Can Kittens Eat Adult Cat Food Everything You Need To Now
We all as cat parents want the best for our kittens and grown-up cats for their overall well-being. Learning how to properly feed a kitten and training her to be around both humans and other household pets can seem daunting at first. With time and effort, it can become a part of your daily habit easily.
Balanced nutrition is essential for raising a healthy future adult cat, so dont skimp on your kittys food.
Being a pet parent can be difficult, but it can also be extremely rewarding. If you have a pet, especially a cat, you will appreciate the love and comfort they provide, even if they are only sitting on your lap. However, in order for them to survive and be healthy, you must supply them with the proper diet, which changes depending on whether they are kittens or adult cats.
Kittens are like infant children that have their own basic requirements to sustain life and for overall good health. Kittens nutrition requirements are different from that of an adult cat, and therefore you should avoid giving your kittens eat adult cat food as much as possible.
Kitten food is designed keeping in mind the requirements of your growing kitten, so a kitten diet is necessary to meet those requirements. However, if the food label indicates its created for all life stages, its fine to feed to both kittens and adult cats.
When & How To Switch From Kitten Food To Adult Cat Food
Around your kittens first birthday , its time to switch to an adult cat food.
We recommend transitioning to adult food over a 7- to 10-day period to help avoid any digestive upset. Heres how:
- Days 1-2: Serve 3/4 of the normal amount of kitten food and add 1/4 of the new adult cat food.
- Days 3-4: Serve half kitten food and half adult cat food.
- Days 5-7: Serve 1/4 kitten food and 3/4 adult cat food.
- Days 8-10: Serve only the new adult cat food.
If your cat resists eating the new food, slow the transition and give her more time before you increase the amount of adult food. Consult with your veterinarian for additional tips on making the switch from kitten food to adult cat food.
Myth: Dry Food Is Better For Cats Than Canned Food
Most cat owners know the basic fact by now that wet cat food is healthier than dry food, but just in case
Fact: Cats that are fed a dry food-only diet are seen more often for urinary health issues than cats that are fed canned cat food. The problem that so many cat owners face is how to feed their cats four to five meals a day when they cant leave canned food out all day because of the risk of spoilage. After four hours, wet food should be replaced with fresh food. This is where feeding some amount of dry food can be helpful. Again, the goal is more canned food and less dry, but when it wont work with your schedule, dry food can be an alternative option. If feeding dry food, choose a grain-free high protein cat food for cats, a kitten dry food for kittens, or an all life-stage food for both cats and kittens. Remember the goal: frequent meals and enough calories. Because dry food can be left out for longer periods of time, this option may work better for both you and your kitten or cat. Dry food can also be placed in food puzzles to keep their little brains occupied during the day. Timed feeders for both wet and dry food are a great option making scheduled meals a possibility when youre away from home.
Interesting Kitten Fact: Between the ages of 4 and 6 months, your kitten will need more calories than any other time in its life.
HUGE MISTAKE! Its not okay to make your cat a vegetarian or vegan.
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Importance Of Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is a great way to protect your animals health. It can be hard to predict when an accident will happen, but with pet insurance, youre covered.
There are a few different types of plans depending on your needs, and it only takes minutes to get coverage for your pet.
Some pet insurance companies will even cover 100% of veterinary expenses. So make sure to choose the best pet insurance plan for your furry friend.
Once you have a plan in place, vet bills will never be too high because theyll already be covered by the policy.
Its important that we all take care of our animals safety and well-being so they can enjoy their lives just as much as we do ours.
Feeding Kittens The Nutritional Essentials For Growth
Protein is the main building block essential for growth. We already know that cats, as obligate carnivores, have a unique requirement for protein, but this is even more important for growing kittens. Protein is fundamental for the formation of muscle, skin, fur, nails, and internal organs, as well as all cellular growth, repair, and regeneration. Also, it forms the basic structure of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies required for a healthy immune system.
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In short, protein is essential for life!
Amino acids are the basic building blocks of protein molecules and they can be divided into both essential and non-essential categories. Essential amino acids must be provided in food, as the body is unable to create them and for both kittens and cats these food sources must be animal-derived.
However, there is no single food or protein source that will contain all of the amino acids that cats and kittens must obtain from their diet. This is why a correctly balanced kitten diet will generally contain protein from a variety of different sources unless appropriately-formulated nutritional supplements are added instead.
Little kittens must have a minimum amount of 30% protein in their diet on a Dry Matter basis.
This means that when all the water is removed from the food, the dry ingredients should provide a minimum of 30% protein.
Kittens also have high fat and energy requirements.
Ingredient quality is also fundamental for appropriate growth.
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What Human Foods Can Cats Eat
Cats can eat some human foods, like cooked meats and certain fruits or vegetables. In general, however, cats get all the nutrients they need from a complete and balanced cat food.
Theres no need to add extra ingredients to your cats diet, but there are certain human foods for cats you can give as an occasional treat. Remember that any kind of treats, including safe human foods, should make up no more than 10 percent of your cats daily caloric intake. The other 90 percent should come from their cat food.
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
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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.
Rapid Growth Stage: 2 To 6 Months
After kittens are weaned, they enter a stage of rapid growth, which lasts until theyre 6 months old. They need a high-quality, balanced diet with every bite packed with the nutrients and energy needed to sustain such rapid development. The best choice is a premium kitten food with animal-based proteins. It should be highly digestible, nutrient-dense and designed to meet kittens unique nutritional needs, such as .Kittens require twice as much energy as adult cats on a per-pound basis. But their smaller mouths, teeth and stomachs limit the amount of food they can digest during a single meal. Its best to divide the total daily food amount recommended on the kitten food packaging into three or four smaller meals.
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Kitten Food Is Different
Think about kittens theyre active, playful, and, most of all, growing. A kitten may go through periods when hes increasing his body weight by 100 to 200 percent!1 By the time a kitten has reached about 80 percent of his adult body weight, his growth rate starts to taper off, but hes still maturing. All of that activity and growth means your kitten has higher energy requirements than an adult cat. Kitten food is specifically designed to support this higher need for energy and may contain higher amounts of specific attributes, like:
- Protein. Your kitten needs plenty of protein to build up a healthy body.
- Fat. Fats are high in calories. Calories provide the energy needed to fuel a kittens growth .
- Fatty and amino acids. Fatty and amino acids are essential to a kittens growth. Fatty acids help kittens absorb fat-soluble vitamins and support his growth and development.Amino acids are the building blocks of cells, humans and cats alike. And cats are unable to make several of them. These essential amino acids must be found in their food.3
- Vitamins and minerals. Just like you, cats need vitamins and minerals. Some vitamins, like Vitamin A, are needed for good vision and to support immune function. Certain minerals, like calcium, are essential to build strong and healthy bones.3
What Would Happen If I Constantly Fed My Kitten Cat Food
Most foods include a label that specifies which ages they are appropriate for. Many kitten meals are suitable for feeding until your cat reaches the age of 6-12 months. Always examine the foods box or packet for the manufacturers recommendations. These diets are designed to assist your cat in growing and staying as healthy as possible.
Kittens require more calories and protein than adults, which adult diets may not offer. If your kitten isnt getting enough food, he or she may be underweight, malnourished, and begin to show indications of disease or delayed growth.
The following are signs of a bad diet:
- Foraging for food
- Losing weight or being underweight
- Poor quality of coat and skin
- Poor oral hygiene
- Weakness or sluggishness of the muscles
- Untreated malnutrition is another drawback
If your kitten does not receive appropriate nutrition for an extended length of time, you may notice that it appears to be in bad health. Your kitten could be skinny, have a bad coat, and not be as playful as youd want. Malnutrition has the potential to cause major health problems and even death. If youre worried that your cat is too slim, take a body condition score.
Although poor nutrition and its consequences can be resolved, there can be long-term repercussions on immunity and overall health.
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When To Switch From Kitten Food To Adult Cat Food
In general, kittens should eat kitten food until they are around 90 percent of their adult weight. At this point, they are at their full adult height and just have some final filling out to do.
- Most kittens reach this milestone at about 10 to 12 months of age, making this the ideal time to switch to adult cat food.
- An exception to this rule may apply to large breed cats. Larger breeds, like Maine Coons, dont reach maturity until they are 18 months to 2 years of age. Keep feeding these big kitties kitten food until they are at least 18 months old.
Always speak with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about when to switch from kitten to adult cat food.
How Long Should A Kitten Eat Kitten Food
A cat is considered an adult by the time he or she reaches 12 months old, and during this time should transition to adult cat food. The only exception are the large, slow-growing breeds including the Birman, Ragdoll and Maine Coon who can take 3-4 years to reach maturity. Check with your veterinarian if you have a larger breed to make sure they switch over at the optimal time.
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How Often To Feed Kittens
Younger kittens need to be fed several meals per day, if you are not free-feeding.
As they are growing and burning calories, we want to keep their bodies supplied with energy. Feed meals every 6-8 hours.
Your veterinarian will figure out the total daily calories that your kitten needs, and you can divide that between the number of meals per day. Typically, by the time kittens get to 4-5 months, they can be transitioned to two meals per day, still feeding the total number of daily calories, but in less frequent, larger meals.
When To Stop Feeding Kitten Food
Kittens grow fast and before you know it, youll need to switch to adult cat food. For most cats, this transition should happen around her first birthday.
Large breed cats like Maine Coons, however, take a little more time to mature. They may need to continue eating kitten food until between 18 months and 2 years of age.
Your kittens first year goes by fast, but ensuring she’s getting the right nutrients during this time will help support her in the years to come.
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How To Switch From Kitten Food To Cat Food
Transitioning from kitten food to adult cat food must be done gradually. A cats digestive system is home to lots of bacteria and yeast that aid in the digestion of food, fight off potential pathogens, make vitamins and other nutrients, and bolster the immune system. These microbes must be kept happy!
When the diet is abruptly changed, gastrointestinal microbes may not have time to adjust, which can lead to signs of digestive upset including vomiting and diarrhea. Further, when suddenly faced with a new food many cats will refuse to eat.
Slowly transition your kitten to an adult diet over seven to 10 days as follows:
- Days 1 and 2, add ¼ of the new diet to ¾ of the old diet
- Days 3 and 4, add ½ of the new diet to ½ of the old diet
- Days 5 and 6, add ¾ of the new diet to ¼ of the old diet
- Day 7 to 10, complete transitioning to adult 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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