Congrats on the new addition to your family! We know your new kitten became a true member of the family the minute they were brought home, and you want to do the best you can for them. That being said, it can be difficult to know what the best food is to feed your new kitten, and the choices can be overwhelming. Wet food or dry food? Chicken recipe or fish? There are so many options! Here are a few tips to help guide you towards feeding your kitten the right way.
Focus on Unique Nutritional Needs
Just like babies, kittens have special nutritional needs while they are growing. They require more energy and more protein than adult cats, as they’re very active and quickly growing. To help, you’ll want to ensure that you pay attention to the label on the cat food you are feeding your kitten – is it for adults, kittens, or all life stages? ACANA® has food for kittens and all-life stages, both of which have been tested to be fully nutritionally balanced for your growing kitten.
Kittens also require plenty of water throughout the day (especially on a dry food diet), so ensure your kitten has consistent access to fresh water. Cats can be fussy — some prefer a porcelain bowl over stainless steel, and some will only drink moving water (from a fountain or tap, for example). Having various water bowls around your home can also help, as some cats like to drink water in a separate area from where they eat.
How much should you feed your kitten?
Kittens go through their most rapid growth phase during the first five months of their life. The general guide you can follow based on age is as follows:
Since kittens require more energy than mature cats, they will need to eat more. Every cat is unique and exact feeding amounts can vary based on many factors such as metabolism, gender, breed, and activity level. Our ACANA® feeding guides are meant to be used as a starting point — if you feel your kitten needs more or less based on their body condition and activity level, you can absolutely adjust to suit the needs of your cat.
- For kittens 5-19 weeks of age, feed 1/2 cup per kg (1 oz per lb) of body weight
- For kittens 20-51 weeks of age, feed 1/4 cup per kg (1/2 oz per lb) of body weight
- For kittens 52 weeks and older, feed the adult amount
- Feed up to 2 cans of wet food per 2-4lbs of body weight per day
How often should you feed your kitten?
Your little one is going to be very active exploring and learning, so they will be hungry multiple times throughout the day. Establishing a feeding schedule can be very beneficial to maintain a healthy weight for your kitten. It will also help your cat learn when to expect food, helping to reduce their stress and the likelihood that they will beg for extra food when it’s not mealtime.
For kittens, feeding them three times a day is ideal. It is convenient for most Pet Lovers to feed once in the morning, once at lunch, and once in the evening. However, the best schedule is one that is realistic for you, so you can be consistent and stick to it.
Wet food should not be left out for very long — if your kitten has not eaten it all within 20-30 minutes, refrigerate the leftovers. Refrigerated leftovers should not be kept longer than 3 days.
Dry food can be left out longer, however keep in mind that it will get stale the longer it is left out, and your kitten may lose interest in it.
Choosing the best ACANA Foods for your kitten
The best food for your kitten is ultimately one he or she loves and has no problem digesting. Some cats are sensitive to certain protein sources, while some cats will eat absolutely anything you put in front of them. Just like humans, cats have their own tastes and preferences, so what works best for every cat will be unique. Finding the best recipe for your kitten may take some trial and error.
Chicken is generally an easily digestible protein for cats and is a flavor many love, so it can be a great place to start. ACANA™ First Feast or ACANA™ Highest Protein Kitten are chicken-based recipes that are fully nutritionally balanced for your kitten. It’s also a great idea to add hydrating and protein-rich wet food to your kitten’s diet. ACANA™ Premium Pate Chicken & Tuna Recipe for kittens is soft, packed with animal ingredients, and includes delicious and hydrating bone broth. It’s important to make sure your kitten is getting adequate moisture as they grow and develop, and wet food is a great way to help.
You probably wouldn’t want to eat the same thing every day for your whole life, so neither will your cat! Trying out new flavors can be a great way to keep your cat interested at mealtime and keep them from getting bored of their food. You can either change flavors day to day, or you can try a new recipe each time you finish a bag.
When feeding a rotational diet, try to stick to one brand as this will be easier on your kitten’s tummy. Always allow for a small transitional period the first time you try a new recipe – a 50/50 mix of the old and new recipes will help your kitten adjust. If your cat eats the whole serving and you don’t observe anything abnormal (loose stool, vomiting, excessive itching, etc.), you can go ahead and fully transition to the new recipe.