HOW OFTEN AND HOW MUCH SHOULD I FEED MY KITTEN?
Congratulations on your new feline family member. Now that you’ve welcomed your tiny newcomer, you want to do what’s right in terms of providing the proper care and nutrition. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your furr-ever friend grows into a healthy adult.
YOUR NEW KITTEN’S NUTRITIONAL NEEDS
Did you know that a tiny kitten’s weight may double or even triple during the first few weeks of life? That said, your kitten has a lot more energy needs than those of an adult cat. Given their tiny tummies, kittens can’t get enough calories in one meal, meaning you will need to make sure to feed your baby more often throughout the day.
Just like adult cats, kittens need fat, some fatty acids, and vitamins. However, they have a higher requirement for protein, amino acids, and minerals, as well as some vitamins. Formulated kitten food provides for these extra needs, and should be given to your kitten until age 1. Don’t forget to provide your little one with plenty of fresh water to ensure proper hydration.
HOW OFTEN AND HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU FEED YOUR KITTEN?
It’s important to feed your tiny newcomer small portions at regular intervals, up to 6 times a day. Some veterinarians prefer free-feeding, meaning providing unlimited kitten food all day long, tapering off to meal eating at around four to six months of age. Free-feeding has the benefit of reducing stomach distention resulting from eating too fast and is helpful to slow-growing kittens. However, this may not be the best practice for obese kittens, who would benefit more from measured portions as recommended by the food manufacturer. Preventing obesity to start with is a lot easier than having to deal with it when it becomes a problem.
SELECTING HIGH-QUALITY KITTEN FOOD
Make sure you select quality food that provides complete and balanced nutrition for optimal kitten health. If not sure, talk to your trusted team at All About Cats Veterinary Hospital for recommendations. It’s important to provide canned food along with dry food, especially when it comes to young kittens, because their tiny teeth may not be able to chew dry food well, meaning they may not be getting sufficient nutrition.
Use caution when it comes to homemade diets, which are often low in calcium or vitamins, often leading to health problems. With a proper diet, your kitten should be healthy and alert, with a shiny coat, and should show steady weight gain. If not, make sure to check with us immediately.
FOODS TO AVOID
It’s best to refrain from feeding your fluff ball table food, especially onions, garlic, chocolate, coffee, tea, grapes, or raisins, which can be toxic to your feline friend. Also, raw meat, liver, eggs, or fish, may contain harmful parasites or bacteria and may cause a host of health problems. Make sure to avoid milk, which can cause diarrhea in weaned kittens and cats.