Proper Kitten Nutrition

February 12th, 2013 posted by

Providing your kitten with a complete, well-balanced diet is a simple thing you can do to help protect its health. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a commercial diet that is specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of growing kittens. While most kitten foods produced by reputable manufacturers meet government standards for nutrition and product labeling, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a diet: 1. Kittens are carnivores with high protein requirements . In general, cats have higher protein requirements than dogs. Growing kittens need even more protein to develop healthy body tissue. When choosing a diet, check the ingredient list on the label. Since U.S. labels must list ingredients in descending order of predominance by weight, look for a commercial diet that lists a high quality protein, such as poultry, fish, egg yolk or cheese as one of the first ingredients. // 2. Which is better – dry, semi-moist, or canned food? Dry foods provide a hard, abrasive surface that helps to keep your kitten’s teeth clean. Semi-moist foods are convenient, but they tend to be more expensive. Canned foods can contain up to 75% water, and are a good way to keep your kitten well-hydrated, if it doesn’t drink alot of water. Always remove small chicken and fish bones from canned food, and serve at room temperature to avoid stomach upset. It’s best to avoid inexpensive canned foods, because they often contain lower-quality proteins such as gristle, skin and entrails, and they may have a higher ash content, which can contribute to the development of stones in the urinary tract. 3. Don’t feed your kitten dog food . Canine foods tend to be low in taurine, an amino acid that cats cannot produce within their bodies. Without taurine supplementation in the diet, cats can develop heart and eye problems. 4. Avoid giving your kitten milk . Although cats like to drink milk, they don’t have the enzymes to digest it. That’s why feeding milk can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea. If you feed any milk at all, try to choose a brand with a reduced lactulose content. 5. Start with small, frequent meals . Feed your kitten about four small meals a day until it’s the age of three months. Then gradually reduce the number of meals until it’s receiving two meals a day at six months of age. Follow label instructions for total daily recommended food quantity. 6. Never change diets abruptly . Sudden changes in diet can result in stomach upset and diarrhea. Any diet changes should be made gradually, by mixing decreasing quantities of the original diet with increasing quantities of the new diet over a period of a week to ten days. 7. Water . Make sure your kitten always has access to clean, fresh water. 8. Don’t feed vitamin or mineral supplements unless they are approved by your veterinarian . Supplementation can result in overdoses of vitamins and minerals, which can lead to serious health problems. 9. Monitor weight . Don’t let your cat overeat, because obesity can also result in clinical problems and disease. Tablescraps should be avoided, as they can lead to finicky behaviors and a less-than-balanced diet. If you notice that your kitten has a sudden increase in appetite, it may be a sign of internal parasites – contact your veterinarian immediately. 10. If your kitten hasn’t eaten in over 24 hours, call your veterinarian . When your kitten refuses to eat, try warming the food slightly, or pouring clam juice in the bowl to enhance palatability. Look inside its mouth for sores or signs of pain. Since stomach and intestinal upset can lead to inappetance, also check to make sure toys or small objects which could be swallowed aren’t missing from your home. If your kitten still refuses to eat, contact your veterinarian, because long lapses without food can lead to severe liver problems. (5 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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