White kitten eating wet cat food

A kitten should be fed on a specific life-stage diet.

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When can a kitten eat wet cat food?

By Dr Hester Mulhall MA, VetMB, MRCVS Veterinarian

Updated on the

At what point do kittens make that change from their mother's milk to cat food? It's all explained here.

A kitten will start to eat wet food from around a few weeks of age alongside milk from their mother, as part of the weaning process. If you are caring for your first litter of kittens, or trying to raise an orphan, it can be very helpful to speak to a vet or vet nurse for advice on how best to care for them.

Can kittens eat adult wet food?

Kittens should preferentially be fed diets that are designed for their life stage. This is because they have different requirements from an adult cat as they are growing really quickly. A kitten diet will be higher in protein and contain the right balance of calcium and phosphorous to support healthy bone development. Kitten diets often contain Vitamin E and selenium to benefit the immune system and DHA omega fatty acid for neurological development. The diets will also be very calorie dense to meet energy demands.

The mother of the kittens will also have increased energy demands during later stages of pregnancy and lactation. It is therefore common to feed her on a kitten diet. This also makes it easier when the kittens start to eat solid food, as they can be fed the same kitten diet as their mother.

What wet food is best for kittens?

A kitten should be fed on a specific life-stage diet designed for kittens up to the age of one. This is the same for wet and dry diets. A kitten will start to eat wet food at an earlier age than dry food, from around a few weeks of age. Dry food is then introduced a couple of weeks later, but will usually be soaked to begin with.

How much wet food will feed a kitten?

As kittens grow, their food requirements will increase too. Follow the guidance on the kitten food packaging for the amount to feed depending on age and weight. Younger kittens will be fed several smaller meals a day, decreasing in frequency and increasing in portion size as they get older. If you are concerned that your kitten is not gaining weight as they should be, seek veterinary advice.

What happens if a kitten eats adult cat food?

A female cat is usually fed a kitten diet while she is lactating, and if young kittens start to explore eating this, that is fine – it is a natural part of the weaning process. Once a kitten is weaned, they should be fed a kitten diet, as this will have the right balance of nutrients for growth. If they are fed an adult cat diet, this could impact their health and decrease their rate of growth, if it does not contain sufficient protein or the right vitamins and minerals.

When should I see a vet?

If your kitten is not putting on weight or you have any concerns about their health, seek veterinary advice. Kittens can become easily dehydrated, so if they stop eating or drinking they will need a health check and supportive treatment as soon as possible. A kitten is usually vaccinated at nine weeks, so they will have their first vet appointment at this stage, if it hasn't been before.

What should I ask a vet about kitten food?

At your kitten’s first health check with a vet, you can discuss a range of healthcare topics, including nutrition. It can be helpful to take the kitten food packaging along to this appointment, as this will list the ingredients, composition and feeding guidelines for the vet to see.

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