Getting a new kitten is so exciting and fun, but it’s also a lot of work. Starting on the right foot is the key to a long happy relationship with your new best friend. The key to raising a kitten is starting early and staying consistent with your techniques. This week Dr. Anna Coffin will discuss how to feed your kitten.
What to feed your kitten:
There are a lot of choices when it comes to cat food, and it can be confusing when it comes to picking the right food for your kitten. Consult your veterinarian if you need help, but here are a few tips when choosing a kitten food:
• Stay away from pet food with colored kibble. The coloring is there to make the food look appetizing to you. Your cat could become allergic to the food coloring dye.
• Feed a pet food that is specifically for growing kittens.
• Buy the highest quality kitten food you can afford. Higher quality food has fewer fillers and more digestible ingredients which means less poop coming from your kitten. For example, Purina’s lowest quality food is Purina Kitten Chow, their mid-range food is Purine ONE, and their top of the line food is Purina Pro Plan.
• Feed a combination of dry and canned food. It’s important to give your cat a variety to prevent a finicky eater when they are ill.
Tips on how to feed your kitten:
• Take your cat’s whiskers into consideration when choosing a food bowl. Shallow bowls or even a plate will allow your cat to grab its food without interfering with its whiskers.
• All cat foods have a feeding chart somewhere on the bag. The chart for feeding your kitten is based on the kitten’s weight and its age. As the kitten ages, the amount you feed will increase. The amount recommended is how much you should feed your kitten daily so divide into two or three feedings.
• Measure out your kitten’s food with a measuring cup to prevent obesity.
• Kittens can develop strong taste and texture preferences as early as six months. Therefore, to prevent problems later, it is important to offer a variety of dry and moist food. I recommend varying their diet several times a week for their entire life. If your cat becomes ill or you need to switch to a prescription diet later in their life, it will be easier to transition your cat to the new food.
• Transition to adult cat food around 10-12 months of age. Re-evaluate the amount you are feeding based on the cat’s weight and the feeding guide on the bag. Adult cats don’t need as much food because they are no longer growing.
Kittens need a series of vaccines at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age. During your visit, we will discuss litter box care, play aggression and scratching to help you develop a bond with your cat.