Just got a kitten and are worried about its nutrition. You must be learning about how to take care of kittens. Most of us find caring for kittens difficult, but just like adult cats kittens require the same type of food. Kittens are carnivores like their parents. They need correct amount of nutrition along with care, love and attention.
The initial few weeks’ kittens will depend mostly on milk and as they grow up you need to gradually introduce them to other foods. Other than care and love the most pertinent question is what can I feed my kitten? Though kittens are not very difficult to look after, you still need to follow a special nutrition chart.
Nutritious food for Kittens
Kittens start eating solid food after 4 to 5 weeks of age. They still depend a lot on their mother’s milk. By 12 weeks kittens wean off their mother’s milk. Kittens that grow in the wild at this stage start eating solid foods that may be available in the open and slowly start depending less on mother milk.
Indoor kittens need special care and attention from your side. You can feed high quality commercial kitten food according to their age and overall health. Get your kitten examined from a vet to ensure that there are no health issues. Along with commercial cat food you can also offer homemade food of different varieties. A commercial kitten food is available in rolls, packets, and in cans. A good brand will ensure that all essential nutrients are supplied through their food. Kittens need higher fatty acids, minerals, proteins and vitamins as compared to adult cats. They should get more than 30% of their energy from proteins.
Kittens can be fed minced or chopped meat, chicken or fish. If the meats you are offering is fresh, then make sure the meat is not stale. Avoid feeding them excess raw meat until the age of 20 weeks. Feed them in moderation. Human grade meat is good for kittens because they do not contain sulphites. Sulphites and preservatives found in commercial kitten food are harmful for cats.
Changing kitten food on a regular basis will ensure that your kitten doesn’t get bored with the same food. Serving same food daily can lead to refusal. Kittens can eat dry food from beginning and they also enjoy it. You can leave dry food in a bowl for your kittens to nibble. Along with dry food you can also feed some moist food. You need to feed canned food along with dry food for kittens, as only dry food will not provide your kitten the required nutrition. If your kitten is fed only canned food, then you need to feed them four times a day. Cooked meat like chicken can be fed occasionally. Raw bones can also be introduced gradually and they should be large enough for the kittens to eat comfortably without the risk of getting chocked. Expose your kitten to different foods. By eating the same foods again and again, cats get a fixed preference to that food and will not try out new varieties of food. Any changes in the food should be gradual and not rapid as it can lead to stomach upset.
Your kittens require fresh and clean water throughout. Place a heavy bowl filled with water for the kittens to drink as and when they require. Water is the key to a healthy cat.
Foods to avoid giving to Kittens
Do not feed too many raw bones as it can lead to constipation. You can feed them raw bones once a week only. It is fine to give treats to kittens and treat should comprise only 10% of your kitten’s calorie intake. Don’t give any leftover treats or food from the table for your kitten. Raw liver, meat, eggs should be avoided at all cost as there is a high risk of bacterial contamination and may contain salmonella. Raw fish can lead to Vitamin B deficiency causing loss of appetite, seizures and sometimes even death. Milk should never be given to kittens as it can cause diarrhea. Cats lack the enzymes required for digesting lactose in the milk. Some other foods include chocolate, alcohol, onion, tea, coffee, grapes and nuts. All these foods can be toxic for kittens.
Healthy and nutritious food is essential for a kitten to grow into a healthy and strong cat. Physically check the kitten from head to toe to rule out any injuries and physical ailments. A good nutrition will ensure a healthy cat.