How Much To Feed a Kitten
by Jessi Larson
Many new cat owners wonder how much to feed a kitten. That’s a great question, and we have the answers.
After all, you just brought home the most adorable kitten. And then the reality sets in. You are suddenly in charge of caring for this little baby fur ball and how do you do that?
One thing that’s incredibly important: proper nutrition.
But how do you know how much to feed a kitten? And what food do you choose?
Let’s go over a kitten’s nutrition requirements, what type of food to feed them and how much at each stage.
How Much To Feed a Kitten: Nutrient Requirements
The first thing to know is what your kitten requires to grow into a healthy adult cat. With this, you will have to feed your kitten more often than you would an adult cat.
Why? Because they’re growing!
If you are starting your kitten out on a feeding schedule, plan on about four times per day. As they gain weight, you can start to reduce the number of feedings and increase the amount you are feeding them.
Another big part of their nutrient requirements is where they are getting their energy.
Experts recommend that kittens get about 30% of their energy from protein. Along with that, they will need more minerals, vitamins and amino acids than an adult cat.
That’s why you should aim to feed your kitten a kitten-specific food.
Picking The Right Food
When you’re standing in the pet food aisle, there are bags and cans galore and they can all seem like the same exact thing.
Do you choose wet or dry food? Name brand or generic? This flavor or that flavor?
Wet vs Dry
For kittens, hydration is a main concern. They are coming off being fed by their mother and so opting for some wet food is a great way to supplement that lack of hydration.
Another great part about wet food is that it’s softer and easier to chew on with their little kitten teeth. It’s also a little tastier, too.
But dry food isn’t all bad. It’s great for free feeding as it won’t go bad so quickly. Plus giving your kitten a variety of tastes and textures can help you better understand their personal preferences.
At first, opt for a healthy mix of both wet and dry food unless your veterinarian advises otherwise.
Picking Quality Food
You don’t have to buy the absolute most expensive brand in the aisle, but veterinary experts say it’s best to avoid generic or store brand options.
Choosing a reputable brand may cost a little more but your kitty will likely be getting a better quality option, too.
Another option would be to ask your vet which food they recommend. They will be able to understand your kitten’s needs better than you can and advise you on the option that will keep everyone happy and healthy.
Above all, do your research! Look into the nutrition of each food and what reviews are saying.
How is it made? What are the first ingredients?
Taking the time to do some solid research can pay off in the long run when your healthy adult cat repays you with their love for a long, long time.
While many vets won’t recommend free-range feeding for adult cats, when it comes to kittens, that rule doesn’t necessarily apply.
Kittens are still learning how to tell when they are full. If they feel forced to eat more than they actually want for fear they won’t get more food until hours later, they may overeat and get stomach discomfort.
The solution: Leaving out some dry food can help alleviate some of those issues.
One thing to keep in mind is the total daily intake of your kitten. Many cats can easily become overweight and that leads to a host of health problems.
To keep your cat around for the long haul, be aware of how much they should eat each day and how much they’ve actually consumed.
Take note of which foods they gravitate towards and go slow on the treats! (And when you do give them treats, make sure they are of the highest quality.)
This will help their weight, and in turn, their overall health, tremendously.
As your kitten matures, their nutrition requirements will change. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind as you watch your kitten grow up:
Birth – 4 Weeks
Ideally, they would be getting their milk from mom. If they’re getting it from you, it’s pretty simple: you bottle feed them.
Talk with your vet about the exact amount they need and how often.
This is when your kitten is weaning off milk and onto solid foods. Giving them a mix of dry or wet cat food mixed with milk to create a sort of mush can be a gentle way to introduce them to the wide world of cat food.
By now, your kitten should only be on kitten food. They’ll start developing preferences. Mix up your wet and dry food to see what they like.
Keeping a few high-reward meals in the back of your mind can give you a great way to reward your kitty.
This is the time your kitten will start to search out some routine. Consider starting the transition to a feeding schedule and moving away from free feeding.
Feeding your kitten about three times per day is a good general rule, unless your vet is worried about weight.
6 Months – 1 Year
At this point, your kitten is all grown up and should be on a strong routine for their meals.
Talk with your vet about your cat’s health to decide long-term whether you want to use wet or dry cat food or whether a mix will be best for your feline friend.
You should plan on feeding them twice a day from now on.
How Much To Feed a Kitten: The Takeaways
Having a kitten is a precious, special bond. You become the main source of health support for your cat from here on out, which is why it’s important to figure out how much to feed a kitten.
Picking a reputable cat food and giving the proper amounts is crucial to setting them up for a successful adult cat life.
In the end, make sure you keep track of their health and weight. Speak with your vet about any concerns you have. And always monitor how your cat is reacting to the food they eat.
You’ll figure out how much to feed a kitten and what is best for your cat in no time.