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.
Easy Homemade Cat Gravy
Your cat is sure to love the taste and flavor of this simple yet flavorful gravy. It is easy to make, as the name suggests, and it is full of flavor so your cat should not be shy of it. You can add veggies or meat as you see fit. Here are the basic ingredients that you will need:
- Simply put everything in a pot, and then let it simmer for at least 2 hours.
- After simmering, let the brew rest until it is lukewarm.
- Then serve the broth up, put it in the fridge, or store it in the freezer for later use.
If you added any bone, remove it before serving to your cats. Never give your cat a cooked bone, and never use leftovers from marinated meats or meats pre-cooked with condiments only plain, natural leftovers.
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How To Wean Kittens
To begin weaning a kitten, mix the kitten food with formula so they recognize the taste. Smear the mixture around their mouth with your finger and let them lick it off. Once they get used to the taste, theyll seek it out elsewhere. Then you can introduce them to lapping from a bowl. Monitor them so they dont lap too fast, and never push their face into the bowl, which could cause them to inhale the mixture and develop pneumonia.
Between the fourth and sixth week, gradually transition the weaning kittens to dry food, supplementing with formula if needed. Use canned food or dry kitten food mixed with water at first, add a lot of water, and then reduce the amount of water as the kitten matures.
A general schedule for kitten weaning might be:
- Weeks 4-5: Give wet or moistened dry food, mixed with formula to form a slush. Supplement with formula if the kitten is not taking to the new food, to make sure it gets enough calories.
- Weeks 5-6: The weaning kittens should start to nibble on the kibble, slightly moistened with water.
- Weeks 6-7: By now, the kitten weaning process is complete, and they should be eating all solid food by week seven.
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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
Using A Commercial Kitten Milk Replacer
If a mother cat is unable to feed her little ones, the kittens will need human help to get the nutrients they need. To feed a kitten, skip the standard milk in your fridge! This will cause tummy upset and will not give the kittens what they need to survive. Youll need to purchase a commercial kitten milk replacement to get them the special nutrients they need. This product is available at local pet stores or at your veterinarians office. Never use cows milk or any other dairy alternative. Kitten milk replacer is formulated to provide the same nutrition that a mother cats milk offers, and it comes in two forms: dry or canned.
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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.
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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The Best Wet And Dry Kitten Food
When your kitten is little, their nutritional needs and feeding schedule vary from those of an adult cat. Typically, a healthy kitten will be able to start eating wet food when theyre between three and four weeks old. If youre looking for the best wet kitten food for your new addition, Dr. Anne, Earthborn Holistics Director of Nutrition Services, explains that the protein and fat levels will be considerably lower for wet food than dry food due to the high moisture content but its still important to look for protein at 10% or higher and fat at 3% or higher. Our Catalina Catch and Chicken Jumble with Liver recipes are some of our best canned kitten food recommendations. These formulas are created for all life stages and are made with high quality proteins like real chicken with chicken broth and mackerel topped with shrimp. If youre looking for the best kitten food for sensitive stomachs, Chicken Jumble with Liver is a great single meat protein option for this as well.
As your kitten becomes older, switching to dry cat food may be more convenient. The crunchiness of dry kibble also helps keep your kittens teeth healthy by reducing plaque and tartar build-up. Softening dry kibbles with water can also help your kitten overcome texture differences between wet and dry food when transitioning to dry kibbles.
How Do I Know When My Kitten Is Ready To Eat Hard Food
When kittens are ready to wean, you may notice that theyve become more mobile and can stand on their feet while holding up their tail. Theyll also have their canines and incisors at this point and should be exploring their surroundings through play.
When can a kitten eat regular cat food?
12 months oldWhen 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.
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Other Key Elements And Precautions For Feeding Kittens
Below are some other things to bear in mind when feeding kittens, as outlined by Matejka:
- Make sure the food is verified by the AAFCO, which is a group that regulates pet food to ensure that it is balanced. Look for a product label that says the food “meets the nutritional requirements of kittens or all life stages established by the American Association of Feed Control Officials.”
- Be mindful of portions and calories. Check the package of the product for the suggested amount based on a kitten’s weight and age. The amount of food kittens require changes as they get older.
- Stick to regular meals and avoid “free feeding.” Kittens can be fed twice a day when they are over four to six months old. When kittens are young , they often can be allowed to “free-feed” as they will consume as much as their body needs. But once they’re older, stick with regular meals and measure out the exact amount of food they need per day, per meal.
- Do not overfeed them. Kittens may “always act like they are starving,” but it’s vital not to overfeed them, as this can predispose the kittens to obesity later in life. Those concerned about their kitten’s weight should consult a veterinarian to discuss what you’re feeding and how much you’re feeding your kitten.
When Can Kittens Eat Dry Food
Actually, it’s OK to have them try kibble during this timeframe, too, as long as it’s moistened with a 1to3 ratio of warm water to food so it’s a squishy gruel. As their teeth continue to mature, they’ll be able to crunch to their heart’s content.
Anthony suggests alternating between wet and dry kitten food to help little ones be more open to different textures. “Kittens may have a bit easier time with soft food, though some go straight for dry. They’re typically able to chew dry food by the time they are 56 weeks old.”
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Which Human Foods Are Ok For A Cat With Urinary Crystals
Human foods that would be OK for a cat with urinary crystals include lean meats like chicken breast, turkey breast, or fish. Many vegetables and dairy products have high mineral content and could cause increased urinary crystals.
If your cat is eating prescription urinary food, be careful about adding any additional foods regularly. Its OK to give a small treat a few times a week, but once you approach more than 10% of total food intake, treats can cancel out the good effects of urinary diet food.
Remember that changing food or introducing new treats can be a source of stress for many cats. Stress can set off an episode of FIC, so proceed very cautiously.
Why You Should Feed Wet Food To Kittens
During the weaning phase, you can offer your kitten a variety of dry and wet foods to give them a diverse diet. When feeding dry food, try to avoid fatty, fried, or high-fat meats. Also, avoid any foods with nitrates and salt. Bacon and hot dogs should be avoided as they contain high levels of salt. You can provide your kitten with lean meat, preferably diced and cooked.
When introducing wet food to your kitten, make sure that it is not cold. If the temperature of the food is too high, it could cause digestive problems, such as diarrhea. Then, slowly introduce a small amount of wet food at each feeding. You can also gradually increase the ratio so that more wet food is available for your kitten at every feeding. Its important to weigh your kitten periodically to monitor how well its doing with solid food. If you notice that your kitten is losing weight, you might need to supplement with a bottle or use a different feeding method. If hes not gaining weight, you may have to switch back to formula and gradually wean him from it.
Another reason to give your kitten wet food is that it encourages them to drink more water. Water is extremely important for cats, and its especially important to encourage them to drink more. Kittens often dont drink much, but the wet food diet will encourage them to drink more water and stay hydrated. A cat water fountain is a great way to encourage your kitten to drink more water.
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What’s The Best Type Of Food For Kittens
Kittens must be weaned on good quality, nutritionally complete kitten food. Kittens have specific calorie, protein, and calcium requirements for healthy growth. They also need adequate vitamins and minerals.
Look for a manufacturer who employs board-certified veterinary nutritionists, or someone with a Ph.D. in animal nutrition, to work on their formula. Consider looking for a brand that is part of the Pet Food Manufacturers Association . To be a member, the manufacturers have to meet higher quality standards than the legal minimum.
You can find out more in our vet’s guide to which kind of kitten food is best for your young cat.
How Can I Know Im Selecting A High
Mindy Bough, CVT, senior director of client services for the Midwest Office of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals emphasizes the importance of high-quality kitten food. I dont recommend generic or store brands, Bough says. Buy from a reputable company — one that veterinarians recommend more frequently, she says. Research has determined these kitten foods provide excellent health.
But how can you be certain a kitten food is of high quality? One way is by checking the label. It should at least contain the following: Meets the nutritional requirements of kittens established by the American Association of Feed Control Officials . AAFCO is a group of state and federal officials who regulate pet food. Even better, look for this: Complete and balanced nutrition for kittens based on AAFCO feeding trials. Complete and balanced nutrition means your kitten will require no mineral or vitamin supplementation. In fact, remember that too much of a good thing can be bad for your kitten, causing severe medical problems. Use supplements only if your veterinarian recommends them.
Also use caution with homemade diets. For example, all-meat homemade diets can be low in calcium, leading to a mineral imbalance that causes hyperparathyroidism, a disease more common in rapidly growing kittens. If you use a homemade diet, make sure its been formulated by a reputable nutritionist, Bough says.
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When Are Kittens Weaned
A tremendous amount of growth takes place in the first year of life, with the majority being in the first six months, Anthony, owner and medical director of Aurora Cat Hospital and Hotel in Aurora, Colo., tells Daily Paws. During that initial half year, kittens will grow from an average birth weight of around 100 grams to around 6 pounds. In the first two weeks alone, their body weight doubles.
What do kittens eat from birth to about 4 weeks old? Exclusively mothers milk, so as a pet parent, your job is to make sure Momma cat is as comfortable as she can be. Make sure mom has easy access to food, water, and a litter box since she will be the main source of nutrition for the kittens, Anthony says. Momma cat should eat multiple times per day to keep up the energy needed to produce milk and feed her kittens. If youre fostering kittens or caring for strays, youll assume the role of Momma cat with bottle feeding for roughly the same amount of time.
Anthony adds that kittens arent able to go to the bathroom by themselves until about 3 weeks old. Until that time, their mother will stimulate them by licking their little rears. Consult a veterinarian on how to encourage your young wards to urinate and defecate if theyre without a mom.
How Much And How Often
An eight-week-old kitten is about to enter a period in which she will gain weight quickly.1 Unlike an adult cat that might be fine with just one meal a day, kittens need multiple meals spaced throughout the day. One large meal that contains all of their nutrition for the day would be too difficult to digest properly. Kittens need those calories all day long!
At eight weeks old, a kitten can be fed four times a day, with approximately a half a cup served at each meal.2 This can vary based on your kittens breed and body condition and your veterinarians recommendation. Because a kitten has so much developing yet to do, a high-protein diet is ideal. And kittens should always have access to fresh, clean water.
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Can A Cat Live A Healthy Life On Dry Food Only
A cat can live a healthy life on dry food only
If you want to switch your cat exclusively to dry kibble, its not the end of the world and they can be just as happy. But transitioning slowly is always best so that their digestion time doesnt change too drastically.
You should also start by mixing in a little bit of wet food with about four cups of dry cat food at first.
This will help ease them into eating less moistened foods while still giving some nutrients from wet cat food for gut health benefits like strong teeth and bones.
Soon after, try adding more and more water until there are no longer any wet ingredients mixed in with the meat-based ones over a period of months instead
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