Young kittens need to be fed three to six meals per day. This is because small kittens can easily develop low sugar levels in their blood (hyopglycaemia) if they experience too much time between meals.
There are several ways to achieve this regular level of food availability. If you are not at home for a large proportion of the day, it may be necessary to leave out dry food. If you are at home with your kitten and are able to remove food that has not been eaten within about 30 minutes, you should aim to offer a variety of fresh foods, including tinned food and different kinds of animal protein.
Offering your kitten a variety of food as early as possible is very important as cats “imprint” their food preferences during this early life stage. It is common to find that adult cats will refuse new or different foods unless they have experienced them regularly as a young kitten.
Even if you do not plan to feed a particular food all the time, it is very helpful to get your kitten used to a good variety of food types and protein sources. This can really help if they ever need to stay somewhere where they may not get their regular food. Examples of these circumstances include boarding at a cattery if you need to go away, being admitted to hospital or needing a specific diet for a medical reason later in life.
Dr Felicity Banks is a resident veterinarian at 4Legs
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