Growing kittens crave healthy, balanced diets jam-packed with essential vitamins, minerals, protein and amino acids. How much food you put into your kitten’s body is just as important, as approximately 41 percent of owners have overweight cats, according to The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. Pets demand a meal routine.
From Milk to Solids
During a kitten’s first four weeks of life, mom cat provides all the nutrition needed for her younglings to thrive. Kittens should then be transitioned to a milk replacer mixed with a quality canned or dry cat food to form a gruel. Since kittens require large amounts of energy to fuel their growing bodies, they should be fed four to five times a day from a small shallow bowl. By 6 months of age kittens only need two meals a day.
Kittens who have been separated from their mother may need to be bottle-fed until they are able to eat solids on their own. Newborn kittens require 32 cc of formula a day, fed every two and a half hours around the clock to result in approximately 10 feedings each day. During Kitty’s second week of life, he’ll need to consume 55 cc of formula a day and by week three, he’ll need to consume 80 cc. By four weeks of age, 100 cc of formula a day spread out amongst five to seven feedings is sufficient before moving onto solid foods.
Kittens need frequent feedings and should be put on an eating schedule. Newborn kittens should nurse every one to two hours on average. As you begin to offer your kitten milk between 3 and 4 weeks of age, gradually add moistened cat food and provide meals four to six times per day. When your kitten is 6 to 12 weeks, begin to decrease his milk replacer and add more kitten food, offering meals four times a day. When Kitty reaches 3 to 6 months, feed him three times a day.
Shopping for Quality
Pet foods that meet a healthy nutritional balance should be marked with the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) seal of approval, according to the ASPCA. These high-quality pet foods contain all of the nutrition that your kitten will need as he grows, meaning no vitamin or mineral supplementation is required. Use homemade diets with caution, as they can lead to nutrition imbalances. If you prefer to supply Kitty with a homemade meal, ensure it's formulated by a reputable pet nutritionist.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Based in northern New York, Brandy Burgess has been writing on pets, technical documentation and health resources since 2007. She also writes on personal development for YourFreelanceWritingCareer.com. Burgess' work also has appeared on various online publications, including eHow.com. Burgess holds a Bachelor of Arts in computer information systems from DeVry University and her certified nurses aid certification.