How to Feed Your Kitten
Like the addition of any new family member, knowing how to provide adequate care is a top priority and a new kitten is no exception. Providing proper nutrition for a new pet, especially if this is your first furry family member, can be confusing.
Kittens generally join their human families between the ages of six to eight weeks. At this point, they're weaned from their mothers and can eat solid foods.
Due to their rapid growth and development, it is very important that kittens are fed an appropriate diet.
Here are some helpful hints to help you take care of your new four-legged friend.
What should you feed kittens?
The dietary requirements of kittens differ from those of adult cats, the same way a baby's diet differs to that of an adult human. The first period of their life requires a diet with adequate nutrition that provides the kitten the vitamins and minerals needed.
At least 80% of a kitten's diet should be a good quality, fully-balanced kitten food.
In order for your kitten to grow strong and healthy, they'll require food that has:
- Higher levels of proteins
- More calories
- Higher levels of certain nutrients, including calcium.
Good nutrition isn't just about the ingredients; it is also about finding the right balance of nutrients.
A commercially prepared, completely balanced kitten food is ideal, as you can then ensure your kitten is being fed the right level and balance of nutrients. Both dry and wet options are available.
The professional range of kitten foods eg Hills, Royal Canin are not only completely balanced, but also offer a very high standard of nutrition and high digestibility.
Any changes in the diet should be introduced gradually, helping to prevent any stomach upsets.
Cats are carnivorous in nature, so fresh meat in moderation can be fed, but should never be fed as the main source of nutrition.
Do not feed large quantities of fresh fish, fish is very deficient in thiamine, deficiency in this vitamin can be life threatening.
Ensure fresh clean water is always available, milk is not recommended as many cats are lactose intolerant.
How often should you feed a kitten?
Between the ages of 6-16 weeks, kittens need to be fed several meals a day. While they require more food during this period of their life to assist their growing bodies, it's also the primary time to help your kitten develop healthy eating habits. Up until the age of six months, kittens expend a lot of energy and grow at a rapid pace - after this period of time, frequency of meals should be reduced to avoid any unnecessary weight gain.
If you are unsure what's an appropriate amount for your kitten, don't hesitate to speak to one of our team for advice. Alternatively, the feeding advice on cans or bags of food also provides good guidelines.
When should a kitten see a vet if it's not eating?
If your kitten is not eating or is experiencing bouts of diarrhoea or vomiting, please call us immediately for advice.
Gastrointestinal issues can be serious and your kitten can become unwell very quickly.
What foods should kittens or cats never eat?
Many human foods can be extremely dangerous or toxic to kittens and adult cats. Here is a list of some of the common ones :
- Garlic and Onion (including onion powder)
- Raw fish and human canned tuna
- Coffee and caffeine products
- Bread dough
- Raisins, grapes and sultanas
- Cooked bones and small pieces of raw bone
- Fat trimmings / foods high in fat
If you're unsure about proper nutrition for your kitten, do not hesitate to call one of our team for advice or book a consultation with one of our veterinarians. Contact us on (03) 9596 4804 - we're here to keep your pet as happy and healthy as possible.