Deciding what to feed your kitten is an important decision as kittens develop rapidly, both physically and mentally. To give your kitten the best possible start, you need to provide them with food that supports this growth and helps strengthen their immune system. Use our Cat Food Finder tool to discover the best kitten food for your unique pet’s age, breed and lifestyle.
When should I wean my kitten?
In the first four weeks of their life, your kitten should obtain their nutrition exclusively from their mother’s milk, as it contains the major nutrients needed in that early stage of life. After about the fourth week though, it’s time to slowly wean your kitten off their mother’s milk and start introducing kitten food.
How to choose the best kitten food
- Select a food that is marked as being specifically for kittens. These diets are specifically formulated to meet the developmental needs of cats less than 12 months old. The quality of the available range will vary. In most instances, you will pay more for food that contains the best quality ingredients
- Choose a food that contains real meat such as chicken as the first ingredient. As a rule, kittens should get about 30% of their energy from protein, so provide a diet that contains a quality source of protein
- Check the label and look for a balance of real proteins, fats and oils, minerals, vitamins, and carbohydrates. Labels that list wholegrain cereals, or cereal/meat by-products, as the first ingredient contain less quality protein compared to a kitten diet with ‘chicken’ as the first ingredient
- Do not feed them food meant for adult cats, as kittens have very different dietary needs than their adult counterparts
What to feed kittens – dry kibble or canned food?
Sometimes there isn’t one best kitten food, but rather a mixture of multiple diets. It’s common for owners to provide their kitten with a combination of kibble and canned food so they can enjoy the benefits of both. If you decide to feed a mixture of wet and dry kitten food, make sure you adjust the recommended portion sizes of each so that you don’t overfeed your pet.
How often should I feed my kitten?
Kittens grow at an amazing pace during their first six months and during this time you should be feeding your pet four regular meals per day. It’s in their nature to snack, and that’s okay, because they’re burning large amounts of energy as they play. After those first six months their growth rate will begin to slow down and at that point you may decide to reduce their meals to twice per day. You may even decide to leave their food out as some cats prefer to graze throughout the day rather than have set meal times. Follow the feeding guide on your kitten food label.
Which food labels are most important?
There are two different types of labels you should be paying attention to in order to determine which is the best kitten food: government or veterinary approval labels, and lifecycle labels. The reason you want to look for kitten food that’s endorsed by government departments, and the more renowned AAFCO, is because these organisations have a lot of expert knowledge and they’ve tested the food to ensure it’s healthy for your kitten. Lifecycle labels indicate the stage of your cat’s lifecycle a particular food is meant for, so that you can make sure you’re buying the right food for your kitten, adult cat, or senior cat.
What human foods are poisonous to kittens?
Pets are often fed leftover human food that we consider dietary staples. However, some of these foods can actually be poisonous to your kitten. You should avoid giving your kitten foods which contain onion, garlic, coffee and tea, grapes and raisins and chocolate. Even small amounts of some dairy products like milk may cause problems such as diarrhoea.
Are homemade diets recommended?
Some people choose to feed their kitten a homemade diet. This is generally very difficult to do and while many pet owners feel they are providing the right nutrients, these diets are often based largely on protein and can be extremely unbalanced and unable to meet the specific needs of a growing pet. The best kitten food available at Petbarn is scientifically proven to provide a complete and balanced diet to benefit your pet.
What should my kitten drink?
Your kitten needs access to fresh water at all times. It’s best to provide more than one water bowl to encourage more fluid intake. We’re all familiar with commercials and TV shows depicting cats and their love for milk. While that may be true, it’s something you have to be careful with. Avoid giving human milk to kittens as it may cause stomach upsets for your pet.
When is my kitten considered an adult?
For the most part, after 12 months it’s time to switch your kitten over to adult food as they have finished developing and are now a fully-grown cat. Your pet will need to continue with a complete and balanced diet, but their overall nutritional needs will be different. We recommend that you feed your cat a super premium adult cat food that is specifically formulated for your pet’s life stage, breed and desired health benefit.
Choosing the best kitten food is vital at this stage of your pet’s development. Our Cat Food Finder tool will help you to provide your kitten with high quality proteins, vitamins and minerals so they can continue to grow into a healthy cat.