How Do Kittens Nutritional Needs Differ From Those Of Adult Cats
A kittens weight may double or even triple during the first few weeks of life. To support this explosive growth — as well as high activity levels — your kitten may have triple the energy needs of an adult cat.
These high energy needs make it harder for kittens to get enough calories in one meal, says Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD, nutritional consultant and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis. So most kittens want to eat at least three or four meals a day, she says. Its also a comfort thing — kittens are snackers at heart.
Kittens needs for fat, some fatty acids, and most vitamins are the same as for adult cats, Larsen says. But 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.
For these reasons, most experts recommend you feed your kitten specially formulated kitten food until age 1. Although some cat foods are labeled as appropriate for kittens and cats of all life stages, these arent appropriate for your kitten unless feeding tests support the label claim.
And dont forget to provide plenty of fresh water — its a key to keeping cats of all ages healthy.
Start At The Right Age
Kittens’ bodies are very sensitive to premature weaning, so be careful about starting them too young. A kitten 0-5 weeks old should be nursing or bottle feeding. Around 5 weeks of age, the kitten’s premolars will begin to emerge, indicating that she is likely ready to start trying out some meaty foods. However, some kittens may need a bit more time on the bottle due to health issues, or differences in weight or size. Use your best judgement and follow the kitten’s lead to determine the appropriate age to wean. If you see any changes in the kitten’s health or energy during this process, immediately step back to bottle feeding.
Five Weeks Old Kitten
Showing their independence, Darling, Denby, Corduroy, Tweed, and Wembley are beginning to demonstrate their individual personalities: Darling is a talker Denby is always up for adventure and a good wrestle Corduroy is brave and confident Tweed is sweet and loves belly rubs and Wembley is a cuddle bug and full of silly mischief.
Corduroy, brave and confident!
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Why Do The Dietary Requirements Of An Adult Cat And Kitten Vary Substantially
The nutritional requirements of a young kitten differ significantly from those of an adult cat. To begin with, a little kitten requires far more energy than an adult. You can see where this is headed if you multiply an adult cats energy requirements by three. Kittens require a lot of energy, and a lot of it has to come from protein. Essentially, feeding an adult cat food to a kitten may be hazardous since you may be denying her of the vitamins and minerals she requires developing and flourish. There is no reason to feed a kitten adult cat food when commercial kitten-formulated food is readily available in supermarkets.
Bringing Up A Litter Of Kittens: Health Considerations
31st July 2018
You have brought a litter of kittens into the world, either by accident or on purpose, and you are now responsible for their wellbeing.
You also need to ensure that your input over the next few weeks results in kittens that will make good pets for their future owners. To be good pets they need to be both healthy and have the ability to enjoy living with people.
The average birth weight for most cats is approximately 100 grammes, however, it is normal for some pedigree cats to have significantly smaller or larger kittens, depending on the breed. Healthy kittens should double their birth weight in the first two weeks, then continue to gain weight steadily. It is helpful to weigh your kittens to see whether they are thriving and growing as they should.
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Can My Kitten Eat Normal Cat Food
It is essential to feed your pet a diet that is appropriate for their life-stage. A food packet will advise what age range it is appropriate for. Generally, a kitten diet should be fed until around one year of age and then an adult diet should be transitioned to over a period of about a week to avoid stomach upset. Kittens have a higher protein requirement than adult cats, so the diet will be specially formulated to reflect this. There are certain minerals and vitamins that are usually higher in kitten food as well to help support growth and a healthy immune system.
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.
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How To Introduce Solid Food To Kittens
This article was co-authored by Deanne Pawlisch, CVT, MA. Deanne Pawlisch is a Certified Veterinary Technician, who does corporate training for veterinary practices and has taught at the NAVTA-approved Veterinary Assistant Program at the Harper College in Illinois and in 2011 was elected to the board of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Foundation. Deanne has been a Board Member of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Foundation in San Antonio, Texas since 2011. She holds a BS in Anthropology from Loyola University and an MA in Anthropology from Northern Illinois University.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 97% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 91,877 times.
Kittens live the first 2 weeks of their lives only consuming their mothers milk. By the time kittens are 6 weeks old, they will be ready to wean and starting eating some solid food. The weaning process lasts approximately 2 to 4 weeks, so kittens should be fully weaned by the time they are 8 to 10 weeks old.XResearch source In order to begin introducing kittens to solid food, youll need to wait for the kittens to begin weaning naturally, and then serve small amounts of wet cat food in a room with the kittens for them to begin eating.
Provide Your Cat With Several Small Meals That Are Completely Dry Throughout The Day
After your new kitten has gotten the hang of eating both wet and dry food at the same time, you may start giving it smaller meals consisting of simply dry food a couple of times a day.When you first offer these meals, you should also offer other, smaller meals consisting of food that has been soaked.
This will allow your kitten to become accustomed to eating bowls of food that is fully dry, while at the same time providing them with something that is familiar to eat throughout the transition.
Once you notice that your kitten has no trouble consuming the little dry meals, you can gradually increase their size while simultaneously eliminating any wet foods that you do not want to continue feeding in the long term.
If you begin the process of introducing your kitten to totally wet food around the age of four weeks and build up to eating completely dry food by the time your cat is approximately eight weeks old, your kitten should be able to consume dry food by themselves.
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Tips On Choosing The Purrfect First Solid Food For Kittens
Most vets recommend a formula specially designed for kittens, and this is because this type of food usually has a slightly higher caloric value. Whether you choose wet or dry food for your kitten, you should ensure it contains the right amount of nutrients for your little feline friend.
Check out the table to learn about the essential nutrients for kittens and the necessary amount of each:
In addition to knowing about the essential nutrients, you should consult your vet about foods that could potentially lower your kittens urine pH level under 6.3 so you know what to avoid. A pH level thats too low can cause a ruckus in your furry friends urinary tract. One of the more dangerous problems a low urine pH can cause are crystals in your kittys bladder, which can be removed only surgically.
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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What A Kitten Should Eat At Each Stage Of Development
- Stages of Rapid Growth: 2 to 6 Months
After weaning, kittens undergo a period of fast growth that lasts until they are 6 months old. They require a high-quality, well-balanced meal that provides them with the nutrition and energy required to grow at such a quick rate. Premium kitten food with animal-based proteins is the finest option. Ensure that the kitten food you choose is highly digestible, nutrient-dense, and intended to fulfil kittens special nutritional demands.
Kittens require twice as much energy as adult cats. However, because of their smaller lips, jaws, and stomachs, they can only digest a limited amount of food in a single meal. The whole daily food amount specified on the kitten food packaging should be divided into three or four smaller meals.
- Adolescence: 612 Months in Stage
As kittens grow into adulthood, their nutritional needs shift once more. Their development rate begins to slow, their activity levels may decrease, and they may begin to consume fewer, larger meals per day. Kittens begin to resemble adults at this time, but they are still growing and require the particular nutrients provided in kitten food, so continue to feed a high-quality kitten food.
Many cat owners are tempted to switch a kittens food during the adolescent growth stage for variety. Cats, on the other hand, do not get bored with a constant diet of high-quality dry food. Offering a kitten, human food and table scraps might lead to unwanted behaviors like begging or food theft.
When Can Kittens Drink Water
You may have been wondering: When can kittens drink water? It is important to note that cats do not always drink water while at home. If your kitten is eating wet food, she wont need extra water, and she might even sleep. In any case, it is important to keep your cat properly hydrated. Cats dont drink water when they are asleep. However, if you notice that your cat does not drink water, you should bring her to the veterinarian.
The first few weeks of a kittens life are crucial. Although milk provides their bodies with fluids, they need water to stay healthy and prevent diseases. Water is especially important for kittens over four weeks old. It is best to provide filtered water to keep it odor-free and to avoid the potential for diarrhea. Cats can also safely drink sugary beverages and treats. However, sugar should only be provided in moderation, and filtered water is the best option for kittens.
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Why Its Important To Switch To Adult Cat Food
Kittens experience rapid growth and development, plus, theyre playful and have a lot of energy. Kitten food has higher calories and more protein and fat to support energetic, growing kittens.
Its also formulated with DHA to help support brain and vision development, plus vitamins and minerals needed for their developing immune systems.
Once they reach maturity, cats dont need the same amounts of those nutrients. Plus, theyre often less energetic, so eating a high-calorie kitten food could result in weight gain.
Feeding An Orphaned Kitten
But if you have a kitten without a mother, you need to provide food thats formulated for kitten health. Whether your orphaned kitten is a newborn or one thats a few weeks old, you should bottle feed them. Bottle-feeding a kitten isnt difficult, but it does take a little know-how to do it properly. These tips for how to bottle feed a kitten can help.
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When Are Kittens Allowed To Eat Dry And Wet Food
While kittens should not eat adult cat food until they are fully mature, they can start eating dry kibble and wet kitten food much earlier.
Kittens can start eating moistened dry kibble or wet food at three to four weeks. Kittens are fully weaned from their mothers milk and can eat dry or wet kitten food between the ages of six and eight weeks.
Healthy Kitten Growth Rate
A general rule of thumb in kittens is that they typically gain about 1 pound per month.
Often, a kittens weight is about 1 pound at 1 month , 2 pounds at 2 months , and so on until about 4-5 months.
Kittens do most of their growing within the first year and then stabilize from there. Many of the growth plates of the bones in the kitten skeleton close by about one year old.
At this time, after much of the growth is finished, your vet will typically switch your kitten to an adult diet.
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How Do I Teach A Kitten To Eat Solid Food
IOnce a kitten has started trying to eat momâs food, the process of offering them mushy food can begin.
f you are weaning an orphaned or fostered kitten, plan on serving the kitten milk and food in a shallow saucer or bowl. DonÃ¢t use cowÃ¢s milk, which can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea in some kittens. Instead, use kitten formula.
Gradually mix the formula with wet food and encourage the kitten to eat it on their own. The next step is to adjust the ratio of formula to wet food until the mixture is primarily wet food. Next, mix formula with dry food and repeat the process.
Remember to always provide your kitten with fresh water.
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How Much To Feed A Kitten
Kittens are growing rapidly at this young age and eat a lot of food compared to adult cats. We want to provide their bodies with everything necessary for growth, but we also want to develop healthy long-term eating habits.
Feeding guidelines are variable by kitten. However, most often, using the feeding directions on the bag or can of food is a good starting place, and then you can adjust as needed for your kitten. Your veterinarian can use metabolic formulas to calculate the number of calories required per day based on your kittens current weight.
We want kittens to come hungry for their meal, but we also dont want them to be feeling so hungry that they devour the entire meal in a few seconds. Often, young kittens may eat ¼ to ½ cup of food at a time.
If your kitten is thin, we may need to increase the caloric requirement per day. If your kitten is gaining too much weight too quickly, we may need to cut back. Your veterinarian will use a tool called a body condition score to assess your kittens weight.
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Choosing A Type Of Solid Food
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