A Nutritionally Complete Diet Is Crucial During Kittenhood
Remember that a nutritionally complete diet is more important during kittenhood than at any other life stage. A properly balanced diet is important at any age, but its crucial during the first 12 months of life. During these months, youre building the foundation for a lifetime of health or one of chronic problems.
An article on Mercola Healthy Pets illustrates this fact with the story of a 5-month-old Sphynx kitten who was fed exclusively raw chicken for the first several months of his life. As a result of this imbalanced diet, the kitten developed lameness and eye problems. By the time the kitten was adopted, he was suffering from osteopenia, a condition resulting from inadequate mineral density in the bones. Inadequate taurine had caused central retinal degeneration and lesions on one of his eyes.
Four months of inadequate nutrition may not have had such an obvious impact on an adult cat, but for a growing kitten, every meal is critical.
Kitten Food Should Be Rich in High-quality Protein from Real Chicken, Turkey, Rabbit, Or Other Animal-Sourced Ingredients.
As obligate carnivores, cats of all ages need a lot of protein.
Compared to middle-aged adults, kittens are more sensitive to both the quantity and quality of that protein. While adult cats need at least 6.5 grams of protein per 100 calories according to the AAFCOs nutrient profiles, kittens need 7.5 grams or more.
Why Feed Your Cat This Type Of Diet
By nature, cats are carnivores that ate a mostly protein-based diet with very few carbohydrates. Your cat may be domesticated now, but they still need the higher protein content to support healthy muscle growth and overall development.
Cats also had low carbohydrates in their diet, and it came from the other parts of the animal they ate. You don’t see cats in the wild eating fatty or plant-based diets, and carbohydrates lead to weight gain. Feeding your cat lower carbohydrates helps them maintain a healthy weight, and this is especially important as they age or if they’re diabetic.
Buying Guide For Best Dry Cat Food
Your feline friend deserves the very best, and that includes a quality dry cat food to keep her healthy and well-nourished.
But with the hundreds of dry cat food brands available on grocery store shelves, in pet stores, and online, how do you choose the right one? It can be tricky, because there’s no single best cat food out there though some are definitely better for your cat than others.
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How Much Protein Is Considered High Protein
Cat food is considered high-protein if it contains at least 30% protein. Each of the products on this list meets this requirement, with some products surpassing 40%. When choosing a product, keep your cats age in mind. Some products are formulated specifically for kittens or senior cats, both of whom have higher protein needs than younger adult cats. For older cats, look for cat food that is made up of about 50% protein.
What Is Considered High
Because the pet food standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials are based on minimum amounts of protein, anything over 30 percent protein is labeled as high-protein, when in reality, its not a high-protein food when compared to a cats natural diet. According to Cuevas, products containing around 40 percent protein are a more ideal percentage point to look for in order to ensure your cats are healthy and thriving.
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Our Biologically Appropriate Philosophy
The Near Eastern wildcat is the ancestor and closest relative of all domestic cats. While years of breeding have produced different kinds of cats, the internal workings of wild and domestic cats remain unchanged, so its no surprise that their food requirements remain the same too. Our five Biologically Appropriate principles are simple and mirror the freshness and variety of meat that cats have evolved to eat.
Kitten Food Should Be Rich In Certain Vitamins And Minerals
Compared to adult cats, kittens have slightly different vitamin and mineral needs.According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, kittens should consume food with a calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of about 1.0 to 0.8, while adult cats should get a ratio of about .6 to .5. They have slightly higher requirements for vitamin A and require slightly greater amounts of the amino acids lysine and tryptophan.
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The Difference Between Wet And Dry
Is it better to feed your cat wet or dry food?
Picky kittens like wet foods , and they include plenty of moisture, which helps keep your feline friend hydrated. Sure, feeding is messier, but you can keep the space clean by using a cat food mat.
Dry meals are easier to keep fresh and, in general, less messy. They do, however, tend to be higher in carbohydrates and fillers, which is beneficial for cats.
How To Change Cat Food
Once youve decided on and purchased your new cat food, its important to take time to introduce it to your cat slowly to reduce the risk of them developing an upset stomach.
Most manufacturers will include recommended quantities for transitioning your cat to their new diet. As an example, over six days, you can add 25% of the new food to your cats existing feed for the first two days. For days three and four, mix the foods with a 50/50 split. On days five and six, youll be using 75% new food and 25% old food. On day seven, you can use 100% new food, and your transition is complete!
Want to see more cat food reviews? Check out our review page here!
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Kitten Food Vs Adult Cat Food
Many new kitten owners may wonder why you cant simply feed adult cat food to your kitten. The reason is simple: Kittens have different nutritional needs than adult cats. Kittens grow rapidly and need ultra-nutrient-dense food to aid in this rapid growth and development. This is why specially made kitten food is the best choice for your furry friend because you can be sure that they are getting all the nutrients that they need to grow and develop into adulthood.
Petsradar’s Pick Of The Best Kitten Food
- Best overall kitten food: Royal Canin Kitten
- Best budget kitten food: IAMS Proactive Health
- Best kitten food for sensitive stomachs: Royal Canin Feline Gastrointestinal Kitten Dry Cat Food
- Best wet kitten food: Wellness Complete Health Kitten Pâté
- Best raw kitten food: Natures Variety Instinct Original Kitten
- Best gourmet kitten food: Applaws Tuna Wet Kitten Food
- Best natural kitten food: Nutro Wholesome Essentials Kitten Dry Cat Food
- Best variety kitten food: Purina Pro Plan Kitten Favorites
- Best kitten food for protein: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Chicken Recipe
- Best kitten food for weaning: Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Ultra-Soft Mousse
- Best vet-recommended kitten food: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
If youre keen to ensure that your new four-legged friend has a balanced and nutritious diet, its hard to look past Royal Canins Kitten food.
Royal Canin is a hugely respected cat food brand, earning praise from owners and veterinarians alike for its specialist formulas. It may be a little pricier per can than others on this list, but theres little substitute for knowing that youve got your kitty some quality dinner from a trusted brand.
The meat comes in gravy , and is deliberately sliced small and thin to make it easier on tiny mouths transitioning to solid food.
Reasons to avoid
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Reasons to avoid
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Reasons to avoid
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Royal Canin Nutrition Kitten
For specialist cat food nutrition, no one beats Royal Canin. Their formulas command a premium price tag, but theyre easily the front-runners in feline nutrition. This kitten formula featuresd thin slices in in gravy, which still makes it easy to eat but offers an option other than pate for your kitten.
This food has all the same hallmarks and benefits as other Royal Canin cat foods. Its perfectly balanced, with the ideal amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to provide your growing kitten with plenty of energy. There is also the antioxidant complex for a healthy immune system that Royal Canin has perfected.
The macronutrient profile of this food is very appealing to kittens the perfect balance of calories that they will instinctively crave. This formula is an excellent wet cat food food to transition to after the Mother & Babycat formula from Royal Canin.
Chicken, chicken liver, and pork are the first three ingredients in this food. This premium kitten food is more expensive than many others on our list, but it is worth it. Wed recommend pairing it with a cheaper dry kitten food if you can to help with economy.
Purina Kitten Chow Nurturing Formula Dry Cat Food
A brand from Nestle Purina PetCare, Purina is deserving of a space in any top dry kitten food review, plus, it is recommended by many vets. The food is formulated specially to match the nutrient requirement of the very tender kitten. High in DHA, it does not contain fillers common in many kibbles. Instead, it is packed with plenty of minerals, amino acids, and vitamins. Kittens love the taste of this nutritionally balanced meal and many kitten owners attest to this. Also, the nutrient-packed kibbles are not only complete and balanced for the first year of growth they are made into shapes that kittens would love to eat. The ingredients include Brewers rice, some of the safest poultry by-product meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, fish meals, wheat flour, and several other essential vitamins and minerals needed for healthy growth. Because Purina Nurturing Formula contains exceptionally balanced nutrition, that felines need to thrive in their early years, you can rest easy knowing it provides your cat with the nutrition it needs to grow into a healthy cat.
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What Distinguishes Best Dry Kitten Food From Conventional Cat Food
- Kitten food is specifically formulated to fulfil the nutritional requirements of kittens.
- It has a higher fat, protein, and calorie content than adult cat food.
- It also contains phosphorus and calcium in significant amounts, which are beneficial to bone health.
- Kitten meals are frequently divided into tiny chunks or pieces to make them easier to consume for young cats.
Advantages Of A High Protein Diet
There are many advantages of feeding a high protein cat food to your cat. Many cat experts and veterinary nutritionists agree that cats have a need for more protein in their diet than dogs, for example. And you can find plenty of articles and references online that attest to the fact that cats are obligate carnivores, and thus they need meat in their diet. They dont have salivary amylase to help break down starches and they dont have the enzymes needed to help digest carbs in their gastrointestinal tract. Unlike dogs, which have evolved genes to help digest starch since they separated from wolves, cats dont have the same capacity. Animal protein in a cats diet is also a good way to help ensure they get some of the essential amino acids they require.
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Cats Prefer Higher Protein
Left to their own devices, cats will overwhelmingly choose a higher protein food. A study reported in the Huffington Post by Dr. Karen Becker found:
- Given the option, the cats exclusively chose high-protein food over high-carb food even when there was less of the high-protein food available.
- Cats offered a choice of three foods with variable amounts of protein, carbs and fat mixed them to achieve a daily intake as follows:
- 100 calories or 52 percent from protein
- 67 calories or 35 percent from fats
- 24 calories or 12.5 percent from carbs
Interestingly, the nutritional content of an adult mouse is said to be 55.8 percent protein and 23.6 percent fat, so perhaps this provides some insight on how much animal protein cats prefer in their diet. It seems very close to the amount found in the study above.
According to one source, this is what a cat might eat in the wild:
So, if we are agreed that your cat can benefit from eating a high protein cat food, what do you need to look for in one?
High protein cat food diets
Wet & Canned Kitten Food
Wet kitten food is a popular choice. For most owners, a combination of both dry and canned foods is the ideal outcome. Its often advisable to lead with wet foods as the primary meal and leave kibble around 24/7 to be sure the kitten can eat whenever it feels a little hungry.
Wet food typically works out to be slightly more expensive per meal than dry foods, so a balance of both can work best for your cat and your wallet. Dont be alarmed that the values listed for calories, protein, and fat are significantly lower than those found in dry foods. The reason behind this is that these foods are made up of far more moisture. To compare nutrient analysis, youll need to convert both values to their dry-matter equivalents.
Feeding a cat two cans of the best wet cat food could be the nutritional equivalent of half a cup of dry food portioning is everything.
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What To Look For In Dry Cat Food
Many low quality dry cat foods contain fillers, artificial preservatives and other nasty stuff that are not a part of your cats natural diet. These usually manifest themselves in the forms of grains and wheat based ingredients. To ensure youre getting the best nutritional value for your cat when buying a kibble based food, look for the following:
What Causes A Cat To Lose Weight
For many of us, unplanned weight loss sounds like a dream come true. When your 12-pound cat suddenly loses 2 or 3 pounds, however, it represents a significant weight loss and can actually be very dangerous. But what causes a cat to lose weight?
Weight loss in cats can be linked to a wide variety of dietary and health issues ranging from allergies to hormone imbalance. Here are some of the factors that can cause a cat to lose weight:
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Solid Gold Indigo Moon High
For cats who need to gain weight, protein and calories are important, but you still need to make sure your cats nutritional needs are being met. This Solid Gold Indigo Moon High-Protein Wild Alaskan Pollock & Eggs Grain-Free Recipe is an excellent choice because it is a holistic, all-natural formula. This recipe is grain-free and gluten-free for digestibility, but super-high in premium animal protein. It features wild Alaskan pollock, chicken meal, and ocean fish meal to provide 42% crude protein. This recipe is also very high in fat and calories which makes it a great choice for weight gain. Plus, because the recipe is all-natural and holistic, you can feel good knowing that it will nourish your cats body from the inside out with the use of any artificial additives or by-products.
- Pros: Several premium animal proteins, rich in essential fatty acids, high in protein and fat , over 450 calories per cup, grain-free and gluten-free, holistic and all-natural ingredients
- Cons: Some cats are sensitive to chicken ingredients, contains some plant protein
How To Read Ingredient Labels
Its not just about quantity when it comes to protein its also about quality. Lower-quality protein is less digested than high-quality protein, resulting in faster muscle mass loss. Before selecting cat food, always read the first five ingredients. The first component in the finest grade cat foods is genuine meat. Meat meal is also a good source of protein, however, it is not as high-quality as actual meat.
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How Do I Determine How Much Protein Is In My Cats Food
It can be difficult to determine how much protein is in pet food based on the label alone. This is in large part due to variations in the moisture content of food.
The AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles base nutrient recommendations on a dry matter basis, which means that nutrient percentages are calculated without considering water content.
Pet food labels, however, print nutrient content on an as-fed basis, which includes water content. This can lead to confusion on the part of consumers, since canned pet food usually contains around 75% moisture, and dry pet food contains about 10% moisture.
So, how do you compare the protein content of cat food when all you have to go off of is the label? The answer is to convert the protein level from an as-fed to a dry matter basis.
Find the Moisture percentage and Crude Protein listed on the pet food label to perform these calculations:
Subtract the Moisture percentage from 100. This will give you the percent dry matter of the diet.
Divide the Crude Protein by the percent dry matter of the product.
Multiply the result by 100. This will give you the percent of protein on a dry matter basis.
Canned food example:
Canned Food A has the following listed on its label:
12% crude protein minimum
100 12 = 88
37 / 88 = 0.420
0.420 x 100 = 42.0
The percent protein of Dry Food A on a dry matter basis is 42.0%