Kittens have different nutritional requirements to adult cats, so make sure you feed your kitten food appropriate for their life stage. Kitten foods should contain higher levels of calories, fat and protein, all essential for their growing bodies.
A complete kitten food guide
How much to feed your kitten
Up until 6 months of age, kittens are growing rapidly and should be fed kitten food 3-4 times per day. From 6 months onwards, you can begin to drop the amount of food — until they are eating just once or twice a day by 12 months of age. Kittens should stay on specific kitten food until they are around 12 months old. At that stage, be sure to review and reassess the type and quantity of food you’re giving them throughout the day to prevent them from becoming overweight and unhealthy.
What to feed your kitten
As a new cat owner, you want to make sure your little ball of fur and energy has all the essential nutrients required to grow into a healthy, strong adult cat. Fully-balanced kitten food from the best brands should be nutrient-dense and rich in all the building blocks young bodies and brains need to develop fully.
From the time your kitten starts getting adult teeth (usually around 4-6 months), you can begin to introduce some raw meaty bones. Doing this helps alleviate symptoms of teething. Always supervise your kitten with a bone to be sure they don’t choke. Opt for bones that are bigger than their mouth and those with lots of meat on them.
What not to feed your kitten
No kitten feeding guide is complete without a warning on which foods to avoid feeding your feline companion. Onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, raw egg, raw dough, chocolate, caffeinated drinks and alcohol are all toxic for kittens. But the main one that new cat owners might not be aware of is milk and dairy products. Although movies and childhood stories often depict cats drinking milk and loving it, most kittens will get an upset stomach or diarrhoea from dairy. Instead, make sure your adorable fur ball always has plenty of fresh water available.
The dangers of overfeeding your kitten
Although it’s hard to overfeed a kitten younger than 3 to 4 months old — due to their rapidly growing bodies — it is possible, and especially more so later on. If your kitten eats too much at once, it may vomit or experience diarrhoea. If you regularly overfeed your kitten, it will become overweight, be less mobile, sleep more and play less. An overweight kitten is more likely to grow into a fat cat, with lifelong negative health repercussions. To avoid overfeeding, follow the recommended amounts on your kitten food packaging or the directions of our kitten food guide — only feeding them kitten-specific food and factoring in any treats and snacks.
At Paringa Pet Foods, we love to help you take the best care possible of your furry best friends. If you have any questions we haven’t already answered and aren’t covered in the FAQs below, please reach out to us and let us know. We’re always happy to help. And if you’ve only discovered our educational resources once your kitten is a fully grown adult, take a peek at our cat feeding guide.
Kittens go through explosive growth — considering they reach adulthood in just a year! Between their physical growth and their mental development, which sees them playing and exploring all the time, their bodies need a high amount of nutrients, much higher than adult cats. That is why all young cat feeding guides recommend specifically-formulated food high in calories and proteins.
How do I know I’m selecting good-quality kitten food?
With so many brands out there, it’s normal to be confused when you shop for kitten food for the first time. When choosing the right cat food, the two main criteria to look out for are food that is labelled as Complete and Balanced and that is prepared specifically for kittens. This food should provide your growing cat with all the nutrients needed — namely a lot of calories, proteins, fat, vitamins and minerals — and none of the ones it doesn’t need.
Should my kitten eat wet or dry food?
While there are different theories and opinions on the topic, we believe that the best food you can give your kitten is fresh and raw meat. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need to eat meat to survive. Wanting to promote and encourage owners to ensure their kittens get the best diet, our kitten feeding guide recommends feeding your new furry member of the family a biologically appropriate raw food (BARF) diet. Browse our own range of scientifically-formulated Paringa Pet Foods kitten and cat food.
How do I switch from one brand of kitten food to another?
If you are considering switching your kitten from one type or brand of food to another, there are a few recommendations we can share in this kitten food guide. First of all, don’t entirely swap their food all of a sudden. Your kitten’s developing digestive system needs time to adapt to the new food. Gradually introduce the new type or brand of food over 10 days, roughly following this timeline:
Days 1-3: 25% new food 75% old food
Days 4-6: 50% new food 50% old food
Days 7-9: 75% new food 25% old food
Day 10: 100% new food
If you notice any negative changes in your kitten’s appetite and digestion, take a step back and keep trying at a slower pace. The best kitten feeding guide advice we can give you is to listen to your kitten and look at its behaviour — a happy kitten is an excited one that will meow, rub around your legs and run to the bowls at mealtime.