New-born kittens receive complete nutrition from their mother’s milk for the first four weeks of life. Mom’s milk is perfect for their needs, so you don’t need to feed them anything else.

In the event that the mother cat is ill or doesn’t produce enough milk – or if the kittens are found as orphans – it may be necessary to feed the kittens a commercial milk replacer. If you find yourself in this situation, contact your veterinarian for product and feeding recommendations.

During the first weeks of life, a kitten’s body weight may double or even triple. This rapid growth will continue, albeit at a decreasing rate, until maturity. Large amounts of energy and nutrients are required in balanced quantities to support this spectacular growth.

Kittens need large amounts of energy – about two to three times that of an adult cat. Kittens also need about 30% of their total energy from protein. Make sure the food you offer is specifically formulated for kittens. Your little one will need to eat kitten-formula food until he or she reaches maturity, at about one year of age.

By the time kittens are five to six weeks old, they should be nibbling on a high-quality dry food consistently even though they’re still nursing. This process of gradually introducing kitten food is important in training cats to eat as they are weaned.

Most mother cats will suckle their kittens until about eight weeks of age. By this time, 80 to 90% of the kitten’s total nutrient intake should be from kitten food.

Kittens can be fed free-choice – which means food is available at all times, as much as the kitten wants, whenever the pet wants. You can feed them dry kitten food or nutrient-dense kitten-formula canned food—however, the free-choice method is most appropriate when feeding dry food, which will not spoil if left out. If you have a dog in your home, make sure he can’t get to the kitten’s food (dogs just adore cat food!). Also, make sure fresh water is available at all times.

At first, curious kittens will probably want to play with their food rather than eat it, but the youngsters will soon catch on and realize they are supposed to eat the food, not just bat it around!

It’s fine to feed your kitten a few treats. However, treats should make up no more than 5% of your kitten’s daily nutrient intake, and the rest of his/her diet should come from a high-quality kitten food.

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