Kitten Feeding Schedule – How Much to Feed Your Growing Kitten – 10 Important things you should know

This post include on query Kitten Feeding Schedule especially How Much to Feed Your Growing Kitten and when and everything you should know about schedule feeding of kitten

Kitten Feeding Schedule by thevetscare.com
Kitten Feeding Schedule by thevetscare.com

Just like human babies, kittens do a lot of growing in the first year of their lives. The kind of food and how much a kitten consumes directly affects their growth rate and development. By making sure a kitten is on a proper feeding schedule, you’ll be able to monitor your kitten’s growth and ensure they are receiving appropriate nutrition.

Kitten Feeding Schedule by thevetscare.com
Kitten Feeding Schedule by thevetscare.com

Week One Feeding Schedule

A kitten typically weighs about 3 to 3.7 oz. at birth but will gain weight rapidly from nursing. For the first several weeks of life, a newborn kitten will depend entirely on its mother to provide it with food. Its eyes and ears are sealed shut when it’s born, so it will rely on the pheromones its mother gives off to find milk and warmth.

Most kittens do just fine without human intervention, but if a kitten needs to be bottle-fed, either because the mother cat is absent, ill, or rejects the kitten, you’ll want to weigh the kitten regularly to make sure its weight reflects a healthy and normal growth rate of a kitten.

A kitten will nurse for about 45 minutes at a time every 2 to 3 hours for the first week of life. The rest of the time will be spent sleeping. Kittens that are bottle-fed should consume about a tablespoon, or 15 ml, of special kitten formula at each feeding. This is very time consuming for someone who is bottle-feeding a newborn kitten, so if at all possible, you will want to try to keep the kitten with its mother or a surrogate lactating cat who can nurse it.

By the end of the first week, the ear canals of a kitten will have opened and, if it is eating appropriately, it should weigh about 4 oz. Weight gain should be monitored with the use of a gram scale, such as the kind that is used for weighing food in the kitchen.

Weeks Two and Three Feeding Schedules

A 2 to 3-week old kitten will still need to be fed every 2-3 hours and it should consume at least 1/2 tablespoon of formula or milk during each meal. If a kitten is nursing from its mother, you’ll have to depend on how much the kitten weighs to know whether or not it is consuming enough food. Between days 8 through 18, its weight should increase to about 10 oz. and it will begin to crawl around shortly after its eyes open.

By the end of week 3, a kitten will be able to stand up and will have begun to interact with its littermates. Playing, ear-biting, wrestling, and exploring behaviors will begin and are important parts of socialization.

Kitten Feeding Schedule by thevetscare.com
Kitten Feeding Schedule by thevetscare.com

Weeks Four and Five Feeding Schedules

During weeks 4 and 5, a kitten will slowly increase how much food it consumes in a meal. Feedings will occur less frequently and a bowl of formula or other liquid kitten food should be made available for a kitten to start drinking from. By the end of week 5, a kitten should only be nursing three times a day but at each meal it should be consuming about 3 tablespoons of milk or formula.

A kitten should weigh about 14 to 16 oz. by the time it is 4 to 5 weeks of age if it is eating enough food. Towards the end of week five, you should be offering the kitten more food from a saucer than it is consuming from nursing. The food should graduate from being a liquid to eventually more of a gruel by using less and less water with canned kitten food over the course of a couple of weeks. This will be a messy stage of a kitten’s life since it usually ends up walking in the food, but it is a necessary step to begin weaning it off of its mother’s milk.

Week Six Feeding Schedule

By six weeks of age, a kitten should be eating the gruel four times a day and nursing less. The gruel should become less and less watery and dry kitten food should be introduced, along with a bowl of water.

At the end of week six, decrease meal times to only three times a day. If you have multiple kittens, be sure to provide a few bowls of canned and dry kitten food so the kittens do not become food aggressive.

Weeks Seven and Eight Feeding Schedules

Limited nursing sessions should still be allowed until the kittens are two months old, assuming they are all eating the kitten food that is offered to them three times a day. The mother cat may need to be separated from kittens that are relentlessly trying to nurse more than they should, but by the end of week eight, a kitten should weigh about two pounds from the combination of limited nursing and eating regular kitten food.

Kitten Feeding Schedule by thevetscare.com
Illustration: The Spruce / Emilie Dunphy Kitten Feeding Schedule by thevetscare.com

Feeding a Kitten Over 8 Weeks of Age

Once a kitten has surpassed eight weeks of age, they should be fed twice a day with normal kitten food. Solid food should not be an issue for kittens of this age but they may still try to nurse on occasion. Between eight and ten weeks of age, a kitten should be fully weaned and preparing to leave its mother if you plan to find the kitten a new home.

The first vaccinations are typically administered at about eight weeks of age, so when the kittens have a vet visit, you can be sure they have been growing appropriately.

Feeding your new kitten properly is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your kitten grows into a healthy cat. Choosing the right food for your kitten is one of the first things to consider. Let’s talk about what to feed your kitten and what is the best feeding schedule for your kitten.

What to Feed Your Kitten

Kittens have nutritional needs that are different than those of mature cats. Feed your kitten a food that is made specifically for kittens. Pet food labels are required* to carry a statement identifying the life stage (or stages) for which the food is intended. Choose a food that is intended for growth.

Also look for a food that has been substantiated by a food trial. The means of substantiation will be stated on the label too. Foods substantiated through a food trial are preferable to those substantiated via laboratory analysis or through comparison with a similar product.

As for what to feed your kitten when it comes to choosing canned or dry food, kittens can do well eating either. Each has advantages. Canned food provides more moisture than dry, which can be useful in keeping your kitten well hydrated. This may become very important for your cat later in life. Dry food tends to be more convenient to feed and can be left for a longer period in the bowl without having to worry about spoilage.

Dry food does tend to have a higher carbohydrate content than some canned foods, which means that your cat may gain weight easier on dry food than wet, if allowed to overeat. However, cats can gain excess weight on either dry or canned food. Obesity is currently the most common nutritional disease seen in cats. Feeding your cat to remain lean is an important part of keeping your cat healthy.

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Feeding Schedule for Your Kitten

Many people feed their new kitten by simply filling a bowl with dry food and leaving the food available the entire day. However, establishing a feeding schedule for your kitten is a good idea. A feeding schedule for your kitten allows you to control the kitten’s diet more easily and make sure your kitten does not overeat and gain too much weight.

Your new kitten should eat three times daily. Morning, afternoon, and evening is a good choice. You can arrange the schedule to fit in with your own routine, although it is best to keep a consistent routine from day to day.

Use the feeding guidelines on the food label as a starting point to determine how much to feed your kitten. Split up the daily portion into three equal parts and feed 1/3 at each feeding. The feeding guidelines provide a starting point but you’ll need to monitor your cat’s body condition and adjust the feeding amount accordingly. If your cat is gaining too much weight, decrease the amount of food. Conversely, increase the amount of food offered if your cat is too thin or is not gaining weight as expected.

Encouraging your kitten to exercise may not be a problem. However, as your new kitten ages, it may become more difficult to get him to exercise. Some cats do become couch potatoes and these cats are at risk of becoming overweight or even obese. Here are some tips that you can use in feeding your kitten that may aid in keeping your kitten lean.

  • Use a food puzzle when feeding your kitten. These puzzles are devices which are hollow and can be filled with food. Rolling the puzzle causes small portions of food to be dispensed to your cat. Your cat needs to roll the puzzle in order to get the food. By doing so, your cat gets exercise as well as entertainment.
  • Do not feed your cat in the same place each time you feed. Try hiding small quantities of food in different locations and letting your kitten hunt for the food. Again, your kitten will get exercise and will be entertained at the same time.

Canned food should be left out for your kitten no longer than 20-30 minutes maximum. Discard any uneaten portion. Dry food can be left out for longer periods.

However, if you make the decision to leave dry food available at all times for your cat, it is imperative to make certain your cat is not overeating. If so, you’ll need to portion your cat’s diet appropriately and establish a feeding schedule for your cat if you haven’t already done so as a kitten.