Your Growing Kitten Is Hungry — and Then Not So Much

Obesity prevention can be tricky business before a cat reaches the age of one year.


At 10 weeks of age, your growing kitten might require about 90 calories per pound of body weight each day, says the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). But by the time he’s 10 months old and almost out of kittenhood, he may need as few as 36 calories per pound of body weight every day. The requirement is going to differ from kitten to kitten, but there’s a point at which your almost-fully-grown cat may need fewer calories than he did as a younger baby.

Add in the fact that neutering/spaying contributes to weight gain, and it becomes especially important to feed your young cat “mindfully,” the AAHA says. That procedure tends to occur when a cat is several months old, just as his daily calorie needs are beginning to drop off.

How much spaying/neutering can affect a kitten’s calorie needs

Spaying/neutering can reduce a cat’s calorie requirements by as much as 30 percent, comments Tufts veterinary nutritionist Deborah Linder, DVM. It’s a dramatic drop-off. But you should never handle it by switching from calorie-dense kitten food to less calorically dense adult food before a cat is one year of age or has reached full skeletal maturity, Dr. Linder comments. That’s because food for kittens has the right mix and balance of nutrients for a growing cat. But it may be necessary to switch your pet to a lower-calorie kitten food while the feline is still maturing if she or he is becoming overweight after the procedure. Such a change should be made in consultation with a veterinarian.

The AAHA agrees that obesity prevention starts when your feline is a kitten. Your cat should never go hungry, of course. But to help make sure she doesn’t overeat and also burns calories through exercise, the organization suggests engaging your cat’s natural feeding behaviors by hiding small amounts of food around the house or by using food puzzles, which are also a great way to enrich her environment.


  1. My cat love onions. i have read that they are no good for her. She stands next to me and begs whenever I am chopping them. If a piece falls of the counter she jumps on it and runs. Does that tiny piece really hurt her. Or do I have to lock he up when I prepare onions for cooking?


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