How to Switch a Small Kitten From Canned Food to Dry Food

Wow, I like this crunchy fishy food.

Wow, I like this crunchy fishy food.

Dry kitten food is equally nutritious for your small kitten as canned kitten food. Dry food has a longer shelf life and does not require refrigeration, so it's easier to feed to your little one. Making a food transition correctly keeps your kitten’s tummy happy for a purr-fect family.

Day One

Read the label on your canned kitten food to determine the amount needed by your kitten’s weight per day. Divide this amount by the number of meals you feed your kitten per day. Small kittens should be fed three to four times a day to reduce gastrointestinal upset. Multiply the amount per meal of the canned food by .75 to reduce the amount by 25 percent.

Read the label on your dry kitten food. Calculate how much your kitten needs daily by her weight by the feeding directions on the bag. Divide the daily-recommended amount by the number of meals she eats per day. Multiply this amount by .25 for one-quarter of a meal.

Measure the reduced amount of canned cat food in a measuring cup. Pour it in a food bowl. Measure and add the dry cat food for one-quarter of a meal. Mix the canned and dry foods together thoroughly with a spoon. You may need to add a small amount of water on the first feeding to make the dry food moist if your kitten has no teeth or very small teeth.

Feed your kitten this mixture at each meal on day one of the food transition and provide her with a bowl of fresh water at all times.

Day Two

Reduce the canned kitten food to 50 percent of her amount per meal by weight.

Increase the dry kitten food to 50 percent of her nutritional needs by weight per meal.

Mix the two together for each meal adding a slightly larger amount of water if needed to make the dinner moist.

Feed your kitten this mixture for each of her day two meals.

Day Three

Reduce the canned kitten food to 25 percent of her meals by weight on the label.

Increase the dry kitten food to 75 percent of her needs per the feeding instructions on the bag.

Mix the two together adding additional water to moisten the food. Allow the food to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to moisten the dry food. Give her this mixture for all of her meals on day three of her food transition.

Day Four

Feed your kitten dry kitten food only at the recommended amount per the label.

Add water to the dry food and let it sit until it is soft enough for her to eat. Warm water will soften the food faster. You should reduce the amount water each day until she eats dry food only by about four to six weeks of age.

Offer dry kitten food only three to four times a day until your kitten reaches six months of age. At this time feed her twice a day increasing the amount of food per day by her weight.

Items you will need

  • Canned kitten food
  • Dry kitten food
  • Food and water bowls
  • Spoon
  • Pet food can cover
  • Airtight container


  • Choose both canned and dry kitten foods that are specifically formulated for kittens. These contain more nutrients for growing kittens to have energy.
  • Read the labels on your choices of canned and dry kitten food. Approved foods for correct nutrition contain the phrase “Meets the nutritional requirements of kittens established by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).”
  • Transition your kitten’s diet to adult cat food over the course of four days when she becomes a year old.


  • Store opened canned kitten food in the refrigerator with a pet food lid on it. Allow it to come to room temperature before feeding time to decrease stomach upset.
  • Place opened bags of kitten food in airtight containers to keep it fresh until it is used.
  • Wash kitten food bowls daily when they are eating canned or moist food. Wash your kitten’s food bowl at least once weekly when she is eating hard food.

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About the Author

Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.

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