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When To Switch From Kitten Food To Cat Food

Effects Of Switching Food

How to Switch a Small Kitten From Canned Food to Dry Food

Quickly replacing kitty’s old food for a new one can cause stomach problems. Vomiting and diarrhea are common side effects of a rapid change in diet. Another side effect of rapid diet change is kitty’s refusal to eat. Whenever you need to switch kitty’s food, it should be done gradually to alleviate complications.

How Do I Keep My Cat Healthy And Happy

Cats are stoic theyll go to great lengths to hide signs of injury or illness. Even though your cat will visit the veterinarian at least once a year, its best to watch her body and behavior closely to catch any issues before they escalate. Look for these signs:

Sleep-a-holic kitty: Healthy cats sleep a lot get to know your cats sleeping patterns. If shes snoozing when she usually plays or ignores affection or a favorite toy, her lethargy might be due to illness.

Eating, drinking changes: If your cat has diabetes, shell drink lots of water. If she has dental issues, she might suddenly stop chewing her favorite kibble. Track how much your cat normally eats and drinks so you can gauge any changes.

Urination problems: Urinating more, less or not at all, or elimination outside of the litter box can all be signs your cat may be ill. See your vet immediately, especially if your male cat is urinating abnormally.

Behavioral issues: Acting aggressively can be a sign of pain and injury, but cats will also hide when theyre sick, so watch your cat’s behavior closely.

Weight loss/gain: Look for protruding ribs and or the development of a pouch. Changes in weight can be difficult to detect because theyre usually gradual. Groom your cat to get a feeling for her body weight and condition, so you can sense when theres a change.

Changing Cat Food: How To Switch Your Cat’s Food

At some point, you may need to change your cats food. Kittens will need to transition to adult cat food. Adult cats may benefit from a senior formula as they age. Others may benefit from a healthy weight formula to help maintain their ideal body condition.

Changing your cats food isnt as simple as starting a new food as soon as you run out of the previous food. Purinas experts recommend a gradual transition to avoid digestive upset and so your cat doesnt refuse to eat altogether.

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A Sudden Dietary Change Can Cause Illness In Your Cat

When you have the luxury of time, you can slowly transition your four-legged family member to a new cat food. Maybe Mr. Tribble started out on a dry food diet, with no canned food at all. Once your vet explained the importance of canned food to your cat’s health, she taught you that cats aren’t great water drinkers. Because of this, some cats are more prone to developing urinary crystals and even kidney problems. Canned foods are an important part of keeping your feline healthy.

Your Cat = A Creature of Habit Kittens get used to eating a certain type and possibly even brand of cat food. While you may worry that your cat might get bored eating the same type of food day in and day out, he doesn’t care about this. He’s used to what he’s used to–period, end of story.

If you try to change him from dry to wet, you will pay! Or, if you try to change from one brand to another, he may be able to detect those minute differences in taste. It’s difficult, though not impossible to get him to make the change. Just stock up on your usual stores of patience. You’ll need every single bit of that virtue.

Once he’s reliably eating scheduled meals, begin mixing a small quantity of the new food into his old food. All together, the new and old foods should equal his usual food portion. By removing all his food once he’s done, you’re trying to make him hungry enough that he’ll actually give the new stuff a chance.

A good rule of thumb in making the change is to follow this schedule:

ยบ Vomiting

How Do You Do It

When to Switch from Kitten Food to Cat Food

To avoid intestinal upsets, make the change from a kitten formula to an adult diet over a period of four days with the following method:

Day One: Fill your cat’s dish with 75 percent kitten food and 25 percent adult food.Day Two: Mix adult and kitten food in a 50/50 ratio.Day Three: Feed your cat a mixture that’s 75 percent adult food and 25 percent kitten food.Day Four: Switch to 100 percent adult formula.

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How Long Should Kittens Eat Kitten Food

The majority of cats reach maturity at around the same time at approximately 12 months old. As such, you should keep feeding your feline friend kitten food until their first birthday, at which point you should gradually switch them over to an adult cat food.

The exception to this is extra-large cats, such as Maine coons, who weigh up to 25 pounds compared to an average cat, which weighs around 10 pounds. Larger cats tend to mature between 18 and 24 months of age, so they should be fed kitten food for longer.

Reasons For Changing Cat Foods

  • Age: As cats grow and age, their nutritional needs change. Around age one, kittens should transition to adult cat food. Kitten food is higher in calories and nutrients that support growth and development. Once they reach maturity, those extra calories can lead to weight gain. Similarly, cats over the age of seven may benefit from a senior cat food to support their joint health, immune system and more.
  • Weight: If your cat is not her ideal body condition, you may need to adjust her diet. This may mean feeding her more or less of her current food. In other cases, you may need to switch to a healthy weight formula. Check with your veterinarian for their recommendations to help your cat achieve and maintain her ideal body condition.
  • Health: Aside from weight, certain other health concerns can be addressed through changes to your cats food. For example, if your cat has a sensitive stomach or dry, itchy skin, a sensitive skin and stomach formula may help.
  • Indoor vs. Outdoor: If youve rescued an outdoor cat and plan to keep her indoors, you may need to switch to an indoor cat food formula. Indoor cats tend to be less active than outdoor cats, and theyre prone to more hairballs, so an indoor formula can help address those issues.

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Overview Of Kitten Food:

Kitten formula is the first food introduced to your kitten after theyve been weaned from their mother. This means these foods should be packed with nutrients, proteins, and vitamins that a growing baby needs. A growing kitten also needs more calories than an adult cat. This is why choosing kitten food for a growing cat is so important. It is the best way to get them off on the right foot for a healthier lifestyle.

Feeding A Stray Kitten

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Sadly, in the spring and fall, its not uncommon to find a stray kitten in your yard or on the street. Stray kittens will need the same food and mealtimes as home-raised kittens, but you should take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible to better determine the kittens age and to check for parasites that could affect the animals growth.

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What Age Should I Change My Cats Food

When it comes to nutrition, there are three life stages which experts believe are important times in your cats life to discuss with your veterinarian. The first is the kitten life stage. During this period a cat food rated for growth is needed because it is specifically designed for puppies and kittens according to the AAFCO . Puppies and kittens that are growing require pet foods with a higher protein level and a higher calorie countto meet their growth requirements, says Dr. Lorie Huston. If these nutritional demands are not met, your pets growth may be stunted and/or your pet may become ill. Pet foods rated for reproduction” or “gestation/lactation are also a benefit for pregnant or lactating females.

The second life stage for which you should consult your veterinarian about dietary changes is the adult life stage. Obesity is the most common nutritional disease seen in both dogs and cats today, says Dr. Huston. One reason for this is improper life stage feeding. For example, dog or cat especially one that leads a sedentary lifestyle may become overweight or even obese if fed pet food meant for puppies or kittens. Pet food labeled as “all life stage” can also deliver excessive fat and nutrients your adult pet does not require, as it is formulated for kittens and puppies. Instead you should be looking for cat food rated adult maintenance by the AAFCO.

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.

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Feeding Kittens 6 To 8 Weeks Old

When a kitten is 6 to 8 weeks old, it should be thoroughly weaned from the bottle and transitioned to solid foods. At this time, offer only food thats been specially formulated for kittens. Its a good idea to mix dry and canned food together so your pet experiences both at a young age. As your kitten ages, you can switch to an all-dry or all-canned diet. You should be feeding a kitten this age three to four times per day, depending on their appetite. Its also important to keep a clean, shallow bowl of fresh water available at all times to keep your kitten hydrated.

Nutrients Your Cat Needs

How Do I Switch or Transition Cat Foods?

Nutrients are substances obtained from food and used by an animal as a source of energy and as part of the metabolic machinery necessary for maintenance and growth. Barring any special needs, illness-related deficiencies or instructions from your vet, your pets should be able to get all the nutrients they need from high-quality commercial pet foods, which are formulated with these special standards in mind. Here are the six essential classes of nutrients fundamental for healthy living.

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When To Use Kitten Food

Remember that weaning a kitten too early can be dangerous. Once your little one is ready and weans from its mother, its time for you as the pet parent to step in. Providing them with the proper amount of kitten food, several times a day will help them get all the nutrition they now need to grow up healthy. Kitten formula is designed to help aid your cat in the growth process up until they are 1 year old. At that point, its time to start the switch to adult foods.

  • Promotes healthier growth and development
  • Provides the needed calories, fats, and nutrients for growing kittens
  • Easier to digest

Bringing Up A Litter Of Kittens: Health Considerations

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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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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 A Newborn Kitten

How to Switch a Small Kitten From Canned Food to Dry Food : Kittens & Cat Care

In an ideal situation, the kittens mother will nurse them for their first few weeks. The nutrients in her milk helps the newborn kittens transition from milk to solid food. Consuming these important nutrients in her protein-rich milk helps form the kittens immune systems and offers protection from disease.

If you stumble upon a litter of new kittens whose mother is unable to feed them, these orphaned kitties will need to be bottle-fed a suitable replacement for their mothers milk. Newborn kittens up to 4 weeks old should be fed a kitten milk replacement formula . Carlene Strandell, founder and director of the non-profit Smitten with Kittens, a foster-based kitten rescue that operates in Tallahassee, Fl., says you need just two things for feeding a newborn: a kitten bottle with a nipple, and kitten replacement formula. Once you have those two essential items, then you can begin to bottle feed the kitten their special formula.

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Are There Foods I Should Avoid Giving My Kitten

Its OK to feed your kitten treats, as long as you follow the 10% calorie rule, Larsen says. This means that treats should make up less than 10% of your kittens total calorie intake. But this doesnt mean its a good idea to turn your leftover table scraps into treats for your kitten. Also, take precautions with the following foods:

  • Raw meat or liver may contain parasites and harmful bacteria.
  • Raw eggs may contain Salmonella and may decrease absorption of a B vitamin, leading to skin and hair coat problems.
  • Raw fish may lead to a B vitamin deficiency, causing loss of appetite, seizures, and even death.
  • Milk may cause diarrhea in weaned kittens and cats because they lose the enzyme needed to break down milk.

In addition, onions, garlic, chocolate, coffee, tea, raisins, or grapes can be toxic to kittens and cats.

When Should I Switch From Kitten Food To Adult

At about 12 months old, its usually time to switch to an adult or maintenance formula cat food. This goes for most breeds, except for the Maine Coon, which does not fully mature until 18 months. When a kitten is fully grown, she no longer needs the extra calories and nutrients found in kitten food, and a maintenance formula is recommended to maintain overall nutritional health. If your feline friend has reached 12 months of age, then its time to start thinking of switching her to an adult diet. However, as with any change in a cats diet, its important to remember to gradually transition your kitten from her usual diet to an adult diet over a period of several days.

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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.

Find A Similar Cat Food Formula

When to Switch From Kitten to Cat Food

Pick a new cat food that closely matches the previously used variety. For example, if your cat was eating a lamb and rice product that was recalled, purchase another companys lamb and rice formulation. Read the ingredient list. If you can match up the first few ingredients, the foods will be fairly similar. Also, review the guaranteed analysis on both labels. Avoid big changes in the percentages of protein, fat, and fiber, whenever possible.

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