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What to Feed a Kitten

10 min read

So you’ve welcomed a new bundle of fur to your family – congratulations! Now that you’ve settled the new arrival into your home, you’ll be wondering how you can help them grow up healthy and strong.

They might be tiny now, but they’re going to grow – and quickly! Within six months, they’ll have reached 75% of their adult body mass, which is why feeding them a nutritionally-rich kitten food now is so important.

To help them during this important time, the Purina Pet Care Team have some helpful tips to help you choose the best kitten food.

What to feed kittens: the options

It might seem like there’s a huge amount of choice out there even for tiny kittens, but the good news is that whatever your pet’s lifestyle or condition, there’s a kitten food that’s right for them.

The best food for kittens is one that's been formulated specifically for their age. Kitten food is specially formulated with very high levels of protein, which is essential for proper growth, as well as higher levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc and iron to help build strong bones and teeth. Kitten food also contains more vitamin C and vitamin E, which help support kittens' immune systems.

Ultimately, unless influenced by a medical condition, deciding whether to give your kitten dry or wet kitten food, or a mixture of both, is completely up to you (and your new furry friend, of course)!

See the kitten range

Benefits of Dry Kitten Food

  • Dry complete kitten diets are easy to measure and use, and have a longer shelf-life once opened than wet foods.
  • They also help to keep your kitten’s teeth healthy. You can expect your kitten to chew dry food more actively, and it can help remove plaque from the teeth of older kittens.
  • Smaller kibbles in most dry kitten food are easy for kittens to chew and swallow.
  • You can give your kitten exactly the amount that they need.

Shop our dry kitten food

Benefits of Wet Kitten Food

  • Some kittens simply prefer wet food's smell and texture, as it smells stronger and is softer than dry food.
  • Wet food can still be very convenient with single-serve pouches and trays giving your kitten a fresh, easy-to-serve meal each time.
  • Your kitten will have an increased water intake.

Shop our wet kitten food

How to feed kittens

Cats are creatures of habit, so getting into a regular routine as soon as possible is best for both you and your kitten. Feed your kitten in the same place and at the same times each day, in a quiet area where they can relax, well away from their litter tray.

Choose a surface that can be easily cleaned, or use a kitten feeding mat, and always use a clean bowl, as cats are very particular creatures at heart. Some kittens may prefer to eat from a flat bowl or saucer – this can also help slow down fast eaters!

If you have more than one kitten, make sure their feeding bowls are a reasonable distance apart to avoid any confrontation. If your kittens really don’t get along, you may even need to have completely separate feeding areas to keep the peace.

Changing kitten food

Your kitten’s digestive system can be very sensitive – so it’s best to avoid changing their food unless absolutely necessary to avoid upset stomachs. To keep your new arrival happy and healthy, it’s best to stick with the food that the breeder or rescue centre was feeding them, unless of course it wasn’t nutritionally balanced. If your kitten becomes unwell, suddenly refuses food or starts to eat less, consult your vet.

If your vet suggests that you should change your kitten’s food, you will need to make sure it’s done gradually to avoid upsetting your kitten’s delicate digestion. Try these steps:

  • Offer your kitten both the new and old foods separately to let them try each.
  • Once they’ve tasted it, mix a little of the new food in with their old food.
  • Over the course of 7-10 days, increase the proportions until you’re feeding them only new food.
transitioning foods

Take it slowly – in some cases the change could take longer.

  • If your kitten’s diet needs to be changed for health reasons, you should consult your vet on the best way and time to make the changes to their diet.

If you’re switching from a wet to a dry food, remember that your kitten is going to chew more actively, need more water and might make repeat visits to their bowl rather than eating in one sitting.

Dry foods give your kitten more energy than wet foods, so you may need to give your kitten more wet food to get the same amount of calories. Whatever the age of your cat, you should make sure they have enough fresh water at all times.


When to start feeding a kitten adult food

Kittens might look grown up by six to eight months, but they’re still kittens on the inside! Their bones are still growing stronger, and their bodies will keep filling out.

Keep feeding them their nutritious kitten food until they’re about 12 months old, when they can make the switch to adult food. Take a look at our guide to feeding an adult cat for more information.

kitten to adult food


Purina's food for kittens

Purina produces many of the world's leading dry and wet cat food brands.

Each is the result of the very latest scientific advances in quality, taste and nutrition, designed to give you, and your pet, an outstanding choice of recipes and formats, for every life stage and lifestyle.

Find out more