Mother Cat Nutritional Recommendations

A mother cat must have a special diet that meets all of her and her growing kittens' requirements. Even after the kittens are born, the nursing cat still needs additional nutrients if she's to remain healthy and strong and assist with the kittens' growth.

It's important that you follow a mother cat care plan as soon as she becomes pregnant. If she lacks proper nutrients, the risk for stillborn kittens and delivery difficulties increases. The same is true if your mother cat receives too many vitamins and minerals, the overdose can adversely affect the kittens. Only use vitamin supplements if your veterinarian recommends them.

Nutritional Demands during Pregnancy

Before your cat becomes pregnant, it is best to have her on a quality adult cat food that contains protein, no by-products and no fillers. You'll want a food that is at least 80 percent protein.

A trip to a local pet store finds many great brands including EVO, California Natural, Natural Balance or Harmony Farms.

A mother cat requires 25 percent more calories and protein during pregnancy, especially from the fourth week on. If your cat is currently eating half a cup a day, you'd increase her food intake to 5/8 cup daily. The kittens grow fastest between the fourth and final week of pregnancy. During the fourth week of gestation, you should begin swapping her high-quality adult food for a growth formula.

It's best to look for a growth formula designed to meet the needs of the pregnant mother cat. A growth formula is specially designed for pregnant cats and kittens who need extra fat and proteins for proper growth. Doctors Foster and Smith make a premium kitten growth formula that is recommended for any mother cat and growing kitten. Other solid choices are:

  • California Natural Chicken and Brown Rice for Cats and Kittens
  • EVO cat and kitten formula
  • Felidae Grain Free Cat and Kitten Formula

Providing your cat is getting a nutritionally complete food, you shouldn't have to worry about vitamin and mineral supplements. Ask your vet if you have any concerns, he will want to see the ingredient labels of the food you are using.

What to Feed Your Nursing Cat

A nursing cat also requires extra protein and fat for the first month of a kitten's life. In the first week alone, a kitten will double in weight and it needs the additional calories from the mother cat's milk to accomplish this growth spurt.

You may find your cat eating four times the amount she ate before pregnancy. This is fine as long as she is not gaining an excessive amount of weight. If you notice her becoming obese, start limiting her diet. Otherwise, don't worry. The chances are high that her babies are burning up those extra calories.

Most mother cats begin weaning their kittens between six and eight weeks, so by the seventh week, you can start reintroducing the nursing cat's former diet and have her fully switched over by the end of the eighth week.