Anyone who decides to take in a kitten starts into an exciting and wonderful time. Simultaneously, with this decision, one takes on a great responsibility for another living being. Many questions arise: Which food is the right one for kittens? How often are kittens fed, and what are the portions? Is special kitten food essential, or can the little cat be fed with adult cats’ food? We want to give new cat owners an answer to these and other questions.
Why is there kitten food?
A newborn kitten weighs around 100 g – just as much as a bar of chocolate. It doubled its birth weight just one week later, and after four weeks, it almost quintupled. But this is only the beginning of an exciting growth and development phase that lasts until the end of the first year of life.
Cats usually take 12 months to reach adulthood. The large breeds – such as the Norwegian Forest Cat or Maine Coon – even take 15 months to mature. During this growth phase, kittens have special needs for minerals and vitamins to ensure healthy bone growth. When it comes to the immune system, the little cats still have big plans: their natural defenses must first be built up and strengthened.
All of this shows that kittens have completely different needs than adult cats. At the same time, it explains why there are special foods for growing kittens. In this phase, the foundation for a full-grown cat with healthy bones and a strong immune system is laid.
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When and how long should kitten food be fed?
At the age of 12 weeks, the time has come for the little cat to separate from its mother and independently explore the world. From the 12th week of life, kittens are no longer suckled and can slowly be completely switched from breast milk to needs-based kitten food. We can then give this kitten food until the cat is fully grown. Then you can switch to the appropriate, suitable adult food for adult cats.
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How often and how much food does the kitten need per day?
To optimally support the kitten’s healthy growth, choosing the right diet and the amount are crucial. To avoid overweight or undersupply, it must adapt the portion size to the food’s age, weight, and composition. We must also make a distinction between dry and moist food. Therefore, it is advisable to pay attention to the manufacturer’s feeding recommendation, stated on the packaging’s back.
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Dry food or wet kitten food?
Many cat owners wonder whether dry or wet food is better for their kitten’s diet. In general: high-quality dry food does not differ in quality from high-quality moist food. Both forms are very suitable for feeding cats. The differences lie in the handling, portion size, and individual preference of the kitten:
- Dry food has a higher energy content than wet food, so it is more filling, and a smaller amount is required to cover the daily energy requirement.
- Wet food has a higher water content than dry food, so kittens have a higher water requirement when fed dry food alone. We should always offer sufficient water.
- Dry food has a longer shelf life. Due to the high water content, moist food spoils faster and is therefore sold in smaller sachets.
In addition to these differences, your kitten’s preference is the most important factor. Mixed feeding, i.e., alternating feeding of dry and moist kitten food, also makes sense and offers advantages.
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Why do kittens sometimes have diarrhea?
Diarrhea in kittens can have various causes, such as poorly digestible food or changing food too quickly. Ensure the kitten food is high in energy, contains all high-quality proteins and minerals, and is highly digestible.
Every food change means stress for the kitten’s gastrointestinal system because it adjusts to the new food. It is best to gently and gradually make the change by adding small amounts of the new food to the old food. Increase the amount of new food each day until it is 100% serving. If diarrhea persists for a long time, a visit to the vet is advisable because of several causes, such as infections.
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