How to Select the Best Food for Your Kitten

How to Select the Best Food for Your Kitten

Read our guide for kitten feeding tactics to get your kitten purring thanks in no time.

What you feed your little kitten when you get her at around 8 weeks of age will have an important bearing on her future health, affecting her muscle tone and coat health and the development of strong skin & bones, bright eyes and good digestion.

We asked Dr. Katy J. Nelson, host of “The Pet Show With Dr. Katy” in Washington, D.C., and Dr. Amy Dicke, a technical services veterinary surgeon and P&G vet, to share kitten mealtime advice to keep your nerves — and your kitten's hunger — at bay.

The Difference Between Kitten and Adult Cat Food
Your kitten requires her own special food.

"Kitten foods have to be much more nutritionally dense than adult foods due to the smaller size of the kitten's stomach and inability to ingest large amounts," says Nelson.

Even a big bowl of adult cat food would not be able to properly satisfy your ravenous little kitten's nutritional needs.

Desired Kitten Food Ingredients
Your kitten needs an assortment of important ingredients in her food to aid healthy development and growth. Here's our checklist:

Protein: According to Nelson: "The most important thing when hunting for the best kitten food is to ensure that the first ingredient is an animal protein."

That protein could come from chicken, beef, fish or other meats. Cats are carnivores, so they really need to have meat from an early age on.

"Meat protein provides all the essential amino acids required for the rapidly growing kitten," Dicke says.

Nutrients found in mother's milk: There is no proper way to harvest cat's milk, so quality manufacturers study the components of feline mother's milk and include them in their kitten food.

Digestive system helpers: Dried beet pulp might sound like a funky ingredient, but it provides a gentle fibre for kittens that also comes with good vitamin and mineral content.


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FOS, another fibre, can also help kittens.

"Kittens experience so many new things in their environment — and much is ingested orally, leaving the digestive system to combat and neutralise the offending substances," Dicke says.

Fat: Look for animal fats and fish oil in the ingredients list These contain essential fatty nutrients for you carnivorous kitten.

Transitioning from Kitten to Adult Cat Food
Depending on the size and breed of your kitten, Dicke and Nelson recommend that you transition it to an adult food when your kitten is between 9 and 12 months old. The transition, says Dicke, "should always be done over a period of four days, slowly adjusting the ratios until the cat is fully on the new food."

Here's a recommended feeding schedule for this transitional period:

Day No. 1: Fill your cat's dish with 75 per cent kitten food and 25 per cent adult food.

Day No. 2: Mix adult and kitten food in a 50-50 ratio.

Day No. 3: Feed your cat a mixture that's 75 per cent adult food and 25 per cent kitten food.

Day No. 4: Switch to 100 per cent adult formula.

As you can see, the kitten stage of life is incredibly short. Enjoy each moment by allowing your kitten to savour delicious, nutritious food that will set her off on the right growth and health track to give you both many years of pleasure together.

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