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What Do Kittens Eat?

What Do Kittens Eat?

Kittens are just too adorable with their huge eyes and soft fur.  These young mammals can be quite fragile and require a lot of special care when they are still small.

Kittens are the young of cats.  There are four main categories of a cat;

Domestic cats and kittensDomestic cats or house cats are kept in homes as human companions. There are quite a few different types of breeds and many mixed breeds and they usually live indoors.

Farm cats or kittens – Farm cats are usually kept to help keep rodent infestations under control.  These barn cats are also domestic cats and are usually mixed breed cats that live mostly outdoors.

Feral cats or kittens – These cats are domestic cat breeds that have become wild and now live outdoors.

Wild cats or kittens – The young of wild cat breeds are also called kittens.  Wild cats include a variety of cat species such as Bengal cats, savannah cats, bobcats, and many others.

The diet of all these cat types and kitten types are mostly similar.  They all require lots of protein to stay healthy and nourished.  Cats are generally considered kittens for the first 12 months of their lives.

What Do Kittens Eat?

All cat species including domestic and wild species are carnivore mammals.  All cats are predatory animals.  Even your domestic house cat has predatory instincts and might lash out to catch other animals.  The kittens of all cat species also require the same basic food types.  Here is a quick look at the main foods that kittens need to help them grow healthy and strong.

Milk

Cats are mammals.  Young kittens are born blind and deaf and they are unable to catch their food.  They rely on their mother’s milk for survival.  Orphaned kittens can easily be raised on cow’s milk or good quality high-protein powder milk that you can find at your local pet store.

Kittens are usually weaned by 6 weeks old.  From this point on, they can start feeding on solid foods.

Water

Kittens usually don’t need water for the first 6 weeks of their lives.  As long as they receive lots of milk, they should get all the fluids they need for proper hydration.  Once kittens start to wean, they will however also start to drink water.

You should supply your kitten with fresh water throughout the day.  Take care not to place your cat’s water bowl next to the food bowl. Vets believe that kittens that drink water directly after consuming food can get kidney problems.

Dry kitten food

From six weeks on, your kitten should be able to start eating dry kitten food.  Invest in a good quality kitten food that is rich in protein and other nutrients.  You can get your kitten any flavor kitten food or even mix flavors such as salmon, liver, and chicken as long as you remember to offer a quality brand.

Wet kitten food

You can also supply your kitten with wet or canned food.  It is best to invest in canned cat foods and not in meat foods designed for humans because human canned meats often include lots of unhealthy spices and salt.  Focus on healthy cat foods like shrimp, poultry or liver. You can also offer your kitten cat foods that include vegetable ingredients.

Kitten treats

Kittens need to eat frequently because they have tiny tummies and they burn a lot of energy throughout the day.  To keep your kitten full of energy, you can also invest in kitten treats such as fish biscuits.  These treats are great for rewarding your kitten for good behavior.

Meat and fish

Cats are carnivores and need a lot of protein to grow healthy and strong.  If you do not have access to canned cat foods, then you can also offer your kitten some cooked fish.  Fish like salmon, tuna, trout, catfish, and others are very healthy.  You can also offer your kitten cooked meats such as beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, and other lean meats.

Just remember to cut meats into thin pieces because your kitten likely won’t be able to chew large chunks yet and can choke.

Insects

Cats and even kittens will sometimes catch and eat insects.  Most of the time when cats catch insects, they do so because of their instincts.  It is in their instinct to hunt smaller animals or insects.  Cats will sometimes eat hard-bodied insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles.

Small animals

Cats and even juvenile kittens love to hunt small animals.  Your furry kitten might look like a cute ball of fluff but it is still a vicious predator that loves to catch all sorts of small insects.  You may notice your kitten return indoors with small animals like mice, young rats, other rodents, lizards, chicks, birds, and others.

Egg

Kittens need lots of protein to grow strong and egg is a terrific source of protein.  You can cook some scrambled eggs or boiled eggs and offer this as a food source if you don’t have many other protein foods available to you.  It is best to offer your cat boiled or cooked egg because raw eggs do sometimes carry bacteria.

Vegetables

Yes, cats are mostly carnivores but they can sometimes eat vegetables.  Eating vegetables can help supply cats with additional nutrients, minerals, and fiber.  Some of the best vegetables to offer your kitten include broccoli, diced lettuce, and salad greens.

You can also offer your kitten some cooked squash or pumpkin.  These foods should be grated into small pieces and mixed with your cat’s wet pet food.

Cat grass

Wheat, oat, and a few other grass mixes are very good for your cat.  Cats sometimes chew on these foods to help them increase their nutritional intake or to get rid of annoying hairballs in their system.  You can definitely look into growing a patch of cat grass for your pet kitten.

Diet Variations

Some kittens are fussier about what they eat than others.  While one kitten might be happy to eat leafy greens, another may refuse entirely.  Don’t be too surprised if your kitten refuses some of the foods you offer.  As long as your cat gets quality dry and wet cat food, it should be just as healthy as any other veggie-eating kitten.

How To Feed Kittens

Kittens are pretty easy to feed because they usually have healthy appetites.  They are high-energy animals and need to feed frequently.  The 10% rule is very important if you want to offer your kitten a balanced diet.

Basically, you should only offer your kitten 10% of other foods per day and 90% protein foods like milk and kibble.  As long as you do this, your kitten is bound to grow up strong and healthy.

What Do Kittens Eat in the Wild?

Kittens in the wild are nourished by their mothers.  For the first 6 weeks, they will stay inside their burrow and drink milk from their mothers.  From 6 weeks on, they will gradually leave the burrow to accompany their mother on a hunt.  At this point, their mother will teach them to hunt different food types such as rodents, insects, and other plant matter.  The kittens will feed with their mother until they are old enough to make their own kill and survive without their mother.

What Do Kittens Eat in Captivity?

Domesticated kittens are usually fed on cow’s milk, dry kitten kibble, wet canned foods, and cat treats.  Pet owners usually offer 90% of these foods and may choose to offer 10% other foods such as vegetables.

How much do Kittens Eat?

The amount of food these animals eat depends on their species, age, and on the number of feedings they receive per day.

If you are offering your young kitten food 5 times per day then you should offer about 1/3 cup to ¾ cups of food per feeding.

How often do Kittens Eat?

Kittens need to feed every single day so they can stay nourished.  Young kittens need to drink more often.  They usually feed about every 2 hours for the first two weeks after which their feeding sessions will reduce to 4 times per day.

An adult kitten only needs to eat about 2 times per day to stay nourished and healthy.

Do Kittens Eat Eggs?

Yes, you can offer your kitten a bit of boiled or scrambled egg.  An egg is a fantastic source of protein to help boost growth in your kitten.  Not all kittens will however eat eggs and you don’t have to worry about it if your kitten refuses egg.

Do Kittens Eat Their Own Poop?

Kittens do sometimes eat their own poop.  In most cases, they do this when they have a mineral or vitamin deficiency.  Some kittens will also do this if they have parasites or if they are starving.  Diseases like thyroid disease or diabetes could also drive your cat to eat its own poop.  If you do see your kitten eating its own poop then you should probably make an appointment with your VET or switch over to a more nutritious diet.