What Kind of Cat Food Do Newborn Kittens Eat?

by Elton Dunn, Demand Media
    Newborn kittens eat cat's milk only.

    Newborn kittens eat cat's milk only.

    Just-born kittens have a particular diet of cat milk. Newborn kittens require food every one to two hours for the first week of life, then every three hours from seven to 14 days of life. Set an alarm so you don't miss those middle of the night feedings!

    Newborn Kitten Food

    For the first month of life, newborn kittens eat only the milk their mother produces. If the mother cat doesn't produce enough milk for all her kittens, or if your newborn kitty is a rescue, you may need to obtain cat's milk for her. Find cat's milk at your local pet store or veterinary office, where it is sold as cat's milk or kitten milk.

    Feeding Kittens Yourself

    To properly feed a newborn kitten, purchase either liquid or powdered kitten milk and a bottle designed especially for feeding newborn animals. This bottle emits only one drop of milk at a time to control the rate of feeding. Bottles with faster flow could endanger the kitty by causing her to aspirate milk into her lungs. Mix powdered milk with water according to the manufacturer's directions, then warm to body temperature. When ready, the milk should feel as warm as the inside of your wrist.

    Foods to Avoid

    Kittens consume only cat's milk because it contains all of the nutrients they need to survive. Don't assume any other milk you have access to, such as cow's milk or goat's milk, will suffice in a pinch. These milks have different protein, fat and lactose levels than cat's milk. Kitties may not be able to digest these milks and could get diarrhea as a result.

    Tips

    From the newborn stage through the first month of life, feed a kitten only kitten milk from the bottle. After one month, continue to prepare the kitten milk, but serve it in a bowl. Your kitty will be able to lick it up. After four weeks, mix kitten milk with wet or dry kitten food to form a porridge, then transition to only wet or dry kitten food in week six.

    About the Author

    A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.

    Photo Credits

    • Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images