As A Small Animal Veterinarian Do You Recommend Any Specific Kitten Or Adult Cat Foods
There are many different diets out there, and it can be overwhelming to have to pick the right one. As a small animal veterinarian, I recommend and trust Hills Science Diet and Wellness.
Pet nutrition is an integral part of the development, growth and health of your pet. Placing your kitten on the most nutritious and appropriate diet from the start helps to ensure a lifetime of health and happiness. Nothing brings me more happiness and joy than seeing adorable, feisty and playful kitties. Enjoy this time and remember to take a lot of pictures, because before you know it, they will no longer fit in the palm of your hand. If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian. They are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Meat Them Where They Are
The most important rule of weaning is not to rushdo things on the kittens timeline, not yours! Try offering the kitten some small bites of wet food on a finger, a spoon, or a tongue depressor, and see if they will accept it. If theyre interested in eating, see if they are able to access the food in a dish. Remember that this is a new skill for them, so many kittens will find it difficult to eat out of a dish for the first several days. No rush!
Once the kitten has eaten some solids, its time to supplemental feed with a bottle Supplemental feeding ensures that your kitten is getting all of the calories and nutrition she needs during this slow transition. There’s no such thing as “tough love” for kittens, and if she isn’t understanding how to eat yet, you’ll still need to supplement to make sure she’s staying healthy and well fed.
You may also choose to offer the kitten a slurrya mix of formula and wet food, which is used to help transition the kitten from one food to the other. You may begin by just introducing a small teaspoon of wet food mixed with the formula, which allows the kitten to acclimate to the new proteins and flavors. As the kitten becomes more comfortable eating meat, you’ll begin increasing the ratio so that there is more wet food present at each feeding.
Weigh the kitten throughout the weaning process. If her weight drops or steadies, youll need to supplement with a bottle, try a different method of eating, or scale back to kitten formula.
Foods To Avoid Giving Your Feline
As with many animals, treats should only be given if they make up a small portion of their total calorie intake in this case its less than 10%. However, this doesnt mean that they can finish the last scrap of chicken or salmon from your plate once in a while as something special. Plus, this may also encourage begging or even the stealing of your food, which is best to avoid at all costs.
Its important to ensure that your kitten or cat isnt able to get their paws on things such as onions, garlic, chocolate, tea, coffee, grapes, or raisins as these can be toxic. Its also advised to take precautions when it comes to raw meat or liver, which can contain harmful bacteria raw eggs, which can lead to problems with their skin and coat raw fish, as this can trigger a vitamin B deficiency, seizures, or be fatal and milk, which can cause diarrhea. Read five human foods that are poisonous to cats to learn more.
For more information on any of the above, please seek professional advice from your vet.
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How Kitten Food Differs From Adult Cat Food
Kitten food is formulated to meet the needs of growing kittens for the first year of their lives. During that first year, your kitten changes from a cute little baby into an adult cat.
Kitten food contains higher levels of protein and fat than adult cat food formulas. Kittens need extra protein and fat for energy because their bodies are growing so much during their first year of life. They also need some essential fat-soluble vitamins to help them develop properly, and the higher protein levels help them develop healthy muscles as they mature.
Kittens also need minerals, such as calcium, potassium and phosphorus, so that their teeth and bones form properly. All these minerals are found in most high-quality kitten foods.
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
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Choosing The Right Food For Your Adult Cat
With so many options out there, it can be quite complicated knowing which ones to try and which ones are to be avoided at all costs.
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
Is Wet Or Dry Food Better For Cats
Wet food is more expensive and less easy to use but can be beneficial in cats prone to lower urinary tract disease, constipation and that are overweight. Dry food can be a very efficient way to provide calories in thin cats with food volume limitations and allows for the use of food puzzles and food toy dispensers.
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Get The Right Supplies
Pick up some wet kitten food, making sure that it says “kitten.” Kitten food is higher in calories, fat and protein that the kitten needs to help grow big and strong. Wet food is the healthiest choice for kittens to start off with, as the moisture content will help them stay healthy and hydrated. However, some kittens may prefer dry food, and thats okay as long as you choose a healthy kitten kibble. You’ll also want to pick up some shallow food dishes so the kitten can easily access the food.
Weaning The Orphaned Kitten
Weaning an orphaned cat while a bit more challenging can be done. However, avoid starting the process too early/before it can open its eyes/focus and stand firm on its feet. Until this happens, continue with the bottle feeding and formula.
When a mother cat naturally weans her kittens
The natural weaning process, as said before, begins at around the fourth week. During this period, the young kittens will try to eat their mother’s food whenever fed. You may notice the mom try to push them away. They soon grow less dependent on their mothers’ milk and start eating mostly food provided for them in their eating bowls. For orphaned cats, you can tell they are ready for weaning when they start chewing and biting on their feeding bottle. At this stage, you can safely introduce solid kitten food.
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Do You Need To Feed Kittens Kitten Food
Kittens need large amounts of energyabout two to three times that of an adult cat. Kittens also need about 30% of their total energy from protein. Make sure the food you offer is specifically formulated for kittens. Your pet will need to eat kitten-formula food until she reaches maturity, at about one year of age.
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
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When Should I Switch From Kitten Food To Adult Cat Food
Kittens should be fed a growth-formulated diet until they are at least 90 percent of their adult weight. In general, kittens reach this milestone at about 10 to 12 months of age. The exception is for larger breed cats. Some larger breeds are recommended to be on growth diets for a longer period of time because they do not reach maturity until 18 months to 2 years of age. Always speak with your veterinarian regarding how long your kitten should be on a kitten diet.
Switching To A Therapeutic Cat Food
If your veterinarian has recommended a special therapeutic cat food for a specific health condition, please be sure to discuss transitioning to the new cat food in detail. There could be some special considerations and your veterinarian may have additional suggestions to help you and your cat.
- Therapeutic cat foods have unique qualities and feeding requirements. If you prefer to feed a specific form of cat food , let your veterinarian know so they can recommend a food that complements and addresses your cats condition.
- Adding cat foods from the grocery or pet food store will greatly decrease the benefit of the therapeutic cat food and may compromise your cats health, so be sure to follow your veterinarians instructions when transitioning to a therapeutic cat food.
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How Can U Tell How Old A Kitten Is
A kittens weight in pounds roughly corresponds to his age in months, and he will gain weight at a relatively predictable rate until about 5 months of age. As long as a kitten is in good body condition, you can safely guess that a 1-pound kitten is about 4 weeks old and a 3-pound kitten is about 12 weeks old.
When Is It Time To Switch Litter
If your cat uses her litter box every day, then you probably shouldnt change litter brands.
However, Its not unusual for cats to outgrow their litter and become averse to the box theyve been used for months. If you try a more a new litter, be sure to transition your cat slowly by combining old and new litters until she adjusts.
Clues your cat doesn’t like her litter:
- Two of her paws are in the box, two are out
- She doesnt dig to bury her waste
- She steps out of the box, shakes her feet
- She scratches the floor or carpet outside her box
- She urinates outside, not inside, the box
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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 Opens a new windowIAMS ProActive Health Healthy Kitten with Chicken. 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 wet kitten or all-life-stages food for a nutritious and tasty
What Are Other Signs Its Time To Change My Cats Food
You will notice your cat has reached the adult stage and is ready for a maintenance plan at 12 months old. Your cat should be less active at this stage, although still likely to be playful, cats at this age have stopped most of the kitten behaviors from the development months.
They are likely to want to eat less frequently at this age but can consume large meals as their stomachs and mouths have grown and their teeth have developed. If you notice weight gain, this can be a sign that it’s time to go onto the maintenance plan that cat foods will provide.
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When To Start Feeding A Kitten Adult Food
Originally Posted by Alison JoySharky, your point of view on this issue is interesting. Thank you for sharing. While I am of the category that feeds a grain free, all-life-stage dry food, and despite not planning on having any other kittens in the home for quite some time, I’m going to do some research and discuss this with my vet.All of my prior experiences have been with pulling a kitten off of kitten food at 5-6 months of age. Numerous vets and shelters have also informed me to do the same. But, now reading what you’ve shared, I can see the validity of your opinion. It is something I’ll take another look at, when the time comes, down the road.For reference, I’m feeding my cats Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Feline Formula . I do, however, also feed wet food and that is not a grain free variety — my cats turn their noses up at the grain free wet foods. I continue to feed Finnegan wet food varieties specifically formulated for kittens, but I don’t do so exclusively. I choose to only because he is finicky where wet food is concerned. But, all of my cats do eat wet food and that comes to about 75% of their daily diet.I stand by my opinion that, under most circumstances, it is okay to feed a 5 or 6 month old kitten adult food. But, I suppose, as with most things feline, the jury is still out on the best plan of action.
Introducing Adult Cat Food
Kittens grow and develop every day. They require a food that meets the high-energy demands of their bodies. As your kitten becomes an adult cat, you may need to adjust her diet.
How do you know when to switch to adult cat food? Sometimes its hard to know when to stop feeding kitten food, but generally, you should begin slowly transitioning your kitten to adult food when she is one year old, or when your veterinarian recommends doing so. Spread out the transition process over a 7 to 10-day period, gradually increasing the amount of her new food each day.
This blog article was originally posted by Purina.
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How Should I Transition My Kitten To Adult Cat Food
It is important to transition to adult cat food gradually. Your pets digestive system is home to billions of bacteria that keep their gastrointestinal tract healthy. These microbes aid in the digestion of food, fight off potential pathogens, make nutrients and vitamins, and bolster the immune system. Unlike humans, pets eat the same diet every day, and therefore develop microbes to digest that specific diet. When the diet is abruptly changed, the gastrointestinal-dwelling microbes do not have time to adjust and digest the new food. This can result in severe gastrointestinal upset, with vomiting and diarrhea. To avoid this, I always recommend slowly transitioning your pet to their new food. The general guideline is to transition your kitten to an adult diet over 7 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, transition fully to the new diet