How to Feed a Young Cat

Young cats need excellent nutrition to sustain growth.

Young cats need excellent nutrition to sustain growth.

Your kitten's diet can strongly affect her long-term mental and physical health. Cats are carnivores who need large quantities of protein in their diet, and ensuring your young cat gets the nutrition she needs will mean she has a long and happy life with you.

Items you will need

  • Cat food
  • Meat (optional)

Step 1

Read the label on the cat food you have selected. The first few ingredients listed should be meat, not corn or meat byproducts. Ingredients are listed according to their proportions in the food, so the first three or four ingredients are those that are present in the highest quantities.

Step 2

Give your kitten three to four meals a day. Kittens need about three times the number of calories as adult cats and can quickly become hungry if they must wait long periods between feedings. Choose a food intended for kittens -- not a weight-loss or adult formula -- and feed the quantities recommended by the packaging instructions.

Step 3

Consider incorporating meat into your cat's diet. Many cat owners give their dogs homemade diets or table scraps. Adult cats are notoriously picky eaters, but kittens exposed to a wide variety of foods are more likely to readily accept new foods. In addition to this behavioral benefit, adding additional pieces of food to your kitten's diet can ensure she gets balanced nutrition. Kittens can eat very small raw bones such as chicken necks. These bones can improve oral health, according to veterinarian Tom Lonsdale. However, never give a kitten cooked bones.


  • Ask your veterinarian about adding a multivitamin to your kitten's diet.


  • Kittens should not be separated from their mothers until they are at least 8 weeks old, and many cat breeders recommend allowing kittens to stay with their mothers until they are 12 weeks old.


About the Author

Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.

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