An Introduction to Feeding Your Kitten
Adding a new four-legged addition to the family is a huge step that comes with a lot of responsibility. One of those is feeding them a diet that provides adequate care and nutrition for their growing bodies.
Kittens generally join their human families between the ages of 6-to-8 weeks and during this period, they're weaned from their mothers and are able to begin enjoying more solid foods.
What foods should you feed kittens?
The diet of a kitten differs from that of an adult cat. Like human babies, kittens require a diet substantial in vitamins and minerals, capable of providing the adequate nutrition their growing bodies need.
In order for your kitten to grow strong and healthy, kittens require food that has:
- Higher levels of proteins
- Dense in calories
- Higher levels of certain nutrients, including calcium
Should you feed your kitten wet or dry food?
Both wet and dry formulas are available in food appropriate for kittens. While there's positives and negatives to each option, however, it's always best to discuss with your veterinarian the best choice to meet your kitten's individual needs.
Wet cat food:
Wet food tends to be composed of higher levels of water. A positive aspect of the wet food is this higher levels of moisture, which can be beneficial in keeping your kitten hydrated, their urinary tract flushed and their kidneys in a healthy condition.
Additionally, very small kittens also have very small teeth, sometimes making it difficult for them to chew dry food. For this reason it can be easier for kittens to start on wet food.
The disadvantage of wet food is that it tends to stick to the teeth, which can increase the likelihood of dental issues if the food is not removed properly.
Dry cat food:
One of the benefits of dry cat food is that it helps remove tartar build-up from the teeth, thus keeping teeth and gums healthy. There are many different sizes of dry food so a kitten formulation is essential. It is also possible to add a little warm water to the dry food initially to make it easier for the kitten to eat.
Dry food is a more concentrated energy source than wet food so it is important to follow the feeding recommendations to avoid unwanted weight issues in the future. Weight gain and obesity can put your cat at risk of other health issues such as arthritis, heart problems, blood pressure issues, diabetes and respiratory issues.
How often should you feed a kitten?
As kittens are growing rapidly they require more energy than adult cats to assist in their growth and development. This is also the pivotal time to help your kitten develop a foundation of healthy eating habits. Up until the age of six months, kittens expend a lot of energy and grow at a rapid pace.
Between 6 to 12 weeks, kittens require feeding three or more times a day. Between 12 weeks and 6 months the amount given at each feed can be increased and the frequency decreased to three times daily. From 6 months meals can be reduced to twice daily. It is important to follow the feeding guidelines for the individual food (found on the food packaging and usually based on weight), as this will be a guide as to the total amount to feed for the day. If you are unsure how much to feed please give us a call.
It is also very important to always make sure your kitten has access to plenty of fresh water.
When should a kitten see a vet if it's not eating?
If your kitten is not eating be sure to reach out to your vet and schedule in a check-up. Sometimes when kittens are not eating it can be accompanied by them experiencing bouts of gastrointestinal upset. There are several issues that can be causing gastrointestinal issues in kittens, one of those being intestinal parasites.
Some parasites can also be transmitted to humans so it's important to contact your vet for an appointment, keep hygiene standards high and preventative measures in place.
What foods should kittens or cats never eat?
There are many instances where human food is extremely dangerous for kittens and adult cats. Though this isn't an exhaustive list, these are some common dangers to cats:
- Garlic (including garlic powder)
- Onion (including onion powder)
- Coffee & caffeine products
- Raw yeast bread dough
- Raisins, grapes and sultanas
- Macadamia nuts
- Tomato plants & green tomatoes
- Wild mushrooms
- Cooked bones & small pieces of raw bone
- Fat trimmings / foods high in fat
If you're looking for more ideas on how to best care for your kitten's nutrition, our team is here to help. Contact us by calling (07) 5593 8395 or by clicking here to book a consultation appointment.