Feeding Your Kitten



Feeding time for your kitten is a big deal. Feeding a complete diet is important for your little friend, and supplementing with the right type of treats will ensure your kitten doesn’t get an upset stomach. Read on for some friendly advice to help your kitten grow up healthy and strong.

This includes:
  • Food and feeding
  • Introducing treats
  • Hydration



    Food and feeding

    A growing kitten needs the right nutrition to support a rapidly developing body and mind. Your kitten will need the right food to help boost their immune system, and provide the right level of sustenance during the first year of their life. The food you feed is important and giving your kitten a life-stage appropriate kibble is the first step in the journey.

    The higher quality the food, the more nutritional value it will have for your kitten. There are three different qualities of food available for your pet – Standard Nutrition, Essential Nutrition and Superior Nutrition. They are all a complete diet, however where the protein is drawn from determines the quality of food. Your kitten needs a diet that is at least 30% protein, and finding a food that has a meat protein, such as chicken, as the number one ingredient will provide your pet with the best quality diet. Superior Nutrition diets are the best at offering a complete diet that contains meat-based protein.

    We recommend feeding your kitten the food it was initially on, and then weaning it across to a different food if you are going to change. This is best done over 4-7 days, where the first few days the food is 75% original and 25% new, the next few days are 50% each type, then the last days are 25% of the original food and 75% of the new food, until finally the kitten is on 100% new food. Keep an eye on your kitten, their behaviour and their toileting will help you determine if your kitten needs a slower transition or not.

    Wet food is an additional food source that cats and kittens love. When feeding wet food it’s important to feed this in a separate bowl to their kibble, so their kibble remains fresh for longer. When selecting the right wet food to feed your kitten, most brands of Superior Nutrition dry food offer an accompanying wet food for each life stage – this is a great compliment to the diet your kitten will be eating. Feeding wet food is also a great way to hydrate your kitten – this is a great trick if you’re ever worried that your feline isn’t getting enough water.

    Cats are notorious grazers, which means they will eat small bits of food frequently throughout the day. This means leaving bowls of food out for your kitten is the best approach so they can eat when they want. Make sure you look at the feeding guidelines on the back of the packet of food and stick to them as best you can – splitting their daily allowances by meals. If you’re ever worried about your kitten and their weight, we recommend speaking to your local Animates Vetcare Clinic. Even though your kitten may not eat all their food at once, make sure you stick to a routine when you put fresh bowls of food down, so your kitten knows when to expect food. When feeding wet food, this will likely be eaten fairly quickly, if it isn’t make sure you remove the bowl so your kitten isn’t tempted to eat old food.

    Finally, did you know cats are obligate carnivores? This means they must have the right ratio of meat in their diet to obtain the amino acid Taurine, which is essential for cell growth and development. Without this, they can become very ill, so ensuring you feed a balanced diet is essential to your kitten and cats health.

    Things to consider:
  • What food was your kitten being fed before you got them?
  • Are you looking to change their diet?
  • Will you supplement their food with wet meals?
  • Can you implement a feeding routine for your kitten?



    Introducing treats

    Treats are a great way to bond with your kitten and reward positive behaviours. When giving treats to your kitten it’s hugely important that you only give cat or kitten treats, and never human food – especially milk. Cats are lactose intolerant and any dairy products in their diet can cause them serious tummy upsets, even though they may like it, it’s really not good for them. You can buy pet-milk that is cat safe and they will still love to drink it. Selecting the right sort of treats for your kitten can be tricky with so many different types available. We recommend going to your local Animates and talking to our friendly in-store team who will be able to offer you some great suggestions.

    When introducing treats and pet-milk into your kitten’s diet, it’s important you do so slowly. As mentioned, any big changes or rapid introductions into your kitten’s food can cause upset stomachs, and we want to make sure your kitten has the best start it can! Try one or two new treats at a time, ensuring there are no other dietary changes happening to your kitten, and monitor their toileting. If nothing changes in their litter tray behaviour then you’re on to a winner.

    Treats are great for rewarding good behaviours with your kitten, such as toileting in their litter tray, coming when they’re called, playing calmly and having cuddles. Cats love treats and rewards, so you can even look into teaching your kitten a few tricks – easy ones for cats include ‘sit,’ ‘high-5’ and ‘up.’ Remember that treats are just that, a treat that is only be given occasionally – and when you give your kitten a treat, ensure you consider this when feeding them their daily allowance of food, for a growing kitten it’s not such a worry, but as adult cats become less active, their daily intake of calories will need to be more closely monitored.

    As your kitten grows, consider expanding the choice of treats you buy them – there are great treats available to help clean teeth, help with hairball issues and even low calorie treats for those chubbier, or less active, feline friends.

    Things to consider:
  • What treats will you get for your kitten?
  • Do you want to give your kitten pet-milk?
  • As your kitten grows do you need health-targeted treats such as hairball ones?



    Hydration

    Kittens and cats are private animals, which means they tend to drink when no one is watching. Having a water bowl you know the size of is a great idea to keep track of your kitten’s water input. A cat that does not drink enough water can end up in some trouble, so ensuring they have a good hydration habit from day one is going to set your kitten up for life.

    Most cats don’t like having their water bowl near their food, so try to have at least a metre between their food and water bowls. If your kitten is going to be in a safe area, ensure that neither their food or water bowl is near their litter tray as this can cause behavioural issues later in life, and your kitten won’t want to eat or drink if there are bits of litter in their bowls!

    Like with toilet training, after your kitten has finished playing or has just woken up from a nap, take them to their water bowl and remind them it’s there. Kittens may forget to drink if they’re having too much fun and if the water isn’t easily accessible.

    Some cats are also adverse to drinking still water. There are cat drinking fountains available which filter the water, and keep it moving through a carbon filter to keep it fresh and clean. Cats love the clean, flowing water and it will encourage them to drink more if it’s from a source that appears fresh.

    If you notice your kittens drinking habit suddenly changes or they don’t seem to want to drink from their bowl, see if they’ve found a new place to drink from. If this isn’t the case, then your kitten may need a check-up at your local Animates Vetcare Clinic to ensure they are healthy.

    Things to consider:
  • Keep an eye on your kittens water intake – if you’re worried try measuring the amount they consume each day
  • Have you got enough distance between your kittens bowls and litter tray?
  • Do you need to get a water fountain?