It’s time for you to decide what you will be feeding kittens once you get past the weaning stage.
There are many options out there when it comes to feeding kittens.
Some cat owners prefer to feed raw cat food, others seek out grain-free cat food, and as long as you completely know what you are doing nutritionally, you can even make your own cat food!
If you are feeling adventurous and want to try one of these less traditional means for kitten feeding, you are free to do so.
For the rest of you, a good quality commercial kitten formula will be just fine.
If you want to know what constitutes high quality, the best kitten foods have meat or meat meal as the first ingredient–lesser brands have a carbohydrate such as corn as the primary ingredient.
This unfortunately is contributing to a range of health problems especially in adult cats.
One thing you should know about cats and kittens, is that they like to snack. In the wild, they would eat 10 to 12 snacks a day in the form of small birds and rodents.
Since they don’t have to hunt, obviously they don’t need to be fed this often, however the younger they are the more “snacks” that should be offered:
When kittens are 6 to 10 weeks old, they will be feeding on 6 to 8 meals a day; Between 10 weeks and 4 months old, they will need to eat 5 or 6 meals a day; from 4 to 7 months old, 4 meals a day; and from 7 to 12 months they will need to eat 3 meals a day.
Dry or Canned Varieties For My Kitten?
We suggest feeding kittens dry kibble for this reason: You can leave a bowl of dry food out and they can come and eat when they want it.
(This only pertains to kittens that are at least 6-8 weeks old, however–at the 4-6 week age, their little kitten teeth are not ready for hard food.)
Unlike adult cats, kittens are not in danger of developing obesity so free-feeding is not a problem. Do make sure to provide plenty of water though, since dry formulas lack moisture.
If you prefer feeding kittens canned or pouched food, you must feed multiple small meals throughout the day, since you cannot let wet food sit out.
Feeding kittens wet or canned cat food has its advantages though–it is often more nutrient dense than dry ounce for ounce, which means they can eat less per sitting and that translates into less waste in the litter box for you!
Other Considerations for Feeding Kittens
Cow’s milk is really not meant for kittens, and unless you are
feeding an orphan and have no available formula, milk should not be part of their diet since they cannot digest lactose.
Your kittens tummies are very sensitive, so err on the side of caution and just stick with the commercial kitten formula.
For that matter, table scraps are usually not a good idea.
Although meat is good for kittens, the heavy meats humans eat along with the sauces, gravies, and salt is not good for them.
The occasional treat for an adult cat is one thing, but getting kittens off to a healthy start means getting them in the habit of happily eating their own food!
As far as where to feed them, be aware that cats and kittens don’t like change. Feeding kittens in the same spot is wise, and don’t make them eat too close to their litter box–you wouldn’t want to eat in the bathroom, would you?
A kitten should eat a kitten recipe for its first full year. Kitten food has a higher fat content that adult cat formulas, which they need for energy.
It also has a higher concentration of key vitamins and minerals needed for an active, growing kitten.
If you are fostering kittens or raising kittens to go to other homes, pass this on to the new owners.
Suggest to them that they begin feeding the kitten the same brand he’s used to at first, and if they want to transition to another brand, they should do so slowly by mixing it in increasingly larger ratios with his current brand of kibble.