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Do you have a very young kitten in the house? Are you confused what to feed the kitten till it is a little bigger? Are you worried about not giving a nutritionally rich diet because you are unsure what and how much to feed the kitten? The best way to understand a kitten’s nutritional requirements is to talk to a certified vet and understand what your kitten needs. Depending on your kitten’s age, weight, and other factors, your vet will be able to recommend a diet that works for your kitten.Basic kitten nutritional needs
Here are a few basics of what any healthy kitten requires in the first few months of life:
- Mother’s milk or replacer: If your kitten’s mother is present, mother’s milk is the best nutrition your kitten can get in the first few weeks of its life. If the mother is not present or cannot feed the kitten, there are milk replacers available commercially that you can feed your kitten for the first 4–8 weeks of its life.
- Protein: Kittens grow rapidly in the first few months of their lives. Although they keep growing for a year or more, the first few weeks is when the growth rate is the highest. This is the time your kitten needs a large amount of food, especially protein, to be able to grow in a healthy manner.
- Vitamins and minerals: Micronutrients are extremely essential for your kitten to be strong and healthy. It is important to get the amount of micronutrients right in your kitten’s food so that you do not unknowingly feed your kitten too little or too much vitamins and minerals. Most commercial kitten foods are nutritionally balanced and can be safely fed to your kitten.
Some nutritionally rich foods you can feed your kitten:
- Dry and wet commercial cat food
- Home-cooked fish, chicken, and other meat
- Vegetables like spinach, carrots, corn, and broccoli
You can leave food out for your kitten and let it eat as much as it wants to in the first few weeks. You can then slowly start portion control and establish strict feeding times to avoid overweight issues.Other foods you can safely feed your kitten
- Commercial treats specially formulated for kittens
- Catnip, wheatgrass, and cat grass
- Milk or curd/yogurt in small amounts, occasionally
Chocolate, coffee and other caffeinated drinks, garlic, onions, alcohol, and all kinds of seeds should be strictly avoided as these can be toxic not just for kittens but also for adult cats. Do some research about kittens’ nutritional needs and talk to a certified vet, especially if you plan to feed your kitten home-cooked food or if your kitten has special nutritional requirements because of infections, worms, or other health problems.