Can you feed baby birds wet cat food

How to Feed Baby Birds Cat Food

By Christy Bagasao | Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Cat food

  • Water

  • Tweezers or small stick

If you find a lost or abandoned baby bird, you may find yourself suddenly playing Mama Bird. After warming the little one in your hands, your most urgent duty is to feed the baby. Feeding a baby bird may feel overwhelming because you don't have a mother bird's ability to swoop through the air and locate high-protein food for her babies. Relax. A baby bird can thrive on the same thing you feed your feline friends—cat food.

Determine if the bird is a nestling or a fledgling. A nestling has either fuzz, no feathers, or a few early feathers. It is mostly naked and not very mobile. Nestlings need more frequent feedings. A fledgling is feathered, mobile and possibly already trying to learn to fly. It will be able to self-feed shortly and may initially resist being fed by something other than its own parents. Whether the bird is a nestling or fledgling determines how long and how often to feed it cat food.

Analyze whether the baby bird gapes or not. Baby birds that gape, or open their mouths wide to be fed, have yellow or yellowish-white coloring on the sides of their beaks and have yellow inside their beaks, while those who suck regurgitated food from their parents' beaks do not have yellow marks on the side. How the bird responds determines the method you will use to feed cat food to the bird.

Soak a bit of cat kibble in hot water, preferably with a drop of corn syrup mixed in the first two days. After an hour the kibble is soft and cool enough for the baby bird to eat.

Hold a small amount of the soft moist cat food at the end of a pair of tweezers or on a stick and offer it to a gaping bird such as a swallow. If the baby bird does not open its mouth, tap very gently on the side of the beak until it opens its mouth. On rare occasion you will need to open the beak manually by prying the sides apart gently. Drop the cat food in the back of the baby bird's open mouth. Give the bird a few small pieces of moist cat food at each meal. Repeat this every 30 minutes during the day for nestlings, or every 15 minutes if the baby is very weak and in need of the protein cat food offers. As the baby grows into a fledgling it may indicate with begging and chirping that it is hungry.

Place a few pieces of the softened cat food inside a pen cap or a similar container to feed a non-gaping bird such as a dove. Gently grasp the beak and move your fingers up and down to encourage the bird to open its mouth. Place the container gently at the end of the baby bird's beak. Wiggle the cap a bit. The bird should reach in and suck the cat food. If it does not suck up the cat food mixture, simply place a bit inside the end of its beak. Repeat every 30 minutes during the day.

Deposit softened cat food in a shallow dish on the floor of the bird's container if the bird is a fledgling. To show the fledgling where the cat food is, feed it directly from the dish. It should begin to eat it on its own, although you will still need to hand feed it until it indicates its preference for self-feeding by eating from the dish while refusing your offers of food.

Prepare freshly soaked cat food each morning because the previous day's food will sour. If desired, use canned cat food in the same manner as the soaked kibble. Mixing other foods into the cat food will accustom the bird to different flavors. Baby food and apple sauce are the simplest options, although fresh vegetables and hard-boiled eggs are excellent choices as well.

  • It is illegal to keep most wild birds. With that in mind, handle the bird as little as possible so it does not become habituated to humans and to prepare it for release into the wild.

    Contact a bird rehabilitation center as soon as possible with any questions or problems or to determine if the bird would be better off at the center.


  • Be sure the cat food is not dripping with water, since a bird could aspirate the excess moisture and develop a lung infection or drown.

    For the Birds Rehabilitation Foundation cautions against hand-feeding precocial birds, that is, birds that are born ready to self-feed such as quail, killdeer and poultry.


  • For the Birds: Temporary Feeding Guidelines
  • Starling Talk: Care and Rehabilitation
  • Winged Wisdom: Orphaned Wild Baby Birds
  • Marathon Wild Bird Center: Raising Orphaned Baby Birds

Photo Credits

Writer Bio

Christy Bagasao has been writing since 1991. She is an English and communication graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran College with a year spent at Nottingham University in England. Her work has appeared in such publications as "Forward in Christ."

The Dos and Donts of Caring for Baby Birds by John Wiessinger

  • Hand-raising Wild Baby Birds
  • Care for Orphaned / Abandoned Domestic Baby Birds
  • Handfeeding Bird Chicks – applies to seed or insect eating bird species only. Not applicable for hummingbird chicks that have different dietary requirements. Contact an experienced wildlife rehabilitator with knowledge of hummingbirds.
  • If the chick is sick, injured or weak, it is best to have an expert wildlife rehabilitator take care of it — but until this happens, or if no one is available, please refer to the Sick Bird Care webpage for instructions.

Dos for caring for baby birds

  1. Baby birds without many/any feathers need to be kept warm (body should be warm to touch)
  2. Baby birds need lots of different foods for a healthy diet – variety is the watchword
  3. Most baby birds eat a wide-variety of rather soft-bodied insects – they need lots of protein for growth
  4. Baby birds eat about every 20 minutes or so during daylight (dawn to dusk)
  5. Baby birds should be encouraged to beg for food (open mouth with eager calling)
  6. Baby birds have a swallowing reflex that is triggered when food is placed in the back of the mouth
  7. Baby birds sleep at night and are not fed by their parents
  8. Food can be skewered on a toothpick and placed in the baby’s throat
  9. If enough food isn’t available, you can give dry cat food (see info below) as a temporary measure (NOT a steady diet)

Don’t’s for caring for baby birds

  1. Don’t give water directly to your baby bird (they get enough in their food)
  2. Don’t give sugar water to your baby bird
  3. Don’t give ANY bread to your baby bird
  4. Don’t give ANY birdseed to your baby bird
  5. Don’t give a steady diet of any single food to your baby bird
  6. Don’t gear your baby’s diet around worms
  7. Don’t give your baby bird a bath, it doesn’t need one

Appropriate invertebrates you can look for include – flies, horseflies (remove the wings), grasshoppers without wings and legs, crickets, soft caterpillars, grubs, mealworms in small amounts, spiders, and earthworms in limited amounts. Avoid beetles, bees, wasps, ants, hairy caterpillars, and any hard-bodied insects. If you can get an insect net and sweep your yard or nearby field, you’ll get lots and lots of good insects. You may need to be a bit selective so you don’t use any bees or wasps, but you’ll have many others to choose from.

Providing insects for your bird may become difficult at certain times so you may need to supplement its insect-diet with something else. Dry cat food can be moistened and made into small globs on a toothpick and offered. The cat food is higher in protein than dog food and will help sustain your bird until you can feed more appropriate foods. Do NOT provide a diet of just cat food or your bird will not be healthy and may not even live – this is only an interim measure.

If all goes well and your baby grows and develops, a time will come when you recognize that it needs to get ready to be on its own. In nature, when a baby leaves the nest, it’s called a fledgling and although it may not fly well, can flutter here and there and usually ends up on a low branch in a bush or low tree. At this point the parents are still feeding their young even though they may not be obvious to the casual observer. This is one of the times many people think a baby bird has been abandoned. As “your” baby grows and gets to the point where it can flutter a bit, it should be allowed greater freedom. Even with this freedom, your bird will continue to let you know when it is hungry and needs food from you. Once it is coming to you for food you’ve crossed a big hurdle and can now feed it when necessary but allow it to forage on its own too. Soon your baby will be coming to you less and less and eventually not at all – your baby has graduated and you’re a proud parent!

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


Please Note: The articles or images on this page are the sole property of the authors or photographers. Please contact them directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. Thank you.

Can I feed my pet only wet food?

Not all wet foods can be called complete, that is, they satisfy all the pet's needs for nutrients, vitamins and trace elements. Complete wet foods are premium and super premium classes, with a corresponding mark. They can really become the main food for your four-legged friend.

Why not look for something suitable in the economy segment? Economy class feeds can use by-products and low-quality ingredients. Such food will sooner or later lead to gastrointestinal upset, a lack of vitamins and minerals, and other health problems.

Be sure to study the composition of the diet. The more specific the wording in the names of the ingredients, the less likely it is that the manufacturer is trying to hide something from you. The composition of professional feeds indicates what kind of meat and in what quantity was used in production, and meat is always in the first place in the list of ingredients.

Be sure to consider your pet's individual sensitivity to certain food ingredients. Discuss dietary choices with your veterinarian.

Feeding only wet food is fine as long as it is a super premium complete food or a holistic food that suits your litter. What kind of wet food is suitable? The one that the pet willingly eats and after which he feels good.

Wet food benefits
  • Wet food is perceived by dogs and cats as a more appetizing food than dry food. So the issue of reducing the appetite of a pet is solved by itself.

  • Wet cat food solves the common problem of lack of fluid in the body of your ward. For example, cats do not really like to drink water from a bowl. A moist diet helps maintain water balance in the body.

  • Moist food will help out during the period of solving problems with the oral cavity or during the recovery period, with a special sensitivity of the pet's gastrointestinal tract, when he needs the most tender food.

Wet food: cons
  • Some four-legged friends get so used to an appetizing dish that when you try to feed them dry food, they stubbornly refuse it.

  • Consider the cost of food for your ward. Feeding a cat or miniature dog exclusively wet food is not the same as feeding an adult Rottweiler the same diet.

  • Not all wet foods are complete, i.e. suitable as the main food. Be careful when choosing, carefully read the information on the package.

  • Wet food has more storage requirements. It is not always possible to take it with you on the road. If the pet did not finish the serving, the leftovers will have to be thrown away. The warmer the room, the faster the open food spoils.

  • Wet food does not create the necessary load on the chewing and jaw apparatus and does not clean the teeth from plaque. If dry granules help to mechanically clean the teeth, then with a wet diet, the care of regular brushing of the pet's teeth will have to be completely taken over.

Ideal Diet

Pet food manufacturers often produce both dry and wet food for dogs and cats. Why not combine them in your pet's diet, taking advantage of the benefits of each?

Products of the same brand are similar in composition, quality of components and are perfectly combined with each other. Typically, wet food is similar in composition to dry food of the same brand and is easily digestible.

  • The combination of dry and wet food in one diet helps to replenish the lack of fluid in the body and maintain healthy teeth, satisfies the need for a varied diet and reduces feeding costs.
  • Dry and wet food of the same brand can be mixed, but not in the same bowl. A good option would be a morning meal with only dry food and an evening meal with only wet food. Or divide the daily portion into three parts: dry food in the morning, and wet food in the middle for and in the evening.

Please note that wet food and dry food have a different calorie content. Calculate the ratio of two types of complete food so that you do not inadvertently overfeed your pet. Check the nutritional advice on the package.

Make sure your pet has access to clean drinking water at all times. Even the best wet food is not a substitute for drinking.

We wish your pets bon appetit and good health!

Pet health

How to help a cat in the heat

We endlessly rejoice at the onset of summer. Three months of sunshine and warmth ahead. You can spend more time on the street, relax outside the city, sunbathe and swim. However, our four-legged friends do not share such joy. After all, summer for them is a high risk of developing hyperthermia. Cats, especially very fluffy ones, can hardly stand the heat. Therefore, we must help them and make their summer comfortable and happy.

Publication date: 06/15/2022 11:13:00

Read more

Pet health

How to train a dog for a cat

The path to mutual acceptance between a dog and a cat can be long and difficult. Moreover, sometimes it happens that the animal does not accept others at all. In such a situation, you should not bring home a new family member - this can end tragically.
However, it is not excluded that the dog will quickly find a common language with the cat. The nature of the cat is also important: it must be taken into account that it can be aggressive, which causes a number of negative emotions in the dog.

Publication date: 08/31/2022 12:50:00

Read more

Is it possible to feed a cat dry and wet food at the same time?

Many veterinarians recommend that a cat's diet should not only consist of dry food, but also of wet food, as cats often do not consume enough liquid. Wet foods do help with this problem, and they are also indicated for certain diseases and after certain surgeries. Thus, there are no sharp contraindications to mixing diets, but there are certain dangers that you should try to avoid.

Choosing a wet food

If your cat is eating a good quality balanced dry food like Acana or Orijen, then you should take extra care to ensure that the wet food contains the same quality ingredients. Otherwise, you will simply deplete your pet's diet, which can lead, to put it mildly, to unpleasant consequences. And is this what you wanted when choosing mixed feeding?

When choosing a wet food, pay attention to the amount of meat in its composition, it should be at least 75%, and these should be high-quality, clearly defined sources of animal protein - specific types of fish, livestock, poultry. Ideally, wet food should be free of grains and other carbohydrates, which canned food technology allows. Choose a product, not focusing on the bright inscriptions on the package, but carefully studying the composition of the product.

Please note that this must be a complete ration, that is, fully satisfying the daily requirement of the animal for nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Only in this case, with mixed feeding, you can be more or less sure that there is no sharp imbalance in your cat's diet.

If you think that the food you are feeding does not contain enough meat ingredients, and you want to "improve" it with wet food, then in this way you will not make your cat's diet ideal. She will still receive less protein of animal origin, so you still need to change dry food to a better one.

Basic rules for mixed feeding

Having chosen a high-quality wet food, you should decide what proportion it will make up in combination with dry food in the diet. It can be different - 50% to 50% or 80% to 20% - not so important, but the main thing is to calculate the exact number of grams that this proportion is, referring to the daily allowance on the label, and strictly adhere to it.

Some owners add wet food in excess of dry food as an extra treat, but this is highly discouraged. This is a direct path to overfeeding and weight gain, and besides, you will ensure that the cat refuses dry food, constantly seeking "dessert", and will drive you crazy with her meow.

Thus, we determine the daily norm of wet and dry food in the ratio that you want to adhere to, and do not give anything more than it should be. So your cat will be both more docile and healthier.

Another important point: after choosing one type of canned food that suits your cat, do not change it, do not jump from one brand to another, and even more so do not buy wet food on impulse. It is already very difficult to find a suitable quality product, so if you succeed, feed only them.

In the same bowl or separately?

There is no single recommendation on this score, opinions of experts are divided, and significant studies in this area have not been conducted. Therefore, you can feed your cat dry and wet food at different meals or add wet food to dry food. It is not known exactly how your pet will react to this or that method, so carefully monitor his well-being.

However, experience shows that when mixed in one bowl, cats often eat only wet food, and the pellets are carefully licked and left in the bowl. There are, however, reverse situations. One way or another, you will not succeed in any balanced diet, and the mixed portion is stored in this way for a very short time - it quickly winds up and loses its attractiveness for the animal. Therefore, we advise you not to mix in one bowl, but to give dry and wet food at different meals.

For example, canned food can be given daily in the evening. It is advisable to do this at the same time - so the digestive system of the animal can be better prepared for taking a certain food. As a rule, a bowl of dry cat food in this case is left filled for the whole day, but strictly in the dosage of the daily allowance that you have determined.

Your cat will drink less water when eating wet food - it is normal for felines to get a significant amount of moisture from food, but regardless of the type of feeding, clean drinking water should be available to the animal at all times.

Learn more