When Should My Kitten Start Eating Cat Food
You should switch from kitten to cat food when your cat is nearing full size. This usually occurs around one year of age, with some larger cats growing longer. Males tend to grow longer than females. In the case of nursing mothers, you should switch when kittens are fully weaned.
Like any food switch, moving your kitten up to adult food works best if its somewhat gradual. Even a few days of doing half kitten food and half cat food can help your cat adjust to the new flavors and textures. For most cats, you also want to adjust from free-eating, where kittens are given as much food as they want, to controlled portions. Most adult cats dont self-regulate very well, so giving your cat two portioned-out meals a day can help avoid obesity.
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.
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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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 .
Do Kittens And Senior Cats Have Different Nutritional Needs
Yes, both in terms of nutrients and calories. As a kitten, your cat needs a minimum of 30% protein in his diet and a steady stream of energy. Once your kitten becomes an adult, his minimum protein requirements go down to 26%, but in both cases, it is generally better to go over than under. Cats in all life stages need a minimum of 9% fat in their diet for energy and calorie needs will change based on the cats age and bodyweight.
Being a cat owner is great, but it does come with a certain degree of responsibility. Your primary job is to make sure that his needs are met and that means feeding him a healthy, high-quality diet.
There are many high-quality cat foods on the market right now which makes your job both easier and harder. You have a wide variety of options to choose from, but it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between a good and a bad cat food brand.
If you want to feed your cat the best cat food you can afford, take what youve learned here and start shopping around! Best of luck!
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Simply Raw: Rabbit Turkey Or Chicken
This blog recommends that you use rabbit, turkey or chicken as the base of your cat food, using a grinder to break down the cuts of meat you have selected. As surface bacteria can develop on ground meats much quicker than a solid cut, it is also advised that the ground meat is then partially baked to kill these potentially harmful bacterias. We should note this is strictly a meat meal and will likely be a favorite of any felines! A quick scroll down this blog, will also give you a recipe if you prefer to cook your felines food!
When To Stop Feeding Your Cat Kitten Food
When your cat is about 12 months old, its time to switch to a maintenance formula adult cat food, such as . At this age, cats no longer need the extra calories and nutrients found in kitten food. As with any change in a cats diet, remember to gradually transition from kitten food to adult food over a period of several days.
Overview Of Kitten Food:
Kitten food refers to any food, wet or dry, that is formulated for kittens. There are fresh, canned, and dry food options available for kittens, just like with adult cats, but all of these options have important differences from adult cat food. These differences come because kittens have different nutritional requirements. They expend a lot more calories every day because their bodies are growing and because they are highly active. Their fast metabolism transforms food into energy to help them grow. Nursing mother cats should also have kitten food available because they are expending a lot of extra energy-producing milk and passing that nutrition down to their kittens. Kittens and nursing mothers should generally have access to as much food as they want because malnutrition is a bigger concern than overeating.
Kitten foods have more protein and fat than adult foods. Kitten food is usually 40-55% protein. Kitten foods also have other important vitamins that kittens need in higher amounts than adult cats. Growth formula cat foods meant for kittens need more calcium, phosphorus, and certain fatty acids than standard cat foods, according to the AAFCO guidelines.
Although kitten food formulas are ideal for growing cats, they are sometimes a bit trickier to find. Kitten food formulas are less common and fewer varieties are sold. The higher nutritional content also makes them often more expensive than adult cat food. The extra nutrition is worth it, though!
Is Your Kitten Ready For Adult Cat Food
Providing your kitten with the proper nutrition goes way beyond just putting fresh food in a clean bowl. Your kittens nutritional needs will change as their body develops through adolescence and into adulthood. Proper nutrition during these critical growth periods will help your kitten mature into a strong, healthy adult cat.
The nutritional needs of kittens and cats are vastly different, and its critical to give your pet premium age-appropriate nutrition. Heres everything you need to know about kitten food vs. cat food and how to feed your growing kitten.
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A Quick Comparison Of Our Favorites Of 2022
|First Ingredient||Chicken thigh & breast meat|
Smalls Fresh Chunky Bird is a rich and tasty meal, every time. With a recipe made of 90% chicken and all the vitamins and minerals a cat needs, this food makes a great base for a balanced diet. We found Smalls Fresh Chunky Bird food to be the best overall food for adult cats because of the high-quality meat and lack of carbohydrate-based fillers. Smalls operates on a subscription-based modelafter a trial run, new deliveries will show up on your doorstep in the frequency you choose.
Smalls fresh food comes in a tube with markings to guide portion sizes. You can store it in the freezer and thaw it for 24 hours to make feeding easy. Once thawed, it lasts at least 3 days in the fridge.
Despite these advantages, this might not be the best food option for all households. Not all cats like the chunky texture. Older cats and cats with dental issues in particular often prefer a smooth blend of cat food. In addition, Fresh Chunky Bird should be stored in a freezer, making it a less ideal choice if you are tight on freezer space.
The non-GMO ingredients in this food come from farmers who work with this brand to provide trusted sources of nutrition. There are reports of even the most finicky cats finally coming around to this food and liking it.
|First Ingredient||Flaked tuna|
Purina Pro Plan Critical Nutrition Cat Food Best For Weight Gain
Whilst the vast majority of cats are overweight, there are a few who need a helping hand with their weight gain. This is especially true of cats who have been ill, or who have recently been rescued. This food is high calorie at 208 kcal/5.5 oz can, meaning even cats who struggle to eat much should be able to get their daily calorie allowance. Its even been formulated with a smooth consistency in case syringe feeding becomes necessary.
Please note it is very important to follow your veterinarians advice when it comes to your cats weight. Most healthy adult cats do not need to gain any weight, but if youre not sure then your vet will be able to tell you whether theyre at an ideal weight or not, or you can read our guide below. If you think your cat is losing weight you should also take them in for a check over, as many medical conditions can contribute to weight loss, and simply feeding more will not correct the problem.
Wherever Ive worked as a vet, we always have this on the shelf or in the back office. Not only is it ideal for inpatients being fed after surgery but its ideal for cats presented with vomiting and diarrhea, as it is easy to digest.
- Stew texture can result in pickiness
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Natures Variety Instinct Lid Rabbit Recipe
Our Top Pick for the Best Cat Food for Allergies:If your cat suffers from sensitive stomach or food allergies, you may want to avoid common proteins like chicken and beef. This Natures Variety Instinct LID Rabbit Recipe is a great choice because it is made with a limited number of main ingredients including a novel source of protein. This formula is protein-rich and highly digestible, but still fortified with essential nutrients. It is completely free from corn, wheat, and soy as well as other low-quality ingredients and it has guaranteed levels of antioxidants and omega fatty acids. Your cat is sure to love it.
- Pros: Made with a limited number of main ingredients, novel source of animal protein, no grains or low-quality ingredients, blend of omega fatty acids, beneficial supplements
- Cons: Expensive to feed as a staple diet, main source of fat is plant-based
Best Cat Foods Of 2022
A lot of people think that vets dont get much education in nutrition. In fact, as a veterinarian, I had endless hours of nutrition lectures, practicals, seminars, and workshops, not to mention many years of experience since.
But what I recommend might still surprise you its probably not what youve been told or read in online reviews!
First, I discuss the veterinarians approach to diet. Next, I get into the best wet cat food reviews, then the best dry cat food reviews, and lastly, the top-rated cat foods for other health needs. Lets go!
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How Are Kittens Nutritional Needs Different From Those Of Adult Cats
Nutritionally speaking, the biggest difference between kittens and adults is the need for ultra-nutrient-dense food that will fuel early growth stages.
While all kitten foods are different, theyre generally calorie-dense with high concentrations of protein. Theyre rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin A, and certain amino acids.
If youre committed to purchasing commercially available food, read the label to determine whether or not its appropriate for kittens. If the food is labeled complete and balanced for growth and reproduction OR all life stages, its been formulated according to the AAFCOs nutrient profiles for kitten health.
Avoid diets labeled simply for adult maintenance. As the label suggests, adult cat food is intended to maintain a healthy adult weight and lacks the nutritional gusto to fuel your kittens growth spurts.
While some insist that only commercially sold foods provide the nourishment a kitten requires, this isnt exactly true.
If correctly balanced, a home-cooked diet can be an excellent choice for your growing kitten. These diets offer what a kitten needs, delivering more bioavailable protein and calorie density than almost anything youll buy in a bag or a can.
Keep in mind, though, that preparing home-cooked pet foods can be time-intensive, and it can be difficult to achieve the appropriate nutrient balance. Consult with a veterinary nutritionist if you are interested in preparing homecooked food for your kitten.
Homemade Beef And Vegetable Soup For Cat
If your cat doesnt like the taste of chicken, a beef and vegetable soup will make for a good alternative. While this beef and vegetable soup for cats can be time consuming to cook, the long cooking duration ensures the nutrients from the beef bones are released into the broth to give your cat a health boost. If your cat still finds it hard to consume soup, we suggest pouring some soup over their favourite dry food. This ensures your cat licks up the soup while eating and will get used to the taste of the broth.
Prep time: 5 minutes
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When Does A Kitten Become A Cat
Kittens are young, playful, and still learning the ropes. During this time, they are very active for a portion of the day but will also need to sleep for long periods. They will be using their brain to learn new behaviors and adopt new skills.
Young kittens are also forging new relationships with their humans and other animals. Once a kitten reaches approximately 6 months of age, they are considered adolescent, so a kitten aged between 6 months and 12 months is more like a teenage child. They will have started to develop most of their skills, they should have a good understanding of what is right and wrong, but they will still have a lot of pent up energy to burn off.
Once they reach 12 months old, a kitten is considered a fully-grown cat, although giant breeds may not have fully developed until they are 18 months old. For a normal size house cat, you will be looking to transition from kitten food to adult cat food at 12 months.
Solid Gold Indigo Moon With Chicken & Eggs Grain
This Solid Gold Indigo Moon with Chicken & Eggs Grain-Free Dry Food is a great option for cats because it is holistic and grain-free. This recipe features chicken meal as a concentrated source of protein with ocean fish meal and eggs for supplemental protein. It is a grain-free recipe made with fresh fruits and vegetables, loaded with protein and fat for nutritional balance. Youll also be glad to know that it contains beneficial supplements like vitamins, chelated minerals, and probiotics.
- Pros: Concentrated source of animal protein, rich in protein and fat, grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, probiotics
- Cons: Main source of fat is plant-based , contains some plant protein
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When Can Kittens Eat Cat Food
Kittens should switch to an adult cat food at 12 months old to ensure theyre receiving the proper nutrient levels for adult cats. Even the most athletic adult pets will gain weight if fed kitten food. Pet food labels are very helpful. If the label reads for all life stages, then its nutritionally sufficient for kittens and cats.
Although pop culture may have you believing that cats love milk, cats are actually lactose intolerant, and should never be given dairy milk. Stick to cat food, and if you do decide to give your kitty human food, stick with lean beef, cooked chicken, or plain lunch meat, and always avoid onions.
How Can I Prevent My Kitten From Eating My Older Cats Food
When you have an older cat, raising a kitten presents a number of obstacles, one of which is the feeding process. Use the method below if you want to prevent a kitten from eating an older cats food:
- Establish a Feeding Routine
Having a regular mealtime routine is essential whether youre feeding an adult cat, a kitten, or both. While a predictable life with a daily routine may not be your ideal situation, it is ideal for cats. Knowing when theyll be fed gives them a sense of security.
Meals become the days central event, around which other activities are built. A feeding regimen helps your cat survive when there are changes in the home.
A routine may be adequate to keep the hungry kitten under control for some, but if the kitten likes the older cats food, separating them is the best option.
Also keep older cats alone in a separate room with their bowl for much longer. This is a fantastic opportunity for both cats to eat without fear of food theft, fighting, or stress.
Keep a watch on them until the younger cat has matured enough to eat the same kibble and wet food as your older feline friend!
- Organize a Feeding Station
This is an excellent solution for kittens and cats who are shy about feeding, particularly strays who may need to feel entirely safe in order to eat.
Opt to use the Kittens carrier place to feed them, so they can have their meal without the fear of theft by an older cat.
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