I’ve recently been responsible for helping grow 4 Maine Coon kittens. From the day of their birth to the time they left with new owners they took in food at a rate that helped them grow.
Maine Coon kittens are slightly larger than average kittens and need the food to grow.
But how much? It’s an interesting point, how many calories does a Maine Coon kitten need?
Maine Coon kittens will start on solid food after around 4 weeks. They need between 60 to 90 calories per pound in weight. After 5 weeks a 1.2lb Maine Coon kitten will need between 75 and 120 calories per day. Maine Coons kitten period is longer than other breeds so need a higher calorie count for longer.
This article contains all the information you need to know about your Maine Coon kitten’s caloric needs.
From how many calories they need per day, to what types of foods are good for them and which ones should be avoided.
From birth to around 4 weeks there will obviously be no need to give any calories to a newborn Maine Coon kitten.
A Maine Coon kitten on average is 115g in weight, a full 15 to 20 grams heavier than average. Often they will put on between 10 to 20 grams per day in weight from feeding on milk in the first week.
In the first 10 days or so of life a Maine Coon kitten will feed every 2 to 3 hours from the mother.
By week 4 this should have dropped to around 4 to 6 times a day.
At this stage, the amount of calories isn’t important, as it should primarily be from the mother. If a kitten is struggling then you can help out with supplemental milk but it’s a case of you can’t give them enough milk.
All calories they imbibe are used for staying healthy and normal accelerated growth.
I wouldn’t calorie count at this stage.
At around 4 weeks of age, maybe even sooner, a Maine Coon kitten can become less dependent on the mother’s milk and can transition to more ‘solid food’.
By solid food, it’s advised that that be special kitten food, which is often richer in the nutrients that a growing kitten needs. It’s also more likely to be wet food, which is both more easily digestible and easier to chew.
The teeth of the Maine Coon kitten may not be fully developed, nor is there much power in the jaws so dry food isn’t a good idea.
Calories are seriously needed by a Maine Coon kitten at this stage as it’s growing into a larger than normal sized cat.
It’s not unusual to find the calorie intake of a kitten around 3 times per pound that of an adult Maine Coon. It’s normally recommended that an adult Maine Coon gets around 30 calories per pound per day.
By 4 weeks my Maine Coon kittens were 500 to 550 grams between 4 of them.
You can see more about them in an article I wrote here.
1lb is 454 grams
Thus at 4 weeks, a Maine Coon kitten will need between 66 to 107 calories per day.
As a Maine Coon kitten heads towards 12 months old, it should slowly deteriorate to the 30 calories per pound per day maxim.
By the time a Maine Coon kitten is 4 weeks old then it should be able to go 6 to 8 hours without food. The kitten should need feeding 3 or 4 times a day to compensate for the energy demand and the fact that it still has a small stomach.
In this period of Maine Coon kitten growth they should be able to eat on their own and seek alternative fluids like water to hydrate.
They are not as dependent on the mother as they once were.
Although it’s good to keep up with the wet food, they are able to take a little dry food, although it’s best if dry food is soaked in warm water for a little while to soften the pellets.
A Maine Coon kitten can be around 2 to 3 pounds quite easily after 2 months of growth.
The calories required are still 2 or 3 times more than the 30 calories per pound per day for an adult cat.
So 160 to 250 calories a day would be a good amount to ensure a growing kitten.
Until a Maine Coon kitten is around 10 months old you will see the most rapid growth. Maine Coons aren’t fully grown for a few years but the speed slows down after 10 months to 1 year.
So from 2 months onwards to around 6 months, the Maine Coon kitten will still need the extra calories to see healthy growth.
However, it’s important to temper any calories with a careful eye on the kitten’s condition. Metabolism and activity as well as calorie intake all come together.
If the kitten is looking underweight then you can increase the calories. This doesn’t necessarily mean more food quantity but move to foods higher in animal proteins.
Likewise, if the kitten is getting a bit ‘podgy’ then move to less animal proteins and drop the calorie account.
Perhaps a more adequate calorie count would be around 60 calories per pound per day.
Thus, a 4lb Maine Coon kitten might reasonably be expected to consume 240 calories a day.
Over 10 months old, a Maine Coon kitten can stop being fed kitten food, and move over to adult food, although Maine Coon diets should still contain a high protein content.
It’s quite possible to continue providing a Maine Coon kitten food for much longer as they are growing over a longer period and need the higher protein count.
Kitten food is designed for a growing kitten and typically will hold more calories than regular cat food to accommodate a growing kitten’s needs.
So if you change to adult foods for your Maine Coon then treating the kitten with cooked chicken to keep packing in those calories is a good idea.
Over 12 months old around 30 to 40 calories per pound per day should be a good amount.
Calories are a reflection of the energy component of a food.
The energy is only one part of what your Maine Coon kittens need to consume.
The calories should be part of a well balanced diet to make sure the growing kitten is getting, not only the required energy, but a balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Very young kittens should get their calories from wet food, as their teeth and jaws haven’t developed sufficiently to get the most from their food.
A Maine Coon can stop growing after several years so kitten food can continue with this breed much longer than most.
Kitten food contains the protein balance needed to further growth.
Ensuring your Maine Coon kitten gets the required diet, as well as the required calories, should ensure the kitten grows into a healthy adult.
Proper feeding is a crucial part of taking care of your Maine Coon. Once weaned, the kittens should eat kitten food and should be completely weaned off their mother’s milk by eight weeks.
However, the Maine Coons sometimes do not complete this process before ten or eleven weeks.
If you have bought the kitten from a breeder, at around 12 weeks then the breeder should be providing food that the kitten has become accustomed to.
Keeping to the same diet can reduce stress during the transition to a new home.
Maine Coon kittens need about 30% to 40% of their nutritional needs to be fulfilled from protein sources. You should only give your kitten food that is specifically labeled for kittens to ensure they get the proper nutrition and grow well.
From around 12 weeks onward it’s still acceptable to provide 60 to 90 calories per pound per day of kitten food.
Tapering this off as the kitten gets towards 12 months of age and onward.
From 2 months onward you can head towards feeding the kittens 4 times a day and split the calorie count between each meal.
These aren’t hard and fast rules.
If any kitten is getting overweight then taper back the calorie count, and if they are looking a little thin then it’s OK to give them food with higher calories, as long as it is part of a balanced diet.
Maine Coon 101 | Read This Before Getting One