Feeding your cat

Whether you’re new to being a cat parent or your feline friend has been in your family for many years, we will often have questions about what we’re feeding our pets and if it’s right for their needs. To help, we’ve pulled together a guide to feeding your cat.


You might have recently adopted a kitten or your adult cat has given birth to a litter of adorable babies. If you’ve been caring for an older cat over recent years or have no experience with a cat, chances are you might not be familiar with what a kitten needs in its diet and how its age impacts this. 

Kittens naturally wean off their mum’s milk between eight and 12 weeks old. From then, they should be able to eat their own food as they slowly reduce their milk intake. It’s best to start your kitten on wet food, which will be easy for them to eat. You can consult your vet if you’re unsure which food to buy, but a rule of thumb is to choose high quality branded food. Kitten food is formulated with your cat’s age in mind, to help them with their growth and development. This is essential, because although your kitten is tiny, they do the most of their growing within six months!

Kitten food will be packed full of the nutrients they need to build strong bones and teeth, keep their coat healthy and support their immune systems. You shouldn’t overfeed or underfeed your kitten, and of course always ensure they have a supply of clean, fresh water. As your kitten gets used to regular food, you can introduce dry kibble to supplement their wet food. 

Wet food is much easier to serve as it often comes in a pouch, which will likely be the correct size for feeding to a kitten. It also contains water, helping to keep your cat hydrated throughout the day as they play and explore. Dry food also has its benefits, as it can be left out for the day so they always have something to nibble on. The extra chewing that your kitten will need to do to eat dry food will also help reduce plaque build up and keep their teeth healthy.

Avoid feeding raw meat to your kitten until it’s at least 20 weeks old, and consult your vet if you want to introduce raw meat to your cat’s diet but aren’t sure how to go about it. This isn’t essential but as cats are carnivores, it’s worth considering how you can add quality animal protein into their diet. 

A kitten is generally classed as an adult cat between the ages of 9 months and 12 months. At this point, they’re considered fully grown adults. From then, you can consider what a more mature cat needs out of their diet.

Adult cats

Adult cats need to be fed once or twice a day. This might be a pouch of high quality wet cat food for adults that you can give them easily, and you can supplement this with dry kibble that can be accessed throughout the day.

If you’ve had your cat since they were a kitten and you know they enjoyed a certain brand or flavour of food, it’s worth sticking with this into adulthood. Our pets love to let us know when they enjoy their food, so you should have a good indication of this by the time they reach adulthood!  

Cats love fish, but that doesn’t mean we should give it to them daily. This is because fish is oily and high in fats, so should be given as a treat rather than a regular part of your cat’s diet. 

Obesity is quite common in cats, so it’s important to tailor your cat’s diet to their size, age and weight – don’t copy what your neighbour or family member is feeding their pet! If you’re concerned about your cat’s weight, we’ve written a handy blog here. You should also speak to your vet, as obesity can cause a number of problems in cats.

Senior cats

Senior cats are between 11 and 14 years old, and at this point, our care for our feline friends needs to shift to reflect their age. It’s best to think about your cat in relation to human years at this point in their life. A cat is around 60 years old in human years when they reach 11, so naturally they need different support from us than they did when they were six months old and six years old.

Your cat might be less agile and playful than they once were, and may gain a bit of weight as their metabolism slows down and they use less energy. Senior cats may also have additional or worsening health problems, which certain foods can impact. If your cat has health issues, be sure to speak to your vet about what they need from their diet and how you can supplement and support this. 

A huge part of your cat’s life is spent in their senior years, so it’s crucial that you get it right when it comes to their diet. Senior cat food will usually contain less calories to reflect their more sedentary lifestyle, as well as the right nutrients to support their immune system as they age. 

Your cat might find it more difficult to chew their food too, so opting for soft food will help them feel more confident and at ease with eating. Choosing a wet food with a high meat content will make their food more appealing as they lose their sense of smell and taste over the years. If you make the shift to a different food from your cat’s adulthood, do it slowly and incrementally so they get used to it and you don’t cause any issues with their digestive health. 

Neil’s top tips

  • Senior cats should have easy access to their bowls, so they don’t have to stretch too much to reach their food and water. Use a low, wide bowl so they can get to their food without too much effort.
  • If you feed meat to an adult cat, ensure it’s human grade meat that you’d be happy to eat yourself! 
  • There are lots of foods that can cause harm to a cat, including garlic, chocolate, nuts, mushrooms and currants. This isn’t an exhaustive list, so consult with your vet or so some research to ensure you don’t inadvertently give your cat something toxic or dangerous.