Unfortunately, your kitty can’t survive on love alone. Your new fur-baby needs high-quality milk (or milk replacement) and nutritious food to grow into a vibrant and active adult. When you focus on nutrition early in your kitten’s development, you’ll have a cat who’s happy and healthy later on in life.
The most important thing you can do from the outset is feed your kitten the right food at the right times. To help get you started properly caring for your kitty, we’ve provided recommendations below to guide you through the first year of kittenhood.
The amount of food you should feed your kitten will vary as it ages. To help guide you through those early stages of life, we broke down what and how much you should feed your kitty at each age.
- Birth to four weeks: Kittens can eat as often as they like. Ideally, you want to feed them their mother’s milk, but if that’s not possible, canned kitten milk will do. Free feeding, where you leave food out and let them decide when to eat, works, too. In this early stage, pay attention to their weight gain but continue to feed them as normal unless you see problems developing.
- Four weeks to eight weeks: During this time, you can slowly start weaning your kitten off the milk. You can feed your cat either dry or wet food mixed with milk replacement. Continue to feed them often, and eventually remove the milk from the equation.
- Two months to three months: At this point, your kitten should only be eating actual food. You can choose to serve wet food or dry food, and let your kitten pick out which flavor they like best (trust us, they will let you know). Instead of free feeding, try feeding them four times a day. If they don’t gravitate to the dry food, we recommend mixing it with a little water.
- Three months to six months: At this age, it’s time to introduce a routine. Set a definitive place and time for feeding so your cat can get used to a schedule. Being consistent with your feeding times and the type of food your cat gets is also important. Feed your kitten three times a day and try to stick to one kind of food whenever possible. Try feeding them one cup at feeding time and keep on top of their weight.
- Six months to a year: At this point, your kitten is officially a cat. However, you still want to pay close attention to what you’re feeding them. Make sure they’re getting all the necessary protein and amino acids (such as taurine and arginine) at least twice a day.
Happy feeding! Keep in mind there are foods you want to avoid feeding your kitten. Stay away from actual milk, raw fish, raw eggs, and raw meat. In other words, stick to these feeding guidelines and don’t toss your dinner scraps to your sensitive, developing kitty.