What does the growth life stage cover nutritionally for cats?
Growth Life Stage is officially called “Growth and Reproduction,” and it’s one of the only two life stages recognized by AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials.)
The first six weeks in a cat’s life will do much in determining her personality and character for the rest of her life. Also, very young kittens are susceptible to a number of threats, including fleas.
Cats at any age have strict dietary requirements, but the kitten grows remarkably fast—so here are some tips for the first few months of her life:
Newborn kittens receive complete nutrition from their mother’s milk for, so you don’t need to feed them anything else for the first three or four weeks.
NOTE: If the mother is ill or not producing milk, or if the kitten is orphaned, it may be necessary to feed the kittens a commercial milk replacer. Contact your veterinarian for product and feeding recommendations.
During this time, her body weight may double or even triple and the rapid growth will continue until she reaches adulthood and she’ll need large amounts of nutrients to support this spectacular growth. She’ll still be nursing, but you can start to give her a little solid food at about five or six weeks; just remember to give her a high quality kitten food. She will need to eat kitten-formula food until she reaches maturity, at about one year of age.
At first, curious kittens will probably want to play with their food rather than eat it, but the youngsters will soon catch on and realize they are supposed to eat the food, not just bat it around!
It’s fine to feed your kitten a few treats. However, treats should make up no more than five to ten percent of your kitten’s daily nutrient intake, and the rest of her diet should come from a high-quality kitten food.