Ask Alice

Dear Alice,
    I have been thinking about adding a kitten to my feline family this spring. Since it has been quite a while since I had a little one around, can you give me any tips?
-- Mother N. Waiting

Melissa, at age 9 weeks, had already been spayed.


Dear Mother,
    There are lots of things you need to know to raise a heathy kitten. You need to know about fleas, feces, litter, vaccinations, training, and more! But perhaps the most important tip I can pass on to you is about feeding your kitten.
    Remember, your new kitten is still just a baby. And just like a human baby, it needs to eat soft food frequently. In addition, kittens need to eat larger portions than you might expect. Always watch that the kitten is eating well. A single day of fasting is cause for a trip to the vet. The following schedule will help you provide the nourishment your kitten will need to grow to adulthood.
    Until the kitten is 3 to 4 months old you should feed canned food 3 or 4 times a day. Portions should be large enough that some food is left when the kitten has finished. A specially prepared canned kitten food is best, but regular canned cat food is OK. In addition, offer your new pet dry kitten food that has been moistened with water. It is not advisable to feed cows' milk. It is OK, but not necessary, to feed KMR and milk products specially formulated for cats.
    From 4 to 5 months continue to feed canned food 2 times a day. Dry kitten food may now be fed without first moistening. It is best if the kitten food is always available. If you have a dog, the bowl of kitten food can be placed on a counter or table the dog cannot reach.
    From 5 to 6 months you may begin to wean the kitten from canned cat food if you do not wish to continue to feed it. Reduce feedings of canned food to once a day, then every other day, etc. If you do this, be sure to watch that the kitten is eating the dry food well.
    Remember to always provide a bowl of fresh water for your pet.

Have fun!
-- Alice

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