Nutrition for New Kittens

If your older cat just had a litter of kittens, or you’ve come into the ownership of a brand-new ball of fluff, read these tips from your Dunedin veterinarian to keep the youngster’s nutrition in top shape.

Mother’s Milk

Newborns need no other nutrition than what they get from their mother’s milk until they’re four weeks old. From birth to four weeks, you don’t have to worry about feeding at all! Of course, if the mother isn’t around or doesn’t produce milk, you’ll need to use a milk substitute and feed the kitten(s) yourself. Consult your veterinarian about the right product to use and how to administer the milk.

First Kibble

You can start offering small amounts of moistened kibble at about three weeks, before the kitten is weaned off the mother’s milk. After five or six weeks, a kitten can start eating kibble regularly. This gradual process is important for switching the kitten from milk to kibble.

ALWAYS use a specially-formulated kitten food. Kittens won’t get the nutrition they need from a cat food made for adults.

Free Feeding

Free-feeding, or leaving food out constantly for a pet to eat as they please, isn’t recommended for adult cats, but it is absolutely fine for kittens. They need two to three times the amount of energy to grow than an adult cat needs, so they’ll be eating quite often. Kibble works best for this since it won’t spoil like wet food when left out for long periods.


Feel free to give your new kitten a cat treat here and there—but don’t overdo it. Treats should make up no more than five percent of your cat’s total nutritional intake. The majority needs to come from their regular kitten food. Call your Dunedin veterinarian to ask about what treats are okay to feed kittens, and about any further questions you might have on your kitten’s nutritional needs.


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