When your new kitten arrives in your home, it should already be fully weaned but it will still be reliant on a partial intake of milky food in order to obtain its calcium for strong bones and teeth, both of which are growing quickly at this point. Many cats do not tolerate cow’s milk, so look for special kitten milk substitutes from your pet store or even your supermarket.
The dietary needs of a kitten are different from an adult cat, so seek out a specialized kitten growth formula that will be nutritionally better suited to their higher energy and activity levels in addition to their fast growth. Whether it’s dry or canned kitten food, it will come with guidelines as to how much to feed them so read the label, especially about recommended portion sizes. When it comes to canned food, you only want to give your kitten enough food that they can eat in a few minutes as canned food will not stay fresh longer on the plate. Several hour old cat food can also grow bacteria that will give your kitten the runs, which is not fun for them or you.
Kittens will tend to graze, having small regular portions so leave dried food out for your kitten all day.
Make sure you mix it up with different flavours and textures lest you end up with a cat that will only eat one flavour of one brand. Woe the day your local supermarket is out of the brand/flavour or it stops being made for whatever reason and you end up with a sulky, hunger-striking cat.
Food and milk should not be served cold, so if stored in the fridge take it out 15 minutes before feeding time to allow it to warm up to room temperature. Individual serve packets are great in that regard, in that you never need to keep them in the fridge. It’s open, serve, discards the sleeve the serve came in.
By 6 months of age, your kitten should have reached over halfway to its final adult size and the number of milky feeds should be down to the point it’s eating mainly sold food. A growing kitten of course needs growing portions so don’t get caught out feeding your 6-7 month kitten the same amount as you did when they were only 4-5 months.
A 6-9 month kitten sleeps less and is generally more active than a 3-month-old kitten so they will not only need more food because of their larger size, their increased activity rates require added fuel. The best rule of thumb is if your kitten cleans out their dish at one sitting, add slightly more at the next one. The reverse is true if they are not finishing their meals… likely you are overfeeding them and you can reduce their meal sizes. Unfinished canned or individual serve food is a waste in any case as it must be discarded within 1 hr of being put in the bowel as it can quickly grow bacteria, especially in Australia’s hot, fly prone climate.
By 10 months, your kitten will have become your cat in terms of size. They will still fill out, but their frame will be roughly 95% its final size, and meal sizes from this point are likely to be the size they require for their adult cat life.