When can baby kittens eat wet food

3 Week Old Kitten Info

Want a side-by-side comparison of kittens as they grow? Visit our Kitten Progression: At-a-Glance guide or download the poster.www.alleycat.org/KittenProgression


Weight: 365-400 grams/12.8-14.1 ounces
Teeth: Canines and incisors coming in
Eyes: Fully open and blue
Ears: Fully upright
Other: Can determine gender of kittens; fur starting to fill out



When kittens are three weeks old, their ears are finally fully upright and their blue eyes are open (their adult eye color does not set in until they are olderand might not happen until they’re two months old!). While the kittens’ movements are still uncoordinated, they are playing more and you can begin to socialize them through toys and games. They still can’t control claw retraction.


Neonatalnewborn to four-week-oldkittens require round-the-clock care.


At three weeks old, you can start introducing wet food to kittens. Mix the wet food with kitten formula to get the ball rolling. Either let the kittens eat the mixture themselves from a dish or feed it to them with kitten-specific bottles.

If feeding with a bottle, feed kittens on their stomachsnot their backsand tilt the bottle. After they’re done eating, you need to burp them. Put them on your shoulder or on their stomachs and pat them gently until they burp. Clean kittens using a warm, damp washcloth after you feed them.

Kittens of this age will eat much more at each feeding, but you’ll feed them less frequently.

Feeding frequency:

Every five to six hours.


Dehydration is one of the biggest threats to kittens, along with chilling. Signs of dehydration include limpness, unresponsiveness, sunken eyes, and lethargy. You can also check by pulling up the skin at the scruff of the neck when the kitten is in a standing position. If the skin does not return to resting position quickly, the kitten is dehydrated.

Bedding (keep neonatal kittens warm):

Neonatal kittens can’t control their own body temperature until they are at least three weeks old and get cold easily, which can be life-threatening. From the moment you find them, keep the kittens warm and watch out for signs of chilling (i.e., listlessness and cool to the touch) and hold off on bottle feeding until the kittens have completely warmed up.

If you have nothing else on hand, use your own body heat to warm up a cold kitten, and rub her gently to aid circulation. Keep kittens warm by building a soft nest, like a box with a blanket and Snuggle Safe or a heated rice sock or water bottle. Make sure that kittens have room to move away from the heat if they want.

Bathroom habits:

At this age, kittens can start to eliminate waste on their own. It’s time to introduce a small, shallow litter box with a layer of non-clumping litter. Show kittens the litter box and they should quickly start using it out of instinct. To help them out, stimulate a kitten to go to the bathroom like before and put the soiled cotton ball into the litter.

For more on caring for kittens younger than four weeks old, including health concerns, go to Caring for Neonatal Kittens.


Handle the kittens often at this age to encourage their social development. This helps them connect positive experiences with people, which will help to adopt them into new homes. Kittens of this age show interest in their surroundings and interact with their littermates, people, and toys. Now you can socialize them through:


Food is a great tool to socialize kittens. When you feed the kittens wet food, stay in the room so they associate you with food and start to trust you. Over time, move the food plate closer to your body while you sit in the room, until the plate is in your lap and the kittens are comfortable crawling on you to get to it.

Pet the kittens while they’re eating so they stay put and build up to holding the kittens, rewarding them with some canned cat food. Don’t allow the kittens to play with your hand or bite or scratch youit will teach kittens that biting is okay.


Kittens at this age are extremely playful, so plan to spend lots of time playing with them! Playing is an important part of kitten socialization because it helps kittens bond with each other and build confidence around people. Play with kittens for at least two hours a day (all together or broken up). Take time to socialize each of the kittens in a litter individually. At this age kittens will love to play with toys and you should encourage that!

For more about socializing kittens, visit alleycat.org/Socialization.

Weaning — Kitten Lady

Weaning is the fun, messy adventure of helping a kitten transition from nursing (or bottle feeding) to eating solid food on her own! Kittens often need extra support during this time to help ensure they're receiving the proper nutrients in proper quantity, and to keep them on track for success and independence. Here's what you need to know about weaning:

1. Start at the Right Age

Kittens' bodies are very sensitive to premature weaning, so be careful about starting them too young. A kitten 0-5 weeks old should be nursing or bottle feeding. Around 5 weeks of age, the kitten's premolars will begin to emerge, indicating that she is likely ready to start trying out some meaty foods. However, some kittens may need a bit more time on the bottle due to health issues, or differences in weight or size. Use your best judgement and follow the kitten's lead to determine the appropriate age to wean. If you see any changes in the kitten's health or energy during this process, immediately step back to bottle feeding. 

2. Get the Right Supplies

Pick up some wet kitten food, making sure that it says "kitten." Kitten food is higher in calories, fat and protein that the kitten needs to help grow big and strong. Wet food is the healthiest choice for kittens to start off with, as the moisture content will help them stay healthy and hydrated. However, some kittens may prefer dry food, and that’s okay as long as you choose a healthy kitten kibble. You'll also want to pick up some shallow food dishes so the kitten can easily access the food.

3. “Meat” Them Where They Are

The most important rule of weaning is not to rush—do things on the kitten’s timeline, not yours! Try offering the kitten some small bites of wet food on a finger, a spoon, or a tongue depressor, and see if they will accept it. If they’re interested in eating, see if they are able to access the food in a dish. Remember that this is a new skill for them, so many kittens will find it difficult to eat out of a dish for the first several days. No rush!

Once the kitten has eaten some solids, it’s time to supplemental feed with a bottle (or allow them to keep nursing with mom, if mom is present!) Supplemental feeding ensures that your kitten is getting all of the calories and nutrition she needs during this slow transition. There's no such thing as "tough love" for kittens, and if she isn't understanding how to eat yet, you'll still need to supplement to make sure she's staying healthy and well fed.

You may also choose to offer the kitten a slurry—a mix of formula and wet food, which is used to help transition the kitten from one food to the other. You may begin by just introducing a small teaspoon of wet food mixed with the formula, which allows the kitten to acclimate to the new proteins and flavors. As the kitten becomes more comfortable eating meat, you'll begin increasing the ratio so that there is more wet food present at each feeding.

Weigh the kitten throughout the weaning process. If her weight drops or steadies, you’ll need to supplement with a bottle, try a different method of eating, or scale back to kitten formula.

4. Fully Wean and Introduce Water

Once the kitten is confidently eating on her own, you can cease supplemental feeding—it's time to switch completely to solid foods! Be sure you're feeding a high quality food formulated for kittens, and monitor to ensure that there are no concerning changes in weight, behavior, or condition. 

At this time, it's also appropriate to introduce water in a small, shallow dish. Never provide a large dish that can cause a safety hazard to a tiny kitten; keep your water dish to about 2 inches high. It's normal for kittens to struggle with water at first, but she should be drinking confidently within 1-3 days of introduction.


Check Out More Content From Kitten Lady

do's and don'ts, when to introduce complementary foods

How to feed a kitten that has just been weaned 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 analysis 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
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 make 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, the weight of a kitten should double. 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 commercial 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.
  7. Do not give vitamin/mineral supplements unless indicated . If the kitten eats industrial feed, the norm of vitamins and minerals is taken into account in the composition of the feed. If natural products - consult a veterinarian. Dosage and type of complex are determined individually.

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Is it possible to feed a kitten with dry and wet food?

Dry food can be gradually introduced into the kitten's diet as early as 1 month of age. What about canned food? Can I only feed my kitten wet food? How to combine dry and wet diets?

In nature, wild cats eat meat. From this product they get more of the necessary liquid. In general, cats drink much less water than dogs. This feature is due to their evolution. Living in desert areas has adapted the cat's body for a long time to do without water. This quality saved their lives. However, it often costs our pets health.

Moisture retention due to increased concentration of urine, combined with poor nutrition and insufficient fluid intake, leads to the development of KSD. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to choose a quality and really suitable food for a kitten and make sure that he always has access to clean drinking water.

But if everything is clear with dry food, then what about wet food? Can I only feed my kitten wet food?

Wet food meets the needs of the cat to a greater extent than dry food. as close to natural nutrition as possible. This means that feeding a kitten with wet food is not only possible, but also desirable. But not all wet foods are the same. For a baby, you need to choose super premium lines designed specifically for kittens. Their composition takes into account the characteristics of a growing organism and includes only safe components.

Unfortunately, feeding a kitten only wet food is expensive and not always convenient. For example, wet food in an open pack or plate spoils quickly. And if the kitten ate only a third of its dish for breakfast, then everything else will have to be thrown away.

Dry food solves the problem of saving. High-quality super premium lines are also very useful for kittens. The only drawback is that they have little moisture. Therefore, in order not to worry about whether the kitten drinks enough water, dry and wet food can be combined. In order for the baby’s body to easily absorb food, it is better to stick to the lines of one brand. As a rule, they are perfectly combined with each other.

It is recommended to choose dry and wet foods of the super premium class and one brand, designed specifically for kittens.

How much wet food to give a kitten? How much is dry? The norm of feeding is always individual and depends on the weight and age of the baby. This information is printed on every package.

The diet can be built from 50% wet and 50% dry food. At the same time, different types of food are not mixed in one plate, but are given separately, as a complete meal. A more economical ratio is wet food for breakfast and dry food all day long. Such a diet is completely suitable for the pet and will allow the owner to save the budget.

Despite the benefits of combining wet and dry food, it is strongly not recommended to dilute the finished diet with natural food. This will lead to an imbalance of nutrients in the body and a host of problems resulting from this.

If you decide to feed your kitten ready-made food, stick to it strictly. Likewise and vice versa. If you give your baby natural food, then ready-made rations (whether wet or dry) will no longer be suitable for him.

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