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Tips for Feeding Your Kitten

A growing kitten needs its mother’s milk to be strong and healthy. But, sometimes the mother is not around to provide it or the mother is unable to produce enough milk. In this case, you need to know how to take care of the your new kitten without the benefit of the mother’s milk.

 

Feeding the Kitten

The mother cat, called a queen, usually allows her kitten to suckle for the first seven to eight weeks. During this time, the mother gradually decreases the amount of time she lets the kitten suckle. So, by the time it is seven or eight weeks old, it is only getting about 10-20% of its intake from the mother cat.

 

Since the kitten is so dependent on the mother cat for the first several weeks, you need to be sure to find an appropriate replacement. Remember, a kitten needs two to three times more calories than an adult. There are commercially available milk replacers that are a good choice if the mother cat is absent. You should also supplement the kitten’s diet with small servings of canned food or dry commercial food once the kitten is three to four weeks old. Kittens also have a tendency to play with their food instead of eating it, so you might need to clean it after it is done.

 

Watch for Weight Gain

The amount of weight the kitten gains is a good sign of how well it is eating. During the first few weeks, you should notice the kitten’s weight doubling or even tripling. The kitten should continue to gradually gain weight until it achieves its adult weight. This will happen at around nine to twelve months.

 

Determining How Much to Feed

When the kitten is weaned, you should feed it about four times per day until it reaches three months of age. If the kitten is gaining weight and growing normally, you can reduce this to three times per day. Once the kitten reaches six months old, you should only feed it twice per day.

 

How to Feed Your Kitten

You should never leave food out for your kitten. When food is left out, the nutrients are lost because the antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins tend to oxidize. In addition, you should be sure to feed your kitten a variety of foods of different shapes and textures. This will help keep your kitten from growing into a picky adult.

 

When you plan your kitten’s meals, make sure its diet is at least 1/3 protein. Furthermore, homemade foods and canned foods are a good addition because they add moisture to the kitten’s diet, which helps prevent bladder and kidney problems. Therefore, the best food you can feed your kitten, and your adult cat, is canned or homemade food.

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