Feeding your new kitten is not always the easiest of things to do. Sometimes we hear conflicting information, other times our kittens do not respond in the way we expect. Either way, it can lead us to question how much we should be looking to feed them. I decided to do some research for when it comes to pouches specifically. I’d like to share what my veterinarian once told me.
So, how many pouches should I feed my kitten? Owners should look to feed their kittens between 3-5 pouches a day, one at each serving, spread evenly at frequent mealtimes. The exact number of pouches to feed does however, depend on the size, breed, activity level and age of your kitten, along with the brand of food. Generally, the younger a kitten is the less they will want to eat at a time, yet the more frequently they will need to eat.
Wet food is considered ideal for kittens whose baby teeth are still tender and small; it is soft and can be much more easily consumed.
Dry food has a lot of benefits, and certainly should be introduced to a kitten gradually and over time, but it is certainly less appetizing and appealing than wet food.
One of the other significant benefits of wet food is that it provides some hydration, when consumed. Kittens can become dehydrated quickly as it is common for them not to drimk as much water as they need.
Wet food can definitely fill in here.
Let us now take a closer look at how much wet food we should be looking to feed our kittens, before looking at the potential to overfeed them.
Lastly, we will look at whether you can leave food out all day for them, or if it needs to be more closely managed.
So, if you have recently taken in a young kitten – be sure to keep on reading to find out some important information regarding wet food and feeding.
How Much Wet Food Should You Feed A Kitten?
Most experts concur that kittens need between 3-5 pouches of wet food per day, keeping in mind that different brands of cat food will be nutritionally different and cats have different nutritional requirements based on several different factors.
First and foremost, its essential to check the product packaging, or any guidelines on feeding by the manufacturer.
Not all wet food is created the same; or has the same level of ingredients and nutrition available.
Besides, wet food can come in a range of different packaging and sizes; from pouches all the way through to cans.
Pouches/cans can be smaller or larger aswell, for instance.
Nevertheless, there are some general recommendations an owner can take into account.
It all depends on the kitten age, since they generally become much less active as they grow older. Less food for an older cat avoids your pet becoming overweight.
- Before kittens enter their teens (adolescence and 6 months to 3 years old), they can consume up to five pouches per day to fuel their active lifestyles.
- During their teens (and after 6 months of age), kittens generally only need two to three pouches per day.
As cats get older, they normally lose their appetite, and you will need to accommodate for their changing metabolism.
For this reason, you will not be feeding the same amount of food, wet or dry, to your cat from the moment you bring them home to their elder years.
It needs to be closely monitored, managed, and adapted over time.
Otherwise, if you run the risk of obesity; which is a dangerous condition for cats and it can shorten their lifespan.
There are also other variables to consider.
For instance, some breeds have bigger appetites than others, such as the British Shorthair.
You therefore need to be careful with some breeds; whom are more prone to obesity and are easier to overfeed than others.
If you did need a good rough indicator; pouches should be fed in relation to the amount of activity.
Nevertheless, you will need to understand your kitten’s own eating habits; since they can have different preferences.
Most kittens and cats prefer to eat in privacy, while some prefer eating among other cats.
Some cats are okay with scheduled meals, while some prefer small quantities throughout the day.
Either way, kittens generally do best with little and often.
The younger they are the smaller their stomachs, and the less they can eat at one sitting. By the same token, the quicker they burn through their energy.
For this reason, its typically not possible to overfeed a young and active kitten.
You must observe all the factors mentioned above to help you decide how much wet food you should feed your kitten.
From there, do contact your veterinarian for additional advice and support. They will be able to give you some recommendations based on the breed, size, and weight of your kitten and how to adapt their eating as time goes on.
Is Wet Or Dry Food Better For Kittens?
Wet and dry food both serve a purpose in the diet of a kitten; it does not necessarily need to be one or the other. In fact, a combination of the two works well, and is advised to begin with.
Both foods have many benefits – dry food is generally more versatile and cost effective on the part of the owner.
Wet food on the other hand is more appetizing to a cat, as it smells better to them. It also provides hydration and a texture cats seem to enjoy.
So, the truth is they are both excellent choices.
Problem is, dry food needs to be introduced to a kitten early enough for them to take to it, and being willing to eat it later in life. As early as possible is recommended.
There is one issue, though.
A kittens’ baby teeth are tender and small, so dry food is not advised in the first few weeks of life.
Thankfully, by the time your kitten is eight weeks old, they should have all of their baby teeth and will have been completely weaned off their mothers milk.
This is when you can start to introduce dry food, but be sure to do it slowly.
Instead, kittens can be fed wet food – which is generally the better solid food to start them out on.
When your kitten is older than three months, this is when you can start providing a mixture of both wet and dry food.
To do so, you can add one and a half pouches of wet food to your kitten’s daily diet of four or five meals per day.
Over time, reduce the amount of wet food you give your kitten until their diet consists of dry food only.
You can then use wet food as and when you wish, but it does not have to be the staple of the diet.
Either way, you should make sure that you always provide fresh drinking water to your kitten.
Another thing to consider is that you can also mix dry food with water, and warm it up slightly before serving it to your kitten.
This will make the dry food easier and more appetizing to eat. Just make sure it is at room temperature and not hot!
Should I Let My Kitten Eat As Much As He Wants?
Kittens have tiny stomachs, and cannot eat too much at one sitting. So, it’s advisable to divide their food into around three to five meals a day.
For this reason, kittens can eat as much as they want. It’s virtually impossible for them to overeat.
For this reason, you can look to free feed them; as long as you don’t allow other pets in your home to eat your kitten’s food.
Equally, if you do choose to free feed them, only leave out dry food.
Here are some other feeding tips for your kitten, as they age:
- When your kitten is around six months old, you can look to reduce the feeding schedule to around twice per day. Although, you should monitor your cats preferences. Some older cats still prefer to eat small meals frequently throughout the day.
- When your kitten is between nine and twelve months old, you can make the switch to adult food, although do so gradually over several days. Kitten food is high in calories and can make adult cats overweight if fed for too long.
- What your kitten eats in the first twelve months of their life shapes the foundation for a lifetime of high-quality nutrition. Make sure to feed your kitten a high-quality diet from the first time they begin to eat solids.
Should I Leave Food Out For My Kitten All Day?
You can certainly leave food out all day for your kitten, as long as it’s dry food and not wet food.
Wet food should always be opened fresh and be collected and disposed of within 30 minutes of being put down, if any is left uneaten.
So, dry food can generally be left overnight, but for wet food this is an absolute no-no.
You also need to be very particular with how and where store wet food – it must be in a cool, dry place.
You must also never buy more dry food than your kitten can consume in a few weeks, unless you are able or looking to freeze it.
Free-feeding dry food is however, an excellent idea since kittens have a lot of growing and developing to do. Plus, they can eat what they need.
It is imperative that you thoroughly clean any food bowls once per day. Although, if you have offered wet food you should do this immediately after bowl collection.
Any wet food residue on the collected bowl can quickly cake on; and this can become a harbinger for bacteria and cause illness in your kitten.
If some wet food is left after feeding, it is generally advised to throw it away.
Many kittens between the ages of twelve and twenty-four weeks show a liking for routine, and you can start scheduling meals in a part of your home that is calm and quiet.
Cats generally prefer to eat little and often, so don’t expect your kitten to finish the food in their bowl in one sitting.
Dry foods therefore let kittens eat whenever they want, whereas wet food should be given in small but regular portions to prevent waste.
Feeding either wet or dry food exclusively is perfectly acceptable, as is feeding a mixture of wet and dry foods.
It comes down to you and your cats preferences, your schedules and what you can afford.
Remember, there are benefits to both; such as dry food helping to keep your kitten’s teeth and gums clean and healthy, and wet food helping to keep your kitten sufficiently hydrated.
Nevertheless, and either way, you must ensure your kitten has access to clean drinking water consistently throughout the day.
It must not also be placed next to the food bowl, although they can both be kept in the same room.
Between the ages of twenty-four to forty-eight weeks, kittens begin naturally regulating their food intake, and you must be mindful of how much kitten food you are feeding at all times.
Be sure to follow the feeding guide on the packet and account for all foods given, be they wet, dry, or treats.
Guides are often for average kittens, and each kitten’s requirements often vary.
You must be watchful of your kitten’s behavior and weight as you may need to adjust your kitten’s food intake.
It usually takes a little bit of testing, plus liaising with a veterinarian to get just right.
Experts will state that young kittens generally need between 3-5 packets a day, of your typical packets of wet food.
While this is a good guideline to follow, as a new kitten owner; its imperative that you are mindful of your kittens diet.
Besides, there is a lot more to feeding a kitten than meets the eye; there are so many variables to consider, such as the kitten’s age, size, breed, and weight.
It always helps to follow the instructions on the packet, while keeping in mind your kitten may have a bigger appetite than the instructions suggested.
Talking to your vet can really help here and they can help you make dietary changes as required.
For instance, as kittens age, their appetite begins to decline, and so does their activity and energy levels.
There diet then needs to be adjusted accordingly.
Both dry and wet food have their uses, both serve a purpose and have their benefits. Its not always either, or.
But if you do want to make the switch to dry food more permanently, it helps make the switch as gradual as possible. Otherwise, your kitten might reject the dry food altogether.
Slowly transitioning your kitten to dry food over a seven to ten-day period comes advised.
Nevertheless, its important to provide the highest quality diet that you can afford.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.