How does the Dietary Requirement of a Kitten differ from that of a Full-Grown Cat?

By December 09 | See Comments

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You would think that a small fur-baby that could fit into the palm of your hand would need less overall nutrition than its full-grown counterpart, however that is the opposite of the truth.

A kitten always needs more attention, more nutrition, and feeding multiple times a day, while an adult cat needs to eat no more than two to three times a day to stay healthy.

The reason behind this is that a kitten is a growing animal, and they need to absorb more nutrition from food as a way to grow into their adult body. A kitten's body grows through transformations as they age, and these transformations are fuelled by the food they eat.

The first phase of a cat's life is focused exclusively on growth. Everything from their bones to the shape of their heads will start to grow larger as time passes. Cat owners that focus on the diet of their kitten during this crucial phase of life can find it extremely rewarding later on, when their kitten matures into a healthy cat with a strong immunity.

What are the main differences between what a kitten and an adult cat eats?

If you feed your pets cat food, then you will notice that it is recommended that you feed your kitten the kitten food for up to a year, and switch to the adult cat food after that. While kitten food isn't necessarily harmful to adults, you should not feed a kitten adult cat food as cat food tends to contain less overall nutrition than kitten food..

  • Kittens, on average, require proteins and fats than adult cats. Many kitten foods add amino acids and essential fatty acids to encourage growth within the kitten's body.
  • An adult cat's diet is more focused on maintaining the body they have already grown into, and as such, they do not require the extra nutrient.

Aside from this, kittens also require more vitamins and minerals. Your kitten should ideally be consuming three times the amount of food your adult cat consumes for proper growth.

Should I only use cat food, or can I feed my pet something else?

Cat food is usually the recommended food for cats as they are designed to meet the exact nutritional requirements of your feline friends. If you use cat/kitten food, then you will not have to worry about the extra nutrition your kitten will require earlier in their development stage. Kitten food is prepared, keeping in mind the additional nutritional requirements of a growing cat.

However, if you cannot obtain cat food, or you want to try giving them home food as well, then fish is an absolute must. A cat gets a lot of its essential nutrients from fish, and this becomes an even more important dietary addition for growing kittens.

Adult cats can face stomach problems or other health issues from eating too much, but a kitten will always eat more, up to six-seven times a day in small portions, as they grow.

While fish is a safe bet for both a kitten and a cat, many foods are not. Do not give your kitten cow's milk, as cats tend to be lactose intolerant - this could affect their growth. Instead, find other milk substitutes for your kitten. Chicken broth is also a good idea for your kitten, and cats find other foods such as oats, eggs, and occasional, and even vegetables delicious. You will have to test out various ingredients to see which cater to your cat's palate and which don't. The main difference lies in the amount of food an adult cat and a kitten consume. A kitten will eat more, and will need a carefully planned serving of food that must include either fish or chicken or other protein. Try to avoid red meats for kittens. Fish is also always better than chicken for both cats and kittens. Cats, on the other hand, will tend to eat less and will require food alongside their fish or meat, such as rice, vegetables, or oats. Since their growing period is over, an adult cat's body has the primary function of maintaining vitality and physical function through food.

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