What To Feed Your New Kitten

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Last Updated on October 28, 2020 by Aimee

What to feed your new kitten: Kittens should stay with their mom to as least 8 weeks of age.  At this time they are just starting to wean from their mom’s milk.  Even though kittens have little teeth at this age, their jaw isn’t strong enough to crunch kibble so it is best to use a combination of kitten milk replacement, call KMR (NOT people milk) which can be bought at the pet store and wet kitten food.  Kitten still very much have a sucking reflex at 8 weeks and tend to try to suck up the food like they suckle on mom.  It takes them a few days to learn to use their tongue and chew.

What to feed your new kitten: tabby kittens with mom

8–12 weeks:

This is a major growth period for kittens, therefore a diet specially formulated to meet the adequate nutritional demand kittens should be fed. If you are still helping a kitten wean off milk feeding should take place every 4 hours, with the exception of night time.

Cat food is formulated for kittens and it is important they consume the kitten food to meet all they dietary needs to meet proper growth milestones.   Remember, the kitten mind and coordination need all the extra nutrients, not just their physical body.

3–6 months:

At 3 three times a day.  The food should still be formulated for kittens and more wet food than dry should be fed to your kitten.  Cats require high levels of moisture in their diet.  Cats in the wild get much of their moisture from organ and tissue they eat from their kill.  Since we don’t have that option for our cats canned food is high in moisture is the next best thing. Dry food is also important to keep their teeth free of tartar as long as possible and keep the teeth and gums healthy. Feeding a meal of half wet and half dry formulated for kittens at this age is recommended.

6–12 months:

At this age you can slowly move your kitten to adult cat food for both canned and dry.  There are many option of food formulas for young adults, it is best to choose a food that has meat protein as the first three ingredients. Fish cats foods are not as healthy as they contain high levels of mercury.  Cats are obligate carnivores. Cats in the wild don’t consume a lot of fish, they instead look for game birds and other mammals for food. Chicken, lamb, duck, venison turkey and beef are the best choices in proteins.  Corn and soy should not be on the first 6 ingredients in your cat’s food.  They can’t be processed by your cat’s digestive tract and just get passed through as waste.  They don’t have any nutritional value.

Kitten walking towards stainless steel bowl


Cat food companies give feeding guides on their food, but remember this is just a loose guide.  The best way to keep your cat’s figure in fit condition is to watch their body condition. Body condition, not the amount on the package of food, or amount eaten or left in the bowl, should determine portion sizes. Metabolism and body type, and nutritional requirements vary from cat to cat so your cats size and body condition will tell you what they need.  Ask your vet about body condition and for them to show you on their chart, where your cat is and how to achieve the idea weight for your cat as an individual.

Chart Your Kitten’s Weight and Growth

There are growth-and-weight charts available in print and online. Weigh your kitty weekly and record their progress, comparing them to breed-appropriate weight charts.

Too much weight due to stress on immature joints and obesity leads to diabetes, heart disease, tiredness and organ failure.

What To Feed Your New Kitten: No People Food

cat staring at womans food

Believe it or not, cats do have taste buds and one bite of people food can lead to more problems of begging, upset stomach and serious illness in all dogs.  It is best not to start something you can’t break later in life.  It is easy to spoil your cute kitty, but when they grow to an adult kitty stealing the food off your plate.

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