Having a kitten is one of life’s greatest gifts. They fill our hearts and homes with such love and fun and are the perfect companions for adults and children alike. Getting a cat means doing lots of research about their various developmental stages and scheduling in a number of important vet visits to ensure that their injections are up to date and their health needs are being met. One of the most important considerations kitten owners have is when to switch from kitten food to cat food. This is a big decision and if you’re unsure of your particular cat’s needs, always consult your vet to get an expert medical opinion.
So let’s take a look at when you should change your kitten’s food, how the process should work, and what essential ingredients should always be included in your cat’s diet.
The Different Steps Of A Cat’s Diet
When kittens are growing into young adult cats, they have very unique dietary requirements. They need to be fed a very high-quality vet approved diet that will support optimum wellbeing and healthy development. For the first 12 weeks of their life they will probably be on their mothers milk, or a specialized new-born kitten formula. Then they will go onto kitten food. They are generally classified as being adults at 12 months of age and thus, they should remain on kitten food until about a year. However, every cat is different and thus it’s best to go by weight, rather than age.
Monitoring Weight, Rather Than Age
As a rule of thumb, your kitten should have reached around 80-90 % of their final adult weight before you change their food. While some kittens might reach this weight a little earlier than a year of age, others might take a bit longer. Always check in with your vet and keep an eye on their weight. When your vet gives you the go ahead and they are almost fully grown, you can start the transition to adult food. Of course different breeds will reach different adult weights. A maine coon for example will be far heavier than a tabby cat. Thus, ensure you get the breed specific weight guidelines
So, What Is The Best Way To Transition To Adult Food?
The best way to integrate your cats new food is to do it slowly. Suddenly changing their food could cause health issues like an upset stomach, so an integrative approach is best. For about a week you should mix ¼ of a can of adult food with ¾ kitten food. If your cat is on dry kibble then do this same ratio of adult food to kitten food. If the first week is smooth sailing and they have no reaction to the change in food, you can up the quantity of adult food. Begin feeding them half and half for a few days and if they are happy then change the ratio to ¾ adult food and ¼ kitten food. If after a few more days they are happily eating a majority of adult food, then it’s time to change to full adult food.
If you want to keep things interesting for your cat, you might opt to keep kibble out during the day and then give them wet food once or twice a day. Much like humans, they will appreciate the variety of flavors and food types.
Essential Nutrients To Look Out For
Whether you’re feeding a kitten, or a fully-grown adult cat, you want to ensure that you opt for high quality food that is nutritionally dense and will support brilliant health and development. Always opt for a food brand that has been approved by medical professionals and that has been tried and tested to ensure ultimate quality and safety. Some great ingredients to look out for in adult cat food include:
- Opt For Food That Mentions A Specific Protein
Opt for a food that contains a specific protein. Protein options for your cat can include a number of things such as chicken, salmon, lamb, or turkey. Choose brands that identify the exact protein rather than labels which simply read ‘meat.’ Protein is essential for optimum health and cats in fact need more protein than dogs do. Protein in the body is like a building block and it essential for many bodily processes and their essential organs. Once the protein is consumed, it transforms into amino acids and cats use these to fuel various bodily processes and to build more protein. It’s important to opt for high quality protein.
- Make Sure It Includes Omega 3 And Omega 6
These essential fatty acids are super important for a healthy diet and have a myriad of health benefits, particularly their ability to reduce inflmaation and support healthy bodily processes. Foods rich in these fatty acids will boost skin and coat health and ensure that your cat’s coat looks luxurious and shiny.
- Minerals And Vitamins
Opt for foods that are filled with nutritional value and essential vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin E. These will support bodily functions and overall health and vitality.
Taurine is a super important amino acid and is vital for kittens and younger adult cats. It’s essential for healthy development. When cats lack this special amino acid they can deal with retinal disorders and heart issues.