What Kind Of Food
Kittens may be fed dry kibble kitten food or wet canned food. The choice is really up to you, based on your veterinarian’s advice. Some kittens may have difficulty chewing dry food properly. If canned food is used, it shouldn’t be left out for extended periods of time without refrigeration. Dry kibble food can stay out longer throughout the day. When a kitten is much older, some owners decide to feed their pet free choice” kibble, where the food is left available for much of the day. Other owners choose to feed wet canned food in single meals.
How Often To Feed Kittens
Younger kittens need to be fed several meals per day, if you are not free-feeding.
As they are growing and burning calories, we want to keep their bodies supplied with energy. Feed meals every 6-8 hours.
Your veterinarian will figure out the total daily calories that your kitten needs, and you can divide that between the number of meals per day. Typically, by the time kittens get to 4-5 months, they can be transitioned to two meals per day, still feeding the total number of daily calories, but in less frequent, larger meals.
How Can I Know Im Selecting A High
Mindy Bough, CVT, senior director of client services for the Midwest Office of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals emphasizes the importance of high-quality kitten food. I dont recommend generic or store brands, Bough says. Buy from a reputable company — one that veterinarians recommend more frequently, she says. Research has determined these kitten foods provide excellent health.
But how can you be certain a kitten food is of high quality? One way is by checking the label. It should at least contain the following: Meets the nutritional requirements of kittens established by the American Association of Feed Control Officials . AAFCO is a group of state and federal officials who regulate pet food. Even better, look for this: Complete and balanced nutrition for kittens based on AAFCO feeding trials. Complete and balanced nutrition means your kitten will require no mineral or vitamin supplementation. In fact, remember that too much of a good thing can be bad for your kitten, causing severe medical problems. Use supplements only if your veterinarian recommends them.
Also use caution with homemade diets. For example, all-meat homemade diets can be low in calcium, leading to a mineral imbalance that causes hyperparathyroidism, a disease more common in rapidly growing kittens. If you use a homemade diet, make sure its been formulated by a reputable nutritionist, Bough says.
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Why You Should Trust Us
After identifying kittens core nutritional needs, reviewing over 80 different cat food brands, reading customer reviews, speaking with market insiders, and testing foods hands-on, weve rounded up the eight best kitten foods on the market today.
At the top of that list is Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Turkey & Chicken Liver Paté. This canned food has everything your kitten needs without excessive carbs, colors, and other additives. It receives positive customer reviews and comes from a trusted company.
Keep reading to learn more about your kittens nutritional requirements and how we chose the best kitten foods on the market.
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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Spay Or Neuter And Adoption
Eight-week-old healthy kittens are fully weaned and should soon be ready to be spayed or neutered and to find their new forever homes. It is much easier to find homes for eight-week old kittens than it is if you wait longer, so start setting a plan early on. Sharing photos of the kittens with friends and family as they grow, and telling everyone you know that youll be looking for homes for the kittens is a great way to find homes. For more advice on finding homes for the kittens, see this guide on finding homes for homeless pets.
It is also important to ensure that all the kittens are spayed or neutered, so they dont accidentally add to the thousands of unplanned litters of kittens that enter shelters each year. Find a low-cost spay/neuter clinic near you.
While caring for orphaned kittens is a lot of work, its also a lot of fun. The most rewarding part is watching your charges grow up and go into new homes. And the best part is that you can feel good knowing that you helped keep kittens the most at-risk animals to enter shelters safe and sound.
Weeks Four And Five Feeding Schedules
During weeks 4 and 5, a kitten will slowly increase how much food it consumes in a meal. Feedings will occur less frequently and a bowl of formula or other liquid kitten food should be made available for a kitten to start drinking from. By the end of week 5, a kitten should only be nursing three times a day but at each meal it should be consuming about 3 tablespoons of milk or formula.
A kitten should weigh about 14 to 16 oz. by the time it is 4 to 5 weeks of age if it is eating enough food. Towards the end of week five, you should be offering the kitten more food from a saucer than it is consuming from nursing. The food should graduate from being a liquid to eventually more of a gruel by using less and less water with canned kitten food over the course of a couple of weeks. This will be a messy stage of a kitten’s life since it usually ends up walking in the food, but it is a necessary step to begin weaning it off of its mother’s milk.
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How Long Should Cats Eat Kitten Food For
ByChloe Petrylakpublished 9 February 21
How long should cats eat kitten food for? Knowing when to make the switch can be crucial for your felines health
Feeding your kitten so that they grow up to be healthy, strong adults seems obvious, but the knowing the answer to the question “how long should cats eat kitten food for?” can be tricky.
A newborn kitten will feed on its mothers milk for the first four weeks of its life. Once they are around a month old, they can slowly be introduced to a good quality kitten food until they are completely weaned off of the milk at around eight weeks old.
Until your kitten grows into a cat, they need enough calories from their food to be able to maintain their high activity levels. Most kittens want to eat at least three or four meals a day, explains Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD, nutritional consultant and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California. Its also a comfort thing kittens are snackers at heart.
As with cats, kittens need fat, some fatty acids, and most vitamins. However, kittens also have a higher requirement for protein as well as amino acids, minerals, and additional vitamins. Did you know, kittens should in fact get around a third of their energy from protein? This is why choosing the right food at the right stages of your feline’s life can be crucial.
Can Kittens Eat Tuna
Kittens can have small amounts of tuna each day. In total, kittens should be fed no more than 1 tablespoon per day of foods other than their main diet. If tuna is fed in this amount or less, your kitten should not experience any ill effects.
Tuna itself is not a particularly beneficial part of a cats diet.
Kittens that are fed larger amounts of tuna have developed serious health issues, including:
- Nutritional deficiency, particularly a lack of calcium.
- Thiamine deficiency, since tuna contains enzymes that break down thiamine which cats need to survive.
- Pansteatitis, a painful and potentially lethal inflammation of the fat throughout the body.
- Lower urinary tract disease, inflammation of the bladder leading to discomfort.
- Abnormal bleeding, due to tuna decreasing effective Vitamin K.
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Fully Wean And Introduce Water
Once the kitten is confidently eating on her own, you can cease supplemental feedingit’s time to switch completely to solid foods! Be sure you’re feeding a high quality food formulated for kittens, and monitor to ensure that there are no concerning changes in weight, behavior, or condition.
At this time, it’s also appropriate to introduce water in a small, shallow dish. Never provide a large dish that can cause a safety hazard to a tiny kitten keep your water dish to about 2 inches high. It’s normal for kittens to struggle with water at first, but she should be drinking confidently within 1-3 days of introduction.
Buying Guide For Best Kitten Food
A kitten is like an adorable little whirlwind of fluff and mischief. It takes a lot of energy to pull off all those antics! That’s why your new addition needs the right kitten food to fuel her adventures.
With hundreds of kitten food brands and formulas to choose from, how do you select the best one for your furry little sidekick? The research we performed at BestReviews can help you find a quality kitten food with premium ingredients one that ticks all the nutritional boxes while still providing a good value for the money.
In order to bring you fair and thorough reviews, we perform deep research on the products we recommend, consulting experts and gathering data from existing customers. What’s more, to avoid the chance of bias, we never accept free products from manufacturers.
Read on for our full guide to kitten food. Well show you how to choose the perfect formula for your feline friend.
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How Long Do Kittens Nurse
Kittens eat liquid-only diets until they are approximately 3-4 weeks of age. At that time, kittens slowly begin eating more solid foods.
If you have a mother cat and kittens, simply leave out plenty of canned cat food so that kittens and the mother cat can eat as they please. The kittens will watch their mother eat and will try it on their own. A pate-style canned food is much easier for kittens than chunky foods. Mother cats naturally wean their own kittens by decreasing the amount of time the kittens are allowed to nurse.
If you have a very young kitten without a mother, at 3-4 weeks of age begin offering a shallow dish of kitten formula with a very small amount of canned pate food mixed in. Bring the kitten to the dish and entice them to eat by using a small spoon placed near their mouth. Most kittens at this age will begin chewing or suckling on the contents of the spoon. Slowly bring the spoon down into the bowl so the kitten tries some of the mixture. This stage is very messy!
Once the kitten begins eating out of the dish reliably, bottle feeding is no longer necessary. This occurs when they eats out of a dish without chewing the sides of the dish and without sucking on the food.
Offer a new dish of formula and canned food at least twice daily, if not 3 to 4 times per day, out of a clean dish. Every couple days, increase the amount of canned food mixed into the formula for about 2 weeks. Kittens should be fully off formula by 6 to 9 weeks of age.
Before Beginning The Weaning Process
When its at all possible, kittens should be exposed to some mothers milk, especially within the first 12 to 24 hours of life. The first milk, or colostrum, contains antibodies that the kitten can only absorb during this time.
If a queen has an extremely large litter of kittens and cannot produce enough milk, each kitten should still get some of her milk. Some milk is better than no milk, says Dr. Jules Benson, vice president of veterinary services at Petplan. If she cannot produce any milk due to mastitis or other issues, another nursing mother may accept the kittens if they are close to the size of her own.
If no nursing cat is available, you can feed a kitten milk replacement formula with a nursing bottle or syringe. In an emergency, Benson recommends mixing a cup of whole milk, an egg yolk, a drop of liquid multivitamin, and three Tums in a blender but this is strictly for temporary use, to get some nutrition into the kittens, and you should switch to formula as soon as possible.
Youll be bottle feeding for three to four weeks. Always warm the bottle in a cup of hot water and taste test it yourself to check the temperature and that it hasnt soured. If youre using a powder formula, store unmixed powder in the freezer.
Feed slowly but frequently: every two to three hours during the day. At night, dont worry about it theyll wake you when theyre hungry. If theyre sleeping, let them sleep, and get some sleep yourself.
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Hills Science Diet Indoor Kitten Dry Food
The folks at Hills developed this kitten-specific recipe that leads with chicken and includes brown rice and fish oil. Its designed for kittens up to one year of age, as well as for cats who are pregnant or nursing.
Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Kitty Dry Food
Cat parents give rave reviews to this tasty kitten kibble with healthy ingredients including chicken, brown rice, and fish oil.
If your kitten bounces around like a tiny wildcat, Blue Buffalos Wilderness kitten food is the perfect choice to support that level of activity. Its a high-protein food designed for growing kittens that includes taurine, vitamins, and minerals.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Dry Food
Rest assured that your kitten will be off to a great start with this high-protein food featuring appealing chicken flavor.
When To Start Weaning Kittens And What To Feed Them
All kittens will reach a point when they’re ready to graduate from consuming their mother’s milk and move onto solid kitten food. But it’s important to carefully wean them off the milk before this diet change.
Dr. Carling Matejka, a veterinarian who is a spokesperson for pet food company Solid Gold, told Newsweek: “For the first few weeks of a kitten’s life, they need to rely on their mother’s milk to provide all the nutrients they need.”
Transitioning a kitten onto solid food is a slow, gradual process that usually takes between four to six weeks to complete, she said.
Here, cat experts explain when and how to wean kittens.
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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.
A Nutritionally Complete Diet Is Crucial During Kittenhood
Remember that a nutritionally complete diet is more important during kittenhood than at any other life stage. A properly balanced diet is important at any age, but its crucial during the first 12 months of life. During these months, youre building the foundation for a lifetime of health or one of chronic problems.
An article on Mercola Healthy Pets illustrates this fact with the story of a 5-month-old Sphynx kitten who was fed exclusively raw chicken for the first several months of his life. As a result of this imbalanced diet, the kitten developed lameness and eye problems. By the time the kitten was adopted, he was suffering from osteopenia, a condition resulting from inadequate mineral density in the bones. Inadequate taurine had caused central retinal degeneration and lesions on one of his eyes.
Four months of inadequate nutrition may not have had such an obvious impact on an adult cat, but for a growing kitten, every meal is critical.
Kitten Food Should Be Rich in High-quality Protein from Real Chicken, Turkey, Rabbit, Or Other Animal-Sourced Ingredients.
As obligate carnivores, cats of all ages need a lot of protein.
Compared to middle-aged adults, kittens are more sensitive to both the quantity and quality of that protein. While adult cats need at least 6.5 grams of protein per 100 calories according to the AAFCOs nutrient profiles, kittens need 7.5 grams or more.
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When To Stop Feeding Kitten Food
Kittens grow fast and before you know it, youll 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 kittens 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.