how much should you feed a kitten

How Much Should You Feed a Kitten?

Caring for a kitten is like caring for a baby or even a puppy. You’d really have to pay close attention to its essential needs especially its nutrition as this provides the basic foundation for optimum growth and development. Feeding kittens can be quite complicated because of several factors that have to be considered. Knowing how much you should feed your kitten requires an understanding of these factors.

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Nutrient Requirements of Kittens

It is important to understand that like all mammals, the first year of life is characterized by explosive growth and development. For kittens, their weight typically doubles or even triples in just a matter of a few weeks after birth. This growth spurt requires tremendous amounts of energy. As such, you can expect kittens to require more energy. Unfortunately, they will not be able to obtain the needed amount of calories on a single feeding alone. Most adult cats are fed once or twice a day. Kittens, on the other hand, will require three to four times a day.

kittens eating

Kittens also require more proteins, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids for building cells and tissues, especially the nervous system and muscles. Experts actually recommend that kittens obtain 30% of their energy needs from proteins. This is in addition to the main function of proteins as structural building blocks. When it comes to fatty acids, most vitamins, and fats, the levels are almost the same as in adult cats.

It is hence not surprising that some folks would give kittens adult cat food. As much as possible, this should be avoided since the formulation of adult cat food is not the same as the nutrient requirements of kittens.

Wet or Dry?

The issue with dry cat food is that the kibbles may be too hard for the little teeth of kittens to break down into smaller pieces. Additionally, it contains very little moisture to meet the recommended requirements of your kitten’s hydration needs. If one really has to give dry cat food, this should be softened with water to allow kittens to chew on the food properly and provide them with much-needed hydration at the same time.

A much better option is to give kittens canned wet foods as these are generally considered to be more nutrient-dense than dry food. They contain more moisture and taste a lot better, too. The downside is that wet cat food is usually expensive. As such, most cat owners typically combine wet food and dry food. This helps provide more balanced nutrition for your growing kitten.

So, the deal here is to feed your kitten at least 4 times a day, if you intend to give it wet kitten canned food. If you prefer giving it a combination of wet and dry kitten food, then twice-a-day feeding is often substantial.

Two kittens

Related Post: Best Cat Water Fountain

Feeding Your Kitten in Stages

Here’s a simple guide to help you determine how much to feed your kitten.

  • 0 to 4 weeks

Exclusive breast milk from mommy cat is best. If this is not possible, you may have to hand-feed your young kitten with a bottle. The current guideline is to give 8 mL of milk formula for every ounce of your kitten’s body weight.

  • 4 to 8 weeks

Mix 3 parts of kitten milk replacement with 1 part of dry kitten food. Give for the first week. For the following week, mix 2 parts milk replacement with 1 part dry food. The idea is to gradually reduce the amount of milk replacement in this period. The current recommendation is ¼ to 1/3 cup of kitten food at each feeding.

  • 2 to 3 months

Feed your kitten at least 4 times a day, giving it 1/3 to ¾ cup per feeding. Its tummy is still too small to contain the much-needed amounts of food that will give it the right amounts of nutrients if fed as frequently as adult cats.

  • 3 to 6 months

By this age, you can give your kitten 1/3 to 1 cup of kitten food per feeding three times a day. If giving wet food, you can give 2/3 of a 3-ounce can for every pound of bodyweight on a daily basis.

  • 6 to 12 months

 Give ½ of a 3-ounce can of kitten food for every pound of body weight per day.

The best person to help you determine the right amount of food to give to your kitten is your vet. He will make the necessary assessments to provide you with more definitive answers as to how much to feed your kitten.


  1. Annie Stuart, Feeding Kittens: What, When, How Much, WebMD
  2. John Perritano, You’re Feeding Your Cats All Wrong, HowStuffWorks
  3. Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM, Feeding Times and Frequency for Your Cat, VCA Hospitals
  1. Catherine E Welburn
    May 12, 2022

    Hi , we just got a kitten also she is now 8 weeks old , I give her the I’ams single serving wet food morning and night , she also has dry food on demand! “dry food always down” I’ms kitten also. she eats all her wet food but never complains It seems to work for us , might wanna give it a try, as for the sleeping she/he is a kitten and sometimes they get there days and nights mixed up ,so what we do is put her in the kitchen at nights and close the pocket doors, she has her bed toys food and litter box in there, we sleep well and she can do what she needs to.
    Do you have a room you could possibly give this a try

  2. Leanna Grant
    Apr 21, 2022

    So I currently have a 4 month old Russian Blue male who weighs 7.1lbs. I realized I wasn’t feeding him enough and am a bit confused. The recommendation and rsearch I’ve done says about 7.7oz a day. That seems like a lot when measured out and my husband says it looks like too much. Would a cup and a qtr of dry food and three tbs of wet food be too much or sufficient?

  3. Ayesha Hassan
    Nov 25, 2021

    hey am really confused as my kitten is 6month she turned recently and am feeding her four time sometime five a day her body weight is currently 3kg
    how much in cup measurement should i be giving to her dry food in ???? second how often should i give to her twice or thrice a day need to know

  4. Sep 13, 2021

    Hello, I am a little confused about the portion sizes for 3-6 month old cat. I am to give cat 2/3 of 3 ounce can for every pound of weight. I understand this.. but then it says feed 1/3 cup 3 times a day. Is 1/3 for dry food and the 2/3 – 3 ounce can for wet food? Thank you for your time.

  5. Bunnee
    Feb 28, 2021

    Both of our cats are rescues. The older one was a stray for many months & has a huge appetite. Plus, since the new kitten came, the older cat has been jumping on counters to eat bread, wraps or soft items when we’re sleeping.
    My question is for the newer kitten, who we’ve had for four months. Jake is 9 months old. I’m now trying to feed him separately from Stella, the elder cat, but I”m not sure how much food I should give Jake and how often to feed him. I have both high-fat wet and dry food for Jake.
    Your opinion is welcome,

  6. Jim W
    Jan 03, 2021

    When I got my kitten a week ago he came with feeding instructions. He was cuddly, charming, and acted pretty much like the like a typical kitten at first, but now never sleeps and acts like he’s stressed out and won’t sleep, or allow anyone else to sleep. The feeding instructions that I was given with him was to feed him about one third of a cup of dry food per day and one third of a cup of wet food per day, divided among two feedings. He seems like he’s starving and no longer wants anything to do with me unless it involves biting me or feeding him. I’ve always been very precise about following instructions because I expect the same from those who I give instructions. Why is this site recommending four feedings per day of more than the amount I have been giving him twice per day? I’m so confused? I would love any advice as I don’t think he’s ever going to let me sleep again.

  7. Inge
    Sep 18, 2020

    I’m confused…12 week kitten…..if I feed it four times a day and a 1/4 cup of food per sitting…..that would be 1 cup of food every 24 hours. Is this correct?

  8. Joey
    Sep 08, 2020

    the kittwn is 4 to 5 months old. The kitten gets wet and dry food combo for it’s meal. How many time and how much do we feed the kitten?

  9. Loretta
    Jul 01, 2020

    Heey, this was really helpful, just one thing I didn’t find. I’ve been given my kitten cow’s milk, is that okay, or should I just give it water from now on.. only got her yesterday – she’s 8weeks

  10. May 24, 2020

    Thank you for this information as l am going to adopt a cat and l think these are very important things to know. Thank you!!

  11. Dorrica Marie James
    Apr 17, 2020

    I found kittens under my house, how can I get them to come/trust me so I can domesticate it?

  12. Anaiza Farhan
    Apr 03, 2020

    I’m planning to get a kitten and I would like to know about his feeding schedules it’s a male kitten, 6 months old & it weights around 4-6 Pounds

  13. Rhubarb
    Mar 10, 2020

    My 7-month-old cat seems quite healthy.
    I have fed her 5 times a day since she came to my place when she was 3-month old.
    I switched feeding schedule 3x a day, When ever I’m at the kitchen preparing food for me or my family, she comes and starts mewing.. I feel guilty not giving her.
    Is that because she’s only being curious?

  14. David Kien
    Jan 08, 2020

    Hi. My rescue kitty, Gatsby, is wonderful. He is 4 months old now. I got him at 2 months. He goes through a sneezing and regurgitation episode at least once a day. It’s scary to watch
    Then hes fine and is normal again. He never pukes anything up during these spells. Is there reason to be concerned?

  15. Nikki B Sapp
    Nov 17, 2019

    my kitten is a little over 6 months old and weighs about 6 and 1/2 lb. I’m giving her half a can of wet cat food four times a day and leaving dry food for her to eat at will. But she’s starting to look a little bit round. So I’d like to put dry food out at night and skip the 4th feeding of wet food. If I give her half a can of wet food three times a day how much dry food do you think I should give her at night?

  16. Frank
    Sep 05, 2019

    We have a kitten, and he’s about 5 months old. Our vet suggests feeding him dry food, twice a day, and 1/4 cup at each feeding. To me, this seems like it’s not enough food, and he’s constantly searching for more. He cleans his bowl immediately and it never seems to be enough. We work all day too, so he doesn’t eat again for another 10+ hours, so I fear he isn’t getting what he needs. Are we underfeeding him? Any suggestions or tips are appreciated! Thanks!

  17. Shannon Leggett-Clark
    Jul 14, 2019

    We just adopted a kitten from animal control. Thank you the information.

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