What to Feed Kittens?
Every kitten owner must know about what to feed baby kittens and the best cat food for kittens. Kittens are furry, cute, and adorable little creatures who can melt your heart with their mischief, gentle, and sometimes feisty ways.
But when you bring a kitten to your home, you need to take extra care of their diet as they require more nutrition than adult cats. So you need to know what to feed a baby kitten according to its age before you bring one home.
The first few weeks of the kitten’s life are very crucial. The primary concern for a newborn kitten is feeding, maintaining body temperature, social skill development and learn how to excrete on his own, etc. All these things are taught by the mama cat to the kitten.
The ideal age to get the kitten is approx 8 weeks as the kittens already learn these basic things from their mother. Adopting is the best option, however, if you wish you can go to a pet store to get the kitten, and if the kitten is a newborn then caring for him will be up to you.
Newborn Kitten Care
Before even trying to feed the baby kitten, you need to know how to feed him. It’s the same as trying to feed a newborn human baby.
Kittens require extra care as they are unable to take care of themselves, they will need a lot of your time as they require frequent feeding in their early stage of life.
It is your duty to create a comfortable environment and space for the baby kitten as it is recently separated from its mother. Some of the most common questions that could be on your mind are answered here.
How to feed a newborn kitten?
Under normal circumstances, the mother’s milk provides all the necessary nutrition for the baby kitten. However, if you have a kitten that is rejected by its mother or is an orphan, try to find a queen (cat) who might feed the orphaned baby kitten.
Now if you are wondering who is queen(cat)?. Well, the cat which feeds the kittens born to other cats is called Queen Cat. If you cannot find such a mama cat, consult the veterinarian about feeding the baby kitten with a supplement.
• What to feed baby kittens beside milk?
When your baby kitten is 3 to 4 weeks old, replace milk with a moist, easily chewable diet. Serve the food in a shallow bowl several times a day, gradually increasing the time between each meal as the kitten grows old. By the age of 6 to 8 weeks, kittens are fully able to chew dry food so you’ll no longer need to moisten it.
• How often a kitten must be fed?
Newborn baby kittens are needed to be nursed every 1 to 2 hours. When the kitten is about the age of 3 to 4 weeks they are able to chew, so they can be offered moistened kitten food six times a day. Kitten aging 6 to 12 weeks old are able to chew dry food, so they can be given dry cat foods for times a day.
• What should be the ideal weight of the newborn kitten?
The general average weight of the kitten is about 90 gm to 100 gm depending on the breed of cat and litter size. During the first few weeks, kittens gain weight rapidly. They can gain double or triple the amount of their birth weight.
How and What to Feed Baby Kittens?
Feeding a baby kitten involves several parts and steps as there are several ways to feed a baby kitten. Feeding is also determined on the fact if the kitten is a newborn and has been rejected by the mother, orphaned, or separated from the mother after 8 weeks of age.
1- Preparations for Feeding the Newborn Kitten
• Try finding a nursing mother(queen)
When you bring the baby kitten home try finding a nursing mother who may take the kitten and feed him as her own as the mother’s milk is best for any baby mammal.
Be aware that even if you find a cat to nurse your kitten, she might reject it as it will smell different from her own litter. Try ‘disguising ‘ your kitten’s smell with her litter’s by rubbing a hand on the mama cat’s litter, then rubbing the same hand on your kitten. This way you are transferring the scent of the litter onto your kitten.
• Give milk to the kitten
Milk is the best cat food for the kittens. The newborn kitten can only digest milk, especially the milk from the cat. Feeding the wrong type of milk, such as cow’s milk can result in short and long-term effects such as nutritional deficiencies, diarrhea, and dehydration.
The wrong milk also affects the growth of the baby kitten. The milk replacement formula can be bought from the vet, online, and from local pet stores. The formula comes in a drum or tub and is similar to infant formula. It is in liquid and powdered form and is used the same as the infant formula with the directions given on the packaging.
• Backup Plan if milk replacement not available
The ideal option is to use queen’s milk. However, if that is not available, you can use replacement milk. If the baby kitten is very hungry you can give one tablespoon of glucose by adding it to boiling water. Another easy option is to give the strained water of boiled rice as it has starch(energy) and is non-laxative, which is totally safe for the kitten.
• Manage Your Time
Younger the kitten, the higher is the metabolism. That means you or somebody from the family will be needed to feed the kitten around the clock. Once the kitten is old enough to switch to solid foods then the meals would be given 3-4 times a day.
2 – Feeding the Baby Kitten
• Collect the Equipment
The newborn kitten will need a feeding device as they are not able to take food on their own. You can use a teat set or bottle specially made for kittens. If you do not have that a syringe could be used, although the kitten will not be able to suck, so get the bottle as early as possible.
• Sterilize the Equipment
The baby kittens are also infection-prone as the infants, so make sure to sterilize the equipment you use to feed the kitten. Steaming it will kill all the germs that can make your kitten sick.
• Make and Heat the Milk
As milk is the best cat food for kittens always make the fresh milk, as it might contain bacterial contamination and the kittens have weak immune systems. Make sure the milk is the same as body temperature as hot milk can burn the kitties mouth.
• Feeding the Correct Amount
Naturally mama cat feeds the kittens but when it comes to you, the kitten will be given formula milk. Check the directions for preparing and the amount given to the kitten according to its age.
• Feeding The Baby Kitten
While feeding the kitten sit in a comfortable chair with a towel placed in your lap. Place the kitten so that its head is straight, stomach resting with feet down. When using teat wriggle it into its mouth so that the kitten holds it in the mouth.
If using a syringe press the plunger releasing a drop in the mouth of the kitten. Letting her swallow in between the drops. Keeping in mind the posture of a baby kitten as raising head more than the required state could lead to aspiration, taking formula to lungs which can be fatal.
• Cleaning the Kitten’s Bottom
Cleaning the bottom is vital because when the mother cleans the genitals, it encourages the kitten to relieve itself, so when you wipe the anus and genital with soft cotton, the kitten will empty its bladder and bowel. Wiping is important because if you will not do so, the kitten will not excrete and will become ill.
Cats and kittens are beautiful and lovely animals. Making them a part of your family and giving them a happy and healthy life is a great responsibility. So in this article, we have tried to cover all the aspects you will be needing to keep in mind such as what to feed baby kittens, best cat food for kittens, etc.
Making your journey with your pet easier and happier. We have shared all the diets for the kittens. So if you were thinking about getting a cat or kitten. This article will help you understand the kitten’s diet regime and how to take care of them according to their age.