Want to know about the nutrition for your rescued furbaby? This blog will talk about the difference between cat and kitten food, tips to choose from, etc.
While visiting the cat shelter with your friend, you locked eyes with an adorable little kitten. It looked scared and smaller than the others as it curled up in a corner. After asking an employee about this furball, you realized it was a rescue animal.
Your eyes teared up as you learned what this little fighter had been through. That’s when you decided to adopt this lovely little munchkin. Since you suddenly became a pet parent, you probably don’t know the nutritional needs of a growing kitten who has been rescued.
In this blog, we will help you with that. You’ll understand the difference between cat and kitten food, ingredients to look out for, and more.
Adult Cat Food vs. Kitten Food
Perhaps the first question that came to your mind was, ‘Can kittens eat adult cat food’? The thing is, a furbaby will have much bigger nutritional requirements than a full-grown cat.
Most rescued felines have possible deficiencies and will need nutritional food or supplements multiple times a day. Unfortunately, food made for adult cats cannot meet the nutritional needs of a rescue kitten.
Adult cat food doesn’t have extra nutrients to support healthy and active growth in your rescue kitten. Even though it isn’t necessarily harmful, the food simply won’t fulfill the kitten’s vitamin, protein, or mineral requirements.
Your little munchkin will need extra nutrients from fat-soluble vitamins, animal proteins, natural minerals, and amino acids to encourage growth. Ideally, protein helps with the development of strong muscles and tissues. Fat is essential for calorie gain, which will give your furbaby all the energy to play.
What to Look For in Kitten Food?
The first thing to decide is whether your furbaby needs dry kibble, wet food, or a mix of both. After that, you should look for products that offer a perfect balance of nutrients. For instance, your rescue kitten’s diet should consist of 35-50% protein, 0.8-1.6% calcium, and 18-35% fat.
To further narrow down your search, you can look at these essential criteria:
Look for a statement of approval from AAFCO’s nutritional adequacy.
Go through the detailed ingredient list and nutrient profiles suitable for kittens.
Check for the brand’s reputation based on the expert formulations used.
Choose a brand that uses legal manufacturing standards and quality control measures.
You should also consult a vet before choosing kitten food for a rescue animal. Sometimes, they might need extra vitamins or supplements to aid their health.
How Much Should Your Rescue Kitten Eat?
The amount of food you give your feline should depend on their nutrition requirements and age. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t give rescued kittens solid food until they are four weeks of age or older.
Therefore, you can feed your furbaby a milk powder formula to promote positive bone health and growth. It’s the best milk replacer and perfect for orphaned or rescued kittens.
Remember to feed a 1-week-old kitten approximately 8 to 12 times a day. But the number will gradually decrease to three times as they grow. With good nutrition and love, you can raise your kitten to be a confident cat.
What Ingredients Should You Avoid in Kitten Food?
According to Jo Singer, a former contributor to Catnip Magazine at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, cats need to have meat in their diet for their minimum nutrition requirement. Moreover, felines cannot digest plant proteins because they aren’t omnivores. That’s why you should avoid giving your rescued kitten food containing soy, corn, and wheat gluten extracts.
Other than that, you should be careful about the ‘filler’ carbohydrates in canned food. Usually, these are derived from corn, which can harm the feline.
Similarly, don’t buy products that contain artificial preservatives because they can affect the kitten’s growth. Chemical additives can also have harmful side effects on the feline’s development and future health. Hence, you should avoid foods with butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) or butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).
In conclusion, kitten food with a nutritional profile of low carbohydrates, high moisture, and high protein should be ideal. If your feline is a rescue, you should visit a veterinary nutritionist to understand the specific requirements. Based on that, you can search for high-quality products with good reviews, AAFCO nutritional adequacy, and more.