Small kittens should be given 4 meals per day by the end of the 4th month of life.
Then by the end of 8 months of age, 3 meals per day will be sufficient.
If your kittens are older than 12 months, 2 meals per day are sufficient.
Do young cats need special food?
In many pet stores there is special food for kittens. However, this does not always have to end up in the food bowl. It is important that you offer your young cat a little bit of everything.
The proportion of wet food should make up two thirds to three quarters. The rest can be given as dry food in intelligence toys or through treats.
A varied feeding (different ready-made food manufacturers) has the great advantage that your cats are not only used to a certain food and spurn other new food.
Why do young cats eat so much?
Kittens by nature do not have the same sense of satiety as their adult counterparts and can consume large amounts of food from an early age. However, this is normal behavior and not an eating disorder.
Instinct tells them to eat as much food as they can. It could be the last for a long time. But don’t worry, overeating does not take place. Cats always put a time gap between meals. Cats take in more protein and nutrients, especially in their younger years, because they can burn more and need enough energy to grow.
If you want to know how long wet food keeps and the best way to store leftovers, you can read this and much more in our great article How long does open wet food for cats keep? right now.
Should food for young cats always be in the same place?
Always offer your cat food in the same place. This is very important for your cats, because they are true creatures of habit and otherwise they get unnecessarily stressed.
If you have several small kittens, always serve them food in separate bowls, so that each gets its own food. A distance of about 2 meters should be kept. If one of your kittens is so cheeky and wants to dust off the neighbor, you should gently push your cat away and say a clear “No” after it. Always remain gentle and do not get rough or loud with the kittens.
Eating separate bowls is very important later in case one of the kittens needs to be given special medication.
Do I need to keep an eye on my young cats while they eat?
You should keep an eye on your young cats while they are eating and make sure they are all eating in their own bowls.
If this is not the case, gently push the naughty kitten back to its food bowl. After half an hour to an hour, remove the food remnants. Dried up food or food that smells perishable will not be touched by your kittens.
If a large amount of food remains in the bowls, it is best to reduce the next meals accordingly.
To find out if kittens are already food envious, read our brand new article Is there food envy in cats?
How do kittens learn to eat from the bowl?
Little kittens learn how to eat from the bowl from their mother. They watch her very closely and learn by imitating her.
However, kittens are used to getting their food from the teat. They get the food horizontally in front of their mouth or from an elevated position. With a food bowl, the little kittens have to move their head down and take their food from the lowered food bowl. This can lead to major spills in the beginning and must be carefully practiced first.
You can give the food to your young kitten with a big spoon and hold it slightly under her mouth. If this works, you can lower the spoon with the food further and further down, so that your young kittens will eventually reach the food in the bowl on their own.
What do kittens need to eat in the first weeks of life?
From the kittens’ fourth week of life, you can try slowly offering them gruel. This is enriched with oats and rice gruel.
You can also offer scraped meat or boiled chicken diluted with warm water.
If you observe that diarrhea comes to the young kittens, mix the porridge with more water.
Should young kittens be given milk to drink?
Young kittens do not tolerate cow’s milk and should not be offered to them to drink.
Shortly after weaning, the ability to digest lactose deteriorates, so young cats cannot properly digest lactose. Only prepared cat milk is acceptable for cats to drink. Make sure here that this cat milk is also particularly suitable for kittens, as there is also cat milk for adult cats in the pet store.
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Summary – How to feed small kittens correctly?
Small kittens should be given 4 meals a day by the end of the 4th month of life.
Then by the end of 8 months of age, 3 meals per day is sufficient.
If your kittens are older than 12 months of age, 2 meals per day is sufficient.
You should feed young kittens a balanced diet of dry food and wet food when they are older. The proportion of wet food should make up two thirds to three quarters of the portions.
Especially young kittens still need a lot of energy for growth and have a big appetite in this respect. Instinct tells them they must eat as much as they can, as it could always be the last meal for a long time. However, cats also take enough rest periods between their meals so that they do not overeat.
Each kitten should have their own bowl at feeding time. This is important in case one of the kittens needs to get medication in their food.
When feeding your kittens, make sure that no one steals anything from the other and immediately remove the remaining food from the bowls. If there are large amounts left over, simply reduce the portions at the next meal.
Young kittens must first slowly get used to feeding at the bowl. When nursing from the mother, the kittens got the food from a horizontal position. With a feeding bowl the young kittens have to learn to move their head downwards. This can lead to larger spills, especially in the beginning. With the help of a spoon you can give the food to your young kittens from an elevated position and after some time lower the spoon further and further down.
After the first 4 weeks of life, you can offer your kittens liquid porridge made of gruel and rice gruel.
Under no circumstances should you give your kittens cow’s milk to drink. After breastfeeding, young cats lose the ability to digest lactose, so they cannot properly digest milk sugar. Only prepared cat milk that is specifically for young cats should be offered to them.