Kittens always hungry: how much should they eat?

MoriartyX

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This is my first post outside the Behavior subforum :p

Well, I come today with a pretty straightforward question: how much should 3-4 months old kittens eat? We adopted Coco and Kylo about a month ago, with around 8 weeks, and they are around 14 weeks now.

The first days, we had them on a free feeding basis, as both the foster lady and the vet told us "let them eat as they want, they are kittens and they need to eat a lot". This is dry food I'm talking about, with wet food cans around 3 times a week. During these days, I noticed they usually left some krispies in their plate (sorry, this is how we usually call dry food here!), and didn't eat more until they saw their plate full again.

Later, after reading a lot and watching a lot of Jackson Galaxy videos, we started to feed them 4 times a day. Also, respecting the suggested intakings in the
package. The second vet (the one the foster association has an arrangement with, and where both kittens are being vaccinated and will be neutered) told us that we should follow strictly the doses at the packages, and on the days we give them a can of wet food, give them less dry food. This second vet said kittens can get obese so correct intakes must be respected since the beginning.

What I see is that they are now obsessed with food. They jump on their plates as soon as we present them, and start meowing a lot while we prepare them. Also, when their scheduled time is nearing, they will follow us if they see we are eating something (could be just a banana) and even meow a little asking for food.

So what do you usually prefer with kittens? Should they eat at will, or it's important to follow instructions on rations? And is it definitely better to use them to 3-4 feedings a day instead of at will?

Thanks!
 

Norachan

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For the first year at least feed them as much as they will eat. They have a lot of growing to do and proper nutrition is essential for healthy bones.

I recommend you feed them canned food that is formulated for kittens, at least for two meals a day. It's actually much better for cats to feed them only canned food and avoid dry, but I understand that it can be expensive to do that.

Dry food tends to be very high in carbohydrate, so can lead to obesity if cats get too much of it. It can also cause kidney problems and lead to urinary tract infections, as cats who eat mainly dry don't take in enough moisture. If you can make sure their diet is mainly canned, with dry food offered just as a treat or as an extra meal if it gets really expensive to feed them all canned.

Here are some reviews of kitten food available in the UK. I guess some of it is sold in Spain too.

Kitten Wet Food | Find the Best Wet Food for Kittens at zooplus

Having set meal times is a good idea. You can monitor how much the kittens are eating, spot any lack of appetite which may suggest the kitten is sick and make it easier to give them any medication they need too.

My adult cats are on three meals a day, but I work from home so it's easy for me to stick to a schedule. Four meals a day sounds about right for growing kittens,
 

di and bob

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I have always believed kittens under a year old should be fed as much as they want. they put out tremendous amounts of energy and if they are crying for food, they need more. I feed wet food three times a day, one 5.5oz. can be divided three ways, and leave weight management dry out all the time. it is lower in carbs, in fact you can get all meat dry too now. These are adult 6-7 year old cats. I have a feral outside that uses MUCH more energy, he gets a full can twice a day and a plate full of shaved turkey, roast, or some other snack in the evening. He is thin and healthy. You just have to look at the cat to see how they are doing. I keep mine a little on the chubby side because they have leukemia and when illness strikes they lose a lot of weight.
Kittens may have a little belly, that is normal. They should be spending their time playing and running around, not begging for food. Kittens cannot really over eat. In fact, they are much less apt to get overweight than puppies, who do overeat. If you can see their hip bones, they are too skinny. Feed them as much wet as they want, and worry about weight control when they get a year old, adjust from there.
 

Talien

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There is no such thing as an obese Kitten, or if there is I've never heard of it. That is good advice for adult Cats since they can and do get fat if allowed to free feed all day long, Kittens should be given as much as they will eat because they grow fast and usually reach full size at around a year old. As was mentioned an all canned food diet is better than dry, but for Kittens you would need to feed them several times a day and that's not always doable, especially if you're working.
 

klunick

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I have always believed kittens under a year old should be fed as much as they want. they put out tremendous amounts of energy and if they are crying for food, they need more. I feed wet food three times a day, one 5.5oz. can be divided three ways, and leave weight management dry out all the time. it is lower in carbs, in fact you can get all meat dry too now. These are adult 6-7 year old cats. I have a feral outside that uses MUCH more energy, he gets a full can twice a day and a plate full of shaved turkey, roast, or some other snack in the evening. He is thin and healthy. You just have to look at the cat to see how they are doing. I keep mine a little on the chubby side because they have leukemia and when illness strikes they lose a lot of weight.
Kittens may have a little belly, that is normal. They should be spending their time playing and running around, not begging for food. Kittens cannot really over eat. In fact, they are much less apt to get overweight than puppies, who do overeat. If you can see their hip bones, they are too skinny. Feed them as much wet as they want, and worry about weight control when they get a year old, adjust from there.
I think Boone is ready for a growth spurt soon. He has been eating a lot lately. Gracie is more leaner so it's hard to tell when her growth spurts will happen. I have to look back at pictures to tell that she's grown some. Boone is a chunk for sure. I will have to weigh him but last month when he got spayed (at 4 months), he was 6.10 lbs. Not sure if it's the same with kittens as it is with puppies but looking at the size of his feet, Boone will be a big boy!

I have a bowl of dry food out and I figure both kittens are eating 1/2 cup of dry together. I feed them wet in the morning and evening. 1.5oz each (or one 3oz can total). I switched them to Carnivora Woodland wet and dry and am waiting on my order of Instinct from Chewy for some variety of wet food.
 
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MoriartyX

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Thank you for all the comments!

So basically, I should keep the 4 times feeding, but bring them full plates so they can eat all they want, and once they stop, I take the plates back. And this adding as much wet food as possible (the morewet fold vs dry the better), right?
 

Talien

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Thank you for all the comments!

So basically, I should keep the 4 times feeding, but bring them full plates so they can eat all they want, and once they stop, I take the plates back. And this adding as much wet food as possible (the morewet fold vs dry the better), right?
Yeah that sounds like a plan. You can put the leftover food in a covered bowl in the fridge for the next meal, some people throw it out for whatever reason but as long as it's kept refrigerated and covered it's fine to save for later.
 

Sylvia Jones

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Kittens should have dry food avalible 24/7.And then feed small amount of wet (their tummies are little) 2-4 times a day They are growing at a tremendous rate and have tons of energy Food should be labeled for kittens or at least labeled for all life stages Timed feeding can be transitioned to at 1 yr old Most people on this site recommend wet food but my boys prefer dry So I buy a high quality dry food and they get 1 wet meal a day I recommend encouraging drinking water from a young age (which mine always have) A water fountain helps . Enjoy their kitten antics they grow soooo fast
 
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MoriartyX

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Thank you everyone! For now, I can say that at least they are a lot happier :D
 
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