Kittens need lots of food to grow big and strong in the first weeks of life, but too much food can be dangerous to your new pet. Follow recommended feeding guidelines from your vet and know symptoms of overeating to get your new family member off to a healthy start.
Kittens should weigh 3 to 4 ounces at birth and double in size within the first week of life. After that, a kitten should gain approximately 1/2 oz. per day, although some healthy kittens gain less weight. By 25 days old, your kitten may weight anywhere from 8 oz. to 16 3/4 oz. and still be healthy. Weighing kitty daily can help you track weight gain and identify overeating early.
The typical sign that your new kitten is getting more food than she needs is diarrhea. So if your kitten starts getting the runs, you know you're feeding too much. Healthy kitten poop should be yellow, but firm. Yellow and runny equals mild diarrhea, green is medium and gray is serious. If the poop changes color, make a vet appointment. Kittens can die of diarrhea and related dehydration!
Double-check what you are feeding your kitten against a recommended kitten food chart. If you're sure that you're giving the kitty enough food, try diluting the food with one-third water until the poop firms up. If you've been giving too much food, cut back to the recommended amount. If kitty's poo is green, dilute the food and give three drops kaopectate every four hours until the poop firms up.
Kittens should have full bellies after eating, but not taut or distended bellies. If your kitty's belly feels taut, try feeding less next time. As a guideline, feed 1-week-old kittens a total of 32 cc of kitten milk replacement (KMR) in six feedings. Feed 2-, 3- and 4-week-old kittens four times a day a total of 56, 80 and 104 cc's of KMR respectively.
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