How often do i feed a baby kitten

Feeding Orphaned Kittens | VCA Animal Hospital

Newborn kittens are relatively immature at birth compared to many other mammals. The period of time they spend being nursed by their mother (queen) helps the newborn kitten transition from in utero nutrition to solid food.

When a kitten is raised on queen's milk, their growth and health is influenced by:

  • the nutrition of the queen during pregnancy and early lactation,
  • the queen’s overall physical health and behavior, and
  • good neonatal care. 

The first few days of a queen's milk is known as colostrum. Colostrum is very high in protein and transfers important immune system elements. Whenever possible, newborn kittens should receive their mother's milk as it sets the stage for normal immune system function and protection from disease.

"If the queen is incapable of raising her kittens herself, the kittens are considered orphans and some important needs must be met in order to ensure their survival. "

If the queen is incapable of raising her kittens herself, the kittens are considered orphans and some important needs must be met in order to ensure their survival. These needs include appropriate heat, humidity, nutrition, elimination, sanitation, and social stimulation.

Fortunately, most orphaned kittens can be raised successfully with a bit of care and attention to detail. Using a logbook to track their development is a good place to start.

What should I track in a logbook?

Maintaining a logbook about the orphaned kittens does not need to be complicated. The reason for the logbook is to simply keep track of how the kittens are doing so you can identify if there are any potential concerns with their development.

Tracking their weights, milestones, and routines are key, so be sure to record details of when their eyes open, when their teeth begin to erupt, their food intake, and stool consistency.

TIP: Individual kittens must be identified in some way, so consider colored collars or nail polish on a few front toenails.

How often should kittens be weighed, and how much should they weigh?

The birth weight of each kitten should be recorded, and weight should be taken every day or two for the first four weeks of life. Starting in their fifth week, you can switch to weekly weigh-ins. A digital food scale with capacity up to 5 pounds works best for these measurements.

Kittens normally weigh between 80 to 120 grams (g) at birth. They gain about 100g/week during their first six months of life and should average at least 7g per day.

What do orphaned kittens need for proper nutrition?

Water is a critical nutrient for orphaned kittens, just as it is for all other stages of their life. Normal water intake is relatively high for kittens, needing 155-230 milliliters (mL) of fluid per kilogram (kg) of body weight each day.

"Compared to cow's milk, queen's milk contains more than twice as much protein, which helps explain why cow's milk is not ideal for feeding orphaned kittens. "

On average, the total fluid volume fed per day (including milk replacers) should be approximately 180mL/kg of kitten body weight. Queen's milk is highly digestible and very calorie dense. Compared to cow's milk, queen's milk contains more than twice as much protein, which helps explain why cow's milk is not ideal for feeding orphaned kittens.

Commercial kitten milk replacers are recommended as they are superior to cow's milk and home-made mixtures. The milk replacer you choose should meet several key nutritional factors. For every 100g of milk replacer fed, there should be:

  • 79 g moisture
  • 21g dry matter                       
  • 7.5g crude protein                  
  • 8.5g fat                                   
  • 4g lactose                   

How do I feed orphaned kittens?

Most kittens will suckle on small pet nursing bottles, also known as pet nursers. When bottle fed, kittens will nurse until they are full and then reject the bottle.

Be sure the opening in the nipple restricts the outflow of fluid to one drop at a time in order to avoid a flow rate that is too rapid for the kitten. When the flow rate is too rapid, it can lead to aspiration, pneumonia, and/or death.

When feeding, hold the kitten in a horizontal, head-neutral position. If the kitten is too weak to suckle, your veterinarian can show you alternative feeding methods and assist in tube feeding if needed.

TIP: Handling kittens during feeding contributes to critical socialization.

How much and how often should I feed orphaned kittens?

Orphaned kittens should be fed on a strict schedule, preferably every 2-4 hours. Kittens up to two weeks old can generally consume their daily intake in 4-5 meals per day. Small breed kittens should be limited to 10-15mL per feeding during the first week of life in order to prevent diarrhea.

Commercial milk replacers are labeled to help you calculate the total volume to be fed per day. To calculate the amount for each feeding:

  • dilute the total daily volume of milk replacer to a final volume of about 180mL/kg of kitten body weight, and
  • divide that total into the desired number of meals per day. 

It is recommended that you warm kitten milk replacer to approximately 100°F (38°C) before feeding, but be careful not to overheat it. Cold formula, overly rapid feeding rates, and overfeeding can lead to regurgitation, aspiration, bloating, and diarrhea.

If the orphaned kitten develops diarrhea, reduce the formula volume. It is better to slightly underfeed than to overfeed neonatal orphaned kittens. Kitten milk replacer should be the sole source of nutrition until 3-4 weeks of age at which time the weaning process may begin.

What’s my role in helping a kitten to eliminate?

Kittens cannot eliminate (urinate or defecate) on their own until about 3 weeks of age. They rely on the queen to stimulate their reflex to initiate elimination. Orphaned kittens, on the other hand, rely on their caretakers to stimulate them to eliminate. After feeding, you can stimulate their reflex to eliminate by gently stroking the area between the anus and vulva or penis with a warm, moistened cotton ball or soft cloth. Your veterinarian can teach you this technique.

What are some best practices for proper kitten hygiene?

Orphaned kittens require you to pay strict attention to their hygiene for optimal health and development. Follow these best practices for proper kitten hygiene:

  • bottles and nipples should be cleaned and then boiled in water to sterilize them between uses.
  • never prepare more milk replacer than can be used within 24 hours and always keep it refrigerated.
  • discard formula after 1 hour if left at room temperature.
  • once or twice each week, gently wash the kittens with a moist cloth.

By paying attention to the details of feeding and hygiene, you can help orphaned kittens thrive.

Bottle Feeding Kittens | Best Friends Animal Society

This resource provides instructions for caring for bottle-feeding kittens (“bottle babies”) – very young kittens who have been abandoned or orphaned. It includes information on feeding, weaning, medical care, developmental milestones and more.

Table of Contents
1.) Warmth and bedding
2.) Feeding
3.) Weaning
4.) Weight and hydration
5.) Elimination and litter box training
6.) A clean kitten is a happy kitten
7.) Medical care
8.) Kittens’ developmental milestones
9.) Loving care

Warmth and bedding

For their safety, bottle babies should be kept in a cat carrier when you are not feeding or caring for them. The kittens must be kept warm. Use a heating pad designed and approved for pets (such as a K&H or Snugglesafe pet bed warmer), wrapped in two or three layers of towels. The top layer of bedding can also be a soft fleece blanket instead of a towel. Make sure the carrier is large enough for the kittens to have an area to move away from the heating pad if they are too warm. Kittens will need the heating pad until they are 3 to 4 weeks old.

Cover the carrier with a towel or blanket and keep it in a warm, draft-free room, securely away from other pets. Check the bedding several times a day for messes. Bedding should be changed at least once a day, more often if the kittens soil the bedding.

A kitten’s ideal body temperature is 100 to 102 degrees. A kitten who feels cold and is unresponsive should be warmed immediately. Never attempt to feed a cold kitten. Place the kitten on an approved heating pad safely wrapped in two or three layers of towels. Turn the kitten side to side every 5 minutes. To stimulate blood flow, you may, ever so gently, massage the kitten with hand-rubbing. If the kitten does not respond within 20 to 30 minutes, contact your medical staff immediately.

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Do not feed cow’s milk to kittens, as it does not have the proper nutrition for them. Cow’s milk will also cause diarrhea, a possibly life-threatening condition for young kittens. Only feed your kittens an approved kitten formula. Kitten Milk Replacement (KMR) formula is ideal. The instructions for mixing KMR are below.

KMR powdered formula

Use 1 part formula to 2 parts water. A part is whatever you are using to measure with. For example, if you’re using a tablespoon for measuring, this would mean 1 tablespoon of powdered KMR and 2 tablespoons of water.

Formula that has been in the refrigerator must be warmed to 98-102 degrees Fahrenheit before feeding. Heat a mug of water and place the bottle in the mug of heated water. Never heat the bottle in the microwave. Before feeding the kittens, always test the temperature of the formula by placing a few drops on your inner wrist to be sure it is not too hot. Always wash your hands well with soap and water before and after feeding the kittens. Bottles and nipples should be cleaned thoroughly before each use.

When bottle nipples are brand new, you may need to cut a hole in the top. Cut an X in the tip of the nipple using small, sharp scissors. Or you can burn a hole in the nipple using a large needle. Heat the needle with a match, then poke it through the nipple tip. It may take a few attempts to make the hole the correct size. Once the hole is made, test it by placing the nipple on a bottle of formula and turning the bottle upside down. The formula should drip slowly out of the hole. If the hole is too big, the kittens will ingest too much formula too fast; if it is too small, they will have to work harder to eat and won’t eat as much as they should.

To prevent the possibility of spreading viruses between the kittens and other pets in your house, keep a “kitten gown” (a robe, sweatshirt, etc. ) in the kittens’ room to wear during feeding and handling of the kittens. You may also wear gloves if you wish, and remember to always wash your hands well before and after feeding your bottle babies.

Because kittens under 4 weeks old aren’t able to pee or poop on their own, you’ll need to help the kittens do that by stimulating them before or after each feeding, or both. Using something soft and absorbent, like tissues or toilet paper, rub each kitten’s genital area in a circular motion. (For more details, see the section on elimination below.) Keep records of their eliminations in case an issue arises. After a kitten has eliminated, weigh him or her before feeding. You should also keep records of the kittens’ weights before and after each feeding. 

After recording the kitten’s elimination and weight, it’s time to feed. Never feed a kitten on his back. The kitten should be on his stomach in a position similar to how he would lay next to his mother to nurse. You may try holding the kitten upright swaddled in a warm towel or have the kitten lay on a towel in your lap. Experiment with what position works best for you and the kitten.

Turn the bottle upside down and allow a drop of formula to come out. Place the bottle nipple in the kitten’s mouth and gently move it back and forth, holding the bottle at a 45-degree angle to keep air from getting into the kitten’s stomach. This movement should encourage the kitten to start eating. If at first you don’t succeed, wait a few minutes and try again. Usually the kitten will latch on and begin to suckle. If the bottle appears to be collapsing, gently remove the nipple from the kitten’s mouth and let more air return to the bottle.

Allow the kitten to suckle at his own pace. If a kitten refuses to suckle, try stroking the kitten’s back or gently rubbing her on her forehead. This stroking is similar to momma cat’s cleaning and it may stimulate the kitten to nurse. If this doesn’t work, try rubbing some Karo Syrup on the kitten’s lips. If the kitten still doesn’t want to nurse, contact your medical staff immediately.

Do not attempt to feed a kitten who is chilled because it can have serious health consequences. Try warming the kitten as described above. If you are unable to warm the kitten, contact your medical staff immediately.

A kitten should eat about 8 milliliters (mls) of formula per ounce of body weight per day. The chart below provides guidance on when and how much to feed kittens.

          Courtesy of the Kitten Lady


Nursing bottles are marked with measurements, so this is another way to know how much you’re feeding the kittens. Please note that some bottles use ml for measurement, some use cubic centimeters (cc). They are the same: 1 cc = 1 ml.

Using a kitchen or small postal scale, weigh the kittens daily to calculate the amount of formula they need. Keep a log listing daily weights and amount of formula consumed at each feeding.

If you are feeding multiple kittens, feed the first kitten until he stops nursing, then begin feeding the next kitten, and so on. Once you have fed all the kittens, feed the first kitten again and repeat with all the kittens. Usually one to three nursing turns will suffice. When a kitten stops nursing, he/she has had enough. A well-fed kitten’s belly should be round, but not hard and distended. Smaller or weaker kittens may eat less per feeding and will need to be fed more often.

Kittens need to be burped, just like human babies. Lay the kitten on his stomach, on your shoulder or in your lap, and very gently pat his back until you hear a little burp. You may need to burp a couple times per feeding.

Young kittens may suckle on each other. If you notice a kitten doing that, you should separate the kittens because this can lead to many medical issues.

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Weaning may begin around 4 weeks of age. Start by offering the kittens formula on a spoon. Once they are lapping off the spoon, try putting some formula in a saucer. As they master lapping up the formula out of the saucer, you can gradually add a small amount of canned food to the formula in the saucer, making a gruel. Increase the amount of canned food slowly, adding more food and less formula. Some kittens catch on right away, others may take a few days. To be sure the kittens are getting enough food, you may need to continue bottle feeding them a few times a day, until they are eating well on their own. Be sure to feed them what they need to be full, but don’t overfeed them.

Never force a kitten to wean. Some kittens continue to enjoy their bottle past 4 weeks. This is fine as long as you keep a close eye on them and ensure that they’re not chewing on the nipple. Now that they have teeth, they could ingest part of the nipple.

Monitor the kittens’ stools to make sure they are tolerating and digesting the gruel mix well. If the kittens have loose stools, reduce the amount of canned food and increase the formula until their systems have adjusted. As the kittens adjust to the gruel mix and you are adding more canned food to their diet, you can also add more water to the formula mix. If you are using KMR formula, add an extra measure of water when preparing the formula. Instead of 1 part formula to 2 parts water, mix 1 part formula to 3 or 4 parts water.

As the kittens eat more food and less formula, you will need to have a bowl of fresh water available to them at all times to keep them well hydrated. At this time, you may also add dry food to their diet. Add some of the watered-down formula mix to the dry food to entice the kittens to eat it. Gradually reduce the formula and let them eat the food dry. Again, keep watch on the kittens’ stools to make sure they are tolerating the food well. If diarrhea or constipation persists with the change in diet, contact your medical staff. (Spoiler alert: There’s always some diarrhea when kittens wean.)

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Weight and hydration

Weigh your kittens before and after each feeding using a kitchen or postal scale. Kittens should gain about ½ ounce every day or 3 to 4 ounces per week. By 8 weeks, most kittens weigh about 2 pounds. Enter their daily weights in the logbook. If the kittens are not gaining weight or are losing weight, contact your medical staff right away.

A well-fed kitten should be properly hydrated. To test a kitten’s hydration, pull up on the skin at the scruff of the neck. The skin should bounce back easily. If it doesn’t bounce back, or goes back down slowly, the kitten may be dehydrated. If the kitten appears dehydrated, contact your medical staff.

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Elimination and litter box training

As mentioned above, young kittens cannot eliminate on their own. A momma cat will clean her kittens, stimulating them to urinate and have a bowel movement. As their human caregiver, you now have the honor of performing this duty. Before and/or after each feeding, use a tissue or soft cloth to gently rub and clean the kitten’s lower belly, genital and anal area. The kitten should begin eliminating within a minute.

Kittens should urinate after each feeding and have a bowel movement one to four times a day. Do not continue to rub the kitten for more than a minute or so, since this could irritate her delicate skin. Gently wash the kitten after she is done eliminating using a clean, damp, soft cloth. Record the kittens’ elimination type and frequency in the logbook.

When they are between 3 and 4 weeks of age, kittens can be introduced to the litter box. Use a small cardboard box or plastic litter box with just enough clay litter to cover the bottom. Don’t use clumping litter. Adding a used tissue from when you helped them urinate to the box will help them get the idea of what to do next. Put the kittens in the box, allowing them to get the feel for the litter. Natural instinct will generally prevail and the kittens will begin investigating, scratching, and, within a few days, using the box.

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A clean kitten is a happy kitten

After feeding, clean any formula, urine, feces or other messes off the kitten using a clean, soft, warm, damp cloth. This action simulates how the momma cat would clean the kittens. If more cleaning is required, you may use a wetter washcloth dipped in warm water to loosen up caked-on messes in the kitten’s fur. Do not use soap or pet shampoo directly on the kitten. If you must use a shampoo to clean the kitten, add one or two drops of shampoo to a cup of warm water, then use the cloth dipped in this mixture to clean the kitten. Rinse the cleaned area with another cloth dipped in clear, warm water. Gently dry the kitten with a soft towel or hair dryer set on low and not held too closely. Do not allow the kitten to become chilled. Once the kitten is clean and dry, place her back in the carrier on the covered heating pad, which should be covered in clean layers of bedding.

Kittens’ ears should be clean and dirt-free. If the ears are dirty, gently clean the area with a Q-tip; you may need to dampen it in warm water. Do not use ear-cleaning solution because it could be harmful to the kitten. Only clean the outer area of the inside ear, just the part that you can see; do not push the Q-tip down into the ear. If the ears are extremely dirty or you see signs of ear mites (specks that look like coffee grounds), contact your medical staff about treatment options.

Kittens may have some discharge in or around their eyes. To cleanse the area, gently wipe around the eye with a warm, damp, soft cloth. If the discharge continues, is cloudy, or the eyes are gooped shut, clean the eyes as directed above, then contact your medical staff for treatment options.

All kitten bedding should be washed separately from other household laundry using detergent and ¾ cup of bleach per load. To clean carriers and litter boxes used for the kittens, use a mixture of ¼ cup of bleach per gallon of water. You may add a tablespoon of laundry soap to the wash water. Do not use any cleaning agents that contain ammonia or are not approved to mix with bleach, since it could cause hazardous fumes. Be sure the carrier and/or litter boxes are completely dry and free of bleach fumes before putting them back with the kittens.

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Medical care

A veterinarian should be consulted for kittens showing any of the following symptoms.
Do not medicate kittens without consulting a vet first.

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Straining to urinate, or not urinating
  • Vomiting
  • Upper respiratory symptoms: goopy/watery eyes, runny nose, constant sneezing, coughing, wheezing or labored breathing
  • Not eating
  • Lethargy
  • Change in attitude or behavior
  • Hair loss
  • Anything you are worried or concerned about

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Kittens’ developmental milestones

Kittens weigh about 2 to 4 ounces at birth. They are blind, deaf and totally dependent on the mother cat for survival. Some developmental milestones:

  • At 7 to 10 days, their eyes start to open. Kittens’ eyes are fully open by 20 days. Their eyes stay blue until they are 6 to 7 weeks old.
  • They will begin to play with each other at 3 to 4 weeks.
  • By 3 to 4 weeks, solid food can be introduced, their first juvenile teeth are cut, and litter box training begins.
  • At 6 weeks, kittens are well-coordinated, running and climbing and full of mischief.
  • Kittens are ready for their first vaccinations at 4 weeks and spay/neuter surgery at 6 weeks.

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Loving care

Physical and emotional contact with you is extremely important for the growing, developing kitten. Early cuddling and gentle petting of kittens helps them to bond well with humans, allowing them to grow up feeling safe and secure with their human family. Playing with the kittens with a variety of toys will stimulate their minds and help them develop good motor skills.

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How to feed a kitten?

You have got a fluffy baby, he is undoubtedly insanely cute. But the question arises, what to feed the kitten and how often? What should be checked on food labels? In this article, we will answer these and other questions about feeding kittens.

Correct understanding of the basics of feeding kittens

Water: Your kitten must have constant access to clean drinking water. Wash the bowl and fill it with water once or twice a day, and add water as it gets low. Your kitten will need more water if you plan to feed him commercial dry food. Important! Do not give your kitten cow's milk because it is difficult to digest and can lead to diarrhea.

Meat in the diet: your kitten cannot be a vegetarian. By nature, cats are meat eaters, they need it to survive.

Specialty Kitten Foods: Because kittens have different nutritional requirements than adult cats, it is not recommended to feed your kitten with adult cat foods. Choose special food for him.

No human food: The food we eat usually does not contain the nutrients that cats need. And some food for people is completely dangerous for them.

Be sure to place the bowls that the kitten eats from and the toilet in different places, no one likes to do both in one place.

Optimal nutrition for a kitten: what to look for on a food label

Try to find quality food for your kitten that is well balanced and nutritious. But what are the nutritional needs of a kitten? All cats need a diet high in animal protein, amino acids such as taurine and arginine, fats and certain fatty acids (such as arachidonic acid), and vitamins. But kittens have a higher need for protein, amino acids, minerals, as well as some vitamins. Therefore, kitten food must have the right balance of nutrients.

When you read the label on a food package for adult cats or kittens, keep in mind that all the ingredients in the food are listed in percentage order, from highest to lowest. This means that what is most in the feed is listed at the beginning of the list of ingredients, and then they are arranged in descending order. Here are a few nuances to pay attention to.

Protein source. An animal protein source must be listed first. Look for a specific type of meat, such as chicken, salmon, lamb, rather than general protein in the diet.

Additional source of taurine. Red meat and poultry are good sources of taurine. But the feed may also contain liver, for example, chicken liver or chicken heart - they are rich in taurine.

Fat source. Look for a specific source of fat in your formula, such as chicken fat, sunflower oil, or other oils.

Carbohydrates (grain component). In principle, kittens do not need grains such as corn or wheat, and for some they can even cause digestive problems. However, grain is often used in the production of cat food, as a kind of filler, especially in the composition of dry food. Knowing this, you can choose a diet that is low in grain or purchase a diet that contains no grain at all.

How often and how much should a kitten be fed?

Each kitten is unique, so the portion of food will depend on factors such as age and activity.

However, as a general rule, small kittens (3-6 months old) are recommended to be fed 3-4 times a day, and when they grow up to the age of six months, you can switch to feeding 2 times a day.

When looking at the amount of food for a kitten, always refer to the daily allowance indicated on the food package. Let this be your starting point and then you just need to divide the recommended daily allowance by the number of feedings per day. Remember that if, in addition to food, you treat the kitten, for example, with treats, then you should slightly reduce the amount of food so that the total caloric content of the food eaten by the kitten per day does not exceed the norm required for it. If suddenly the kitten has some health problems, then in this case you do not need to manually prepare dietary food for him, because special dietary food can be purchased at pet stores.

When the food is purchased, it remains only to determine the time of feeding the kitten. Most likely, it will depend on your schedule, try to stick to it.

Natural and artificial food preservatives

Some kitten foods contain natural preservatives such as vitamin E or ascorbic acid, and some contain artificial ones. In fact, there is nothing wrong with either the first or the second case. Artificial preservatives have been used in pet food for over 30 years.

Foods containing natural preservatives may have a shorter shelf life and may also cost slightly more.

Dry food or canned food?

Both have advantages. So, canned food contains about 80% moisture, which adds water to the kitten's diet, which is good. And dry food is more convenient to feed, because it can be left in the bowl for a longer period.

However, it is easier for small kittens to eat canned food. While your kitten is growing and developing its teeth, provide it with canned food to ensure it gets all the nutrients it needs.

Buy pet food or cook at home?

Cooking your kitten's food at home can be very rewarding because only you can decide what to put in the bowl, ensuring the ingredients are of the highest quality.

However, industrial foods are balanced in terms of substances (protein, amino acids, fats, etc. ), and cat food manufacturers have spent years perfecting the formula. For this reason, especially for small kittens, it is recommended that you buy a quality commercial food so that your growing kitten has all the nutrients it needs.

What to give to kittens -

How to organize the nutrition of a kitten that has just been taken from its mother? When to switch to adult food? And what happens if you feed the baby cow's milk and fresh meat? We tell you what to give kittens from 0 to 12 months and how to introduce the first complementary foods without harm to the digestive system.

Where to start

To build a balanced diet and decide on a feeding schedule, you need initial data: the exact age of the kitten and information about what it was fed before.

If the pet came straight from the breeder, all information, including weight gain schedule, can be obtained from him. The most optimal age for weaning from the mother is 2-3 months. At this point, the animal is already eating solid food and has primary immunity obtained through the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines with mother's milk.

For the first 7-10 days in a new home, the kitten is fed the same as in the cattery, and they make sure that the animal does not overeat. This is due to the already developed set of enzymes necessary for the digestion of food. If you introduce a new food one day, the body will not have time to rebuild, and will react with vomiting and violation of the stool, up to an emergency call to the veterinarian. Therefore, new products should be introduced gradually, offering them first for testing, and then mixing them with the old food in a ratio of 1:5, where a smaller part is allocated to the new, and a large part to the old. Then 2:4, 3:3 - and so on until the new food completely replaces the old one. The average time to switch from old food to new food is 7 to 14 days.

If the pet is picked up on the street and the exact age is not known, the animal must be taken to the veterinarian. But if the kitten's condition is critical and there is no time left to go to the clinic, it is permissible to feed the baby with rice decoction, cat's milk substitute from a pet store, or, in extreme cases, infant formula. These foods are safe for kittens even in their first week of life and will not cause indigestion.

Is it possible to give milk to a kitten

Feeding a kitten undiluted milk is dangerous for his digestion. Whole cow's milk causes upset stools and severe dehydration in kittens. This is due to immunity to milk sugar (lactose). It forms a sticky mass (casein) in the stomach and is not digested, causing bloating and colic. But even with the relative acceptance of an atypical diet, there will be less nutrients and the animal will develop more slowly.

Below is a table with a detailed breakdown of cow's and cat's milk in terms of protein, fat and carbohydrate balance:

Composition Cat milk Cow's milk
Water 82. 4 87.4
Lactose 4.8 4.8
Proteins 7.0 3.3
Fats 4.8 3.8

Table 1

When to introduce the first complementary foods

According to veterinary practice, a cat feeds kittens for 40-60 days. This period is needed to build immunity, which will reduce the body's susceptibility to infectious and viral diseases that the animal will face in the future. So at what age should we introduce complementary foods?

It is not necessary to introduce complementary foods during the first month of life. All nutrients come from mother's milk and the cubs have enough of it. However, if this is a multiple litter, where stronger and stronger individuals push the weak ones aside and there is not enough milk for everyone, or the kittens are taken away from the mother too early, the babies will have to be fed from the first days of life. The main thing is to monitor the dynamics of weight gain and avoid overfeeding.

There are two ways to make up for the lack of mother's milk: find a cat-nurse or transfer the animal to artificial mixtures. You can find a recently born cat through a veterinarian or special forums on the Internet. However, not every animal will accept someone else's cub and will not harm him, especially if he smells someone else's smell from him. Therefore, it will be easier to switch to artificial feeding.

You can feed your baby with a cat's milk replacer - it is available in powder or liquid form. The main thing is not to confuse it with lactose-free milk for adult cats. It's not the same thing.

Starting from the 8th day of life, the animal can absorb liquid vitamins, which are injected into the mouth with a syringe without a needle. A veterinarian will help you choose a vitamin complex.

If the kitten has indigestion when a new food is introduced, dilute the mixture with water or add a few tablespoons of chamomile decoction. If the condition does not stabilize, drugs with bifidobacteria are used.

From the age of 3-4 weeks the kitten is ready for the first feeding with semi-solid food. You can feed both industrial and natural food. The choice depends on the wishes of the owner. But whatever they are, the main thing is not to mix feed with each other. This will lead to an imbalance of nutrients and disruption of the digestive system.

If natural, all ingredients must be fresh and preferably from the same manufacturer. The daily serving size should not exceed 120-130 g, of which 60% is reserved for proteins, 10% for fats and 30% for carbohydrates.

The list of allowed products includes: low-fat cottage cheese, cereals in milk broth, lean soups and egg yolk. When adding meat, the piece should be lean, brought to a puree state. Adding spices and sugar is strictly prohibited.

If fed commercially, kitten pâtés diluted with water or formula are suitable. The daily energy requirement is already calculated by the manufacturer. A kitten eats 1-2 sachets a day.

The list of permitted foods includes: premium or super-premium wet food. High-quality food is supplied without salt, dyes, flavor enhancers and aromatic additives.

In order to permanently transition a kitten from milk formula to semi-solid food, it is necessary to gradually increase the proportion of new products, alternating milk and complementary foods with each other or mixing them together.

From the age of 2-4 months, the kitten is ready to eat solid food. The pieces should be small, but dense enough for the animal to learn to chew and strengthen the jaw muscles.

If natural food is given, the list of permitted products will be replenished with boiled vegetables, low-fat sea fish (hake, haddock, cod), germinated wheat and oat sprouts, cereals and fermented milk products (kefir, yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese). Serving size increases to 160-180 g.

When fed commercially, dry premium and super premium kitten food with a minimum kibble size will do. High-quality feed should be high-energy, high in protein and calcium. On the day the kitten eats 40-50 g of dry food, 2-2.5 sachets of wet food or 15-30 g of dry food mixed with 1 sachet of wet food.

To get the kitten interested in solid food, it is soaked in water. This is necessary to give the food a familiar texture and enhance the smell.

If the animal has switched to solid food without complications, the diet remains the same. Only the portion size increases.

If fed natural, serving size is determined according to current energy requirement (see Table 3). The average daily serving size is 180-240 g.

If industrial feed, in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Usually a kitten eats 50-65 g of dry food, 2.5-3 sachets of wet food or 30-45 g of dry food mixed with 1 sachet of wet food.

By the first half of the year, the pet can switch to adult foods and adult serving sizes.

Cats are transferred to the adult line as early as 6 months. They grow and develop faster. Kotov - a little later. They reach adult size more slowly.

Normal kitten weight

The average weight gain in the first year of life can be tracked in Table 2. If the animal gains weight more slowly or, on the contrary, overeats, a consultation with a veterinarian is necessary. It is likely that the food is too heavy or does not contain enough nutrients for active growth.

Age Average kitten weight
1 week 113 g
2 weeks 200 g
3 weeks 280 g
4 weeks 370 g
2 months 700-1500 g
3 months 1480-1790
4 months 1880-2400 g
5 months 2290-2900 g
6 months 2550-3390 g
7 months 2620-3750 g
8 months 2700-4000 g
9 months 2800-4100 g
10 months 2810-4200 g
11 months 3000-4350 g
12 months 3150-4400 g

Table 2

Daily energy requirement of a kitten

calories. If for industrial feed - compare the values ​​\u200b\u200bfrom the table with the information on the back of the package.

When feeding with prepared food, all calculations are made by the manufacturer. It remains for the owner to measure the portion in accordance with the current weight of the animal and introduce a new food with the transition to a new age group.

Age J Kcal
Up to 8 weeks 628 151
Up to 3 months 837 200
Up to 6 months 963 230
3 kg cat 1005 240
4 kg cat 1340 320
5 kg cat 1465 350

Table 3

How to set up a feeding schedule

General recommendations for serving size are given on the back of the food package. But for most kittens, the feeding schedule is as follows:

Age Mixture temperature Feeding mode
1-7 days 38 degrees 10-12 times a day (every 2 hours)
7-14 days 38 degrees 10 times a day (every 2.5 hours)
14-21 days 30-32 degrees 8-10 times a day (every 2.5-3 hours)
Day 21-30 28-30 degrees 8 times a day (every 3 hours)
30 days 24-26 degrees 6-8 times a day (every 4 hours)
1-3 months 15-25 degrees 6 times a day (every 4-5 hours)
4-5 months 15-25 degrees 4-5 times a day (every 5 hours)
6-9months 15-25 degrees 3-4 times a day (every 6 hours)
9-12 months 15-25 degrees 1-2 times a day (every 8 hours)

How to feed a newborn kitten

For the first 8 days of life, a kitten should double its weight. A healthy individual sucks milk up to 10-12 times, taking up to 3 hours to absorb food. The rest of the time the animal spends on sleep and active growth.

If the kitten is full, it sleeps peacefully and behaves quietly. If hungry, it lets out a squeak, crawls uneasily along the nest and sucks the outstretched finger.

To feed a newborn kitten, follow the instructions:

A newborn kitten can eat from a syringe without a needle or eye drops. But it is preferable to purchase a special bottle with an anatomical nipple. It will help develop the sucking reflex and strengthen the jaw muscles. In addition, the baby will eat exactly as much as he can, and will not choke.

Keep the opening in the nipple narrow. Otherwise, the baby may choke and inhale the liquid into the lungs.

Newborn kitten food should be warm (38 degrees) and sterile. The bottle and nipple should be sterilized in a steam sterilizer - just like bottles for newborns - or treated with cold sterilization liquid. Heat the food in a water bath - if you use a microwave oven, the liquid warms up unevenly, and the kitten may burn itself.

Follow the instructions on the formula packaging to determine how much to serve. Concentrated food will lead to indigestion. Watery - to nutritional deficiencies.

To check the temperature of the food, apply it on your wrist. The liquid should be warm, close to body temperature.

If the kitten has diarrhea, dilute the food with water. Probably, the standard concentration calculated by the manufacturer does not suit him yet.

Place the kitten on your knees, belly down, and fix its muzzle between the index and middle fingers, avoiding tilting the head up or back. This situation leads to the reflux of the mixture into the lungs with the subsequent development of pneumonia.

Squeeze a drop of the mixture onto the tip of the nipple and bring it to the mouth. Smelling the smell of milk, the kitten will instinctively reach for it. But if this does not happen, put the pacifier in the mouth yourself and make sure that the baby actively sucks, swallows and burps to release excess air.

If you are feeding your kitten with a syringe or eye drop bottle, introduce food slowly. Make sure that milk does not come out of the nose, and the kitten does not choke.

If the pet began to fall asleep, and milk bubbles came out of the mouth, then he had eaten.

Stroke the kitten's belly and wipe the anus and genitals with a damp baby wipe, imitating the licking of a cat mother. This is necessary to stimulate the removal of urine and feces.

When the kitten has urinated and littered, wipe the feces and functional holes with a clean cloth and leave the kitten until the next feeding.

What not to give your kitten


Fatty meat. Pork, lamb. Fatty meats are poorly digested, leading to indigestion and metabolic disorders.

Sausages . Sausages, sausages, sausages. A slice of sausage contains a lot of fat, salt and spices. The product leads to indigestion and disruption of the pancreas.

Bones . They lead to mechanical injuries of the larynx and esophagus, can cause gastric or intestinal obstruction.

Canned fish . If there are preservatives in the composition, they are not useful to the kitten.

Food from the table. Kittens do not digest salty, fried, smoked, spicy food. Long-term complementary feeding with the remains of human food leads to a reduction in life expectancy and a number of chronic diseases that occur in old age.

Sladost i. Chocolate, sweets. Ice cream. Sharp jumps in insulin lead to the development of diabetes. Xylitol and theobromine, found in candy and chocolate, cause seizures and are toxic even to an adult cat.

Yeast dough. If you feed a kitten with bread, the animal will face bloating and colic.

Legumes . The product causes flatulence and heaviness in the stomach.

Grapes and raisins. The chemical composition of berries provokes the development of kidney failure.

Freshwater fish. Source of parasites and small bones capable of causing mechanical injury.

Potatoes . Ballast product with a high content of indigestible starch.

10 rules for feeding kittens
  1. Equip nest . Put a heating pad under the bedding and keep it clean. Newborn kittens are not able to maintain optimal body temperature on their own and are highly susceptible to viruses and infections.
  2. Watch your weight gain . The first 2 weeks the kitten should add 14 g daily.
  3. Do not cook in advance. Prepared kitten food can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  1. Stick to the daily serving size of . If the kitten does not feel full, do not overfeed. The main indicator of satiety is a tight, but not bloated stomach. If the kitten does not finish eating, do not be nervous. This is due to the peculiarity of the body and appetite. Some individuals eat less.
  2. Warm food to room temperature or above (according to the age of the pet). Do not give food from the refrigerator. This can lead to vomiting and indigestion.
  3. Do not mix industrial and natural food and food from different manufacturers in the same bowl. This leads to an imbalance of nutrients and a serious failure of metabolic processes. Only a veterinary nutritionist can prescribe a mixed diet. And only if there are special indications.
  4. Introduce new ingredients gradually. Introduce new foods in small portions. To digest unfamiliar food, the body needs to produce certain enzymes.
  5. Do not drink whole cow's milk. Kittens do not tolerate highly concentrated lactose.
  6. Do not feed raw meat . Raw meat is a source of helminth eggs and viruses.

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