Kitten Feeding Basics (cont.)

3. What type of food does my kitten need, wet or dry?

It's important that very young kittens have at least some canned food to eat as part of their diet. Very small kittens have very small teeth and can't chew dry food well. Without some canned food, they won't get enough nutrition to grow properly. If you are feeding your kitten both dry and canned foods, then twice a day canned feedings are sufficient. If they're only eating canned food, they should be fed four times daily.

4. How do I switch from one kitten food to another?

Cats are often considered the epitome of the “picky eater.” But it doesn't have to be that way. Get your kitten started off on the right paw.

“It's easier to switch foods if a kitten has been exposed early on to different textures and flavors,” Larsen says. “If exposed to the same food over and over, cats tend to get a fixed preference for a particular flavor and texture.”

If you're trying to make a switch to a new kitten food, Larsen recommends not mixing it with the old food. “If the kitten dislikes the new food, this can put them off the old food, too,” she says. Instead, offer the new food and old foods in separate bowls. Over time, offer smaller and smaller amounts of the old food along with the new food. “A little bit of hunger will help them make the transition - and resign them to at least trying the new food.”

Remember that making rapid changes in food can cause stomach upset or “hunger strikes.” So you may need to make the transition to a new food over four to seven days.