Why is it important to keep adjusting how often I feed my kitten as she grows?
First, kittens have big growth spurts and you need to accommodate that big energy requirement. Second, the younger they are the smaller the mouths, teeth and stomachs, so you’ll need to keep adapting to that as well. A six-month-old kitten may look like an adult, but she’s really only an adolescent –until she reaches one year of age. Then veterinarians recommend you feed twice a day.
It’s just as important as HOW to feed your kitten as WHEN. For example, the kitten’s mother usually handles the nutrition up to four weeks, but for whatever reason, she may not be able to nurse—and you’ll need to take over and use a milk replacement formula.
Here are some general guidelines:
• Offer a little solid food, soaked in water or milk replacement formula and mashed up with a fork or spoon, two times a day. You can also soak the food in kitten milk substitute. Don’t use cow’s milk, because cats cannot digest it.
• Make sure the food is formulated for kittens, because adult food is very hard for them to digest.
• Canned food is best, because kittens have sensitive teeth. However, don’t leave it out for too long, as it can start to harbor bacteria.
• Don’t overfeed. Try to limit each meal portion to six bites.
• At five weeks, kittens should start to be fed three times a day. Tiny portions are recommended.
• Gradually increase the amount of food, still being mindful to never overfeed.
• The kitten should stay on quality commercial kitten food for the first year.
• Use low, flat pans to make it easier for her to reach the food without having to climb or stretch. She might make a mess at first, spilling and splashing—or even batting at it with her paws–but she’ll eventually get the hang of it. If need be, just gently clean her up with a damp, warm cloth.
• Offer fresh, clean water at each meal.
• Feed kittens on a schedule so they associate feeding time with potty time, making housebreaking easier.