What To Feed A Nursing Mother Cat – 4 Best Dry Cat Foods For Nursing Cats

Posted: April 23, 2020 by Anita

 

A nursing mother cat has special needs, especially when it comes to eating.  It is essential to provide her with the crucial nourishment necessary to get her through the lactating period.

What to feed a nursing mother cat

What to feed a nursing cat? The goal for the lactating mother cat is optimal nourishment.  The best 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

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? 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 try feeding her canned tuna, chicken, or salmon.

Introduce new food to your cat slowly.  Introducing the new 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.

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 Chewy.com:

1. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food

2.  Royal Canin Mother and Baby Cat Dry Food

3Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Food

4.  Purina One Healthy Kitten Formula

How much should a nursing cat eat?

How much food should a nursing cat eat? You should feed 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.  Cat food for nursing mothers should be readily available for her to 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 for the kittens.  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, able to 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.  DO NOT feed the kittens 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 begin reducing 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 foods 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.

You should feed 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, please contact your Vet.  Once Mama starts weaning, you can slowly begin reducing her food and water intake to help dry her milk up.

 

Read more from the Cat Mama: