Feeding Kittens: What-When-How Much
Feeding Kittens: What-When-How Much .There aren’t many other animals that can compete with kittens for adorableness. You are probably reading up on how to care for your kitten(s) right now if you have just gotten one or more of them. You would do whatever in your power to guarantee that your lovely newborn develops into a robust adult, wouldn’t you? The equation for achieving optimal health includes proper nutrition in a significant way. Weaning a kitten from its mother’s milk occurs over the course of approximately eight weeks, beginning after the first four weeks during which the kitten consumes only its mother’s milk. The following is information that you must have once you have taken your new kitten into your house.
1. How does the dietary requirements of an adult cat differ from those of a kitten?
During the first few weeks of life, a kitten’s weight can more than double, and in some cases even quadruple. It is possible that your kitten has energy requirements that are three times higher than those of an adult cat because of its rapid rate of growth and its high level of activity.
According to Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD, nutritional consultant and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis, it is difficult for kittens to consume sufficient quantities of calories in a single meal because of their high energy requirements. According to her, “therefore the majority of kittens want to eat at least three or four meals a day.” “It’s also something to do with comfort; at their core, kitties are snackers.”
According to Larsen, the requirements for lipids, certain fatty acids, and the majority of vitamins are the same for adult cats and kittens alike. However, the amount of protein, amino acids, and minerals that a kitten needs, in addition to certain vitamins, is significantly more than that of an adult cat. For instance, around thirty percent of a kitten’s total calorie intake need to come from protein.
For all of these reasons, the majority of specialists advise that you continue feeding your kitten food that is specifically developed for kittens until it is 1 year old. Even though some cat foods have labels that say they are suitable for kittens and cats at all stages of their lives, you shouldn’t give these meals to your kitten unless feeding tests back up the claim that the label makes.
Also, be sure to give your cat lots of clean water to drink, since this is essential for maintaining their health at any age.
2. How can I ensure that I am choosing a meal that is of a high-quality for my kitten?
The senior director of client services for the Midwest Office of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Mindy Bough, CVT, stresses the need of feeding high-quality food to kittens. Bough asserts, “I do not endorse store brands or generic alternatives.” She recommends purchasing your pet food from a trustworthy manufacturer, namely one that is commonly recommended by local vets. According to the findings of this research, these diets for kittens are quite good for their health.
But how can you be sure that the food you buy for your cat is of a high quality? Examining the label is one method you may use. At a bare minimum, it ought to include the following: “Complies with the recommendations made by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) on the nutritional needs of kittens.” The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a collection of state and federal officials who control pet food. Look for anything that says “Complete and balanced nourishment for kittens based on AAFCO feeding studies.” This is an even better option. When it comes to your kitten’s diet, “complete and balanced nutrition” implies she won’t need any additional mineral or vitamin supplements. In point of fact, keep in mind that giving your cat an excessive amount of a “good item” can really be harmful to its health and lead to serious issues in this regard. Only use supplements if your pet’s primary care veterinarian advises you to do so.
Be wary when consuming foods prepared at home as well. For instance, home-cooked meals that consist of only meat might be deficient in calcium, leading to a mineral imbalance that can result in hyperparathyroidism, a condition that is more prevalent in young cats who are fast developing. According to Bough, if you choose to follow a DIY diet, you should ensure that it has been designed by a qualified nutritionist.
After a certain amount of time spent eating, the decision is up to you. Your kitten should be healthy and alert, have a regular weight growth, and have a clean, shiny coat if you provide it with the appropriate nourishment. If this is not the case, you should see your veterinarian about the possibility of making dietary adjustments or ruling out any health concerns.
3. Does it matter if the food is moist or dry for my new kitten?
It is essential to include at least some canned food in the diet of very young kittens since this food is easier for them to digest. Kittens with baby teeth aren’t able to effectively chew dry food since their teeth are so little. They won’t get the nourishment they need to develop normally if you don’t give them some canned food. If you are feeding your kitten both dry food and food from a can, then feeding it food from a can only twice a day should be plenty. It is recommended that they be fed four times a day if they are just consuming food from cans.
4. What are the steps involved in switching from one brand of kitten food to another?
It’s common knowledge that cats are the most finicky eaters in the animal kingdom. However, this outcome is not inevitable at all. Make sure that your new cat gets off on the right foot.
According to Larsen, “it is simpler to switch diets if a kitten has been introduced early on to a variety of textures and flavours,” and this is something that Larsen recommends. “Cats have a tendency to develop a set preference for a certain flavour and texture in their diet if they are fed the same meal on a consistent basis.”
If you are attempting to transition your kitten to a new food, you might find it easiest to mix the new food with the old food in the same dish. In conjunction with the newly introduced meal, gradually decrease the quantity of the older food that you provide.
Keep in mind that drastically altering your diet too quickly might trigger stomach irritation or “hunger strikes.” It is possible that you may need to gradually switch to a new diet over the course of four to seven days.
5. How much food should I give my cat and how often should I give it food?
Check the labels on the packaging for the recommended serving size. You want to provide adequate nourishment for your new cat without overdoing it. Even if they have certain energy requirements, overfeeding can nonetheless become a significant issue.
Bough explains that younger cats need to be fed more frequently, but that as they become older, they may transition to being fed twice daily.
Larsen is in agreement that it is OK for young kittens to “free feed,” which means that they should have access to an unlimited supply of kitten food throughout the day. Once the kittens reach the age of four to six months, they should then transition to eating meals. A further advantage of the free-choice feeding method is a reduction in the stomach distention that might arise from consuming meals too quickly. It is also beneficial for kittens that are underweight or growing at a sluggish rate.
However, if your kitty is overweight or obese, free-feeding probably isn’t the greatest option for them. It is best to give these kittens their food in defined quantities at regular meals or until it is completely consumed.
“Especially watch what you eat around the time of spaying or neutering,” advises Larsen, who notes that these procedures raise the probability of being overweight. It is best to take measures to avoid obesity rather than to deal with it once it has already developed.
6. Should I refrain from feeding my new kitten any certain foods?
According to Larsen, it is acceptable to provide your kitty with goodies so long as you adhere to the “10 percent calorie guideline.” This indicates that snacks shouldn’t account for more than 10% of your kitten’s overall calorie consumption. However, this does not imply that it is a smart idea to make your kitty some snacks out of the table scraps that are left over after dinner. Additionally, exercise caution when consuming the following foods:
It is possible to get dangerous germs and parasites by eating raw meat or liver.
Eggs that have not been cooked run the risk of containing Salmonella and may also reduce the body’s ability to absorb certain B vitamins, which can cause issues with the skin, hair, and nails.
Consuming raw fish can result in a lack of B vitamins, which can lead to a loss of appetite, convulsions, and even death.
Because weaned kittens and cats lack the enzyme necessary to properly digest milk, drinking milk can induce diarrhoea in these animals.
Onions, garlic, chocolate, coffee, tea, raisins, and grapes are among the other common foods that might be harmful to kittens and cats.