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Optimeal® Blog

Optimeal® Blog

How Long Should I Feed My Cat Kitten Food?

By Bridget Reed


Your kitten is an adorable bundle of fur; of course, you want them to have the best start in life. That means feeding them nutritious kitten food in the right quantities so they get all the energy they need to play, learn, and grow.

At some point, every kitten eventually grows up into a sleek adult cat. Somewhere along the way, that means switching from kitten food to cat food so your young cat can continue to thrive.

There are several key differences between kitten food and adult cat food. Adult cat food will give your mature cat the nutrients they need to stay active and maintain their health. On the other hand, kitten food is specifically formulated to provide your kitten with the energy they need to grow and develop until adulthood.

If you’re wondering when to make the switch for your adolescent cat, you’ve come to the right place. It’s always bittersweet to see how far your furry friend has come, but there’s nothing more rewarding than watching your little kitty grow up. 

Read on to find out what kind of food your cat needs in every stage of their life.

What Kind of Food Do Kittens Need?

Kittens require a variety of nutrients to develop into healthy adult cats. Kitten food is designed to provide your baby feline with everything they need as they grow into their big paws and wide eyes.

For the first four weeks of their life, your kitten relies on their mother’s milk to provide them with the necessities. However, once their eyes open and they start to wobble around on their tiny feet, they’re ready to try some kitten food for the first time. 

As the weaning process starts, it’s important to replace your kitten’s milk diet with a kitten food high in protein, calcium, and phosphorus. These nutrients are critical for healthy bone and muscle development.

You might spot your kitty taking a nap after running around the house or chasing down one of their toys. Being a kitten is hard work, so your kitten’s food should also be high in calories. They’ll burn off plenty of energy as they learn to play and explore their new surroundings.

Should I Give My Kitten Wet Food or Dry Food?

If you’re a first-time cat parent, you might wonder whether wet or dry food is ideal for your kitty. The answer to this question is a bit complicated, but there are some guidelines:

Very young kittens should stick to wet food until they reach about six to eight weeks of age. At that point, you can introduce them to dry food, but ensure that most of their food is wet and full of animal proteins. 

As your kitty gets older, you can start shifting their diet to include some dry food, but keep the process slow and consult your vet before making any major shifts. Adult cats can usually handle wet and dry food, so feel free to pick a mix of both right for you and your cat. 

Wet food is more nutritious and often more appealing to kitties due to its aromas and flavors. Its high water content also prevents your cat from getting dehydrated. 

However, dry food is usually cleaner, easier, and less expensive than wet food. If you’d like to introduce some dry food but are unsure which food to pick, we recommend our Chicken & Rice Recipe for Kittens

Fresh chicken is the first ingredient, making it a great option for health-conscious cat parents. Our premium recipe provides great immunity support, and the high protein content will keep your kitten full of energy as they grow.

How Often Should I Feed My Kitten?

When it comes to feeding your kitten, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It depends on various factors, including your kitty’s exact age, size, and activity level. We recommend starting with the feeding directions printed on your kitten’s food and adjusting the amounts as necessary.

Adult cats need at least two meals daily, and your kitten requires even more calories to support their growing body. Generally, you should feed your kitten three to four times per day, gradually reducing the frequency of meals as they grow.

You should feed your kitten as much food as they need to maintain a healthy weight. Your vet will be able to provide you with more detailed feedback on your cat’s size and diet. They’ll also help you come up with a feeding schedule if necessary.

One possible option is free-feeding, which involves leaving a bowl of dry kitten food out for your kitty to graze from throughout the day on top of their wet food meal times. While this method might be convenient for busy cat parents, not all kittens react well to unlimited food. 

In some cases, free-feeding can lead to weight gain or health problems like diabetes. We recommend asking your vet before you start free-feeding your kitten.

How Do I Know When My Cat Is Ready for Adult Food?

Kittens don’t grow up all at once, but you’ll probably notice that your gangly kitten is getting longer, lankier, and more independent daily. Eventually, it’s time to swap them from their high-calorie kitten food to a more suitable adult diet.

The best way to know when your cat is ready for adult food is to keep track of their weight and growth. At first, your kitten will rapidly increase in size, but their development will slow down gradually as they get older. 

By one year, most cats will stop growing as rapidly. Around this point, their growth plates will usually close, indicating that their skeleton has finished developing, which is a great time to switch your young cat to a new line of adult food.

With some help from your vet, you can gradually introduce adult food to your cat’s diet. We recommend mixing in small quantities and slowly increasing the ratio of new food to old food until your cat is used to the recipe.

Picking the right cat food is vital in helping your kitty transition into adulthood. If you’re searching for the right meal for your cat, we recommend checking out the Optimeal® Cat Food Collection, which contains plenty of nutritious and tasty recipes for any feline. 

Our foods contain no artificial preservatives and colors, no chicken by-products, and no GMO ingredients, so you can be sure your kitty is getting the best cat food available. We formulate all our recipes to support your cat’s immune system, skin, and coat.

If you’re unsure where to find our cat food, you can check out our store locator to find our recipes on shelves near you. If you’d prefer, you can order our food online from the comfort of your home.

When Kittens Become Cats

Watching your kitten grow up is a rewarding and often surprising experience. You can never predict what mischief your cat will get up to or how they’ll change as they learn more about themselves and the world. As your kitten becomes a cat, you’ll see their personality emerge, and their habits develop over time. It’s an incredible experience and one that never gets old.

Food is just one aspect of your cat’s life, but by helping your cat get the nutrition they need to grow, you’ll be supporting them in their journey to adulthood. While you might always look back at their kitten photos with nostalgia, there’s nothing better than raising a beautiful, healthy, and independent cat.



Feeding Kittens 101: What to Feed, How Much, and How Often | PetMD

Feeding Times and Frequency for Your Cat | VCA Animal Hospitals

What Do Cats Eat? | Fetch

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