Natural foods or wet food, which is better for a kitten? At what age and how often can I feed my pet with dry food? Became the guardian of a kitten who was left without a cat-mom? Let's see how often to feed a kitten while he is blind and when he grows up.
Feeding a kitten in the first month of life without a cat
Will a newborn kitten survive if it is left without a cat? There are no guarantees, of course, but the probability is high enough, provided that the baby will receive adequate care.
In order for the kitten to survive on artificial nutrition, he needs:
- Heat - thermoregulation of small kittens does not function well, therefore it is important to maintain the temperature in the nest at least 30 degrees. You need to heat the nest, it is not necessary to maintain the temperature in the entire room. As a heat source use a lamp or heating pad. A few days after birth, the kitten will crawl away from the heating pad if it is hot.
- Humidity - the kitten is guaranteed not to survive if the room is too wet. The optimum humidity is 55-65%, not higher.
- Maintaining the digestive tract - until about a month old, kittens can not pee and empty their intestines on their own. To stimulate the natural processes, the kitten’s tummy and genital area should be massaged with a moist, warm sponge every time before and after a meal.
Let's take a closer look at the main aspect of caring for a newborn kitten - feeding. The “throw march” in the first week will be very difficult, especially for inexperienced tetrapod lovers. However, if you follow the basic rules, the kitten will survive, which means that the efforts are worth it.
Feeding a kitten from birth to 1 week
How well the kitten’s gastrointestinal tract will work in the first weeks of life depends on whether the baby received at least a little colostrum. If the kitten has sucked his mother, his intestines are populated with useful bacteria that help process milk. If the kitten’s intestines are sterile, the probability of death on artificial feeding, in the first few days of life, is almost 50%.
The first week is critical and crucial. The kitten should receive food every 2-4 hours, on demand. When the kitten is hungry, he wakes up, begins to crawl and squeak loudly, looking for a source of heat and nutrition. Feeding is carried out both in the daytime and at night, in equal portions. Each portion should be heated to a comfortable temperature, in the range from 38 to 38.5 degrees. Before and after feeding, do not forget to massage, controlling the emptying of the intestines and bladder.
Feeding a kitten from 1 to 2 weeks
If the kitten survives the first week on artificial feeding, the chances of its survival are significantly increased. In the second week of life, the kitten should receive food day and night, every 3-4 hours. Again, it is better to focus on the needs of the baby and feed him on demand, every time he woke up and began to squeak.
In the period of 1-2 weeks of age, kittens often have bloating and colic. Improper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract is due to unnatural nutrition. No matter how good the milk replacer or milk mixture, the kitten will have dysbiosis. The question is how much this ailment will affect the digestive processes. To reduce gas formation, drugs from a regular pharmacy, for example, Espumisan, are used.
Feeding a kitten from 2 to 3 weeks
When the kitten turns 2 weeks old, your life will be much easier. You will notice that the baby began to eat more in one go and sleep longer. The frequency of feeding is reduced, the difference is especially visible at night, when the kitten sleeps for 4-6 hours in a row.
By 3 weeks of age, most kittens sleep at least 6 hours at night, without waking up to eat. During this period, it is advisable to wake up before the kitten, so that the food is ready for its awakening. From 2-3 weeks of age, kittens begin to be fed in two approaches. They did a massage of the abdomen, gave the baby a pacifier, and waited until he was full. They again did a massage of the abdomen and again offered a nipple, most likely the baby will eat a little more.
Feeding a kitten from 3 to 4 weeks
By the age of three weeks, if a kitten normally gains weight and forms, his eyes begin to open. Small holes expand from the middle to the corners, the kitten continues to eat often and still cannot go to the toilet on its own. Regularly check the kitten’s reaction to food odors, such as meat or stock. By 3-4 weeks of age, the baby has a natural exacerbation of smell
The frequency of feeding is maintained at the level of 7-8 meals per day. Reducing the frequency of food intake is acceptable with a significant increase in a single serving. By 4 weeks of age, the kitten's eyes should open, and he will begin to show interest in the outside world.
The choice between industrial and natural products
At 4 weeks of age, supplementation is necessary in the kitten's diet. What exactly to feed the baby depends on your diet preferences. By and large, there are two options: you can start feeding a kitten:
- Natural products.
- Industrial wet feed.
We do not even consider the option of mixing natural and industrial feeding, since an artificial kitten such feeding is guaranteed to lead to: dysbiosis, constipation, diarrhea or indigestion. Regardless of the type of food you choose, you need to maintain a protein diet, keep the mass fraction of dairy products at least 70% and teach the kitten to drink water.
Features of wet feed feeding
Feeding a kitten aged 1 month or older is entirely up to the owner. The kid does not yet have taste preferences, so he eagerly consumes everything that seems edible.
Edible food the kitten considers products that:
- They smell good.
- Contain enough water.
- They have a soft or liquid consistency.
- They have a comfortable temperature (37-38.5 degrees).
Starting to feed with wet food in the form of paste, you will meet all the conditions if you preheat food. If the kitten does not know how to chew, the paste can be diluted with hot water and stir until gruel. Paste and wet food pieces can and should be used for feeding up to six months of age.
From 6-7 months of age, a kitten can be fed with dry food. To make the transition to a new type of food comfortable and gradual, from 4-5 months of age, moistened pellets of dry food should be mixed into wet food. To granules softened and smelled good, 10-15 minutes before serving, they must be poured with hot water or low-fat broth.
Continuous feeding with dry food is not recommended to start until all the teeth have changed in the pet. Adult cats cut granules into at least 2 parts before swallowing. Having milk teeth, the kitten will not physically bite the granules and will swallow them whole. Such a diet is likely to lead to difficulties with digestion and bowel movement.
Feeding a kitten in the first year of life
The first year of life for any animal is crucial in terms of personality formation, habits and education. During this period, not only behavioral, but also taste habits are formed, which the cat will preserve for life. From an early age, you need to teach a kitten to the whole range of products that are included in your chosen diet.
If you opted for industrial feed, it is important to understand that the health of the pet directly depends on the quality of the products you purchase. For daily feeding of healthy animals, premium or super premium class feeds are suitable. Medical and preventive feeds should be avoided if there is no real need for them.
Important! Economy class food is not strictly recommended for daily feeding of animals, as it contains a carbohydrate base, salts, flavor enhancers and preservatives. In addition, economy class feeds addictiveness in cats, which causes a number of problems when trying to transfer a pet to a balanced diet.
Kitten ration in 1-2 months
The age of 1-2 months, the kitten is actively getting used to feeding. The main source of nutrition remains milk or milk formula. When choosing an industrial diet, paste and wet food are used as complementary foods.
Important! In the period from 1 to 2 months, the kitten needs to be fed 5-6 times a day!
With natural feeding, the following is introduced into the kitten's diet:
- Boiled ground beef.
- Low-fat broth.
- Sour-milk products of home production.
Each new product is introduced individually with subsequent monitoring within 1-3 days. If the kitten normally goes to the toilet, it does not have an allergic reaction or other alarming symptoms, the product is fixed in the diet and given on an ongoing basis. Within a month, you will notice that the kitten eagerly abandons the nipple and begins to consume more feeding.
In 3-4 months
For a three-month-old kitten on industrial feeding, the basis of the diet remains a milk replacer, which is bred a little thicker than recommended. The pet must be fed in turn (in different feedings): milk porridge (from milk replacer) and high-quality wet food. With a normal digestive reaction, powdered milk can be replaced with whole or natural milk.
Important! In the period from 3 to 4 months, the kitten needs to be fed 4-5 times a day!
With a natural diet, from 3 to 4 months, the kitten's diet is administered:
- Boiled low-fat minced veal, chicken.
- Minced meat from a boiled heart.
- Grated vegetables most often start carrots, which are given along with cottage cheese.
- Chicken and quail eggs - from chicken eggs it is recommended to give only boiled protein. A quail egg is fed completely in the form of an omelet or boiled.
- Chopped boiled fish and fish broth - rarely and little by little.
By the age of 4 months, kittens begin to change teeth, so if you choose a natural diet, it is important to ensure that the body has enough trace elements. In addition to the efforts that you put into the preparation of a balanced diet, you can make secure vitamin complexes for kittens. Select several vitamin complexes with different formulations and alternate them to avoid hypervitaminosis.
Feeding a kitten in 5-7 months
With the industrial type of feeding, from the age of five months, soaked dry food is introduced into the kitten's diet. Pellets are poured with hot water 10-15 minutes before serving. When the granules become soft, they must be crushed and thoroughly mixed with wet food until a homogeneous consistency is obtained. Dairy products and feed must be alternated, feeding in different meals.
Important! In the period from 5 to 7 months, the kitten needs to be fed 3-4 times a day!
With a natural type of nutrition, the following is introduced into the kitten's diet:
- Raw meat after deep freezing for 3-4 days: beef, veal, chicken, quail, turkey, rabbit.
- Boiled chicken or quail eggs or in the form of an omelet.
- Neutral vegetables chopped, raw and greens.
- Boiled fish, boneless, not oily, of oceanic varieties.
- Additional sources of hard fibers, if necessary: bran, grass.
- Vegetable oils, fish oil.
Against the background of the expansion of the natural diet, the kitten needs to be given vitamin complexes and a large number of dairy products. In the period from 5 to 7 months, the mass fraction of protein food should be at least 80-85% of the diet.
At 8-12 months
By the age of eight months, almost all kittens change their teeth, so they are absolutely ready to eat adult food. With the industrial type of feeding, the soaked feed begins to be replaced with dry, gradually increasing its mass fraction in the diet from 30 to 70%. According to generally accepted recommendations, it is not recommended to transfer the kitten to exclusively dry food, as this leads to a quick spoilage of tooth enamel. From 8-9 months of age, the ratio of dry and wet food is maintained at 70-80% to 20-30%, respectively.
Important! In the period from 8 to 12 months, the kitten needs to be fed 2-3 times a day! Adult cats are transferred to two meals a day with snacks, if necessary.
With a natural type of nutrition, the kitten’s diet expands as much as possible. Depending on the taste preferences of the pet, you can and should introduce into the diet:
- A variety of vegetables, except broccoli and raw cabbage.
- Fruits, except allergenic and very juicy.
- Grass and greens on an ongoing basis.
- Rice or buckwheat, if necessary.
With natural feeding, it is advisable to regularly conduct vitamin courses. Given that an excess of vitamins is no less dangerous than their deficiency, it is important to balance. If you feed your cat with natural, high-quality products, a seasonal vitamin course will be enough. If you are not sure about the quality of the products, it is better to alternate vitamin complexes with different compositions on an ongoing basis.