Kittens have very different needs compared to adult cats when it comes to nutrition. They have a higher requirement for energy to fuel their growth, and kitten diets tend to be richer in energy to account for this.
From around 4 months, nutrition can be adapted to account for that change in growth. Energy needs reduce slightly but are still higher than adult cats, and protein needs remain high to account for continued muscle development. A larger, harder kibble can be designed to help encourage crunching and support dental health at an early stage. And support for the kitten’s vulnerable digestion and defences is continued.
From neutering, your kitten will need to change to a specific diet for neutered or sterilised cats, from your vet or specialist retailer. Moderate energy content, along with high protein level and a special fibre blend, can help control bodyweight and satisfy the appetite of a neutered cat.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT DIET FOR MY KITTEN?
There are certainly plenty of options! Most importantly, you’ll need to choose a complete cat food formulated for growth. Complete diets are designed to provide all the nutrition and energy the cat needs, with the correct balance of nutrients, so there is no need to add anything to the diet.In fact, adding supplements or extra foods like chicken or tuna can actually upset the nutritional balance. However, it is imperative that your kitten is fed a diet specifically for growth rather than adults, because their nutritional needs are very different.
You’ll need to decide whether you want to feed a wet or dry food, or a combination. If feeding both together it is important that the total daily nutrition is still balanced and that overfeeding does not result. So it is a good idea to use wet and dry versions of the same brand and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on combined feeding.
Opting for a high-quality tailored health nutrition product means that you can be confident in the diet’s benefits to your kitten’s health and wellbeing. The aim of tailored health nutrition is to go beyond simply providing for basic nutritional requirements but actually support optimum health and condition. High levels of digestibility help promote good digestive function and palatability is optimised to encourage appetite even in fussy kittens. Each diet is carefully tailored to the very particular needs of the individual and health nutrients help to support key sensitivities such as natural defences and skin and coat health.
It is a good idea to speak to your vet or specialist pet retailer for specific advice on feeding your kitten.
HOW SHOULD I FEED MY KITTEN?
Your kitten will need a quite spot for their food bowl, well away from busy areas and especially from their litter tray. It is also important not to keep their water bowl near their food – cats are not keen on drinking near feeding areas as this would naturally risk drinking water contaminated by their prey. Instead, place several water bowls in different quiet areas of the house to encourage a healthy water intake.
Follow the feeding guideline on pack to determine how much food your kitten needs each day. However, because each kitten is an individual, do monitor their body condition as they grow and adjust rations accordingly to keep them trim, especially after neutering. Your vet will be able to help you assess your kitten’s body condition.
WHEN SHOULD I FEED MY KITTEN?
Cats prefer to take several small meals a day, and this is essential during growth. If you choose to feed a dry diet you can leave their food available for them to access frequently, while still adhering to the daily ration of course. For wet food you will need to feed small frequent meals throughout the day.
Unlike humans, cats cannot tolerate variety in their diet so avoid any sudden changes and wait until your kitten is settled in before changing their diet. Always perform a gradual transition from one diet to another, over a period of 7-10 days, in order to reduce the risk of a tummy upset. Feed a consistent diet and avoid changing diet frequently as this can result in digestive issues and is likely to teach your kitten to have a fussy appetite.