Feeding Your Cat
When should a kitten start to eat solid food?
Kittens start to eat solid foods from about three weeks and are fully weaned at about eight weeks.
How often should I feed my kitten?
At first they need small meals often (about four or five a day) but by about six months, two meals a day are usually fine. This can continue throughout their adult life, depending on your cat’s preference.
What should I feed my cat?
Cats should be fed a healthy balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Cats are true carnivores, meaning they have to eat certain nutrients that are only found in meat or commercial cat food.
Feeding a complete, commercial cat food is normally preferable to a homemade diet. It’s not easy to achieve the correct balance of nutrients if you make your cat’s diet yourself.
Do cats of different ages need different food?
One of the best ways to achieve the correct balance of nutrients is to feed according to ‘life stage’. This means feeding a different diet according to whether your cat is a kitten, adult or senior cat. This is because cats of different ages have different nutritional requirements. For example, kittens need more calories in their food because they are so energetic.
Several leading brands of commercially available cat food offer different foods for different life stages. Buying these is a good way of ensuring your cat gets the right nutrients.
How much food should I give my cat?
Follow the packet feeding guidelines so you know how much to feed. Weigh the food out to check you’re getting it right. Feeding the right amount of food is important because obesity is the commonest nutritional problem seen by vets and causes health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
How often should I feed my cat?
It’s a good idea to weigh out your cat’s food at the start of the day, following the packet feeding guidelines. Then you can put the entire measured amount down at once, give it as several small meals or divide it into a meal for morning and one for evening. It depends on the cat’s preference and your lifestyle but you should try to cater for your cat’s preferences as far as you can.
What treats can I give my cat?
Most cat foods these days are complete, meaning they contain all the nutrients that a cat needs, in the right amounts. If extra food is given, as treats, your cat must do something with the extra calories. If your cat isn’t exercising enough (which can be a problem with cats kept permanently indoors), the calories will be turned into fat.
Cat obesity is a big problem and causes health problems such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease.
You can show your affection for your cat in ways other than food. Lots of cats enjoy playing games with their owners, as well as affection. You don’t need to use food to show cats that you love them.
If you can’t resist feeding treats once in a while, give a small amount of lean meat. Reduce the amount of food in their main meals that day, so that the overall amount fed stays the same.