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When Do You Start Feeding Kittens Food

Meat Them Where They Are

What & How to Feed Kittens age 4 to 6 Weeks old

The most important rule of weaning is not to rushdo things on the kittens timeline, not yours! Try offering the kitten some small bites of wet food on a finger, a spoon, or a tongue depressor, and see if they will accept it. If theyre interested in eating, see if they are able to access the food in a dish. Remember that this is a new skill for them, so many kittens will find it difficult to eat out of a dish for the first several days. No rush!

Once the kitten has eaten some solids, its time to supplemental feed with a bottle Supplemental feeding ensures that your kitten is getting all of the calories and nutrition she needs during this slow transition. There’s no such thing as “tough love” for kittens, and if she isn’t understanding how to eat yet, you’ll still need to supplement to make sure she’s staying healthy and well fed.

You may also choose to offer the kitten a slurrya mix of formula and wet food, which is used to help transition the kitten from one food to the other. You may begin by just introducing a small teaspoon of wet food mixed with the formula, which allows the kitten to acclimate to the new proteins and flavors. As the kitten becomes more comfortable eating meat, you’ll begin increasing the ratio so that there is more wet food present at each feeding.

Weigh the kitten throughout the weaning process. If her weight drops or steadies, youll need to supplement with a bottle, try a different method of eating, or scale back to kitten formula.

When Can Kittens Eat Cat Food

Kittens should switch to an adult cat food at 12 months old to ensure theyre receiving the proper nutrient levels for adult cats. Even the most athletic adult pets will gain weight if fed kitten food. Pet food labels are very helpful. If the label reads for all life stages, then its nutritionally sufficient for kittens and cats.

Although pop culture may have you believing that cats love milk, cats are actually lactose intolerant, and should never be given dairy milk. Stick to cat food, and if you do decide to give your kitty human food, stick with lean beef, cooked chicken, or plain lunch meat, and always avoid onions.

What To Feed Kittens To Wean Them

You can start with wet or dry complete kitten food soaked in water or kitten milk. Starting with wet food is a good idea, as kittens will find this easier to eat and it tends to have a stronger smell, which will entice the kittens.

Kittens must have free access to fresh water at all times during weaning. They will need to stay with mom until they are 8 weeks old, so they can supplement feed from her while they get used to eating solid food. Staying with mom during this time is also crucial for their socialization. If they are bottle-fed, you will need to continue with some bottles until they are taking in enough nutrients from the solid food.

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What Should I Feed Kittens

Harrison said it’s important to feed kittens food that’s formulated specifically for kittens when they’re being weaned.

“These formulas have the higher levels of calories, protein and calcium that growing kittens need,” she said.

Kittens require a precise ratio of nutrients to develop into a healthy adult cat. Matejka said: “Nutritional deficiencies can have lifelong, and sometimes deathly effects.”

Below are the three key nutrients a kitten needs for growth, as outlined at the website of VCA, one of North America’s largest animal hospital chains that operates over 1,000 animal hospitals across the U.S. and Canada.

  • Protein: The recommended protein range for healthy kitten growth is 35 to 50 percent on a dry matter basis, with at least nine percent of the dry matter being from an animal source. The amount of protein required for kittens is high during the weaning stage, but steadily decreases afterwards.
  • Fat: The fat content range for kittens should be from 18 to 35 percent on a dry matter basis.
  • Calcium: A kitten’s diet should contain 0.8 to 1.6 percent of calcium on a dry matter basis.

The VCA website says: “You should also avoid foods that produce a urinary pH of less than 6.2.” Your veterinarian can help determine the pH levels of foods you’re looking to feed your kitten.

“Cats are also particular about food texture. It is recommended that kittens be provided with various food textures early in life to not become opposed to certain types of food later,” she said.

Is Commercial Cat Food Necessary For Cats

Cat Mate C10 1

We keep dry food as recommended by our vet available at all times to our cat. He greatly prefers the wet food, and most weeks doesnt even touch the dry food. Still, I dont want to have to worry that Im not giving him enough, so I do have a feeder for Bob that always has dry food in it.

I dont think that a little dry food here and there is bad for cats, but I would always want to have raw meat, including organ meats, as the main part of their diet.

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Switching From Kitten Food To Cat Food: The Why When And How

Just like you definitely wouldnt hand over adult food to sweet gurgling babies, kittens shouldnt be fed adult cat food before theyre ready. Thats because cats have different nutritional needs depending on their stage in life. As kittens, they eat nutrient-dense food that helps them grow, but as they near the end of their growth period, its important that their diets change to meet the demands of their new, almost adult bodies. Switching from kitten food to cat foodat the right time and in the right wayis the best way to do this.

Weeks Two And Three Feeding Schedules

A 2 to 3-week old kitten will still need to be fed every 2-3 hours and it should consume at least 1/2 tablespoon of formula or milk during each meal. If a kitten is nursing from its mother, you’ll have to depend on how much the kitten weighs to know whether or not it is consuming enough food. Between days 8 through 18, its weight should increase to about 10 oz. and it will begin to crawl around shortly after its eyes open.

By the end of week 3, a kitten will be able to stand up and will have begun to interact with its littermates. Playing, ear-biting, wrestling, and exploring behaviors will begin and are important parts of socialization.

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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.

When Do Kittens Start Eating Solid Food

When Can A Kitten Eat On Her Own?

Breastfeeding a kitten lasts about 9 weeks, and when their teeth begin to come in, after about four weeks, they can begin to eat food. We must feed them with food appropriate for their age. It is advisable to moisten it a little with water to make it easier to adapt to the process of chewing, or add a bit of wet food .

The food that cats must take from the end of lactation to one year of life must be composed of highly digestible proteins, antioxidants and omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. This feed must be of high quality and the amount to be given is estimated according to the weight and the guidance tables that come on the containers. However, depending on the characteristics of our kitten, the veterinarian can tell us if they should eat more or less.

The commercial names of food for growing kittens have names such as “kitten”, “growth”, etc. So look at this detail to select the best food for your little one.

If you prefer, you can make homemade food for this stage of life but, our vets recommend a complete feed, since it is very difficult to maintain a perfect balance between all the nutrients.

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Weeks Seven And Eight Feeding Schedules

Limited nursing sessions should still be allowed until the kittens are two months old, assuming they are all eating the kitten food that is offered to them three times a day. The mother cat may need to be separated from kittens that are relentlessly trying to nurse more than they should, but by the end of week eight, a kitten should weigh about two pounds from the combination of limited nursing and eating regular kitten food.

The Spruce / Emilie Dunphy

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.

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How Much To Feed Your Cat

As your kitten approaches their first birthday, you can start to think about transitioning them to an adult cat food. These should be labeled as formulated for the maintenance stage. Use these quantities as a guide, but remember to adjust them depending on the activity levels and health of your cat.

We recommend the following amounts as a starting point. Always double-check the quantities advised by each individual manufacturer, and ask your vet for more advice if youre unsure.

Cat age
160365 wet food or

60105 kibble


As your cat ages, you may decide to switch them to a brand designed specifically to meet the needs of older cats. These are supplemented with ingredients like glucosamine and omega-3 oils, designed to help your cats joints. Your vet will be best placed to advise you about what will work best for your cat.

Other Precautions To Take Into Account

Weaning kittens

By starting to eat more solids, the kitten may become constipated, and one way to help is to gently stimulate their gut, by giving gentle massages. We will leave a small litter tray so they can begin to do their needs there.

Coinciding with the beginning of the ingestion of solid foods and on their own, the first internal parasite will be given, very important to maintain the health of our kitten. On the other hand, we must offer access to fresh and clean water. The bowl of water should not be too close to the food and, of course, away from the litter box, if possible in another room.

If you want to read similar articles to When do Kittens Start Eating Food and Drinking Water On their Own?, we recommend you visit our Healthy diets category.

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What To Feed A Kitten

Weaning a kitten is the process of transitioning the kitten from mothers milk to solid food. Its an important part of the kittens development, and needs to be done at the right time and in the right way. Normally the queen, or mother cat, will handle kitten weaning on her own. But when the queen has trouble producing milk, or when a litter of kittens is orphaned, we need to intervene. Here are some tips for smooth and successful kitten weaning.

How Much To Feed Your Kitten

Once kittens are around 8 weeks old, they can start to eat wet food as they wean off their mother cats milk. Make sure whatever brand you choose is formulated for the growth and development stage. This means it will contain all the vitamins and minerals that your kitten needs to grow up big and strong. Kittens should always be fed wet food to start with because its much easier for them to eat and digest. Once theyre comfortable eating wet food, you can transition them to kibble. Add a little kitten formula to soften up the kibble as they get used to eating it.

We recommend the following amounts as a starting point. Always double-check the quantities advised by each individual manufacturer, and ask your vet for more advice if youre unsure.

150300 wet food or 5085 kibble 2

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How To Introduce Solid Food To Kittens

This article was co-authored by Deanne Pawlisch, CVT, MA. Deanne Pawlisch is a Certified Veterinary Technician, who does corporate training for veterinary practices and has taught at the NAVTA-approved Veterinary Assistant Program at the Harper College in Illinois and in 2011 was elected to the board of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Foundation. Deanne has been a Board Member of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Foundation in San Antonio, Texas since 2011. She holds a BS in Anthropology from Loyola University and an MA in Anthropology from Northern Illinois University.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 97% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 91,877 times.

Kittens live the first 2 weeks of their lives only consuming their mothers milk. By the time kittens are 6 weeks old, they will be ready to wean and starting eating some solid food. The weaning process lasts approximately 2 to 4 weeks, so kittens should be fully weaned by the time they are 8 to 10 weeks old.XResearch source In order to begin introducing kittens to solid food, youll need to wait for the kittens to begin weaning naturally, and then serve small amounts of wet cat food in a room with the kittens for them to begin eating.

When Do You Change From Kitten Food To Adult Food

How to Wean Kittens

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You waited until your kitten was at least 12 weeks old before you brought her home. You made sure you had plenty of toys and treats. You never missed a veterinary appointment and youve fed her the proper kitten diet. Now you have to decide: When do you begin switching to adult cat food?

Growing kittens have different dietary requirements than adult cats and should only be fed a high quality growth-type diet. You can allow your kitten to eat as much as she wants, because overeating is not a significant concern in kittens, like it is in puppies. Supplementation with vitamins and minerals is not usually recommended as it can cause serious illness. Supplement only on the advice of your veterinarian.

For most cats, leaving dry food out to nibble on through the day and offering small amounts of canned food twice daily should work. If your kitten does not eat the canned food within 20 minutes, remove it and offer it in the evening as normal. Soon your kitten will catch on and eat when the canned food is offered. Even if your cat does not like canned food, the dry food that is left out is sufficient.

Once you have chosen a good quality kitten food, continue feeding it until your cat reaches 80 to 90 percent of his anticipated adult weight. For most cats, this occurs around 9 months of age.

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How Much To Feed A Kitten

Kittens are growing rapidly at this young age and eat a lot of food compared to adult cats. We want to provide their bodies with everything necessary for growth, but we also want to develop healthy long-term eating habits.

Feeding guidelines are variable by kitten. However, most often, using the feeding directions on the bag or can of food is a good starting place, and then you can adjust as needed for your kitten. Your veterinarian can use metabolic formulas to calculate the number of calories required per day based on your kittens current weight.

We want kittens to come hungry for their meal, but we also dont want them to be feeling so hungry that they devour the entire meal in a few seconds. Often, young kittens may eat ¼ to ½ cup of food at a time.

If your kitten is thin, we may need to increase the caloric requirement per day. If your kitten is gaining too much weight too quickly, we may need to cut back. Your veterinarian will use a tool called a body condition score to assess your kittens weight.

When To Switch From Kitten Food To Adult Cat Food

In general, kittens should eat kitten food until they are around 90 percent of their adult weight. At this point, they are at their full adult height and just have some final filling out to do.

  • Most kittens reach this milestone at about 10 to 12 months of age, making this the ideal time to switch to adult cat food.
  • An exception to this rule may apply to large breed cats. Larger breeds, like Maine Coons, dont reach maturity until they are 18 months to 2 years of age. Keep feeding these big kitties kitten food until they are at least 18 months old.

Always speak with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about when to switch from kitten to adult cat food.

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