Sacred Birman kitten eating wet food in black and white on a white background

Kitten feeding and nutrition

Feeding your kitten a nutritionally complete diet that is tailored to their specific needs is vital for supporting healthy development and laying the foundation for a healthy future.

Kittens need different food from adult cats

As kittens are growing rapidly, and their digestive and immune systems are developing slowly, they have very specific nutritional needs that are different from adult cats. In particular, kittens need a diet with a higher energy and protein content, plus immune-boosting nutrients and the right balance of vitamins and minerals.

Why your kitten's diet is so important

To help your kitten grow and stay healthy, it’s vital to provide food suitable for their age, lifestyle and specific nutritional needs. They need the right balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Only a well balanced diet will provide essential amino acids such as taurine, which cannot be synthesised by the body.
Sacred Birman kitten sitting indoors next to a red feeding bowl

Birth to 4 months

During this intense growth period, kittens need a diet rich in antioxidants to help build their immunity. They’re ready to wean at four to eight weeks and, initially, their food should have a very soft texture to help them move on from milk.
Tabby kitten standing indoors eating from a stainless steel feeding bowl

4 to 12 months

Your kitten’s digestive and immune systems are strengthening but still fragile. Their growth rate and energy needs begin to slow, but they still need easily digestible food designed for developing kittens.

Abyssinian kitten standing indoors eating from a white feeding bowl

Adult cats

Once your kitten’s adult teeth are in place at around 12 months, you can slowly switch to adult food. An adult cat’s nutritional needs depend on factors including their size, breed, activity levels and whether they’ve been sterilised. It’s worth getting advice from your vet about switching to the right adult food at the right time for your cat.

kitten standing indoors licking its lips next to a stainless steel feeding bowl

Nutrients for healthy growth

There are a range of vital nutrients that your kitten needs during the first months of life to aid growth and development. Kitten diets must provide enough energy and quality proteins to support growth, strengthen the immature immune system and be easily digestible. ROYAL CANIN® diets are nutritionally balanced to offer a complete tailored diet to meet the needs of kittens of all sizes, lifestyles and breeds.

Key nutrients

The science behind ROYAL CANIN® kitten nutrition

We specialise in health nutrition. For us, feeding your kitten isn’t just about building their body and providing energy – it’s about protecting them too. We provide the optimal balance of nutrients to provide defence against disease as well as for energy, cell growth and maintenance.

Precise nutritional balance

Through our partnerships with breeders, vets and nutritionists, each ROYAL CANIN® formula is created with the utmost precision. They are uniquely placed to meet the specific needs of your kitten’s age, breed, lifestyle and sensitivities.

As well as the finely balanced nutritional quality of our food, we also focus on the following key factors.

Sacred Birman kitten indoors eating from a red bowl

Highly palatable

Cats and kittens are incredibly sensitive to smells and texture but have a less well-developed sense of taste, which can make them fussy eaters. To increase the appeal of our formulas, we ensure:

  • Ingredients are selected rigorously for odour, density and texture as well as nutritional quality.
  • Kibble texture, shape and size is designed precisely.
  • Food is preserved perfectly.
Kitten sitting indoors eating from a white bowl

Easily digested

A kitten’s digestive system is delicate, so our kitten formulas are highly digestible to help avoid stomach upsets and aid the absorption of nutrients.

Brown and white kitten sitting in a kitchen eating from a red feeding bowl

High safety standards

Royal Canin have been setting the standard for the quality assurance and food safety in the pet food industry for over 50 years. Each delivery we receive, and every batch of food we make, are thoroughly tested for its nutritional quality and food safety.

Grey and white kitten sitting indoors next to a stainless steel feeding bowl
kitten product line up kitten range page

Our Kitten Ranges

Royal Canin kitten nutrition supports growth and development by providing all the nutrients essential to a kitten's needs in the first year of life.

Your kitten's feeding schedule

Grey and white kitten standing inside eating from a white feeding bowl

Create the right environment for feeding your kitten

Cats are very sensitive and a variety of factors can put them off their food. They prefer to eat somewhere calm, out of sight and with an easy escape route, and don’t like their food bowl being near their litter box. Keep your kitten’s food bowl away from their water bowl too to prevent the water becoming contaminated with food. And create their feeding area away from your own dining area so they’re not tempted to nibble at your meals.

Events such as strangers arriving, arguments, changes in lighting and sudden noises may all affect how much your kitten eats, so keep disturbances to a minimum.


What are food puzzles?

Food puzzles are toys that hold food and only release it when your kitten interacts with it in the right way.

There are two main types:

  • Stationary puzzles for wet food, including mazes, slow-feeder bowls and boards.
  • Mobile puzzles for dry food, including foraging cups, eggs and balls.


Grey and white kitten laying down on top of a feeding puzzle

What are the benefits of food puzzles for kittens?

Even when cats are well fed, they still have a strong hunting instinct and food puzzles tap into this. They can benefit your kitten’s physical health by encouraging them to be more active. And they can improve their mental wellbeing and prevent behavioural problems by reducing the boredom, frustration and stress often caused by an indoor life.

Grey tabby kitten standing on a cat tree by a window

How much should my kitten drink?

Cats generally need to drink around 60 ml per kg of body weight – either by drinking or through their food. The temperature, your kitten’s exercise levels and their physical condition affects how much they need to drink, as well as their diet. A kitten fed dry kibbles (which contain around 10% water) will drink more than one fed with wet food (which contains around 80% water).

Make sure clean water is always available

Keep your kitten’s water topped up and change it at least daily to keep it fresh. Wash water bowls daily too to prevent parasites breeding in them.

Tabby kitten sitting down next to a white bowl

How to encourage kittens to drink

Cats are opportunistic drinkers so place a few bowls around the house, making sure each one is in a calm place, away from food bowls and litter trays. Also try:

  • Using glass, porcelain or metal bowls – many cats don’t like the taste of water from a plastic bowl.
  • A wide, shallow bowl filled to the brim so your kitten can keep an eye on their surroundings while drinking.
  • Letting your kitten drink from a water fountain or tap – some prefer running water.
Sacred Birman kitten standing on a sink drinking from a tap

Why can mixed feeding be good for kittens?

Mixed feeding is when you feed your kitten a combination of wet and dry food – either at the same meal or at separate meals. It can help to provide balanced nutrition and offer a variety of other health benefits too.


Our wet formulas are designed to be highly appealing to the fussiest of kittens.


Two pouches of wet food a day can provide around 73% of your kitten’s recommended daily water intake.

Weight management

Wet food’s high moisture content means you can serve a larger portion for the same number of calories.

Dental hygiene

Dry kibbles can help to keep your kitten’s teeth clean thanks to the brushing effect on their teeth as they chew.

Natural grazing

Providing dry food to nibble on throughout the day enables your kitten to follow their natural instinct to eat several small meals daily.

Kitten standing indoors eating from a stainless steel bowl

When should I begin mixed feeding?

A cat’s dietary preferences are influenced by the routines established in their first year. So it’s good to offer your kitten a variety of foods early in life, while always introducing new foods gradually. An ideal time to start mixed feeding is between the ages of two and three months.

how to transition onto new food illustration

How to change your kitten’s food

Any sudden changes in diet can cause digestive upsets and may make your kitten wary of their food. So it’s important to introduce new foods slowly during a week-long transition – whether you’re switching to adult food, changing products or introducing mixed feeding.

Our Kitten Ranges

Our Kitten Ranges

ROYAL CANIN® kitten nutrition supports growth and development by providing all the nutrients essential to a kitten's needs in the first year of life.