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Am I not feeding my kitten enough?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
For the last couple months there has been a stray kitten hanging around my house. He got into some dehydrated food in our garage one day and had been hanging around since then. A couple weeks after that we decided to put some food and water out for him. We have been cat sitting for my cousin so we had 9Lives Plus care, which is what she feeds her cat. That's the food we were putting out for the stray kitten. Last week I finally caught him and took him to the vet for a checkup and vaccinations and everything.

The kitten has been limited to a bathroom at least until my cousin takes her cat sometimes this or next week. When we were feeding him as a stray he pretty much got unlimited food during the day but we brought it in at night because raccoons and possums were getting into it. The first couple days he was living in our house he had food pretty much around the clock, while I was doing a lot of researching online as to what food is best and everything. I finally decided on the Authority brand sole at Petsmart because although the ingredients aren't as good as something like Wellness, they are better than all the "supermarket brands". So I bought a bag of Authority brand for kittens. The bag said that for his age (the vet said about 4 months) and his weight (~4.5 lbs) he should be getting 1/2 cup of food a day. So the first day I fed him 3/4 of the 9Lives and 1/4 Authority. Next day I fed him 1/2 each, next day I fed him 3/4 Authority and 1/4 9Lives, and finally today I fed him 1/2 cup Authority.

The first day the 1/2 cup lasted him until the evening, the next day only about half the day, the third day he had eaten it all within a couple hours of putting it out and today he had finished it all within an hour of me giving it to him.

I was under the impression that they will eat less of the foods with better ingredients. Also, everything I've read said to leave the food out for them because they like to eat a little bit at a time all day, but he has been eating it all in one or two sittings...

My question is, if he finishes it all that quickly, should I give him more? If so, how much more, and when?

I am a student and paying for college on my own so money is pretty tight. I would rather not have to buy wet food because it is so much more expensive. Some websites I've read said that feeding wet food is essential, where others say that both wet and dry provide equal nutrition but that wet food simply tastes better and will turn the cat into a more finicky eater.

What should I do? Thank you for your time, my kitten and I both appreciate it!
post #2 of 5
I can't believe no one has given you any replies. Personally, I have found that if you get a gravity fed feeder, your little guy might gorge out the first day or so, but then he realizes the food is always there and he starts to eat only what he needs.

He was a stray, so he is used to fighting for food. He either had to eat everything he could now before other, bigger cats got it, or he was going to starve. The little guy is still in survivor mode, so a gravity feeder with 24 hour food availability should help for now.

Also, you don't HAVE to feed wet food. If you want to make sure he's getting a little extra moisture, add chicken broth or milk replacer to a small dish of the dry food.

You might change to regular timed feeding once he gets a little older and gets settled in, but for now, 24 hour availability is what he needs.
post #3 of 5
Is the kitten acting like he's hungry all the time? 1/2 cup a day sounds about right, but it wouldn't hurt to give him a little more while he's growing. You should split it up over 2-4 feedings a day. That way if he eats everything quickly he doesn't have to wait 20+ hours before his next meal.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
thanks for the replies. I'm still confused because some people are saying he should have unlimited food, some are saying about 1/2 cup is fine. (I posted on a different forum as well). Right now I'm feeding him 1/4 in the morning and 1/4 at night. How do I know when he's hungry?
post #5 of 5
If you can call your vet to ask, that might be good - but I think with a kitten (especially a former stray) that free feeding of dry food, especially if you can get a gravity feeder, would be fine unless he starts getting truly overweight. As noted, he was used to fighting for his food -might take a little while before he truly believes that he'll always get his next meal. He needs to be secure about his food.

There are a lot of opinions about wet versus dry, or combination, or raw (and sometimes heated conversation) - but from everything I've read from Cornell & Taft vet schools, as long as plenty of clean water is always provided, dry is fine (and Authority is pretty darn good for a pretty good price, IMO).

Bless you for taking the baby in and for your love and concern.
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