7 Best Cat Foods For Momma Cat – What To Feed a Nursing Mother Cat

Posted: April 23, 2020 by Anita

what to feed a nursing mother cat

A nursing mother cat with kittens has special needs, especially when it comes to eating.

When a mother cat delivers, she loses about 40% of the weight they gained while pregnant.  She will also lose weight during lactation because of the energy required to nurse her kittens.

It is essential to provide her with the best possible cat food for lactating cats to meet the demands of producing milk for her babies.

Regular adult stage cat food won’t do for nursing cats.  In this article, I discuss:

  • what to feed a nursing mother cat
  • the nutritional needs of a nursing cat
  • best dry cat foods for nursing cats
  • best wet foods for nursing cats

Best foods for nursing cats

What is the best food for a mother cat? The goal for the lactating mother cat is optimal nourishment.  This optimal nourishment should provide momma with:

  • a healthy and successful pregnancy
  • enough energy to get through the delivery of her kittens
  • great nutrition for the kittens once they are born

The cat food for mother cats should have the following nutritional value:

  • increased calories mean increased energy for milk production
  • increased fat to meet the high demand for calories
  • increased calcium and phosphorus for milk production
  • increased protein
  • high digestibility to provide more calories in a smaller amount of food

Increased calories and fats are essential because nursing cats need a crazy amount of high energy.  Mama cat is getting sucked dry by their baby kittens. Mama needs 2 to 6 times more energy requirements than a healthy adult cat that isn’t nursing.

Best dry cat foods for nursing cats

So, what is the best dry food to feed a nursing mother cat and kittens? The best cat food for nursing cats is high-quality kitten formula food.  High-quality kitten food has the increased necessary nutritional values mama cat needs to keep up milk production.  If she is a picky eater, do not hesitate to feed her canned tuna, chicken, or salmon.

Introduce new food to your cat slowly.  Introducing the fresh food slowly will give her tummy a chance to get used to the change in diet.  Spend 7-10 days gradually adding the new food to her old food until you’ve entirely transitioned out the old food.

Now that you know what to feed a nursing cat, let’s discuss caloric intake.  Calorie intake needs to remain high to maintain nursing her kittens.  Access to freshwater is essential.  Check out the following recommendations (and prices) for mama cat food through Amazon.com

1.Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food

  • natural fibers for healthy digestion
  • Veternarian recommended
  • Science Led Nutrition
  • customer ratings – 4.8 stars out of 5

2. Royal Canin Mother and Baby Cat Dry Food

  • Formulated for kittens and Mother cat’s nutrition
  • promotes healthy digestion
  • provides a strong nutritional foundation for developing kittens
  • customer ratings – 4.8 stars out of 5

3. Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Food

  • provides a good nutritional foundation for developing kittens
  • provides the necessary calories and nutrition for the pregnant queen
  • promotes healthy digestion
  • customer ratings – 4.8 stars out of 5

4. Purina One Healthy Kitten Formula

  • provides the necessary calories and nutrition for the pregnant queen
  • promotes healthy digestion
  • provides a strong nutritional foundation for developing kittens
  • customer ratings – 4.8 stars out of 5

Best wet food for nursing cat

Canned cat food is an excellent option for a nursing mother cat, especially if she prefers wet food to dry.  Again, you want to make sure the wet cat food you choose is high quality and meets the nutritional needs necessary for milk production.

The best-wet food for nursing cats is kitten wet cat food.  Check out the following recommendations (and prices) for mama cat food through Amazon.com:

1. Purina One Healthy Kitten Formula Wet Food

  • provides the necessary calories and nutrition for the pregnant queen
  • promotes healthy digestion
  • provides a strong nutritional foundation for developing kittens
  • grain-free
  • customer ratings – 4.8 stars out of 5

2. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Mother and Baby Cat Canned Cat Food

  • Formulated for kittens and Mother cat’s nutrition
  • promotes healthy digestion
  • provides a strong nutritional foundation for developing kittens
  • customer ratings – 4.8 stars out of 5

3. Iams Perfect Portions Kitten Grain-Free Wet Cat Food

  • provides a good nutritional foundation for developing kittens
  • provides the necessary calories and nutrition for the pregnant queen
  • promotes healthy digestion
  • customer ratings – 4.7 stars out of 5

How much should a nursing cat eat?

How much food should a nursing cat eat? It would be best if you fed Mama cat several times during the day.  Frankly, this is the one instance in a female cat’s life that you should allow all-day grazing or free access to food.  Allowing her to eat at will ensure that she gets the nutrition and calories she needs.

Food intake will typically double, maybe even quadruple.  Leave Mama Cat’s food dish full and freely available at all times.  Make sure she is getting plenty of water.

How long do cats nurse

Cats will tend to nurse their kittens for 12 weeks – the longer, the better the baby kitties. Weaning, which is the process of transitioning kittens from Mama’s milk to solid food, should begin around four weeks.

The weaning process should be done by the mother, if possible.  However, if the kitten has been separated from its mother, the process might have to be done by you (Ahhh…a topic for another article).  When a kitten has opened its eyes, can focus, and is steady on its feet, you can begin introducing solid food (moisten with water – if feeding dry food).

Weaning should be completed by 12 weeks.

Keep an eye on Mama Cat and the kittens’ well-being

If the kittens start to look thin and are very vocal, it might be due to Mama Cat not producing enough milk.  It is time to call the Vet and discuss you manually feeding the kittens.  Please DO NOT feed the kitten’s COW milk (it will cause diarrhea).  Your Vet should be able to direct you to where you can purchase commercial cat milk (cat milk formula).

Mother’s milk production will gradually come to a stop about 10-12 weeks after giving birth.  Once Mama starts weaning, you can slowly reduce her food to healthy portions (food intake before pregnancy).  Also, decrease the amount of water intake. Dropping both food and water to pre-pregnancy portions will help dry her milk up.

Reintroduce adult food slowly, using the process discussed earlier.

Conclusion

The goal for the lactating mother cat is optimal nourishment.  Cat food for nursing cats should have the following nutritional needs:

  • increased calories mean increased energy for milk production
  • increased fat to meet the high demand for calories
  • increased calcium and phosphorus for milk production
  • increased protein
  • high digestibility to provide more calories in a smaller amount of food

The best cat food for nursing cats is high-quality kitten formula food.  High-quality kitten food has the increased necessary nutritional values mama cat needs to keep up milk production.

It would be best if you fed Mama cat several times during the day.

Cats will tend to nurse their kittens for 12 weeks – the longer, the better for the kittens.  Weaning, which is the process of transitioning kittens from Mama’s milk to solid food, should begin around four weeks.

If the kittens start to look thin and are very vocal, it might be due to Mama Cat not producing enough milk.  If this happens, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Vet.  Once Mama starts weaning, you can slowly reduce her food and water intake to help dry her milk up.



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