Kittens have special nutritional needs, unlike puppies, in that they are true meat eaters (carnivores). Getting early feeding right can help your kitten to grow correctly with strong bones and teeth and muscles. The best way to ensure this is to feed a complete kitten food from weaning to 12 months of age. More about weaning can be found in this article.
Kittens require little and often feeding in order to allow them to get enough calories to grow and keep them in good intestinal health. Offering food at least 4 times a day is best. Remember, kittens should always have access to fresh water.
Paying careful attention to feeding is important. It is best to not overfeed or underfeed your kitten and this may take some trial and error. Obesity in adult cats is relatively common and so controlling the ration appropriately from the outset is one way to help to avoid excess weight gain at a later stage. The best way to assess how much food your kitten needs is by undertaking regular weight checks, which you can do at home, and creating a growth chart. Asking for the weight of the parents can also be useful to try to establish what size your kitten may be when fully grown.
Kittens can be fed wet food, dry food or a mixture of both types of kitten food with freely available water. Change the food as necessary to keep it fresh through the day. Many owners like to provide treats and titbits for their kittens. This is great, but remember they contain calories too! When making diet changes or introducing new treats then always do so gradually to let your pet adjust to the changes. Treats such as sardines, tuna, prawns and salmon are all fine as an occasional treat but try to choose those in spring water to reduce salt. Milk should not be fed to kittens as it can cause diarrhoea.
Metal or ceramic feeding bowls are best as they tend to be easiest to keep clean. Feeding equipment should be washed daily. Kittens should not move onto an adult diet until they have reached 12 months of age and as mentioned, cat’s are carnivores, it is very difficult to feed them a vegan diet as absence of key dietary proteins (such as taurine) can lead to severe and life limiting health conditions.
If you would like more advice on feeding your kitten or cat, please book an online video appointment to have a chat with one of our FirstVet nutrition vets.