Kittens have small stomachs and have to be fed little and often. Find out what your kitten has been eating and when you first get home feed the same foods. A sudden change of diet combined with the stress of adapting to a new home can cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea. If you want to change the diet, do so over a few days by mixing the new food with the kitten’s usual diet gradually increasing the amount of the new food over a period of 5 to 7 days.
- The easiest way to provide a growing kitten with a balanced diet is to feed a premium complete growth diet. These are usually dry, but some companies produce tinned varieties too. These foods have been specially formulated for kittens, which have different nutritional needs to a fully grown cat. Read and follow all feeding instructions carefully and be careful not to overfeed.
- If you are feeding a dry food, kittens can have unlimited access to it (unless you have other animals that will eat the kitten’s food). Tinned food goes off quickly in the bowl, so needs to be given as separate meals throughout the day.
- Kittens aged eight to 12 weeks need four meals per day. From three to four months old they need three meals per day. Kittens over four months old need just two meals per day.
- Do not give your kitten milk as it can cause diarrhoea. If you want to give your cat milk then specially formulated cat milk is available.
- Ensure your kitten has access to fresh drinking water at all times. Some kittens prefer to drink flowing water and you can buy water fountains designed especially for cats.
- Put the food and water well away from the litter trays as hygiene is very important to cats. If the litter tray is too close to their feeding station they may refuse to eat or show signs of stress such as spraying or scratching.
- Don't give your kitten tidbits. a single biscuit for a kitten is the equivalent to a person eating a whole packet.
For advice on the food to choose for your kitten speak to one of our vets or veterinary nurses.