Maine Coons are enormous cats, which can leave many owners wondering what to feed their gentle giants, and when.
Therefore, if you are wondering how long should a Maine Coon eat kitten food, you are not alone. Keep reading to discover when the best time to make the switch to adult food is.
Most kittens can be weaned off kitten food when they are between 4 – 9 months old. Maine Coons, however, have a much slower growth rate than the average cat. As a result, they should not be weaned off of kitten food until they are between 9 – 15 months old.
Finding the right diet for your Maine Coon can be a lengthy process since these cats require more calories than the average moggy.
Extra thought also needs to go into ensuring that Maine Coon cats receive a nutritionally balanced diet that is high in protein.
Read on to find out what kind of food is best for your Maine Coon, and how you can make the switch from kitten food to adult food with ease.
How Long Should A Maine Coon Eat Kitten Food?
Maine Coons are the largest domesticated cat breed in the entire world.
They developed naturally in the frigid state of Maine, where they adapted to the cold weather with their long, thick fur and muscular bodies. Learn more about their mysterious origins in my article.
These cats became famous for their hunting ability and were kept among farmers and sailors to keep the rat and mice populations at bay.
But, do these gentle giants actually like to hunt? Find out now!
Maine Coons are enormous cats that can weigh up to 25 pounds, but their large size means they take a lot longer to grow than most normal cat breeds.
The average cat reaches full size when they are between 1 and 2 years old. Maine Coons, meanwhile, do not reach full size until they are between 3 and 5 years old.
If you are wondering whether all Maine Coon cats grow big make sure you read this.
If you want to know when should I stop feeding my Maine Coon kitten food, you are not alone.
In short, as wonderful as Maine Coon cats are, they can pose some challenges for owners in the food department, so make sure you keep reading fully to understand how to best care for your Maine Coon kitten.
One of the first hurdles owners have to overcome is that there are so many dietary choices to pick from, which can lead many owners to wonder which food is right for their treasured Maine Coon?
To help you select the best diet for your Maine Coon kitten, take a look at the dietary guidelines listed below.
These guides will help you figure out the best and most nutritionally balanced diet for your giant feline friend:
In addition to knowing what to feed your super large cat on a daily basis, their long, thick fur can also make it difficult to tell if they are overweight or underweight.
Their large size and slow growth rate also mean they have different nutritional requirements than other cats.
The Maine Coon’s slow growth rate is an important factor to keep in mind when learning when to switch your Maine Coon from kitten to cat food.
Feeding Maine Coon Kittens
All kittens need to start eating kitten food once they are weaned from their mothers.
Kitten food is high in protein, fat, and calories because if kittens do not receive enough protein and fat while they are young, it can stunt their growth.
Most kittens can be switched to adult food once they are between 5 and 9 months old. Since Maine Coons do not reach their full size until they are 3 to 5 years old, though, you will need to keep them on kitten food longer.
Some owners believe Maine Coons should switch to adult food once they are 9 months old, while others say to wait until they are 12 to 15 months old.
Maine Coon Kitten Feeding Guide
It is always important to ensure your cat is getting the correct nutrients and calories, but this is especially important when it comes to kittens.
Kittens that do not receive a proper diet can suffer from stunted growth and other health problems.
If you are wondering what should I feed my Maine Coon kitten, below is a helpful guide to understanding this breed’s nutrition requirements:
1. High Calories
Most adult cats need between 25 and 35 calories per day, per pound of body weight.
Kittens, however, need to consume a lot of calories in order to grow and may need as many as 60 – 80 calories, per pound of body weight, depending on how old they are.
2. High Protein
Protein is the most important nutrient in any cat’s diet, but this is especially true of Maine Coon kittens.
Protein is essential for building muscle and is also the main nutrient cats use for energy.
So should you be feeding your Maine Coon a raw food diet? Read this guide to find out.
3. Moderate Fat
Maine Coons also need a moderate amount of fat in their diet.
Kittens need more fat than adult Maine Coon cats, as this will help them reach their full size.
Kittens are constantly growing, and if they do not have enough fat in their diet, they can easily become underweight.
4. Low Carbohydrates
All cats require only a small amount of carbohydrates.
Too many carbohydrates serve as empty filler calories, without any of the important nutrients of protein and fat.
Many cheap cat food companies will substitute important proteins and fats with filler grains and carbs, which is why it is important to purchase a high-quality brand of cat food like this.
5. Vitamins And Minerals
Cats need dozens of different vitamins and minerals to keep their bodies in the best possible condition.
If your cat does not receive all of these essential vitamins and minerals, it can lead to serious health complications.
When searching for a brand of cat food, seek out brands that are approved by the AAFCO.
The AAFCO has done extensive research on cat dietary requirements, and only provide their seal of approval to foods that meet their rigorous standards.
What To Feed A Maine Coon Kitten And When
Feeding adult Maine Coons is much simpler because their diet remains relatively unchanged over time. Kittens, however, need different nutrients and calories at different stages of life.
Here is a helpful guide to understanding exactly what Maine Coon kittens need until they reach adulthood.
Keep in mind, however, that reputable Maine Coon cat breeders will not allow kittens to be adopted until they are at least 8 weeks old, so you should not have to worry about weaning or potentially bottle-feeding your Maine Coon kitten.
Weeks 1 – 4
If you are wondering, when do kittens start eating food and drinking water, it is not for several weeks after they are born!
For their first four weeks of life, Maine Coon kittens are entirely dependent on their mothers for food.
Still, it is an owner’s job to monitor the kittens’ weights closely, to ensure they are all getting the calories they need.
Daily weight checks help owners to keep tabs on which kittens are getting enough food, and which kittens may need to be bottle-fed a special milk replacement.
If you are not sure how to monitor your kitten’s changing weight, then read my article on How To Keep A Maine Coon Growth Chart.
Weeks 4 – 6
During this period, Maine Coon kittens gradually begin the weaning process.
Once they are about three or four weeks old, they can be given extra soft kitten food, or high-quality kitten food mixed with warm water until their baby teeth come in.
They should be fed wet food a few times a day, gradually increasing in frequency and amount over time.
By weeks five and six, the kittens’ baby teeth will have come in, and they can transition to eating high-quality wet food.
Weeks 6 – 8
Kittens should be completely weaned by the end of this stage.
Once they are eating and drinking water on their own, they can be given small amounts of dry food.
However, it is a good idea to mix some warm water into the dry pellets to make it softer and easier for your kitten to chew.
2 – 3 Months
This is when most kittens are adopted into loving homes, and it becomes their new owner’s job to ensure they are eating enough.
You Maine Coon will grow rapidly until they reach about three months old, and you can expect your kitten to weigh between 3 and 5 pounds by the time they are three months old.
At this stage, you should allow your kitten to eat as much as it wants since they naturally eat until they are full.
Provide a supply of dry food, as well as portions of wet food two to three times a day.
If you are wondering how much wet food to feed a Maine Coon kitten, you will have to do a bit of math; most Maine Coon kittens will need about 60 – 80 calories per pound of body weight each day.
3 – 7 Months
Maine Coon kittens usually gain about two pounds every month until they reach seven months old.
At this stage, you should provide about 60-70 calories per pound of bodyweight each day, and give your kitten wet food two to four times a day.
If you only give your kitten wet food, you should feed it four times a day, but if you are providing both dry food and wet food, it will only need wet food twice a day.
While some owners do choose to provide only wet food to kittens, it is a good idea to provide dry food, as well.
Dry food is better for a cat’s teeth, and kittens can become picky about dry food if they are not introduced to it early on.
7 – 15 Months
Most Maine Coons will get their first growth spurt when they are about 8 months old, or 32 weeks old.
After this growth spurt, your Maine Coon will grow more slowly for a while, until their final growth spurt at about one year old.
During a growth spurt, your cat will probably need more food than usual, so it is a good idea to keep feeding your kitten as much as it wants.
Then, after its final growth spurt, you can begin reducing your cat’s calorie intake, as well as the amount of wet food it receives.
Adult Maine Coons need between 25 – 35 calories per day per pound of body weight, and should only be fed wet food a few times a week.
You can start gradually reducing your Maine Coon’s wet food intake from two to four times a day to just once a day, and then once every two or three days.
9 – 15 Months Old
Once your Maine Coon is between 9 and 15 months old, you can finally switch it over to adult cat food.
Make sure you talk with your vet before making the switch, though; since each cat’s nutritional needs will vary based on its weight and health.
When making the switch to adult cat food, please be aware that cats can be picky eaters, and are prone to suffering from digestive problems if their food is changed too abruptly.
When switching foods, mix a small amount of the new food with the old kitten food, and gradually taper both wet food and dry food over a period of seven to ten days.
What Is The Best Food To Feed A Maine Coon Kitten?
There are a wide variety of ways you can feed your Maine Coon.
You can choose to feed your kitten any or all of the following food types:
- Homemade kitten food
A lot of owners become overwhelmed by their Maine Coon’s needs, and ask, do Maine Coons need special food?
The simple answer to this is that Maine Coons do require more protein and calories than the average cat, but you do not have to worry about purchasing a specialized diet.
Instead, you should focus on buying food from high-quality, trustworthy brands, or making your own food that meets all of your cat’s nutritional requirements.
Let’s take a closer look at these different food types:
Dry food is the easiest and cheapest cat food diet available in the marketplace.
When purchasing a brand of food, the following food options are available:
- Kitten Food
- Adult Food
- Senior Food
This leads many owners to wonder, can kittens eat adult cat food?
While you might think it is easier to simply start your kitten on adult cat food, it is very dangerous to feed kittens adult food.
This is because adult cat food does not contain enough calories, protein, or fat, and a kitten that is given adult food instead of kitten food will quickly become underweight or malnourished.
Thankfully, dry kitten food is just as easy to find as adult cat food.
So, when can kittens eat dry food?
Kittens can be introduced to eating dry food when they reach between six and eight weeks old. Before doing this though, make sure your kitten has been completely weaned from its mother.
The kitten also needs to be readily eating wet food before you introduce dry food into their diet.
Some great brands for your Maine Coon kitten to eat, include:
This dry cat food has been specially designed for kittens and is packed full of the protein your kitten needs to flourish. Only real meat is used.
If you are interested in learning more about this particular product or simply want to read its glowing reviews then make sure to take a closer look.
Another great option comes from Purina whose dry food bags are made with 41% crude protein.
Real chicken is used to make this product.
The extra-large 16 lb bag is also pretty handy as it saves repeated trips to the shops for dry cat food, and is great value for money.
Not everyone is a fan of feeding their Maine Coon kitten dry food. If you are interested in understanding why this is, read the pros and cons of this particular food option below.
Here are the potential benefits of feeding your kitten dry food:
Easy Of Use
Dry food is the easiest way to feed your cat.
It is odorless, easy to clean, and even easier to feed your cat.
You do not have to worry about refrigerating half-eaten cans of wet food, or painstakingly providing a raw food diet.
It stores easily and lasts a long time.
Dry food is moderately cheaper than wet food, and much cheaper than homemade or raw food.
Of course, you should never opt for the cheapest brand of cat food you can find, as it will almost certainly contain lots of filler carbs rather than high amounts of protein and nutrients.
Still, you can find high-quality dry food for a lot less than wet food or raw food.
Too much-wet food is a common cause of dental and gum diseases in pets, which, if left untreated, can lead to infection or even death.
Providing dry food is much better for your cat’s teeth.
Learn more about the Maine Coon cat’s teeth, and the dangers to watch out for in this article.
Below are some of the downsides that arise from feeding your Maine Coon kitten dry food:
Cats are generally considered to be very picky eaters, and the Maine Coon cat breed is no different.
Cats have an acute sense of smell, and often only eat foods that smell good to them.
Dry food is usually the kind of food cats dislike the most since it does not have a particularly strong smell. Some cats might even refuse to eat dry food without even trying it!
Even cats that do choose to eat dry food are not nearly as fond of it as they are of wet food, which is filled with exciting flavors.
Dry food might have the necessary nutritional profile for your cat, but it can be pretty boring.
Providing only dry food to your cat means it will not get much variety in its diet.
Humans do not tend to like eating the same thing every day, so why would cats?
Dry food, as its name implies, contains little to no water.
Cats, being desert-dwellers, get a lot of water from their food rather than simply drinking water.
Some cats neglect to drink water, even if they are dehydrated though, and a diet of purely dry food can lead to urinary problems.
Wet food is another popular option for Maine Coon cats, and it is often the first kind of food they are given.
So, when can kittens eat wet food?
Well, since wet food is soft and easy to eat, kittens are given wet food when they are about four-six weeks old as they begin weaning.
Since wet food is so important for kittens, you might be wondering, can kittens eat regular wet food?
Kittens can eat regular wet food, but only if it is wet food specifically made for kittens.
This is because adult wet food does not contain enough of the following ingredients to ensure a Maine Coon kitten gets the nutritionally balanced diet that they need to grow:
Some wet food brands that would be suitable for your Maine Coon kitten include:
Your kitten is bound to love this wet food as it is both high in protein and comes in a wide range of different flavors so that your kitten will never get bored of the taste and smells.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness
Another wet food option for your Maine Coon kitten is the Blue Buffalo brand.
Not only does this wet food contain real chicken, but it also ensures that no corn, no wheat, or soy is included in these meals.
I particularly like that this wet food comes in a pate style of canned food, as the smooth texture is easy for kittens to eat.
A lot of owners have a hard time deciding whether or not to give their kittens wet food.
Here is a look at some of the potential benefits of wet food:
Wet food is more aromatic and flavorful than dry food, and I have yet to meet a cat that prefers dry food over wet!
Cats that are picky eaters are more likely to eat wet food, and it also gives them variety and sensory stimulation.
Providing wet food will stimulate your cat’s senses more than if it is purely eating dry food.
Wet food is one of the best ways you can ensure your cat is well-hydrated.
Cats sometimes neglect to drink water, which can lead to serious urinary problems over time.
Below are some of the downsides of feeding your Maine Coon kitten wet food:
Wet food is a bit more expensive than dry food, but it is much less expensive than a raw food diet.
If cats are only fed wet food, they are much more likely to develop diseases of the teeth and gums.
You should never feed a cat only wet food because of this.
Learn more about Maine Coon cat dental issues in my fact-filled guide to Maine Coon Teeth.
Wet food is higher in calories, and cats are more likely to overeat wet food than dry food since it tastes so much better.
It is important to portion out wet food carefully to avoid overeating.
If you are not sure how much your Maine Coon cat should be eating each day, read this handy guide.
Homemade kitten food is much less commonly used than wet or dry food, which is more easily accessible in the shops.
However, if you feel like spending extra time and money putting together a specialized diet for your Maine Coon cat, then a homemade Maine Coon kitten diet is a great option for you.
There are lots of recipes online for homemade kitten food, but you will still need to do a lot of research on the exact quantities that your kitten needs in their diet, of the following:
You should also talk with your vet before starting a homemade diet, to ensure you are providing your cat with food that is both safe and nutritious.
Advantages Of Homemade Food
Here are some of the advantages of providing homemade food for your Maine Coon kitten:
If you make homemade food for your kitten, you know exactly where each ingredient has come from, and you do not have to worry about potentially harmful chemicals.
Homemade food is also more similar to what a cat would naturally eat in the wild, rather than packaged pellets.
My article ‘Are Maine Coons Good Hunters?‘ will give you a good idea of what these large cats used to eat in the wild, before being domesticated by humans.
Flavor And Enrichment
Homemade food provides a wide variety and enrichment to your cat, and your kitten is sure to love the taste of fresh, homemade food.
Below are some of the downsides to giving your Maine Coon kitten homemade food:
Making homemade food is incredibly time intensive. Not only will you need to make your cat food regularly, but you will also need to do a lot of research.
Research is particularly important since you need to ensure you feed your precious kitten a nutritionally balanced diet.
Making homemade food for your kitten is also more expensive; since you will have to purchase high-quality proteins, as well as a lot of different dietary supplements.
Raw food, similar to homemade food, is a method where owners provide their Maine Coons with a diet of raw meat and additional nutrients.
This is a tricky, time-intensive method of feeding your cat, but it can also be very rewarding.
If you wonder how many grams of raw meat should I feed my kitten, have a conversation with your vet to figure out all of the details.
The amount of food you feed your kitten will depend on its:
- Activity Level
- Life Stage
Below are the advantages of feeding your Maine Coon kitten a raw food diet:
A raw food diet is more natural than purchasing food from brands like Purina.
You will know all the ingredients that go into your cat’s food, and it might even make your cat feel more at home, too.
Flavor And Enrichment
If you provide your cat with a raw food diet, you will have to rotate the kinds of protein you provide regularly.
This naturally gives your cat a lot of enrichment and variety, and will stimulate your cat’s senses a lot more than regular old dry food!
Learn more about the Maine Coon Raw Food Diet in my article.
Below are the downsides to feeding your Maine Coon kitten a raw food diet:
Even though cats eat raw meat in the wild, this does not mean that you can feed your cat any raw meat and expect it to be safe!
Most meat that you buy at the grocery store is far from fresh.
Raw meat can also contain potentially deadly bacteria.
Like homemade kitten food, a raw food diet will require just as much time and care.
You will have to spend even more time on research to ensure you provide your cat with safe and nutritious food.
Making your own raw food diet is expensive!
You will need to purchase high-quality, local meats to prevent the chance of bacterial contamination, and you will also need to provide supplements like taurine.
How Often Should You Feed A Maine Coon Kitten?
Since kittens are smaller than fully grown Maine Coons, you might think that they should be fed less.
However, kittens actually need to be fed more frequently than adults, since they need to grow so much during their first year of life.
Young kittens need to be fed about three to four times a day.
It is best to provide a constant supply of dry food, and then feed them portions of wet food two or three times a day.
Once your Maine Coon is about nine to fifteen months old, you should start feeding them just twice a day.
Should You Let Kittens Eat As Much As They Want?
A lot of Maine Coon owners cannot help but wonder, what happens if I feed my kitten too much?
It is common for owners to become anxious about overfeeding, especially since obesity is common among Maine Coon cats.
Whilst it is common for owners to let their kittens eat as much as they want, will kittens stop eating when full?
Maine Coon kittens have endless energy, and if they do not have access to enough food, they can easily become underweight.
Overall though, it is pretty difficult to overfeed a young kitten, so unless you notice signs of obesity in your kitten, you should let it eat as much as it wants in the beginning.
Once your kitten is about nine months old, though, you can start reducing how much you feed your cat.
By this stage, you should feed your kitten two to three times a day, and once it reaches adulthood, you should feed it just twice a day.
Of course, you should always talk with your vet about dietary changes, to ensure your cat is not getting too many or too few calories! (source 1).
What Happens If I Feed My Kitten Cat Food?
You might not realize it, but there are huge differences between kitten food vs cat food.
You should never feed your kitten adult cat food because it will affect their long-term health and growth.
Here’s what could happen if you feed your kitten adult cat food:
- Weight Loss: Kittens who eat adult cat food instead of kitten food will not get as much protein or fat as they need, which can cause weight loss.
- Obesity: Ironically, while feeding your kitten adult cat food can cause your kitten to become underweight, it can also cause them to become overweight. Since adult cat food does not contain enough protein for kittens, your kitten might be extra hungry, leading to overeating.
- Stunted Growth: A cat’s long-term growth is determined by the nutrients and calories they receive while young. If your kitten does not get enough calories and nutrients, it could end up never reaching its full weight.
In summary, adult cat food contains less protein, fat, and more carbohydrates than kitten food. Kittens require more protein and fat and fewer carbs to grow properly (source 1).
How To Switch From Kitten To Cat Food
Maine Coons will eventually need to switch from kitten food to adult food between 9 and 15 months, depending on the cat.
If you change too abruptly, though, your kitten could suffer from digestive problems.
To switch from kitten food to cat food, you will want to cross-taper your cat’s food over a period of seven to ten days.
Start out by mixing just a little bit of the regular food into the kitten food, and slowly reduce the amount of kitten food you provide while also increasing the amount of adult food.
You may need to try out some different brands and flavors before finding one your cat really likes.
If your cat loses weight or stops eating, it might be time to try out a different kind of food.
How Much Does It Cost To Feed A Maine Coon Cat?
You may think it would cost more to feed an adult cat than a kitten, but feeding a Maine Coon kitten is often even more expensive!
Even though kittens are smaller, they actually need more calories than adult cats.
On average, adult Maine Coons cost about $600 a year to feed, whereas kittens cost roughly $800 a year.
Of course, this will depend on the brand of food you buy, as well as the size and caloric intake of your cat (source 1).
A lot of owners get confused by the Maine Coon’s enormous size and slow growth rate, and they often wonder, how long should a Maine Coon eat kitten food?
Since Maine Coons take three to five years to reach their full size, they need to eat kitten food until they reach about 9 – 15 months old.
Is All Stages Cat Food OK For Kittens?
If a brand of food is labeled as being formulated for all stages, make sure it has been approved by the AAFCO, which has a rigorous standard for pet nutrition (source 1).
Are Maine Coon Cats Picky Eaters?
Maine Coons are not typically considered picky eaters, but providing a wide variety of food at a young age can teach them to be less picky later on.
Is It OK To Give Older Cat Kitten Food?
You should not give older cats kitten food, as kitten food has a different nutritional profile, which can lead to obesity in older cats (source 1).