Transitioning From a Kitten Diet to an Adult Diet

cat 4For a 4-week-old kitten, diet changes become necessary. Solid foods rich in protein replace kitten formulas. Kittens need time to adjust to this dietary change. Learn how to ensure the switch from formula to canned cat foods and dry cat foods.

Kittens' Nutritional Needs

Until a kitten weighs approximately 5 pounds, he requires 200 calories, ten grams of crude protein and four grams of fat. Compare that to a 9-pound adult cat that needs 170 to 180 calories, 12 ½ grams of protein and 5 ½ grams of fat.

For the first 3 weeks of life, a mother cat's milk is enough to meet a kitten's needs. After this point, they do need a different kitten diet to ensure they get enough calories, fat and protein. By the 9th week of life, a kitten no longer ingests the mother cat's milk. Allow 6 weeks for the kitten's weaning process.

The best kitten diet includes proper amounts of Vitamin A, B1, B6, B12, D, E, K, Folic Acid, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid and Riboflavin. Canned cat foods and the organic cat health food options include these essential vitamins. Do not feed a kitten liver. Vitamin A overdoses cause bone growth problems.

Kitten Foods versus Adult Foods

Kitten foods have higher fat, protein and calorie counts because of their activity levels. Many commercial kitten foods suggest switching a kitten diet to adult foods at 6 months to 8. A good guideline to use is to switch your kitten's diet when you have him neutered.

Look for foods that are high in protein-- by-products are not good forms of protein-- look for poultry, beef or lamb to be the first listed ingredient. Avoid cat health foods that have wheat, corn or white rice.

Always check to see that taurine is in the ingredient list. Taurine is essential to a cat's eye and heart health.

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