A kitten meowing.
A kitten meowing. Photography ©annadarzy | Thinkstock.

How Much to Feed a Kitten

Wondering how much to feed a kitten, what to feed a kitten, if there’s a kitten feeding schedule? See advice for feeding kittens (and check with your vet!).
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If you’re thinking of adopting a kitten, whether three weeks old or six months old, he’s going to require proper nutrition and care. Feeding grown cats can seem like a simpler task, but knowing how much to feed a kitten can be a bit more complex. Here’s how much to feed a kitten:

How Much to Feed a Kitten — From Birth To Four Weeks

A newborn kitten in the palm of a human hand.
If a mama cat isn’t around or won’t take care of her newborn kittens, they’ll have to be hand-fed. Photography by Branislav Ostojic/Thinkstock.

Mama’s Milk: Hopefully a kitten is still with his mother during this time. But, even so, there can be problems. If the mother cat refuses to nurse, have the vet check her out. She could have mastitis or something, making nursing painful.

Hand-Feeding: If the mother cat refuses to take care of her kittens, you’ll have to bottle feed the kittens. One brand of kitten milk, KMR, can be found at major pet stores. Your vet may also have a suggestion for a formula. If at all possible, it is important for the kittens to nurse for at least the first two days.

How Much to Feed a Kitten — From Four to Eight Weeks

Weaning kittens: This is a gradual process. Give the kittens a mixture of dry kitten food (one part) mixed with cat milk replacement (three parts) or wet kitten food (one part) and milk replacement (two parts). Gradually reduce the liquid.

How much to feed a kitten — From Two Months To Three Months

Cat Food: Kittens should be feeding solely on kitten food by 10 weeks at the latest.

What to feed kittens at this time: During this time, kittens develop their food preferences which will stay with them for life. Wet food or dry food is up to you. Only in special circumstances decided by your vet should you give a kitten supplements.

How much to feed a kitten schedule at two to three months: Kittens this age should be fed at least four times a day because their stomachs are too small to contain the necessary amount of food for nutritional needs when less often. Wet food should be refrigerated between feedings and then warmed up. Dry food can be left out for kittens to free-feed. Mix a little water in the dry food if your kitten isn’t drawn to it.

How Much to Feed a Kitten — From Three Months to Six Months

Routine: Kittens start to really appreciate routine during this time. Make sure your kitten food is in a quiet, safe place and don’t move it around.

What to feed a kitten at this time: Check your kitten food label. It should have a guaranteed analysis of key ingredients including the minimum fat and protein and the maximum fiber and moisture. Cats and kittens can develop problems from too little protein in their diet. Keep your kitten’s diet constant — don’t switch foods unless necessary.

How much to feed a kitten schedule at three to six months: Toward six months, you can begin feeding your kitten three times a day. It’s best to weigh your cat every week and adjust amounts accordingly.

How much to feed a kitten who is three months to six months old: 1/3 to 1 cup at each feeding.

How Much to Feed a Kitten — From Six Months to a Year

Feeding cats: Though your kitten may continue to grow after a year, they’re generally considered cats by then.

What to feed cats at this time: Your cat’s food should, again, contain adequate protein as it highly digestible to cats. Also, look for taurine and arginine — these are essential amino acids. Most vets recommend against a vegetarian diet as cats are strict carnivores. As a grown cat, he has several choices for food:

  1. Dry food: There are many brands on the market. There are also special foods for specific problems such as hairballs and urinary tract infections.
  2. Wet food: Some cat owners feel this is best because it is lower in carbs than dry food. They also feel cats have less of a chance of obesity with wet food. But it has been found there’s no real difference between a dry or wet food diet.
  3. Raw food diet: Proponents feel this best approximates a cat’s diet in the wild. You can either make your own or buy a raw food diet. The key is to make certain your cat gets all the required nutrients. Some people add probiotics (which help maintain intestinal health) and supplements (check with your vet).
  4. Frequency: Twice a day.

How much to feed a kitten at this age: Check food label recommendations.

The Bottom Line on How Much to Feed a Kitten

Knowing how much to feed a kitten to insure his growth into a healthy cat is essential. Watch his weight (an overweight cat or kitten will have a hanging stomach, ribs you can’t feel and, perhaps, a double chin); watch his activity level; and watch his stools. By focusing on good nutrition from the start, you’ll most likely have a healthy and strong cat.

Concerned about how much (and what!) you’re eating? Here’s how to get your own healthy eating plan in place >>

Thumbnail: Photography ©annadarzy | Thinkstock. 

This piece was originally published in 2009.

Read more about caring for kittens on Catster.com:

54 thoughts on “How Much to Feed a Kitten”

  1. One of my kittens who was 4 months old when I got her was skittish and hiding and so every time she went by and I could snatch her up I just gave her a lot of love and padding and she’s adjusted quite nicely she was very scared of thunder so whenever there was a storm I turned up the music and I sang with both of them and neither one of them are afraid or scared or hiding anymore

  2. I feed my kitty cat who is 10 months old the blue Buffalo adult food for sensitive stomach 2 x a day 1/2 cup in the morning and 1/2

  3. Zarita Sample Barnes

    My kitten is always hiding no matter how much I play with her. She runs and does not want to be petted. Sometimes I trick her into coming to me and she will stay for about 1minue and runs off.
    She is a kitten from the wild is why I think she is having a hard time adjusting but appears to be no more than 2monts old. Any advice or suggestions. frustrated

    1. I highly recommend looking up videos of Jackson Galaxy on YouTube. I’ve learned a lot about cats behavior and what to do to make them happy and friendly pets.

    2. One of my kittens who was 4 months old when I got her was skittish and hiding and so every time she went by and I could snatch her up I just gave her a lot of love and padding and she’s adjusted quite nicely she was very scared of thunder so whenever there was a storm I turned up the music and I sang with both of them and neither one of them are afraid or scared or hiding anymore

  4. I feed my kitty cat who is 10 months old the blue Buffalo adult food for sensitive stomach 2 x a day 1/2 cup in the morning and 1/2 cup in the evening she loves only the blue Buffalo dry food healthy and natural she’s very active and is between 7-8 pounds she’s very healthy and a beautiful kitty who my mom and I rescued on 1-12

  5. I feed my kitty cat who is 10 months old the blue Buffalo adult food for sensitive stomach 2 x a day 1/2 cup in the morning and 1/2 cup in the evening she loves only the blue Buffalo dry food healthy and natural

  6. half months almost 4 months and she has more energy, loves to play all day and night then she will be worn out after a while and take a cat nap she’s so cute when she sleeps too.

  7. The most useless article. no valuable information. it is as useless as:

    how to feed the kitten? use wet and dry
    how much to feed the kitten? follow labels
    should i feed wet or dry? doesn’t matter. (unknown) research shows there is no difference

    HOW MUCH TO FEED THE KITTEN no word about that. USELESS site

  8. Your articles are usually a good, informative and fun read. There was very little listed in this article about feeding newborns, and not much information on where to go to find more online resources. A good resource is kittenlady.org. There are other informative websites and charts out there as well. Readers of this article may have a newborn and will not know that they need to be fed often, and how much to feed them. Feeding newborns requires special care and is a huge undertaking. I would have included more on feeding newborns here, or more resources for the reader. The rest of the article was good and I do like that you let people know to contact a vet. Some people may not have access to that resource, however.

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  16. my cat gave birth to a litter of 7 kittens and she has rejected 2 of those 7. One of them has already died and I do not want the second one to die as well. It is 4 weeks now and I’m wandering if I need to start feeding it “the gruel” which is watered down cat food or do I start with kitten milk replacement.

    1. Hi there,
      Please contact a vet ASAP with help feeding these kittens. These articles will help, too:
      https://www.catster.com/kittens/guide-to-bottle-feeding-kittens
      https://www.catster.com/kittens/what-to-feed-kittens

  17. Once a 5 week old kitten starts eating the milk and cat food mixture for the first time, how many times a day do you offer this mixture to the kitten? Is this offered at every feeding as a replacement to the milk or does the milk still need to be offered? The mom cat stopped producing enough milk when the kittens were about two weeks old so they have been bottle fed on a schedule over the last several weeks. The kittens are encouraged to drink the milk from a dish but it is more difficult to tell what amount each kitten is actually drinking. Today is the first day more than one of the kittens has tried to eat the softened food. I am sure all of the kittens will eventually try to eat more of the softened food on their own but right now I am not sure how often they need to eat it without upsetting their baby stomachs. The kittens already use the litter box so that part of their training has gone well.

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      We suggest working with your vet, but these articles might provide some insight as well:
      https://www.catster.com/kittens/weaning-kittens
      https://www.catster.com/kittens/guide-to-bottle-feeding-kittens
      https://www.catster.com/kittens/what-to-feed-kittens

  18. Pingback: Choosing the Best Kitten Food – What Your Kitten Should and Shouldn’t Eat – Cat Food Cart

  19. I feed my almost 4 month old 3x a day. I give him a handful of dry food which is about a 1/3 cup and a quarter of wet food mixed in, he won’t eat it any other way.

    1. AM WE OVER FEEDING OUR TWO FOUR MONTH OLD KITTENS-WE GIVE THEM 3X A DAY-HANDFUL DRY FOOD AND A QUATER OF WET FOOD MIXED IN. I ALSO ADD A LITTLE BROTH -WATER AND A LITTLE TREAT . ONE IS A SIAMESS AND A TABBY BOTH MALES. THEY WEIGHTED ONE POUND EIGHT OZ WHEN WE GOT THEM. THEY WENT FOR THE LAST SHOTS AND NOW WEIGHT 4 POUNDS AND THEY ARE VERY PLAYFUL BUT SOME TIMES I THINK THEY ARE FIGHTING. AT THAT TIME I SEAPERATE = THEM.

  20. Pingback: Feeding a Kitten: How Much Food, Plan and Tips | Caring For Pets

  21. We had problems with our kittens who were 9 weeks when we got them. We tried everything, different flavors Science Diet (they got at the SPCA), heating up and wetting dry food, and etc. Heating the food up definitely seemed to help. We also transitioned them to Blue Buffalo. We only have them a little bit at a time but they ended up eating the BB and not much else. Now, I think they are eating too much! Just keep trying different things and if you can’t afford BB, then try to get the next best thing. One of little guys has a heart murmur and his a different guy on BB. More energy and everything. Hopefully it helps with his murmur!

  22. My kitten is 17 weeks old he won’t eat dry any suggestions Ive tried watering it down I’ve tried a couple different ones , I worry because I work in daytime so not able to feed 4 times a day wet

    1. Hi Bea,
      We suggest reaching out to a vet for the best suggestions. You can also try mixing up wet food and dry food to transition him to dry food.

    2. My kitten had the same issue when he was two-months-old. I put both dry food and wet food there and he began to try the dry food. After he began to eat dry food, I gradually removed the wet food. It works.

  23. Does my two months old Persian kitten need mothers milk and if he does can you tell me which brand because I am worried about his growth.

  24. My 8 weeks old kitten got thinner (can feel her back bones & ribcage) in the past few days & very quiet, she is not playing with her siblings although she seems to eat each time I present her with dry food or home cooked chicken broth. Can this be a serious problem?

  25. We switched her to blue Buffalo a month ago because she had really bad gas ever since we switched her to blue Buffalo for sensitive stomach adult dry food she hasn’t had any gas which is a good thing the last food was to rich for her especially when she was eating from age 4 months to 7 months so for 3 & a half months almost 4 months and she has more energy, loves to play all day and night then she will be worn out after a while and take a cat nap she’s so cute when she sleeps too.

  26. I feed my kitty cat who is 10 months old the blue Buffalo adult food for sensitive stomach 2 x a day 1/2 cup in the morning and 1/2 cup in the evening she loves only the blue Buffalo dry food healthy and natural she’s very active and is between 7-8 pounds she’s very healthy and a beautiful kitty who my mom and I rescued on 1-12-18 she was 7 months old

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