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How to Choose the Right Kitten Food

Obviously, your kitten needs food for survival and growth. While it is essential to feed your baby cat, choosing the right food is much more essential. There are many brands producing kitten food out there. Before you randomly buy just any kitten food for your pet, use the information in this article to make the right choice.

Kitten food vs adult cat food

If you are a new cat parent, you may not know this: kittens should not eat adult cat food.

This is majorly because kittens are very young and have special nutritional needs compared to adults. Of course, newborn kittens should be exclusively breastfed until they are weaned.

During weaning, young cats need food that helps them grow, so a calorie-rich diet is necessary for them.

The essential nutritional requirement of kitten food includes:

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Water

It is expected that a kitten's diet should contain a higher percentage of protein during weaning. In fact, the ASPCA recommends that kittens should derive 30% of their energy from protein. So, if you are feeding your kitten dry food, this table shows how much of each nutrient it needs.

Nutrient

Quantity (%)

Protein

35-50

Fat

18-35

Calcium

0.8-1.6

Source: The VCA Hospital

But note: your young pet’s protein intake should decrease gradually as it matures. Your pet needs minerals and vitamins like vitamin A, calcium, and niacin. On the other hand, adult cats don't necessarily need a high-calorie diet unless they are underweight and need to gain weight.

How much should kittens eat?

How much food your kitten should eat depends on how old your feline is. You shouldn't give your kittens solid food until they are four weeks and above.

Below is a table that shows how much food your kitten should eat every day.

Age (weeks)

Quantity/feeding (cubic cm)

Feeding frequency/day

1 week

3-4

8-12 times

2 weeks

5-6

8 times

3-4 weeks

13-17

6 times

4 weeks and above

13-17

3 times

Source: Best Friends Animal Society

How to choose the best kitten food

Before you pick just any kitten food for your pet, here are a few things to consider:

Consider its age

Breastfeeding is the best method of nourishing newborn kittens. When they are less than four weeks, they can be fed kitten formula. Otherwise, kitten milk powder can also be an alternative. However, it's okay for your kitten to start eating solids as soon as it is four weeks old, after weaning.

There are many brands in the pet food industry, which makes choosing the best food for your pet more difficult. But if you are looking for the best food for your pet, it's better to start with wet food.

To be healthy, kittens need as much water as they can get. Wet food provides them with this. At six weeks of age, you can introduce kibble to your pet. If you prefer to feed your cat with kibble, ensure that it is rich in animal protein.

Choose foods rich in animal protein

Always check the labeling of the food before buying and ensure that it is rich in animal protein. Some brands produce wet foods that contain animal protein as a major ingredient. Choose those brands. Your kitten needs taurine present in the amino acids for its healthy growth.

Avoid foods made with animal by-products

Don’t choose kitten food with animal by-products listed on the labeling. If animal by-products are listed in the ingredients, it is sometimes hard to determine what the by-products are. So, it is safer to go for what you know.

How to change your kitten’s diet

It's always a bad idea to change your kitten's diet suddenly.

A whole new diet might not appeal to your cat if it had become used to its previous diet. So, if you want to change your kitten's diet, it's always better to do so gradually. Initially, introduce just bits of the new diet to its old diet. After a week, you can gradually increase the portion and see how your pet responds.

The most important thing is to be patient with your pet. If you introduce the new food and your pet stops eating, reduce the amount of new food. Wait for a few weeks before you increase the amount again. If you are unsure of what quantity of the new food to add to the old food, for starters, you can mix 20% of the new food with 80% of the old food.

Remember: always feed your pet an age-appropriate diet. It is also essential that your kitten is provided with the proper nutrients it needs to grow. When you introduce new food to your pet's diet, you can reward it with treats every time it finishes its meal.

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