In order to decide how much to feed your kitten when they are fully weaned, you need to take a few things into consideration to ensure they are healthy, bright and active.
Infant animals require higher levels of nutrition and energy than their adult counterparts, and kittens are no exception. Kittens have a lot of growing to do in a short space of time – they reach adulthood between 6 and 12 months of age. In fact, kittens grow approximately 15 times as quickly as human babies. Kittens have a large nutrient demand but only have very small stomachs, so they need to receive the required amount of nutrition in a relatively small amount of food; kitten food is specially formulated to be nutrient- and energy-dense.
Kittens can start weaning from their mother’s milk at about three weeks old, and will be fully weaned onto solid foods at eight weeks old. You can start offering them a taste of a kitten diet from the beginning of weaning – their mothers should be fed kitten food as soon as you know they are pregnant, until the kittens have been weaned. Pregnant and lactating cats also have higher nutrient and energy requirements than normal adult cats, so the kitten diet suits their additional needs.
Judging how much to feed your kitten can be a difficult task, especially when they have such a fast growth rate. James Wellbeloved provide Kitten Feeding Guidelines on all bags of kitten food on our website, helping you to judge how much to feed your new pet.
Feeding amounts are based on the expected adult weight of your kitten. In order to find out that expected weight you should find out the ideal weight of their parents. It is more likely that the weight of the mother will be easier to find out than the father’s, so it is important to bear in mind that male kittens are likely to be 30% heavier than their female littermates when they reach maturity.
It is essential to feed them the correct amount for their size – too much and they may suffer from diarrhoea, distended stomachs and instil overeating habits that continue into adulthood. Too little food may lead to deficiencies of important nutrients that are necessary for normal growth and health.
As mentioned earlier, kittens only have small stomachs, so it is best to feed them their daily requirement in four or five meals throughout the day. Try and keep these feedings to a schedule so that your kitten has a routine. It is really important that your kitten eats sufficient food to grow properly, and giving them a safe space to eat will help promote a healthy attitude to food. Placing your kitten’s bowl in a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle will help your kitten feel comfortable and happy to eat. It is also important to make sure that your kitten can eat from their bowl easily. Adult bowls may be too deep or wide for your kitten to reach their food, so start them off by feeding them from a shallow dish. Remember, kittens, and all cats, should have access to fresh water at all times, especially when they are eating.
James Wellbeloved Kitten diets are complete formulas, and provide all the daily nutrition your kitten will need up to being one year old. You can get more cat-feeding information from our articles on ‘what to feed your cat’ and ‘indoor cats’.