TRACIE HOTCHNER: KITTEN FEEDING – WHAT, WHEN AND HOW TO FEED YOUR KITTEN CORRECTLY

New kitten parents can be confused about what to feed their little kitty cat. The first thing to know is that there is no need to look for “kitten food” because young kittens can eat the same food as adults – just more of it, and more often.

You cannot feed a kitten only two meals a day as you would an adult cat: the little one needs more food for growth and development than a grown cat, and kittens need to eat more frequently because they have tiny stomachs and a fast metabolism that burns up the fuel quickly.

A kitten is an obligate carnivore, just as an adult cat is, which means he needs a canned food diet. Kittens should be offered distinct meals with canned food on a small saucer, just like an adult cat – except that a kitten needs more food, more frequently.

While a 10-pound adult cat requires 6 to 8 ounces of canned food a day, a kitten can take in twice that amount. Appetite is an individual thing: to determine how much your own young cat needs during a 15 minute feeding period, add small amounts at a time to his saucer and replenish it as he finishes it, until he is satisfied during that amount of time.

According to the feeding schedule below, you can divide up a can among those feeding periods and add more based on the kitten’s individual appetite.

Once he reaches 8 months of age, a kitten will be eating on the same schedule as an adult cat. At that point you can give the older kitten a small can of food in the morning, or as much as he will eat in about 15 minutes, and then another can at the end of the day.

• 8 to 10 weeks: 6 to 8 meals daily
• 10 weeks to 4 months: 5 to 6 meals
• 5 months to 7 months: 3 to 4 meals a day
• 8 months and a year: 3 meals, tapering to 2 meals a day

Tracie Hotchner, author of The Dog Bible and The Cat Bible, guest blogs here every Thursday on healthy, natural choices for pets.

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