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. By the end of the first week, the ear canals of a kitten will have opened and, if it is eating appropriately, it should weigh about 4 oz. The amount to feed your cat depends on her age, size and activity level. Choose a food that is intended for growth. If you have multiple kittens, be sure to provide a few bowls of canned and dry kitten food so the kittens do not become food aggressive. Neonatal—newborn to four-week-old—kittens require round-the-clock care. Feeding your kitten up to four weeks old From birth to a month old, your kitten will be getting all the nutrition they need from their mother when they suckle. Mindy Bough, senior director of client services for the ASPCA Midwest Office. Feed your kitten a food that is made specifically for kittens. at birth but will gain weight rapidly from nursing. For specially formulated cat treats, read the feeding guide on the packet for guidance on how to serve and how often. Learn more about your cat's nutritional needs in our cat feeding guide. You want to do what you can to ensure that your adorable baby grows into a healthy adult. Kitten formula can be purchased in pet stores or online stores. Feeding guidelines, which list the daily-recommended portion, are included on all IAMS™ packages. Check the pet food aisle at your local supermarket, and you'll find dozens of varieties of food to entice your cat. To find the best dry kitten food for you, you’ll be needing a bit more … “Especially control intake around the time of spaying and neutering, which increases the risk for obesity,” Larsen says. A Simple Guide to Feeding Your Cat Mealtime is a special time for cats. When the orphaned kittens are three to four weeks old, begin to offer milk replacer in a shallow bowl, then introduce a moist, easily chewable diet. As you might observe, almost all cat feeding guides recommend feeding the pregnant cat kitten food. Also look for a food that has been substantiated by a food trial. Feeding Kittens at 4 To 6 Weeks Old. But kittens have a higher requirement for protein, amino acids, and minerals, as well as for some vitamins. Feeding guidelines The amount of food you should feed your kitten will vary as it ages. Feeding a kitten isn’t as easy as grabbing a bag of cat chow at the nearest convenience store. What they do advise is that you feed them a variety of foods in moderation. Just like human babies, kittens do a lot of growing in the first year of their lives. Remember to divide the portion accordingly if you feed … If you have two cats, keep their bowls a reasonable distance apart to avoid confrontation or bullying. Your kitty may hide at first, but it will explore when no one is watching, … With proper nutrition, your kitten should be healthy and alert, have a steady weight gain, and a clean, glossy coat. By making sure a kitten is on a proper feeding schedule, you'll be able to monitor your kitten's growth and ensure they are receiving appropriate nutrition. Feeding: Use specific kitten bottles to feed the kittens with kitten formula. Weight gain should be monitored with the use of a gram scale, such as the kind that is used for weighing food in the kitchen. A kitten’s weight may double or even triple during the first few weeks of life. “Young cats need more frequent feeding,” Bough says, “But as they get older, they can go to twice-a-day feeding.”. Also, take precautions with the following foods: In addition, onions, garlic, chocolate, coffee, tea, raisins, or grapes can be toxic to kittens and cats. If you’ve just acquired a kitten (or two), you’re probably learning all about kitten care. A cat’s life stages for feeding are varied depending on food manufacturer, but this is a good guide: Kitten: 0-12 months Adult cat: between 1 and 7 years of age 1/3 to 1/2 of a 5-oz. 5 important things about feeding your cat Feed your cat a complete food that’s suitable for their life stage, eg kitten, adult or senior cat – the food packaging will advise which life stage it is aimed at. 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. “It’s also a comfort thing -- kittens are snackers at heart.”. By the third week, you can tell if the kittens are boys or girls. Add some of the watered-down formula mix to the dry food to entice the kittens to eat it. A kitten typically weighs about 3 to 3.7 oz. Fill a puzzle feeder with approximately one-third of the daily dry kibble ration for the kitten to “hunt and play” with through the day. This can mean feeding your kitten at the same time and place every day. “It’s easier to switch foods if a kitten has been exposed early on to different textures and flavors,” Larsen says. By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD, Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts, Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Kitten Care -- From Adoption to Kitty-Proofing Your Home, Weaning a Kitten from Mother’s Milk to Solid Food. Ask your vet what you can and can’t feed to be on the safe side. Bowl of water with 1 to 2 cups of fresh water, shallow enough for your kitten to access easily. Weigh kittens at the same time daily, not only to ensure adequate weight gain but also to calculate the amount they should be eating with each feeding. Solid food should not be an issue for kittens of this age but they may still try to nurse on occasion. These high energy needs make it harder for kittens to get enough calories in one meal, says Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD, nutritional consultant and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis. For these kittens, measured portions offered as meals or until gone is a better choice. If diarrhea or constipation persists with the change in diet, contact your medica… Most kittens do just fine without human intervention, but if a kitten needs to be bottle-fed, either because the mother cat is absent, ill, or rejects the kitten, you'll want to weigh the kitten regularly to make sure its weight reflects a healthy and normal growth rate of a kitten. If you are feeding your kitten both dry and canned foods, then twice a day canned feedings are sufficient. If they’re only eating canned food, they should be fed four times daily. Check packages for suggested amounts. To help guide you through those early stages of life, we broke down what and how much you should feed your kitty at each age. For the first several weeks of life, a newborn kitten will depend entirely on its mother to provide it with food. This means that treats should make up less than 10% of your kitten’s total calorie intake. While kittens should be fed up to three times a day, once a cat becomes an adult (at about one year of age) feeding once or twice a day is just fine, says the Cornell Feline Health Center. A kitten will nurse for about 45 minutes at a time every 2 to 3 hours for the first week of life. How much to feed a kitten (4 weeks old, 8 weeks old, or 3 months) will be mentioned based on the age and weight. “Research has determined these kitten foods provide excellent health.”. By six weeks of age, a kitten should be eating the gruel four times a day and nursing less. According to the Association of American Feeding Control Officials (AAFCO), there is no right or wrong in terms of feeding only dry food or cat food. This is very time consuming for someone who is bottle-feeding a newborn kitten, so if at all possible, you will want to try to keep the kitten with its mother or a surrogate lactating cat who can nurse it. Feed half of your kitten’s canned food allotment for the day (refrigerate the remaining portion). Bottle feed the newborn kitten with about 2-6 ml of formula every 2-3 hours. © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. Feed your cat too little or the wrong kind of food, and he won't … Sample this Feeding Schedule for your Kitten. At the beginning start feeding the amount mentioned on the food label. Kittens that are bottle-fed should consume about a tablespoon, or 15 ml, of special kitten formula at each feeding. Buy from a reputable company -- one that veterinarians recommend more frequently, she says. That’s why it’s important to find a good quality food designed especially for kittens. Here’s what you need to know once you’ve brought your kitten home. After feeding for a period of time, you be the judge. Over time, offer smaller and smaller amounts of the old food along with the new food. Instead, offer the new food and old foods in separate bowls. “So most kittens want to eat at least three or four meals a day,” she says. Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD, nutritional consultant and assistant professor of clinical nutrition, William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, UC, Davis. Between eight and ten weeks of age, a kitten should be fully weaned and preparing to leave its mother if you plan to find the kitten a new home. Gradually reduce the formula and let them eat the food dry. From 2 months to 3 months; You will see some progression on kittens feeding when they finally reach at least 10 weeks. It’s OK to feed your kitten treats, as long as you follow the “10% calorie rule,” Larsen says. can of wet cat food; refrigerate remaining portion. Free-choice feeding has the additional benefit of reducing stomach distention resulting from rapid meal eating. Get your kitten started off on the right paw. If your cat is on a special diet advised by your vet, for weight loss or another medical condition, treats may be a no-no. Growing kittens need as much as three times more calories and nutrients than adult cats . After the first four weeks of mother’s milk, a kitten gradually transitions to kitten food, and is completely weaned at about eight weeks. Again, keep watch on the kittens stools to make sure they are tolerating the food well. This has a very simple explanation: kitten food contains more protein, fat and nutritional elements that are needed for the growth and development process. Experts answer six common questions about kitten food and more. Set the food bowls on a surface that's easily cleaned, like a tiled floor or mat. Use supplements only if your veterinarian recommends them. During weeks 4 and 5, a kitten will slowly increase how much food it consumes in a meal. Since cats, in general, are creatures of habit, it’s important to establish some structure around feeding time for your kitten. Feeding not only satisfies a cat’s abundant energy needs, but also provides her with the right nutrients she needs to … Of course, it’s not the best option for overweight or obese kittens. Make sure you never feed kittens “Cat Milk,” which is designed for adult cats, or cow’s or goat’s milk, which could give the kittens life-threatening diarrhea. The Best Dry Foods For Kittens. For these reasons, most experts recommend you feed your kitten specially formulated kitten food until age 1. There's a lot you need to know to make things go smoothly with your new friend. “If the kitten dislikes the new food, this can put them off the old food, too,” she says. 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. In fact, remember that too much of a “good thing” can be bad for your kitten, causing severe medical problems. Kitten Feeding. Remember that making rapid changes in food can cause stomach upset or “hunger strikes.” So you may need to make the transition to a new food over four to seven days. Kitten Development from Newborn to One Week, Kitten Development in the First Six Weeks of Life, The 6 Best Wet Foods for Your Kitten in 2021. Kittens’ needs for fat, some fatty acids, and most vitamins are the same as for adult cats, Larsen says. Also use caution with homemade diets. by the time it is 4 to 5 weeks of age if it is eating enough food. The kind of food and how much a kitten consumes directly affects their growth rate and development. Bottle feeding kittens — the do’s Feed the kitten with his belly toward the ground. Lay the kitten in a natural, belly-down position -- never, ever on her back. “If you use a homemade diet, make sure it’s been formulated by a reputable nutritionist,” Bough says. Feeding guides on the food can or bag are just a starting point. Although some cat foods are labeled as appropriate for kittens and cats of all life stages, these aren’t appropriate for your kitten unless feeding tests support the label claim. Very small kittens have very small teeth and can’t chew dry food well. Pick up and discard any uneaten canned food after 30 minutes or so. But this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to turn your leftover table scraps into treats for your kitten. 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. At this time, you may also add dry food to their diet. Kittens need different food from adult cats To support this explosive growth -- as well as high activity levels -- your kitten may have triple the energy needs of an adult cat. How to Prepare Your Kitten for Its First Vet Visit, Postnatal Care of a Mother Cat and Her Newborn Kittens. A kitten’s weight may double or … “I don’t recommend generic or store brands,” Bough says. The rest of the time will be spent sleeping. “If exposed to the same food over and over, cats tend to get a fixed preference for a particular flavor and texture.”, If you’re trying to make a switch to a new kitten food, Larsen recommends not mixing it with the old food. Its eyes and ears are sealed shut when it's born, so it will rely on the pheromones its mother gives off to find milk and warmth. Pet food labels are required * to carry a statement identifying the life stage (or stages) for which the food is intended. Through evolution, cats have become dependent on the specific forms of nutrients found only in animal tissue. Kitten feeding and nutrition Feeding your kitten a nutritionally complete diet that is tailored to their specific needs is vital for supporting healthy development and laying the foundation for a healthy future. By 5-6 weeks of age, a gruel is no longer necessary because a kitten’s … At the end of week six, decrease meal times to only three times a day. 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. Check the liquid’s temperature on your wrist – it should be heated until warm but not hot. How do kittens’ nutritional needs differ from those of adult cats? 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. Mindy Bough, CVT, senior director of client services for the Midwest Office of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) emphasizes the importance of high-quality kitten food. Cats are often considered the epitome of the “picky eater.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. How to care for kitten orphans without a mother: week-by-week care guide on bottle-feeding, weaning, solid food, as well as spay neuter and adoption. Birth to four weeks: Kittens can eat as often as they like. Several times a day, give them access to Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Ultra-Soft Mousse in Sauce Wet Cat Food or a gruel made from warm water mixed into a high quality canned kitten food. Proper feeding is a big part of the health equation. and it will begin to crawl around shortly after its eyes open. Towards the end of week five, you should be offering the kitten more food from a saucer than it is consuming from nursing. It’s important that very young kittens have at least some canned food to eat as part of their diet. It also helps underweight or slow-growing kittens. 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. Hold the … For example, kittens should get about 30% of their energy from protein. 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dry kitten food to eat during the morning; see how much she eats and increase if necessary Feed the Kitten. 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. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. 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