How much should I feed my kitten?
Cats have a higher minimum requirement for protein in their food than dogs (26 to 30 percent versus 18 to 22 percent). Besides protein, there are other important nutrients and ingredients vital to your kitten’s diet:
• Taurine, an amino acid, is essential to cats for maintaining healthy eye and heart function, reproduction and fetal growth and development. Taurine is found naturally only in animal protein sources such as chicken and fish.
• Essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and help your kitten stay healthy during this critical stage of growth.
• A fiber source, such as beet pulp, that will help maintain your kitten’s digestive system health for less litter box waste and odor.
These are important building blocks of nutrition. Look for them whether you choose dry or canned cat food and when you select treats.
Avoid feeding human foods and table scraps to your kitten. Here are some human foods to avoid and their side effects.
• Cow’s milk: A feline’s system can’t completely digest it; can lead to digestive upset and diarrhea
• Chocolate: contains theobromine, an ingredient toxic to cats
• Onion powder: Contains oxidizing agents that can damage feline red blood cells and cause anemia
• Raw eggs: Contain a protein that blocks the body’s use of one of the B vitamins; may cause dermatitis, hair loss and neurological dysfunction
• Tuna: Low in calcium and too high in phosphorus. If fed exclusively, may lead to rubber jaw, a form of osteoporosis
When to Switch to Adult Food
Your kitten enters adolescence around six months and may seem to have reached her adult size, yet she is still growing and needs the special nutrition found in kitten food. However, as the rate of growth begins to decline, she is able to eat fewer, larger meals each day.
Around 12 months, you may switch to maintenance formula adult cat food. You can help ease the transition by gradually introducing the adult food. Try mixing 25 percent of the new food with 75 percent of her kitten food, then change the proportions over the next four days until she’s eating 100 percent adult food. While you may be tempted to change your kitten’s food for variety, it is not necessary. Cats do not become bored with a consistent high-quality dry food. If you wish to supplement her diet, serve a nutrient-dense canned food for a nutritious change of pace.