Pregnant and nursing cats have very particular nutritional needs for more energy. That’s why special care and consideration should be taken when feeding and caring for these cats. So choosing the best food for a pregnant cat is very important.
A pregnant cat’s energy requirements and diet will need to be slightly adjusted. It will ensure that she and her kittens get all the nourishment they need. Nutrition needs throughout conception and gestation, all the way up until the kittens are weaned from the mother cat.
Our Top Picks
|Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Wet Food||♦ Supports immune health
♦ Healthy digestive
♦ Includes DHA for brain development
|Sheba Perfect Portions Paté Wet Cat Food||♦ Supports growth
♦ Contains no grains
♦ Delicious flavors
|Dry Cat Food for Newborn Kittens and Pregnant or Nursing Cats (Royal Canin)||♦ Growing bones & teeth
♦ Tailored nutrition
♦ Easy-to-chew dry kibble
|Tiki Cat Wet Food with Whole Seafood in Broth for Adult Cats & Kittens||♦ High-protein
♦ Real fish recipes
♦ Complete & balanced
|ZIWI Dried Cat Food High Protein, Grain Free & Limited Ingredient||♦ Simply scoop & serve
♦ Highly palatable
♦ Nutritional boost
RELATED: How to Identify a Pregnant Cat?
How long do cats nurse?
A cat needs more nutrition to help its body to produce more milk for its newborn babies. After week 3 of nursing, the mother cat becomes the most exhausted for the want of demanding point of lactation. Cat’s body has been creating milk for months now. It also needs to slow down.
The kittens start to wean off their mother’s milk when less milk is needed. They will keep going as long as they have kittens to feed.
It is alright if you already have a litter of kittens that need milk. Or abandoned by their mother. But is not necessary if you have kittens who are now eating solid food themselves.
If kittens are eating solid food, milk production will decrease. It may be dried up after a couple of weeks. The glands can be swollen and produce milk, after that the milk will stop & the swelling will decrease. After 2 weeks, the swollen gland will be gone.
Nutritional needs of a nursing cat
Couple of elements you must look for in a cat’s food at the time of lactation. They should have at least 30% crude protein in their daily diets. Increasing the protein intake is a must for nursing cats till it is from animal-based sources.
Buy such cat food that has whole food ingredients. They can be like fruits, whole grains & vegetables. Don’t give fillers & by-products. They are difficult to digest & don’t provide any nutritional value. Energetic recipes will fulfill energy needs. High-calorie food means increased energy for the production of milk.
Milk-giving cats need more water as they are feeding their kittens. The milk content is about 73% water. Cat food of a lactating feline should be fresh. If you are feeding kibble, make sure to add a wet food topper.
Give a bowlful of fresh water so that it can drink anytime. The food of the mama cat will pass to the kittens by the milk they suckle.
In that case, the food should be balanced. With high-protein & high-calorie, it should have vitamins & minerals to meet phosphorus for bone development.
How much food should a nursing cat eat?
The nursing cat must eat four times more than usual. Mother cats with more kittens need 3 times more calories than before. A ten-pound cat that is nursing 4 kittens must have about 603 calories per day. A fifteen-pound cat with 4 four kittens should eat 851 calories every day.
They gain weight during their pregnancy. After that, they lose 40% of it when they have given birth. Weight loss continues during the lactation phase. This happens as they feed their kittens.
They must eat highly dense energy food to sustain body condition, milk production & weight. How much you should give to the cat depends on several issues. Couples of them are their size & age.
When the kittens grow, they require more calories. The mama cat’s calories must be balanced. The most you need to feed is when the kittens are around 4 weeks.
What kind of food should I feed my pregnant cat?
As the body shape changes, it needs some extra and high-quality food for it and the new coming kitten. A balanced diet can make the difference to make you and your pet happy. The cat also needs to be prepared for her breastfeeding sessions that also need some extra calories and a balanced diet.
Instead of dry food, give nursing cat wet food
When it reaches its mid-time of pregnancy, it is wise not to feed dry food. Give it wet high-calorie food. Formulated cat food has higher nutrients and vitamins and minerals that will provide sufficient calories as they contain rich protein.
In general, its food needs will be increased up to fifty percent (50%). A cat’s pregnancy typically lasts for about 70 days. Make a chart so that you can give them what it needs from the 35th day of its pregnancy.
Give extra protein to nursing cats regular food
Mix some extra protein with its regular food. Some chicken pieces, eggs, fish can be mixed after boiling them. Actually, cats are picky eaters. Therefore, feed them different sources of food by terns and observe carefully what it likes.
Pregnant cat should have easy food access
At the time of pregnancy, the belly grows up and cats can’t eat much. Give it food from time to time and make it available to them so that they can have them when it is needed. In the case of wet food, it may go bad if left out too long. Put out a small portion of wet food and wait until the cat eats it and then put out more.
Best Wet Cat Food for Pregnant, Nursing, lactating Cat and Kittens
What is the best food to feed a pregnant cat? Here are our top-rated pregnant and lactating cat wet foods recommendations.
Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Wet Food
Mother & Babycat food is specially formulated to provide your new kittens and nursing or pregnant mother cats with the nutrition they need. This wet cat food is made with high-quality ingredients and provides your cats with a delicious and nutritious meal.
This wet cat food is available in a variety of flavors, including chicken, turkey, and fish.
This food is also available in a variety of sizes, so you can choose the right size for your cats.
What Customers Say
“Over the course of the last several years, several of my girls have had litters of kittens. I have also fostered pregnant cats. It is imperative that kittens, as well as pregnant, and new mother cats, receive proper nutrition.
I feed Royal Canin Mother & Babycat, to all litters of kittens, and to their mothers. It is great for their brains, bodies, and coats. I also feed it to pregnant cats to help with the prenatal development of their litter, as well as to ensure that the soon-to-be mother cat is receiving all of the nutrition that she needs. A pregnant cat is eating for more than one, and in most cases, she is eating for an additional five to six babies.
if and when I have another pregnant cat, or litter of kittens: I will begin using it again.”
Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Wet Food
This grain-free, natural wet kitten food is formulated with high-quality protein sources to help support your kitten’s healthy growth and development.
It also contains DHA, an essential nutrient found in mother’s milk, to help support your kitten’s cognitive development and healthy vision.
This delicious wet food is also free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
What Customers Say
“When I saw that my vet recommended this brand, the first though that popped into my head was, “I bet it’s expensive.” HOWEVER, I prefer Purina ONE mainly because of the price. ~$21.00 for a 16-pound bag that is delivered to my door AND my vet prefers it? Heck yes I’m buying it over any other kitten food! My cat likes it. I like the price. And I like that my vet isn’t judging me for serving him Meow Mix. 🙂 Everyone’s happy!”
Royal Canin Canned Cat Food for Mother & Babycat
Royal Canin canned cat food is specially formulated to meet the needs of mother and baby cats. It is made with high-quality ingredients and provides complete and balanced nutrition for your cat’s health and development.
Royal Canin canned cat food is available in a variety of flavors and formulas to suit your cat’s needs.
What Customers Say
“I have a really picky elderly cat who constantly throws up most dry food and refuses to eat wet food (even the most expensive ones). He is very skinny. I opened the first can and he ate most of it right away. The same with the second can. No throwing up! So far, so good!”
Sheba Perfect Portions Paté Wet Cat Food
This Sheba wet cat food features delicious savory cuts in natural juices that will make your cat crave more. All SHEABA recipes are crafted with natural ingredients.
This food is carefully prepared to bring out the unique, delicious flavor cats love.
This Paté style wet cat food is complete and balanced nutrition for adult cats and kitten in one delicious daily serving.
What Customers Say
“Our kitty, Sebastian loves them. I feed him one in the morning and one in the evening mixed in with MeowMix and he always leaves the bowl sparkling clean. Sebastian’s happy, I’m happy and I will continue to repurchase.”
Tiki Cat Wet Food with Whole Seafood in Broth for Adult Cats & Kittens
Tiki Pets Wet Food is a gourmet, grain-free food made with whole seafood in a delicious broth. It is perfect for adult cats and kittens who crave the taste of the sea.
What Customers Say
“Our cat is a 19-lb who has been chunky from birth but he’s been on a strict diet for awhile which his vet recommended eating brand that just wasn’t working for him and made him hungrier (Hint: Cheap ingredients with tons of carbs). Added to that he’s picky. Very picky. He ends up puking when he consumes anything chicken or non-seafood diet. And because he’s getting old we switched from dry to wet but this Tiki King Kamehameha was a big hit!”
Best Dry Cat Foods for Nursing Cats and Kittens
Although wet food is needed more for nursing cats and kittens, dry food also will be needed many times. Let’s see below our top recommendation of the best dry cat foods for nursing cats and kittens.
Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Dry Cat Food
Royal Canin Mother & Babycat dry cat food is a nutritionally complete diet for nursing and pregnant cats and kittens 1-4 months of age.
It is made with high quality ingredients that provide all the nutrients your pet needs for a healthy pregnancy and kittenhood.
This food is high in protein and fat to help your cat maintain her milk production, and it also contains DHA to promote brain and eye development in kittens.
What Customers Say
“Royal Canin is an excellent brand of cat food. The Mother & Babycat blend is specifically formulated for, well, mother cats and their babies. It has a higher nutritional value than other brands of kitten-specific food.”
ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Cat Food
Ziwi Peak uses fresh, raw ingredients that are then air-dried to remove moisture and preserve nutrients.
“Ziwi” is a New Zealand-based company that specializes in air-dried pet foods and they only use ingredients that are ethically and sustainably sourced from New Zealand.
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What Customers Say
“I use this for training my cat and he loves it. Even the dog wants some as well so will have to indulge for her. Great quality ingredients and a really nice size for treats. It also means that I can just reduce my cats wet food and make it up with this instead so he doesn’t gain weight.”
IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Kitten Dry Food
IAMS proactive health healthy kitten dry Cat Food can be used for kittens and also for pregnant or nursing. This food meets the nutritional needs of growing kittens.
What Customers Say
“The ingredients appear to be good quality and in good proprtion for growing kittens. The kibble is small. My kittens and queen gobbled it down. My kittens put on good solid weight.”
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food
Hill’s Science Diet dry kitten food is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of kittens. It is made with high-quality ingredients that provide the nutrients kittens need for growth and development.
The dry food is easy to digest and is gentle on the stomach. It is also high in protein and fat to help kittens grow and develop properly.
Hill’s Science Diet dry kitten food is available in a variety of flavors and formulas to meet the specific needs of your kitten.
What Customers Say
“My kittens loved this food! I only just transitioned them to adult food (1+) but they’ve been eating this kitten food for the past 8 months or so, and I’ve never had any issues. My cats are brothers, but their constitution is slightly different, so I expected that one of them might not like the same food but they both adapted to it fine and loved eating it. Really happy I stuck with this brand for their adult food too, because the transition has been seamless. Would recommend for anyone with kittens!”
Purina Kitten Chow Dry Kitten Food
This is a dry kitten food that has a great variety of flavors that will keep your kitten satisfied.
It is also a great source of protein and other nutrients that will keep your kitten healthy and growing.
What Customers Say
“My terrible trio ( ferret’s ) quickly took to this food and I love that it’s what they should be eating as obligate carnivores. I actually make this food as part of a dry mixture that they eat daily. In addition to this food I also add freeze dried liver, Vital Essentials nibblets, and some Stella and Chewy’s. I think this is the perfect alternative to handling raw food products. If you want what’s best for your ferret’s than make sure you feed them appropriately.”
FAQs on Nursing Cat Food
Do pregnant cats need special food?
Yes, pregnant cats need special food. We need to realize that during pregnancy, they are not alone. Another living animal is growing inside it and it needs extra energy too. For their best benefits, give them more protein, vitamins and minerals to keep them both healthy.
Can pregnant cats drink milk?
Actually, the maximum we have in the market is cow milk. Cow milk is not suitable for cats. It gets worse if it is replaced by cat’s original nutrient food. Cow milk won’t give the cat all the nutrients it needs.
Can pregnant cats eat eggs?
Eggs can spread bacteria like Salmonella if they are not properly boiled for a sufficient length of time. Therefore, it is bad for cats to have raw eggs. You may feed them boiled eggs by mixing with other regular food to increase the taste of the food and caloric value.
Can pregnant cats eat normal cat food?
Yes, cats can eat their normal kitty foods. But the food should be developed. You can mix some protein food with the regular one to give them more calories. There are many canned foods available in the market to try.
What should you feed a nursing mother cat?
The requirement of food intake increases when the cat gives birth or after the birth when it nurses its kids. If the cat doesn’t eat much, then feeding formula is the only option. Give it tuna, canned chicken & salmon. Much food is needed during the week of 4.
Is tuna good for pregnant cats?
Yes, Tuna is good for pregnant cats. Some cats may not like the smell of fish for its hormonal changes although they used to like tuna in earlier times without pregnancy. In case of having tuna, give them sufficient water to drink to keep them hydrated.
What should a nursing mother cat eat?
A nursing mother cat should eat high-quality kitten food or formula food. Feed her canned chicken, tuna, and salmon if she doesn’t want to eat much. Place the mother cat’s food & water bowls close to it. Feed her food supplemented with kitten milk replacement. Such formulated foods confirm that a nursing cat has the nutrients she needs.
How often should you feed a nursing mother cat?
The nursing cat will need everything in food & nutrition as she is feeding its kittens. It must eat four times more compared to its usual food. The suggested diet for it is high-protein & energy-dense kitten food. This will sustain the health & increase of her litter.
How much wet food should a nursing cat eat?
Wet food cans are built with 3 ounces. About one can per day for each three to three & a half pounds of its body weight. Brands differ in size and nutrients. A healthy cat will maintain good weight & keep alive with good food.
What can I give my nursing cat to produce more milk?
For milk production, if she doesn’t have an interest in food, entice it to eat by making wet food into its usual dry food. The strong smell of some moist food motivates felines to eat more. Give some extra protein and fat to produce more milk.
How can I fatten up my nursing cat?
Weight gain is possible by high-quality cat food. Those that are thin face some trouble feeding their kittens. It has become a concern for owners about what to give them. Cats enjoy eating kitten food. Some companies make dry cat food for kittens. Calorie-dense high protein food will meet all requirements for growing muscles & fat content. You can add extra nutrients to any wet food by using little amounts of fish oil or yeast.
Feeding a queen cat (pregnant or nursing) can be a delicate balance. Before becoming pregnant, a cat should be brought to her ideal weight and then fed a maintenance diet with high fat and protein.
Pregnant cats may need to be switched from maintenance food to a kitten or performance formula towards the end of gestation and after the kittens are born.
Keep in mind that your cat will need to eat a lot more during lactation, up until her kittens are weaned.
His professional interests include humane education, ethics, small animal behavior and veterinary. As a pet lover from school life, having grown up with two cats and a dog. If he isn’t spending time with his friends and family, Justin enjoys traveling.