This page offers you some practical advice on the do’s and don’ts of feeding kittens. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information available on this; relentless pet food advertising may well leave your head in a spin.
First things first. When you get your new kitten, ask the seller what they’ve been feeding her and give her the same or a similar food at first. A sudden change may cause digestive problems and diarrhea. You don’t need to keep the brand identical, but don’t, for example, suddenly switch your kitten from wet to dry food. You can introduce new foods, but gradually, by mixing small amounts of the new food in with the old.
Feeding Kittens – The Do’s
1) Feed her kitten food
Kittens have very different nutritional needs to adult cats, so it’s really important to feed them food that’s been specifically designed for them. They should be given kitten food until they’re 12 months old.
2) Feed her a variety of foods
There’s a lot of debate on the subject of kitten feeding, and some people will no doubt disagree with me here. But I believe it’s best to introduce your kitten to a variety of good quality foods, including wet food, dry food and cooked meat. Wet food helps to keep cats hydrated and is thought to reduce the risk of cat urinary tract infection. Dry food and strips of meat help to clean Kitty’s teeth, reducing the build-up of tartar and the likelihood of dental problems developing later in her life.
Also, getting Kitty used to a variety of foods when she’s little reduces the risk of her becoming a fussy eater whose food bill is higher than yours…
3) Make sure whatever you feed your kitten is good quality
Feeding kittens cheap, poor quality food can cause all sorts of health problems in later life. It can be difficult to decide on the best food to buy, but as a general guide, good pet stores and vets will stock the better brands and should give you good advice.
4) Feed her small, frequent meals
Kittens have very little stomachs, so they need to be fed small meals 4 or 5 times a day. Make sure there’s a constant supply of fresh drinking water available.
Feeding Kittens – The Don’ts
The following shouldn’t form part of your kitten’s diet:
1) Raw meat
Raw meat is one of the most common causes of food poisoning including really nasty bugs like Salmonella. This could be very serious for a young kitten. Always ensure any meat you give her is fully cooked, not been in the fridge for too long and not past its sell-by date.
2) Vitamins or other supplements
If you’re feeding your kitten good quality food, she won’t need anything else. An overdose of some supplements can actually cause health problems.
Some cats get to love liver so much they’ll practically starve themselves rather than eat anything else. Large quantities of liver may overdose a cat with Vitamin A, which can cause fusion of the spine bones.
4) Dog food
Cats have very different nutritional needs to dogs. Dog food won’t give your cat the nutrition she needs, and can lead to severe health problems.
5) Cheap, poor quality cat food
I said this earlier, but it’s worth repeating. Cheap, trashy cat food can cause a reduced life expectancy and a load of health problems. Buy cheap, pay dear is the motto when it comes to feeding your cat…
6) Cow’s milk
Feeding kittens cow’s milk can cause diarrhea. Kittens over 6 weeks of age don’t need milk; a constant supply of fresh water is much more important for them.