After we have tried most of the options available to encourage Scooter to eat more, here is a summary of our findings.
Dry food is a must as all of the kitten nutrition is in there, including fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals essential for kittens. Buy dry food that is made specially for kittens as the kibbles are smaller. If you are feeding food that is suitable for all age range of cats, crush the kibbles into smaller bits if he is still new to chewing his food. If your kitten is new to solid food, moisten the kibbles in warm water first before serving. You can also moisten the food with animal milk but this must be kept refrigerated until serving. If you will not be at home to feed the kittens throughout the day, keep the kibbles in water out for kitty to eat free choice.
Canned food is more palatable to kittens who are still young and learning to chew kibbles of dry food. There are a variety of kitten canned foods that we have used and enjoyed: Meow!
- Omnipro for kittens $2.40 – value for money, easily digestible by kitten
- Natural Balance for cats and kittens $2.80- an affordable premium food brand
- Eagle Pack for cats and kittens $3.40 – slightly costlier premium food brand
- Fish for Cats Salmon Mousse $1.80 – being mousse, this is easy for kitten to eat but is a relatively expensive choice of food as it is around 99g per pack, while the others are 170g.
- Bistro Chicken $1 – half the size of the other canned foods, not made for kittens specially but chicken is more suitable for kittens than other meats. Comes with jelly and not wholly meat like the other brands. Needs to be minced into smaller pieces for smaller kittens to eat.
Canned food should be served alongside dry food so that kitten will enjoy eating his dry food, and also will be able to eat more of it because the canned food is more palatable. At this age, canned food should be half of kitty’s entire diet as he requires all the protein and moisture he can get until he learns to eat more dry food and drink water on his own.
Fresh homemade food is easy to prepare and cheaper than canned foods. The food can also be prepared in a fashion that is easy for kitten to eat and digest. The key component of homemade food should be protein, which can obtained from animal milk, cheese, eggs, and muscle meats. Examples of simple cooked foods you can try:
- Chicken breast – lightly boiled to remove oil and cooked with little or no salt. The meat should then be prepared in shreds for kitten to eat easily without choking.
- Minced chicken – as above, but already in a form which is easily eaten by kitten.
- Minced beef – this can be served raw or cooked rare.
- Tuna – can be bought in chunks, in cans of water or vegetable oil (which must be drained). Feed tuna in smaller chunks than what is contained in the can.
- Eggs – can be added to any of the above meats in the form of egg drop soup, scrambled eggs, or hard boiled and cut into small pieces.
Allow foods to cool before serving and refrigerate the rest in a air-tight container to consume within a few days.
Milk is essential for kittens from newborn to 8 weeks of age. From week 4 they are partially weaned off milk and move on to solid food. Some kittens prefer milk more than others – Scooter has had a greater interest in solid food than milk from the time he was 4 weeks old. Some kittens take longer to wean off milk. After 8 weeks, milk should be a supplemental treat and not a key part of their diet.
Kittens can be fed their milk either with a pet milk bottle or a syringe, as if they are only around 4 weeks old they will not have mastered drinking from a bowl directly. Milk can also be added to their food, but if so, encourage your cat to eat all his food in one sitting as milk will go off after awhile.
The animal milk we use is Animalac, in powder form, and not too big a can so it is just nice for us. There are also other brands in the market, such as KMR.
Small meals throughout the day – kittens’ appetites differ from cat to cat. We always give Scooter just enough that he can finish in one sitting. He is currently 8 weeks old and he is fed as often as he is hungry, which can be once every 1-2 hours. He eats less frequently during his sleep time, and more if he is active. He now eats 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, and 2 suppers, with tea and brunch in between if he is awake and hungry. That is 10 meals a day! While he is still growing, we indulge his appetite, so that he will grow up healthy and strong. Soon, we will cut down the meals to 6 a day until he is 3 months old, when he is able to eat more in one sitting than he does now.