Caring for a New Kitten: The First 6 Months

Caring for a New Kitten: The First 6 Months

Raising a kitten is one of the most enjoyable experiences a pet owner can have, but it can also be as challenging as it is rewarding. When it comes to your kitten’s diet, it’s important to set up a solid foundation to make sure your kitten grows into a healthy, well-adjusted cat.

Feeding Your Kitten during the First 6 Months

The timeline for feeding your newborn kitten changes rapidly during the first six months. The following is a broad overview of the key development milestones your kitten will experience to help you learn what and how you should feed the newest member of your family.

Common Milestones for Kitten Development

7-10 days oldKittens begin to urinate and defecate on their own.
10-18 days oldKittens attempt to stand.
Kittens double their birth weight at about day 14.
Kittens’ eyes begin to open.
Kittens’ ears begin to open.
18-21 days oldKittens hear and respond to noises.
Kittens begin to walk.
3 weeks oldBegin weaning process for orphaned kittens.
Kittens begin responsive vocalization.
Deciduous (baby) teeth will begin erupting.
4 weeks oldBegin weaning process for mother-fed kittens.
3-6 months oldKittens’ adult teeth erupt.

Due to breed differences and animal individuality, it is impossible to predict exact dates for growth and development milestones for kittens. However, by using these milestones as a guide for healthy growth, you can spot and possibly prevent developmental problems early on.

How to Wean Kittens with IAMS™

When your kitten reaches 4 weeks old (or 3 weeks old for orphaned kittens), you can begin the weaning process. Follow this step-by-step process to wean a kitten using IAMS:

  1. 1. Introduce a small amount of water in a shallow dish. Most kittens will play in the water; however, within four or five days, they begin to develop drinking skills. Some kittens may require longer periods for training, so don’t be discouraged if they resist bowl training.
  2. 2. Begin mixing IAMS™ Perfect Portions™ Kitten Premium Pate with Chicken with water. Be sure to also provide a separate dish for fresh water.
  3. 3. Gradually increase the amount of soft food while decreasing the amount of water in the mixture until the kitten is eating soft food only.
  4. 4. Repeat the process, mixing the appropriate dry IAMS kitten food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Healthy Kitten, with the soft food, and then increasing the solid food while decreasing the soft food until the transition is complete.

The entire process should take approximately three weeks.