What Else Do Young Kittens Need
Mothers milk is an important source of nutrition during the early days and weeks of your kittens life, but as your kitten grows its essential that they develop a healthy appetite for solid foods and begin to wean. Most kittens will steadily wean themselves onto a kitten food, and eventually wont need their mothers milk anymore.
The litter becomes less enamoured with mums teats and begins to show interest in their mothers food, stealing mouthfuls and enjoying meat rather than milk. Weaning tends to happen at around four weeks of age, so good quality kitten food should begin to be available around this age.
Dr Holly Graham graduated from the University of Nottingham and has been working as a first opinion small animal veterinarian in the North of England for 3 years. She is a locum vet, which means that she works at a range of different practices, treating anything from dogs and cats to tiny hamsters and mice. She works both in routine practice – giving vaccinations and health checks, and busy hospitals often performing emergency surgery. She has special interests in imaging and small mammal medicine, so performs lots of ultrasound examinations and sees lots of rabbits and guinea pigs! Holly has two pets a fluffy black cat called Boris with neurological problems, whom she adopted as a stray, and Fergie, who is a black house rabbit.
Adolescence Stage: 6 To 12 Months
As kittens approach adult size, their nutritional requirements begin to change again. Their rate of growth begins to slow, activity levels may decline and they can start eating fewer, larger meals each day. During this stage, kittens begin to look like adults, but they are still growing and need the special nutrition found in kitten food. Continue feeding your adolescent kitten a high-quality kitten food, such as During the adolescent growth stage, many cat owners are tempted to change a kittens food for variety. But cats do not get bored with a consistent diet of high-quality dry food, and giving a kitten human food and table scraps can lead to undesirable behaviors, such as begging or stealing food.
Additionally, feeding homemade diets, food formulated for adult cats or supplementing an already complete and balanced diet with vitamins could cause nutritional disorders. You can, however, supplement your kittens dry food with a nutrient-dense for a nutritious and tasty
Why Should You Switch To Adult Cat Food Once The Kitten Grows Up
Kittens have a fast rate of growth and development, as well as being lively and energetic. Kitten food has additional calories, protein, and fat to sustain active, developing kittens.
It also contains DHA, which aids with brain and visual development, as well as vitamins and minerals for their growing immune systems.
Cats dont require the same amounts of those nutrients until they reach adulthood. Furthermore, because cats are frequently less energetic, feeding them high-calorie kitten food may result in weight gain.
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A Kittens Nutritional Needs
So, lets take a look at what kittens need in order to grow into healthy and fluffy overlords. Firstly, food formulated for kittens is more calorie-dense, to suit a youthful creature that wants to jump around and explore their environment.
Youll also find a higher amount of protein, fat, and a fatty acid called DHA which is responsible for retinal function and brain development. Its also important to remember that the growing organism of a kitten needs the right vitamins like calcium and phosphorus to grow strong bones.
Jennifer Larsen, DVM, Ph.D., nutritional consultant, and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis, states that kittens have a higher requirement for protein, amino acids, and minerals, as well as for some vitamins. For example, kittens should get about 30% of their energy from protein.
Thankfully proper kitten food should tick all those boxes!
Why Does My Cat Like Kitten Food
Much as weve condemned kitten food for mature cats, it might happen that your cat likes kitten food a lot. But still, that doesnt make kitten food safe for your adult cat. In fact, the chances are that the cat doesnt like the food at all.
Mature cats have a way of expressing dominant behavior when theyre around kittens. So, your adult cat might snatch the food from the kittens just to assert its dominance. It could also happen that your cat simply loves the smell of kitten food.
All in all, its important to leave kitten food to kittens and get your adult cat mature cat food.
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What Is The Difference Between Kitten Food And Adult Cat Food
The difference between kitten foods and cat foods is only in the number of calories found in the kitten formula , and also the higher amount of protein and fatty acids which is needed for the rapid growth of a kitten. Kitten formula sometimes may even include higher levels of calcium and phosphorus, but the water, magnesium, taurine, and other minerals are mainly the same as in adult cat food. The senior cat food has a lower calorie intake and often contains vitamins and minerals to help with good and healthy aging.
Here is everything you need to know about a kittens different dietary requirements.
Choosing The Right Food For Your Adult Cat
With so many options out there, it can be pretty complicated knowing which ones to try and which ones to avoid.
Its important to find the best cat food that offers your feline the same high-quality nutrition as their kitten food used to. For happy and healthy adult cats, you should consider the following things:
- Have high-quality ingredients been used to make the food?
- Does it provide a complete and balanced diet with appropriate levels of protein, fat, fibre, vitamins, and minerals?
- Has the brand met or exceeded the regulatory standards?
No matter what the packaging says, your cat will in fact be the best indicator as to whether a particular type of food is purr-fect for them. Be sure to look out for:
- Bright eyes and clean teeth
- Small, firm, stools
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What Is The Best Way To Transition My Kitten To Adult Cat Food
The best way to transition your kitten to adult cat food is to start by mixing the two types of foods together, gradually increasing the amount of adult cat food while decreasing the amount of kitten food. You should also consult with your veterinarian to make sure that you are transitioning your kitten to adult cat food in the best way possible. Thanks for reading! I hope this has been helpful.
What Happens If My Kitten Keeps Eating My Older Cats Food
The growth rate for each kitten can be individual, affected by their breed, genetics their environment, and of course what they eat. Nutrition is something we as cat parents can control and help set the foundations for a healthy cat life.
Thats why adult food shouldnt be part of a kittens diet. Krista Williams, BSc, DVM gives a perfect explanation to this by saying although the dry matter protein level may be adequate, other nutrients and energy content will not be balanced for optimal growth.
But even certain brands that sell kitten food might not have the appropriate nutritional value or theyre filled with fillers like corn, soy, wheat, or even vegetable. Ryan Llera warns that advertisements tend to promote taste, color, and shape rather than nutrition, so it is important not be influenced by these ads.
Feeding your kitty with over the necessary amount of fat, letting them freely graze, or overfeeding them can lead to fast growth, thus increasing your cats risks of becoming overweight. Likewise feeding them adult food can lead to an underfed kitten, or once again an overfed one since the somewhat lower protein intake will make them hungrier. Its important to mention that even cat food thats labeled for all life stages cant really cover the individual needs of each cat, especially that of a kitten!
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Whats The Difference Between Kitten Food And Adult Cat Food
Keep in mind when were talking about kitten food here, were talking about food for cats who are old enough to eat solids. Were not discussing kitten formula, which is given to cats from birth to about four weeks if they dont have their mother around. Once theyre weaned off milk, they will be given wet food formulated for kittens. Kitten food is typically higher in fat, protein, and calories. Kittens require a lot more of these nutrients since their bodies are still growing and developing, and that growth requires a lot of energy. Not to mention kittens are often very active, so theyll burn more calories than an older cat. The United States Food and Drug Administration requires food labeled as kitten food to contain a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat. Comparatively, adult cat food will have 18% protein and 5% fat. Kittens who are protein deficient will develop a number of health conditions, which is why its so important for kittens to get so much more protein than adult cats.
Kitten foods will also contain a lot more vitamins and minerals than adult cat food to facilitate healthy growth. Youll find that kitten food has higher levels of calcium and phosphorus to facilitate healthy bone and tooth growth. Adult food wont contain as much since adult cats are no longer growing.
Why Do Cats Need Senior Cat Food
Senior cats, from about eleven years or older, progressively lose their appetite as they grow older. This can be coupled with a loss of muscle mass.
Therefore, as they age they may need a high protein diet or some supplements to help them as they age. For some cats, its less noticeable and a slow and gradual decline.
However, other cats can have a big change and decline to dangerous levels of health. Its important to check with your vet if there are any concerns. They may suggest a specific diet or supplements you need for it.
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Pregnant Cats And Mum Feeding Kittens
If youve got a pregnant cat or a cat that is feeding her new kittens, youll need to provide additional nutrients and the same high-protein kitten food as weaned kittens.
Give your pregnant cat unlimited access to kitten food, as well as a supply of fresh drinking water. While you might notice that during pregnancy, she may only eat a little more than usual she might eat double or triple the usual amount of food when she is suckling kittens.
For more advice on pregnant cats, read our guide.
Can I Feed My Old Cat Kitten Food
An older cat can safely eat kitten food. However, you may find that its too rich for an older cat to eat long-term.
Kitten food is formulated differently than adult cat food or even specialized senior cat foods on purpose. Older cats, adult cats, and kittens all have their own dietary needs. While all three age groups will eat the same basic food, food brands will adjust the nutrient count to suit each type of cat.
After all, kittens are growing. Adult cats are maintaining their energy levels and metabolism. Older cats are fighting off the degenerative effects of aging. Each will need a little more, or a little less, of each nutrient found in meat products.
Its not a question of can you feed a senior cat kitten food? Its a question of should you? There are times when its beneficial to feed a senior cat kitten food. Likewise, there are times when its not. To decide if your older cat needs the extra boost found in kitten food, lets explore how kitten food differs from adult cat foods:
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The Importance Of Switching From Kitten Food To Cat Food
Kitten food is designed to support rapid growth and development. In comparison to adult cat food, kitten food generally has:
- More calories, protein, and fat
- Adequate levels of docosahexaenoic acid , an omega-3 fatty acid that is important for brain and vision development
- Increased amounts of some vitamins and minerals
- Optimal calcium to phosphorus ratios
Weight gain is the biggest danger associated with continuing to feed kitten food to an adult cat. While a chonky cat might sound cute, a healthy weight is going to help your cat live a happier, healthier life! The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that almost 60 percent of pet cats are overweight or obese, which puts them at increased risk for many health problems including diabetes, arthritis, and hepatic lipidosis .
Set A Feeding Schedule
What you definitely need to take into consideration whether youre feeding an older cat, a kitten, or both, is having a regular mealtime schedule. Living a predictable life with a daily routine might not be your dream but its the perfect environment for cats. Knowing when theyre going to be fed, helps them feel secure.
Meals become a cornerstone event of the day around which other activities are added. A feeding routine helps your cat cope when there are changes in the household, as Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM, explains it perfectly.
Free feeding cats usually doesnt work, and with kittens, it could encourage binge eating, So, make sure you read the label on your package, or better consult your vet for the right portions your kitty will need and break them to at least two meals a day, or more regular but smaller meals if possible, throughout the day.
If a kitten is raised within this concept, it will create an eating habit which is especially important since any changes in your kittens appetite can be an early sign of illness you could spot!
Once youve established a regular eating schedule for both your older cat and kitten, its important to keep it synchronized. This way youll be able to keep an eye on both cats and make sure that they both ate their own meals, and most importantly that the little rascal didnt steal anything from the older cat.
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Is An All Stage Cat Food Ok For Kittens
In general, all-stage cat food is formulated to meet the nutrient requirements for kittens and adult cats. For example, it might have a higher protein content and thus favor the growing and development of kittens and all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that each cat would need to live a healthy and long life.
In the wild, kittens eat the same food that the mother cat eats. So, ultimately a kitten could start eating the meat and the cat food for grown-up cats too and be perfectly fine. But, it is always better to provide specifically formulated food for kittens to help them get enough nutrients.
As long as kittens have enough proteins and fats, they will be fine. Some high-quality cat food, even for adults, contains higher amounts of proteins than general cat food, and it may be suited for kittens and the rest of your cats.
Here are some excellent ideas of all stage cat food:
Kittens And Adult Cat Food What You Need To Know
Because kittens look like miniature versions of cats, its easy to forget theyre not biologically identical. Just as young humans have different requirements as adults, kittens have totally different nutritional needs than adult cats.
To compensate for these diverse nutritional needs, many cat foods make two varieties: one for kittens under one year of age, and one for adult cats. Some even include senior formulas which are designed for cats who are less mobile or less active than younger adults.
Kitten food differs from cat food in one very important way: protein content. While cat foods are made up of at least 18% protein, the minimum percentage for kitten food is 22%. Kittens are growing at an incredibly rapid pace. So, they require more protein in their diets to build muscle.
Additionally, kitten food contains higher mineral and vitamin content than adult cat food, all of which are aimed at developing healthy teeth and bones.
Kitten foods are also more caloric than food for adult cats. On average, kittens require three times as many calories per pound as their adult counterparts. As such, kitten food is more concentrated. Because kittens are physically capable of eating only a little at a time, the food they do consume must be as nutrient-packed as possible.
High-quality kitten foods contain a lot of protein, are rich in calories, and have adequate vitamin and mineral contents for a growing young animal.
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Can Kitten Food Be Beneficial To Adult Cats
After comparing the nutritional profile of kitten food to that of adult cat food, it would seem like an adult cat food has no business eating kitten food. However, there are certain times when kitten food would be beneficial to an adult cat.
When adult cats become seniors , they become susceptible to a number of diseases, some of which cause a decrease in their appetite hence resulting in weight loss.
If your senior cat is losing weight due to a lack of appetite, you should consider giving them kitten food. The benefit of kitten food is that the cat does not have to eat a lot of it for it to meet its daily caloric requirements. As such, you will not have to force-feed the cat.
Additionally, thanks to the fatty nature of kitten food, cats find it extremely tasty. This means that the taste alone will be enough to get your senior cat eating again. The same goes for choosy cats. True to their feline heritage, some cats will not eat food that does not interest them, and this might cause them to lose weight. If that is your cat, consider using kitten food as a temporary solution, as they will not be able to resist it.
Nonetheless, before getting your senior cat on a kitten food diet, make sure that you have consulted with your vet.