also: How To Get Cat Pee Out Of Mattress
When To Stop Feeding A Cat Kitten Food
What you feed your kitten is important. A quality kitten food supports the rapid growth that young cats experience, but it’s equally important to know when to move on to an adult cat food. If you’re wondering how long kittens should eat kitten food, you’re in the right place.
Keep reading to learn more about when to switch your kitten to adult cat food. We also have some recommendations for both kitten and cat foods to keep your pet happy and healthy.
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.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Cat Pee Smell Out Of Mattress
Automatic Wet Food Feeder Dispenser
This may be overkill for first-timers, but its highly recommended if youre going on a long trip. Its another way to feed your cat wet food while away from home.
An automatic wet food feeder dispenser can be programmed to serve food at specific time intervals. It helps reduce the feeling of stress in both cats and pet parents.
If this feeding method is new to your cat, you can gradually increase the frequency of feedings. You may also consider giving away one piece of wet food every time they complete eating the last meal portion.
It helps to maintain a healthy weight for your kitty. However, ensure that there are enough kibbles available at their disposal. Otherwise, your cat may lose weight too.
You can find tons of automatic cat food feeders with different designs. Thanks to modern technology, it is easy to find something that meets your felines needs.
When buying an automatic wet food dispenser for your cat, be sure to check out the following features:
What To Feed Newborn Kittens
The first food that a kitten takes as soon as they are born is their mother’s milk. This food is fundamental for them, since it will transmit maternal immunity against the main infectious pathogens.
If we have adopted a kitten of lactation age or their mother rejects them, we must bottle-feed them every two hours with special cat milk. It must be catered to them to aid digestion, so avoid cow’s milk!
The milk that the kittens take, both by natural breastfeeding and artificial feeding, is rich in fatty acids, colostrum and vitamins.
Read Also: How Old Should A Kitten Be To Get Shots
What Do The Pet Food Manufacturers Say About Maine Coon Kitten Food
The major pet manufacturers have large research and development teams in order to try and perfect as much as possible the nutritional needs of your Maine Coon kitten.
One such manufacturer of Maine Coon kitten food is Royal Canin.
Heres the kitten feeding table for a Maine Coon.
They seem to be of the same opinion.
Somewhere between 12 to 15 months is the ideal time to wean a Maine Coon kitten off kitten food.
Additionally, heres the Royal Canin kitten dry food guide.
The same advice seems to be given.
The 12 to 15 month period of a Maine Coon kittens growth
Interestingly, Royal Canin Maine Coon adult food is recommended for the adult stage of life that is 1 to 7 years of age.
So, after 12 months seems to be the industry standard when a Maine Coon kitten should be weaned off kitten food.
Remember, even as you wean your kitten off kitten food, it will still require a high protein diet.
Theyre still growing.
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.
Also Check: Why Is My Cat So Hyper At Night
Which Food Should I Choose For My Kitten
You know how long to feed kitten food to your kitten, but which food should you feed them? With plenty of excellent kitten foods on the market, it isn’t too difficult to find a quality option, but it can seem baffling at first, especially if this is your first cat.
When your kitten initially comes home, it’s best to feed them whichever food the breeder or shelter was feeding them, not only because it’s familiar but to avoid giving them an upset stomach. If you believe that this food is a decent quality, you might want to stick with it until your cat is 12 months old. Otherwise, it’s fine to switch after a few weeks. When switching cat food, it’s important to do so gradually over the course of around a week, replacing a small amount of the old food with new each day.
Why Its Important To Switch To Adult Cat Food
Kittens experience rapid growth and development, plus, theyre playful and have a lot of energy. Kitten;food has higher calories and more;protein;and;fat;to support energetic,;growing;kittens.;
Its also formulated with DHA to help support brain and vision development, plus vitamins and minerals needed for their developing immune systems.;;
Once they reach maturity, cats dont need;the same amounts of those nutrients. Plus, theyre often less energetic, so eating a high-calorie kitten food could result in weight gain.;;
Also Check: Why Does My Cat’s Tail Shake
How To Care For Orphaned Kittens: Feeding And Weaning Motherless Kittens
Feeding orphaned kittens can feel like a full-time job, especially in the beginning when they need to be fed the most. But its also incredibly rewarding, and before you know it, your kittens will be eating on their own and soon ready to find homes. The feeding protocols below are provided by the Kitten Nursery of Salt Lake County Animal Services, in partnership with Best Friends Animal SocietyUtah.
How Much Wet Food Or Dry Food To Feed A Kitten
Use your kittens weight to determine approximately how many calories they should be getting each day. Then, look at the label on your kitten food to see how many kcal/kg and kcal/can or kcal/cup it provides. Divide your kittens caloric needs by the foods caloric content to figure out how much of that food to feed your kitten each day. Finally, divide this amount by the number of meals you plan to offer each day to get each meals serving size.
As an example, lets say you have a kitten that is 5 pounds, and you feed them Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Turkey & Chicken Liver Pate Canned Kitten Food. According to the chart, you should feed your kitten 327 kcal/day.
Since the calorie content of the wet cat food is 108 kcal/can, you would determine how much wet food to feed your kitten by dividing 327 kcal/day by 108 kcal/can.
327 kcal/day ÷ 108 kcal/can = 3.027 cans of Wellness CORE Naturals Canned Kitten Food per day.
Also Check: How Much Is A Siberian Cat
What Is In Kitten Food
Kitten food formulas are considered growth diets. They are formulated to be higher in energy density with more fat content than adult cat food. I hear all the time from my pet parents that their adult cats seem to be gaining weight since they have introduced a kitten into their home. In most cases, the adult cats are eating the kittens food.
Kitten food has more fat content for higher energy needs and will cause weight gain for adult cats that require less energy and are more sedentary.
In addition to higher fat content, kitten food diets are formulated with more enhanced nutritional profiles, such as omega-3 fatty acids, and optimal calcium to phosphorus ratios for growing bones and development.
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.
Read Also: Is It Safe For Cats To Eat Dog Food
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
As A Small Animal Veterinarian Do You Recommend Any Specific Kitten Or Adult Cat Foods
There are many different diets out there, and it can be overwhelming to have to pick the right one. As a small animal veterinarian, I recommend and trust Hills Science Diet and Wellness.
Adult Cat Dry Food: Hills Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Dry Cat Food,;Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula Dry Cat Food
Pet nutrition is an integral part of the development, growth and health of your pet. Placing your kitten on the most nutritious and appropriate diet from the start helps to ensure a lifetime of health and happiness. Nothing brings me more happiness and joy than seeing adorable, feisty and playful kitties.; Enjoy this time and remember to take a lot of pictures, because before you know it, they will no longer fit in the palm of your hand. If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian. They are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Don’t Miss: How Many Human Years Do Cats Live
Prepare Wet And Dry Food
While going out on a short trip, you need to plan. Prepare both wet and dry food at the same time for a seamless switchover.
Your kitty will often begin eating wet food and then move to dry food later on. Thats because wet food is flavorful and lasts longer in their teeth and gums due to its sticky nature.
You can put up a feeding schedule in advance to get used to it from the beginning.
Its recommended you take away the dry kibbles from time to time. This is because cats are known scavengers by nature. They may feel hungry for a longer time without kibbles available at their disposal.
If youre planning to leave for more than two weeks, then its advisable to buy enough food for that period at least. It will be cheaper than rebuying it before returning home. Also, remember to avail water in sufficient amounts.
Tips To Help With The Transition From Kitten To Cat Food
- Switching your kittens food too quickly can make the process more difficult. Provide privacy and a quiet eating area away from loud noises and other cats.
- Hand-feed your cat, at least initially. The person offering the cat food should have a good relationship with the cat.
- Offer moist or canned cat food along with dry cat food.
- Ensure you store all of your cat foods appropriately to maintain the quality and freshness of the cat food.
Read Also: Why Is My Cat Laying In His Litter Box
How To Feed A Newborn Kitten
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 14 testimonials and 84% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 865,598 times.
Ideally, kittens should stay near and nurse from their mother cat for up to eight weeks prior to being separated and/or adopted. In the case of a rescue, death of the natural mother, or when circumstances cause cat mothers to reject one or more of her litter, human intervention is necessary. There are many things to consider if you find yourself needing to feed a newborn kitten. Careful consideration and preparation will make bottle feeding a kitten a soothing and comfortable experience, and help result in a happy, healthy pet.
Changing From Commercial To Homemade Cat Food
If your cat has been on commercial cat food for most of its life, his digestive enzymes and digestive system has most likely acclimated to this unnatural diet. Slowly transition over to raw food, 1 teaspoon at a time, over the course of a month.
You will want to follow the advice of your veterinary professional, but for many this will look like:;
Day 1-5: Mix 1 teaspoon of raw food into whatever your cat normally eats.
Day 5-10: Increase the raw food by double.
Day 10-15: Feed your cat half raw, half what they were eating before.
Day 15 on: You may be able to switch to all raw food as your cat has had time for their digestive system to catch up. If your cat is fussy, continue the slow transition.
Recommended Reading: Do Cats Bleed Before Giving Birth