Kittens kittens kittens… Who doesn’t love a kitten? If you have recently adopted a sweet little kitten into your life, you are in for a hilarious and adorable time. Kittens are more than just a cute ball of fur, however. Their first few weeks of life are so important for their health. And so is what they eat and drink! What should kittens eat and drink is not always evident. Movies and stereotypes would have us believe that kittens drink cows milk, but that’s actually not recommended as milk is not healthy for your feline’s digestive tract. If you are taking care of kittens, perhaps because you have a new cat mommy, or perhaps because you adopted or found a kitten, then read more of this post to find out what kittens should eat and drink.
Determine the kitten’s age
The first 10 weeks of a kittens life is crucial. In fact, kittens require as much as triple the amount of nourishment as the average adult cat. Therefore, kittens require food specially designed to provide kittens the nutrients and calories they require in order to grow healthily. In this article, we will recommend kitten food that is guaranteed to be nutritionally complete for kittens.
It’s most likely that if you adopt a kitten from the shelter, they will be already accustomed to eating kibble designed for kittens which will make the transition of feeding them at home much easier. However, if you find yourself taking care of a kitten less than 10 weeks old that is not receiving any nourishment from the mother cat, then it is best to consult with your local veterinarian to determine the best nutritional diet and feeding schedule for the kitten.
- Orphaned kittens < than 10 weeks
- Consult a vet for proper instructions
- Kittens from your momma cat
- Verify that the mother is properly feeding the kittens. Kittens usually stop nursing from the momma cat at anywhere between 8-10 weeks*, after which kittens should be provided specially formulated kitten food. *Some kittens will nibble on moist dry or wet food after 4-6 weeks, monitor your kittens to see how they progress and adapt accordingly.
- Adopted kittens > than 10 weeks
- Consider asking the shelter what food they have been providing the kitten. If this food is appropriate you can continue with the same food. However, if the shelter is using a commercial brand food, I highly recommend slowly switching to a name brand kitten food in order to ensure your kitten’s receiving a nutritionally complete diet for maximum growth and health.
Choose a healthy, kitten-appropriate food
We have noticed that many healthy cat or kitten food options are not readily available in the grocery store. That is why we (used to) use Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” which allowed us to save 5% when we received regular deliveries of Yoda’s kitten food. Back in the US, having Yoda’s kitten food shipped to us regularly for free was so convenient. Not only did convenience play a role, but we were saving money while being 100% confident in providing Yoda with natural, healthy food (we don’t have that luxurious option here in Nepal however). See the table below for our number 1 recommendation, among other nutritionally complete kitten food options available on the net.
Brand Age Weight Features
Wellness CORE Grain Free Kitten Turkey, Whitefish & Chicken Natural Dry Cat Food
up to 1 year 5.9 lbs All natural! NO meat by-products, grain, wheat, corn, soy, no artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors
Fluffy Kitty's 1st choice and recommendation
Wellness Complete Health Natural Wet Canned Cat Food
up to 1 year 24, 3 oz cans All natural! NO meat by-products, grain, wheat, corn, soy, no artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors
Protein & antioxidant rich
Complete & balanced nutrition for kittens
Blue Buffalo Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food
up to 1 year 7 lbs NO meat by-products
Protein-rich deboned chicken
LifeSource bits guaranteeing antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals - selected by animal nutritionists and veterinarians
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited-Ingredient Wet Cat Food
up to 1 year, for kittens with food sensitivities 24, 3 oz cans Limited-ingredient diet (premium, natural ingredients)
Real turkey as #1 ingredient
No corn, wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, chicken, beef
Hill's Ideal Balance Chicken & Brown Rice Kitten Recipe
up to 1 year 6 lbs Precisely balanced nutrition
Natural ingredients: chicken #1, brown rice, veggies, cranberries, flaxseed, eggs
KMR® Powder for Kittens & Cats
newborns up to 6 weeks of age 12 oz, powder Complete food source for newborn or nursing kittens needing supplements
All natural, no preservatives
Protein-rich, provides essential vitamins and minerals
Stick to a feeding schedule
It is recommended to create a daily feeding schedule for your kittens (or cat). That way you can keep track of your kitten’s appetite and progress. Kittens and cats alike also enjoy having a feeding schedule. Yoda, for example, knows that at exactly 6:30pm, his dinner should be served (and he doesn’t let us forget!) Many vets and cat owners recommend feeding cats every 8-12 hours. For kittens, this number may vary. Instead, your kitten may need feeding 3x or more per day. If that’s the case, divide up the recommended amount of kitten food per day into how many times you feed your kitten. By doing so, you will neither overfeed or underfeed the kitten, but allow it to be content throughout the day and night by having smaller equal portions, rather than just one larger portion. Read our complete guide to cat nutrition for more information.
Please be aware that a kitten’s appetite is a crucial key factor in determining it’s health. If a loss of appetite occurs or severe lethargy, it is better to consult a veterinarian right away. Fluffy Kitty’s recommendations and/or advice should not replace that of your veterinarian. Please do ask us questions if you have them, but in case of urgency or emergencies, we would prefer you speak with a professional.
Provide clean water at all times
Always make sure to provide kittens and cats with fresh, clean drinking water. Pay particular attention to washing out/scrubbing the inside as it can get slimy if left unattended. Always check to see if water is clean, free of cat hair, dirt, etc. Instead of topping up old, semi-clean water, dump out the old water in your garden and give your cat or kittens fresh water. It really makes a difference! Yoda will not drink if there is something in his water. I would recommend using stainless steel bowls instead of plastic. Plastic bowls get scratched after use, allowing bacteria to grow within the cuts.
Final thoughts: What should kittens eat and drink
If your kittens have bad gas or diarrhea, it could be due to their kibble. If this is the case, you should invest in a healthier brand name cat food. If the situation persists, contact your local veterinarian as it could be signs of other health problems.
Lastly, don’t forget to give your kitten(s) lots of love and care! Provide kittens with age-appropriate toys that stimulates their mind and body. And don’t forget to trim their sharp little nails. Also, kittens, at such an age, are prone to ear mites; learn how to properly clean your cat’s ears.
Is this your first time owning a cat? Read some of our tips!
Friday 28th of December 2018
My kitten keeps getting diarrhea again and again even though we try to feed him the cleanest. He doesn’t drink clean water and. Drinks from the sink only. He also likes to lick on dirt. Idk what’s wrong last time he allmost died due to vomiting and loss of apetite. What should I do ? The vet can’t seem to find anything wrong.
Brittany, Paul, & Yoda =^^=
Friday 4th of January 2019
Hi Eli, thanks for reaching out. It sounds like your cat has a pretty sensitive stomach. What do you feed him? It's really important that your cat has a fresh bowl of water every day to stay hydrated too, and that it is clean, of course. Cats might display weird behaviors, such as eating dirt, to occupy themselves or to satisfy a need of some sort. Take a look at our article (linked) as to why cats might lick/eat dirt. You might find something similar to what your kitty is doing. Otherwise, make sure to provide a portion of high-quality food, provide food 3x a day in small amounts, at the same time every day. The idea is to try and balance out his digestion. Boredom, or other psychological wellness can also come from lack of toys or attention. Make sure to observe your cat and provide for him where needed! The most important is nutrition and hydration, but don't overlook your cat's overall wellness in these other areas too (sleep, activity, attention, etc.).