Keeping Kittens - Kitten Care
Keeping Kittens - Guide to Caring for Kittens

Cute Kitten Care > Kitten Food > Feeding Kitten Tips

Tips for Selecting and Feeding Kitten Food

Kittens are not miniature cats - they require special food specifically for kittens. Feeding kitten adult cat food will deprive them of the extra protein, fat, vitamins and minerals available in kitten food. Yes you can feed your kitten cat food, but you will not be giving him the best start at a healthy, happy feline life!! Kitten food is higher in fat, protein and calories than cat food in order to provide the highly digestible, nutrient dense food they need. 

Video on the Importance of Feeding Kitten Food:

The simple answer to "What to feed kittens?" is: from birth to age 12 months your kitten should be feed kitten specific food, after 12 months you can move your fur ball over to adult food.

1. When your kitten arrives to your home, continue to feed them whatever they are used too. If you wish to change them over to a better kitten food, you will need to do so gradually. Mix a little of what they are used to with the new kitty food, until they have moved completely over to the new food. Felines are creatures of habit, and suddenly changing your kittens food could cause kitten diarrhea or stomach aches.

2. Be sure to choose a kitten specific food to feed your kitten. Your fur ball is at a unique stage in her life, and she needs the extra "good stuff" provided in quality kitten food. Feeding your kitten right will help her grow strong and be healthy. Be sure to have a chat with your kittens breeder, or with your veterinarian for advice.

3. Small quantities. When kittens are small they have small tummies, so generally they eat smaller amounts. You can leave dry food out so your kitten can "help herself" or you may want to feed her small amounts each day. If you are unsure what is best for you and your kitten - have a chat with your veterinarian.

feeding kitten well
Photo by Little Orange Crow. (Footer for photo credit)

4. Be consistent. Felines like to know when and where something is happening. Feeding kitten at the same time and the same place will set a good routine and help your kitty to feel safe and loved.

5. Fresh, clean water needs to be available to your kitten at all times. Clean water is very important to your kittens health. Make sure she always has a plentiful supply available to her.

6. No human food!! No matter how tempting it is, don't give your kitty human food. This can cause your kitten to get a stomach ache and possibly diarrhea. If giving her human food as treats becomes a habit she could also gain weight.

7. Keep your kittens eating area separate to your kittens toilet area. Felines are very sensitive to smell, so setting up your kittens food next to their litter box is not very nice. How would you like to take your meals whilst sitting on the toilet?

Note: That adult cats will want to eat the kitten food since it is higher in fat. This should be avoided, since the levels of vitamins and minerals in kitten food could promote adult cat obesity and cause health problems such as crystals in the urinary tract. If you have to feed one food, select a cat food made for all life stages.

Home made cat food is not recommended since it is difficult to balance the 40 required food components found in high quality commercial cat foods. The one exception is a homemade diet recommended by a veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist to address a specific feline health concern.

This concern is confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most professional veterinarian groups are also opposed to feeding cats raw food. According o to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the risk is the raw diets could contain bacteria such as Campylobacter and Salmonella, E. coli.

Healthy Kitten Food Choices

Personally, I like to feed my kittens a quality name brand reputable food made for kittens. So I prefer to buy quality pet food rather than a cheaper brand that may be full of fillers. One recommend brand is Purina Pro Plan Kitten Food since it contains all of the nutrients needed by an active kitten.

Kittens benefit from foods formulated for their nutritional requirements.

At a minimum, when shopping for kitten food, seek barnds that are labeled "complete and balanced." This means that the food will provide the kitten with complete nourishment (as opposed to a treat). Check the label and make sure that the kitten food nutritional claims have been checked by a regulatory group such as the American Association of Feed Control Officials. Even store brands that meet these requirements are fine for your kitten.

You will have to weigh up the pros and cons of the different pet food choices available for kittens. Be sure to have a talk with your Vet before making any hard and fast decisions. A Vet will be able to help you to consider what is best for your kittens health based on her environment, the climate she is living in and her breed.

For more information download this printable PDF on kitten feeding tips from the Badger Veterinary Hospital or this brochure from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine on feeding your cat.


Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

kitten care

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