Young ginger kitten with big eyes looking at camera

There’s nothing quite like bringing home your first kitten. Naturally, it’s very exciting, but you wouldn’t be alone if you found it a little bit scary too, as you’re now responsible for the health and well-being of a tiny animal.

Fortunately, there’s a lot of information around to help you on your journey and make sure your kitten grows strong.

As pet lovers ourselves, the Closer Pets team aim to provide you with all sorts of helpful advice to keep your pet happy and healthy. One important factor to get right is their diet. 

What you feed your kitten, when you feed your kitten and how much you feed your kitten will determine how healthy, active and playful they are.

Remember, a kitten has different food requirements to an adult cat and its nutritional needs will change as it grows.

In this blog, we’ll cover what to feed your kitten, how often to feed a kitten and even provide a kitten feeding chart by age and type of food to make taking care of your kitten as simple as possible.

By the end, you’ll know everything you need to give your kitty the best start in life!

What to feed your kitten

Your first task is to decide what to feed your kitten. Ask the breeder what food they’re currently eating, as they may be used to eating wet food, or they may have been introduced to some dry food already. Usually, the breeder will give you some of this food to take home to get you started.

It’s often best to keep your kitten on the same food to start with while they settle in. While such an exciting change is happening, keeping this part of their routine the same will help them transition into your family even more smoothly.

Cat’s stomachs are sensitive to change and that’s even more true for kittens. So if you decide to change their food, make sure to do it gradually. You can do this by mixing a small portion of the new food in with their usual food and then slowly increasing the amount of new food in this mix over several days. 

We recommend feeding your kitten the best quality kitten food you can afford. We understand cost is an important factor when it comes to choosing pet food, but make sure that whichever kitten food you choose provides the correct nutrition for your pet’s age and size. 

A good rule of thumb is to look for food that states a ‘complete’ diet on the packaging as you’ll know that it provides all the nutrients your kitten needs to grow and thrive. The packaging will give you guidelines for the amount and frequency of food to feed your kitten, and this will vary from product to product. You can ask your vet for recommendations on the best kitten food to meet their nutritional needs. 

Kittens should only eat kitten food and not adult cat food. It won’t harm them, but adult cat food won’t provide all the protein and nutrients that a kitten needs to grow strong and healthy.

Don’t forget to make sure your kitten always has fresh water. Change it daily and wash their water bowl or use a cat water fountain to keep them happy and hydrated.

Wet or dry kitten food?

Cat food comes in two main types. Wet food in tins or pouches that’s covered in jelly or gravy, or dry food in the form of kibble. You can feed your kitten one or the other or a mix of both.

A quality dry food can be a good choice for maintaining healthy teeth and gums, but as long as you buy a good quality complete kitten food, there is no ‘best’ option. In fact, you’ll find that your kitten will often choose for you! Felines are known to be fussy eaters, so you’ll soon learn which food they prefer.

How much should kittens eat?

Balance is essential when deciding how much to feed your kitten. They’re always hungry and will eat anything you put down for them. 

Feed them too much and it can upset their stomach and potentially lead to early obesity. However, if you feed them too little, they won’t have the energy and nutrition for their body to develop. So striking the right balance really is key!

Most kitten food will have feeding and portion instructions on the side of the packaging. We recommend following those as closely as possible.

This kitten feeding chart by age can act as a general guide to understand how much food your pet needs to stay strong and healthy:

Kitten age


How often

How much

8–12 weeks

Complete kitten food – whatever the breeder has been feeding

Three to four times per day

250–360 calories a day

12-16 weeks

Complete kitten food – wet or dry

Three to four times per day

250-360 calories a day

16–24 weeks

(4-6 months)

Complete kitten food – wet or dry

Two to three times per day

250-420 calories a day

24–52 weeks

(6–12 months)

Complete kitten food – wet or dry

Twice per day

330-580 calories a day

1 year onwards

Complete adult cat food – wet or dry

Twice per day

160-315 calories a day


Keep in mind that this chart is a general guide only. Actual feeding amounts will differ depending on the size, weight and breed of your kitten, as well as the type of food you’re using. 

It’s always a good idea to check the feeding directions on the food bag or ask your vet for specific advice for your kitten.

As a general rule of thumb, your kitten will need roughly 60-65 calories per pound of body weight per day.

Always keep an eye on your kitten’s weight. They grow fast and you need to give them enough food so that they remain healthy and active, but not so much that they get overweight and lazy.

Feel free to adjust feeding as required or talk to your vet if you’re unsure.

How often should you feed your kitten?

How often you feed your kitten is just as important as what to feed them. You want to provide enough food to give them what they need without overfeeding them.

Between 8 and 12 weeks, we recommend feeding them three or four small meals. This gives their small stomachs a steady stream of nutrients little and often, so they have energy throughout the day.

From 3 to 6 months (12–26 weeks), you can reduce it slightly to three times per day.

From 6 months to a year, you can reduce their feeding schedule to twice a day. By this age, their stomachs are big enough to last between breakfast and dinner time.

From a year onwards, your kitten is an adult so can be fed as an adult cat.

How to feed your kitten

Feeding your kitten is like embarking on an adventure together. It can be an ongoing journey in the beginning to figure out what works best for you both, but it’s really important to do it right for their optimum growth and development.

Follow the feeding guides on the food packaging or use our kitten feeding chart by age to assess what, when and how much food to feed your kitten and you’ll be well on your way!

So, exactly how should you feed your kitten? First things first, make sure their food and water bowls are located away from their litter tray. Kittens are little explorers and, just like us, they prefer dining in a clean and pleasant atmosphere. 

Fresh water is a must, so remember to refill their water bowl regularly. A cat water fountain is a great way to encourage them to stay hydrated as cats are often drawn to moving water.

To avoid any feline food heists by your other furry friends, try not to leave food out all day. A kitten’s meals should be served on a schedule to ensure they're getting the right amount of food each time. An automated cat feeder can help keep meal times regular when you’re not around. 

So, embrace this feeding routine with open arms and your little bundle of joy will thank you with purrs and playful antics. Happy feeding!