How Long To Feed Kitten Food? Complete Guide To Feeding Cats

Oluwatosin Michael
Oct 20, 2023 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Nov 04, 2021
Kitten sleeps resting its head on a ball of yarn.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.3 Min

Cats have been domesticated by humans for centuries.

Newborn kittens are completely dependent on their mother’s milk for nutrition. The milk, which an adult mother cat provides, fulfills all the dietary and health needs necessary for the proper development of the kitten in the initial stage of growth.

Many of the people who claim themselves to be ‘cat person’ mean that they prefer cats compared to any other animal for keeping as a pet. Some people buy exotic breeds of cats while some prefer to adopt them from pet care homes. But most of the time, cats just decide to make a place their home, and that's it! Humans can’t help but be dazed by the cuteness of cats, and if one starts to visit their home, it is a given that the cat regards them as its family and soon gets itself a new home.

Small kittens up to the age of one year and adult kittens require different diets, according to their health needs. After reading all about the best food to feed a kitten to help you prepare a kitten feeding chart, do read related articles on how many eyes do flies have and how many eyes do bees have.

What is kitten food?

A kitten’s growth level is at its peak during the first few months of its age. At this age, kittens need a lot of nutrients in their daily diet like fat, protein, amino acid, fatty acids as well as some minerals and vitamins.

Adult cats who have completed their growth do not need these elements in a larger quantity. Kitten food and cat food are two completely different types of food based on the consumer’s dietary and nutritional needs. Veterinarians suggest that if you feed a kitten cat food in its kittenhood, it can result in undernourishment and weak growth while feeding a cat kitten food in its adulthood can cause overdosing of some nutrients which could make the adult cat obese and lazy. It is necessary to switch from kitten food to adult cat food at an appropriate age according to their nutritional needs.

How is kitten food made?

A cat needs a change in diet at each and every of its life stages to remain healthy. Adult cats may eat dry cat food as a staple diet and on a regular basis, while kittens eat a feeding of soft, wet food and kitten milk replacement formula in the early few weeks of their life.

Generally, a kitten needs food three to four times a day to keep up its energy and development in a healthy way, while an adult cat needs a meal once or twice a day, as it is much less energetic than a kitten. Cats tend to grow rapidly for the first few months after their birth, they require a lot of energy and nutrition to make it into adulthood.

The process of making kitten pet food is not so much different from adult food diets, the only difference being that most of the nutrients like fat, minerals, vitamins, and protein are saturated on a higher level in kitten food compared to adult food, meaning it is more nutritional. The food is formulated in such a way so that it does not undernourish growing kittens and does not over nourish adult cats. Apart from cat food, kittens need milk to survive for the first two weeks of their life. For such newborn kittens, milk replacement formula is available on the market.

Cute kitten drinking milk at home.

When to stop feeding kitten food?

Kittens generally grow to their complete adulthood by the age of one year old. That is a very rapid growth period that takes place in a short span of time. Such rapid development needs a lot of healthy food and high-quality nutrition for all-around growth and a constant source of energy.

When a kitten surpasses its age of growth, the need for nutrients for its growth like minerals, vitamins, and many other diet necessities fall down drastically, almost three times its initial needs. In adulthood, cats become less active compared to kittens and sleep for almost 16 hours every day. It can become very surprising for an owner who is not used to seeing their once active cat rest for the most part of the day and avoid playtime. Generally, a veterinarian suggests that a transition cat’s food diet should occur by the age of one year old. This is the time to switch from kitten food to adult cat food. See to it that your cat is not starving itself because of the transition. If that occurs, it could mean that the switch needs to be carried out at an even slower pace, or that the cat does not like its new food.

It is suggested not to stick to a certain brand of dry food, and to rather try and search for different ones until your kitten or cat likes one and chooses to have it every day.

What to feed kittens after stopping kitten food?

After the age of one, when a kitten reaches its full growth and development stage, it becomes an adult. Likewise, the diet of kittens changes as they transition into proper adult cats. Generally, the growth and development needs of a cat define its diet, just like any other animal, including us. The quality ingredients of cat foods change according to the cat’s needs.

Adult cats have a vast menu of healthy foods which they can eat, compared to kittens. You can search for various types of kitten’s foods in a pet store, and buy sample-sized packets to see which one your cat or cats prefer to eat. It is better to sample various cat food varieties before settling on one, as cats are very picky about the food they eat. Buying a bulk load of food before seeing if the cat likes it or not can be a waste of money. Sometimes, new food takes time for the cat to get used to. One way you can get your newly adult cat to adjust to its new diet is to incorporate it with its old diet and reduce the latter's quantity, inversely increasing the quantity of the new food until it is completely replaced by the new food entirely. This may take a week for some cats, while other cats may take more time to get used to, but it is an efficient way of making your cat switch to its new food.

There are many varieties available on the menu of adult cat food in the market, like wet food, dry food, creamy treats, and many others which could suit your pet cat. These foods are generally made from processed meat of animals like chicken, tuna, sardines, salmon, lamb, and cows. Apart from that, cats can also eat raw meat from time to time, like fish meat which includes tuna, sardine, salmon, and even fresh and dried shrimps, and animal meat like chicken, turkey, beef, and mutton. Also, cats love to crack and chew the bones of small animals and fishes, so you can leave out a few tender bones for them to chomp on in the meat. See to it that the bones are not too hard, as they can lodge themselves in your pet cat’s throat or digestive system and cause severe pain and injuries.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how long to feed kitten food then why not take a look at how long to feed puppy food, or ragdoll facts.

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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