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.
When To Switch From Kitten Food To Cat Food
Most cats are considered kittens until around 12 months of age. Large breeds, like the Maine Coon, can take 18 months to 2 years to reach maturity, though.
During this period of growth and development, kittens need a complete and balanced kitten food. Once theyve reached adulthood , its time to transition to an adult cat food.
Selecting The Right Food For Your Kitten Or Cat
You get what you pay for, cheap brands contain more fillers and can be a false economy if the cat isnt getting all the nutrients he or she needs. All cat foods should be labelled complete and balanced which means it meets the requirements of AAFCO.
Choose the appropriate food for your cats age and lifestyle. I personally like to mix and match a little with canned, dry and raw so a) the cats dont get bored and b) theyre used to a variety of foods. If you decide to feed a home-prepared diet, speak to your veterinarian who can help you create a balanced diet or who can refer you to a nutritionist. An incomplete home-prepared diet that is lacking in essential nutrients can have a serious and lasting impact on a cats health.
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Homemade Raw Healthy Cat Food
Cats need an ideal balance of nutrients to keep them healthy. It might seem simple to plan a cat menu, but please consult your veterinary team before you begin. You want to make sure youre providing the right foods in the right amounts. Plus, if you choose a raw food diet, youll also want to know how to avoid health risks like bacteria and parasites.
Many owners like to feed their kitties a holistic, organic, or natural diet. Before you spend your money, it can help to know what those words actually mean in the pet food world. For example, holistic is a great term that means a food will affect your cats entire body. But since all food affects your cats body, you still need to check all the boxes to make sure it provides quality nutrition. See more about alternative pet diets
Is My Cat Obese
Making sure your cat eats healthily and exercises regularly is important to keep them in good health. While you can help a cat lose weight, prevention is better than cure. If youre concerned about your cat, take a look at our guide on obesity, where youll find a chart to determine if your cat is overweight.
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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.
Can Adult Cats Eat Kitten Food
To go back to our original comparison with humans, an adult human who consumes exclusively dairy products is at a higher risk of heart disease and obesity.
This is due largely to the fact that an adult human does not continue to grow past a certain age, and so should not exclusively consume food that is intended to help pack on pounds quickly. This is also true for adult cats.
In much the same way that a kittens small stomach requires small portions of nutrient dense food, an adult cats stomach needs larger portions of less nutrient dense food.
While a cup of kitten food and a cup of adult cat food may look the same and take up the same volume, they do not provide equal benefits to your adult cat. Much like our human adult fed on dairy, an adult cat fed on kitten food takes in far more calories than it needs to survive.
Consuming excessive calories, your cat is unlikely to be able to burn off as much as it takes in. This can result in obesity and high blood pressure in adult cats, as well as unnecessary pressure on your cats organs, which can lead to organ disease and other illnesses.
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How Banfield Can Help
Need help figuring out what to feed your kittyBAE? Do you have concerns about their diet, suspect a food allergy, or have other issues that need veterinary care? Please reach out to your veterinary team. Many kitty health issues can benefit from specific diets. Specific cat foods are designed to support issues like hairballs, joint health, diabetes, and more. Were here to work with you to find a solution for you and the cat you love.
Make Use Of A Feeding Station
A feeding station will also help resolve food-stealing issues. You can make it from wood, straw, or other materials as available. Your kitten will be able to eat in its enclosed box. The feeding station will help your growing kitten develop a habit of being able to focus on its food portion. It can quickly become your young cats favorite spot. It also ensures your adult cat does not eat kitten food.
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Why Do Kittens Require A Special Diet
It is not proper to feed a kitten any form of food until she is ready to start weaning. When kittens are around a month old, theyre normally ready to be weaned, though its usually up to the mama cat to decide. All a newborn kitten needs are milk from the mother to keep healthy and become strong. Optionally, a formula from a kitten milk replacer can be used instead of milk in the case of an absent queen.
Adult cat food is not necessary nor beneficial at this time.
When pet owners look at all the food options, they may worry which ones their cat is allowed to eat. Kittens, on the other hand, require a completely different diet than adult cats. Young kittens have a lot of energy and need a diet that can keep up with them jumping and playing all day.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, kittens have two to three times the energy of an adult cat. The protein in their diet accounts for up to 30% of their total energy. Overall, this indicates that kitten food will require much more protein than adult cat food.
However, this isnt the only variation in the diet. During their first year of life, kittens are prone to growing larger and at a faster rate.
Growing at this rate will necessitate more nutrition, protein, and vitamins than an adult cat requires. Kittens require a different diet than adult cats because of the way they grow and metabolize their food.
What Are The Options
Once your kitten is ready to eat solids, you’ll have the following options to choose from:
- Dry foodTypically the most affordable product and the favourite of many cats. If nutritionally adequate, cat biscuits are a great option for kittens but must be moistened with KMR, chicken soup, or broth to compensate for the lack of moisture. Avoid milk as it causes stomach disturbance in cats
- Wet foodRicher in protein than dry food and easier to chew and swallow, its the closest thing to a natural feline diet in texture and moisture content. You can mix it with tiny amounts of KMR to make the transition smoother
- A mix of wet and dry foodThe best option nutrition- and budget-wise. It ensures your kitty gets the benefits of both food types. You can mix them or serve them as separate meals throughout the day
- Semi-moist foodDespite its convenience, semi-moist food is often packed with sodium, sugar, grains, undefined meat sources, and artificial colouring and flavouring
- HomemadefoodIf you have the time to research recipes, consult with your vet, and cook for your kitten, an occasional homemade meal can be a delicious treat
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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.
Untamed Works For Kittens Adults And Seniors
Your kitten deserves the best treatment from the very beginning, and we strive to provide it by using:
- Vet-formulated recipes to ensure our meals are nutritionally complete and suitable for cats of any breed, be it Bengal, Ragdoll, Siamese, Persian, Maine Coon, or British Shorthair, and all age groups, from kittens to seniors
- Finest human-grade whole meats, fish, and crustaceans farmed and sourced from cruelty-free and dolphin-safe suppliers
- A dash of chicken broth to provide extra moisture and flavour
- A gentle preparation method to lock in the natural aroma of the ingredients
- No preservatives, additives, or artificial colours and flavourings
- No fillers and no known allergens
What is this food, and why didnt you get it sooner?
Cat parents who put their felines on the Untamed diet reported the following positive effects:
Softer and shinier coat and fewer hairballs
Better immune response
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What Is The Difference Between Kitten And Cat Food
Our cats are obligate carnivores, and once theyre off their mothers milk, theyll need a meat-based diet in order to survive and thrive. Taurine and protein are especially important for their development, while carbohydrates are not a good option since theyre not as easily digestible. As a result, the best cat foods typically have higher protein and lower carbohydrate content.
This rule that applies to the feline species, isnt the only thing we should pay attention to when it comes to our cats diet. Its also important to understand that each life stage of a cat requires different nutritional attention.
According to Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM Kitten, adult cat, senior, and geriatric cats are four significant life stages we need to address nutritionally. He also adds that diet is extremely important for a growing kitten.
For this reason, foods that are designed for kittens have the right nutritional value and requirements for a growing tiny ball of fur to develop into a magnificent adult cat, something an adult cat food simply cannot offer.
What Happens If My Kitten Accidentally Eats Cat Food
Dont worry, a little cat food wont hurt your kitten.
Long-term feeding of adult food will not help them develop into the best version of themselves, but a small amount of adult food will not harm them. Make sure you have plenty of kitten food in the cupboard, so you wont be caught short if supplies run out, and try to stick to the same brand and type.
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Top Kitten Food Products
One of the best recommendations for kitten foods is this Fancy Feast Pate Wet Kitten Food. The product is formulated with essential minerals and vitamins to support the growth and development of your cat.
Theres also the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Variety Pack, a grain-free, poultry-free, and salmon-enriched kitten food thats as delicious as its nutritious.
Lastly, we have the Purina Pro Plan Focus Pate Wet Kitten Food thats made with real liver and chicken to whet your kittens appetite, while nourishing its immune system.
Is Chocolate Poisonous To Cats
While most human treats should be avoided, chocolate is a complete no-no for cats. Just 2g of chocolate not even as big as a square is enough to do serious damage to your cat due to its levels of theobromine. Theobromine acts as a stimulant, increasing the heart rate and acting as a diuretic to increase the loss of bodily fluids. As cats struggle to metabolise theobromine, the chemical stays in the bloodstream and quickly reaches dangerous levels.
Keep chocolate out of reach of your cat, and if you suspect they have eaten any chocolate, head to the vet straight away.
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How To Choose An Adult Cat Food
Make sure to choose an adult cat food that provides the same high-quality nutrition as a premium kitten food. Downgrading to a basic nutrition brand at this stage of your cats life may upset their digestive system and wont provide them with the same type of nutrition they were raised on. Premium foods like IAMS are formulated to meet all of your cats needs and provide additional benefits. Theyre specifically designed to provide your cat with a formula that features:
- High-quality ingredients
- Complete and balanced levels of protein, fat, moderately fermentable fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which make costly supplements unnecessary
- High-quality recipes and great taste
- Standards that meet or exceed Association of American Feed Control Officials standards
- Nutrient-dense formulas that are right for each life stage
- Product guarantees
All of these premium features add up to a happy, healthy cat. With premium dry cat food, you can expect to see these important indicators of good health:
- Exceptional muscle tone
- Clear, bright eyes and clean teeth
- Small, firm stools
Founded on decades of research, premium formulas from IAMS help maintain your cats health and help provide her with the nutrition she needs for a long life.
How To Transition To Adult Cat Food
Most experts recommend transitioning from kitten food to cat food around the one-year mark. Do this slowly over the course of several days to avoid giving your cat an upset tummy.
Try this schedule to make your transition as smooth as possible:
- Fill your cats dish with ¾ kitten food and the remaining ¼ adult food.
- Mix the two foods half and half.
- Fill your cats dish with ¾ adult food and the remaining ¼ kitten food.
- Fill your cats dish with all adult food.
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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.
What About Calcium And Phosphorous
Growing kittens have to build bone and muscle very rapidly, so they require increased levels of calcium and phosphorous in their diets compared to adult cat foods. Its important to remember though that the ratio of both of these minerals is very sensitive and needs to be kept within a narrow margin of safety.
Commercial kitten foods will have formulated the diet to meet these nutritional requirements for growth and consequently, supplements should never be added. If calcium supplements are added to a commercially prepared kitten food there is a large risk of inadvertently causing bone, tooth, and other growth deformities.
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Bringing Your Kitten Home
Youre going to be your kittens new caregiver, so its wise to establish a bond right away. Ease into the transition by playing with them in their familiar environment before you take them home.
When you get home, place your kitten in a smaller, quieter room, and dont force them out of their carrier. Instead, let them come and go so they can get used to their new space. When you feel like theyre ready to venture outside of this room, introduce new spaces one at a time, and stay close by.
If you have other pets, keep in mind that they might feel territorial when meeting the new kitten. Make sure to hold your cat on your lap or keep your dog on a leash when introducing them to the new kitten for the first time.