We recommend a good quality, complete, dry, kitten food from brands such as Arden Grange, Burns, James Wellbeloved, Royal Canin or Hills. This is by no means an exhaustive list – there are lots of good brands of cat food.
The main things to look for are natural ingredients, no additives or colourants, and a high protein content. You can add a small amount of kitten wet food to the dry food if your kitten is really fussy but if you can get them eating just dry food it is far better for their teeth. It’s also cheaper, more hygienic and more convenient to be on a completely dry food diet!
Once you have found a brand your kitten is happy with and their stools are a normal consistency, stick with that brand and be careful when changing flavours to introduce them gradually because a sudden change may upset your kitten’s tummy.
We do not recommend a home-made diet (either raw or cooked) for cats because their nutritional requirements are much more specific than dogs or humans and it is very difficult to formulate an appropriately balanced feline diet at home.
New kittens should be kept on the same food the breeder or rescue centre has been feeding them for at least a week after you take them on. It is too much of a disruption to take them away from their litter mates, mum and familiar surroundings, and change their diet all in one go.
Kittens should be fed 4 times daily until they are about 12 weeks old, then 3 times daily until they are about 6 months old. We recommend twice daily feeding throughout adulthood, or alternatively leave a measured amount of food down for them to eat throughout the day; this usually only works in single cat households otherwise the chances are one cat will be greedier and eat everything! It is not ideal to leave wet food down during the warmer months as old food will attract flies and become unpalatable.
Don’t feel you always have to feed your kitten from a bowl; there are many interactive games that involve food so that the cat has to work for it. Just a simple feeding ball or flicking their biscuits across the floor will entertain your kitten to no end and provide exercise.
Preventing obesity is very important in cats as health consequences can be very severe. As a practice, we are seeing a higher incidence of diabetes, osteoarthritis and heart problems in obese cats, which are all serious diseases that can be very expensive to treat, can shorten your cat's life and can easily be prevented by losing weight!
Also, in male cats urinary blockages are far more likely to occur in overweight cats so prevention is key! Once neutered your kitten’s metabolism will reduce so they usually require 20% less calories.
Please keep an eye on their general body condition and alter their food as necessary to prevent them becoming overweight.
One of our veterinary nurses will be happy to discuss this with you if you have any concerns.