Always ask the rehoming centre or breeder what they have been feeding your kitten. You'll need to keep feeding them that food when they first arrive.
A sudden change of diet combined with the stress of adapting to a new home can cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea. This is why you shouldn't change your kitten's food too often. Unlike us, they don't get bored of the same meal.
If you want to change their diet, do so over a few days by mixing the new food with the kitten’s usual diet.
How much should a kitten eat?
Kittens have small stomachs and have to be fed little and often.
Leaving dry food out permanently is a great way to help young cats regulate and control their own food intake and this can help them maintain a healthy weight when older. However, this may not always work if you have any other pets who can access the kitten's food or your kitten eats it all at once.
Tinned food goes off quickly in the bowl, so needs to be given as separate meals throughout the day.
Here's a rough guide on how much you will need to feed your kitten. Though be sure to read and follow all feeding instructions carefully.
- Aged eight to 12 weeks: four meals per day
- Between three and six months old: three meals per day
- Over six months old: two meals per day
Regularly weighing your kitten will allow you to keep an eye on their weight. This let's you know your kitten is growing OK and is a good indicator of whether you need to adjust their food amount.
Best kitten food
The easiest way to provide a growing kitten with a balanced diet is to feed a premium complete growth diet. These are usually dry, but some companies produce tinned varieties too. These foods have been specially formulated for kittens, which have different nutritional needs to a fully grown cat.
Where should I put their bowls?
Cats prefer that their water is kept separate to their food, so it may be a good idea to have those in different parts of the room. Because of this, we wouldn't advise buying bowls that are fixed together.
Make sure their litter tray is away from their food and water too – cats don't like toileting near them.
See our advice on setting up your home for a kitten.
Once your kitten is eight weeks old they no longer need their mother's milk. Do not give your kitten or cat cow's milk as it can cause diarrhoea.
As with all animals, kittens need fresh drinking water available at all times.
When can kittens eat adult food?
Kittens are fully grown at around 12 months old. At this point you can gradually move them onto a complete adult food.
While your kitten may look like they are changing into an adult cat between the age of six to 12 months, they are actually still growing. So it's important to keep giving them complete, nutritional kitten food during this time to help them grow.