It’s always fun to live with a new kitten. They are adorable, cuddly, and a joy to be around. You’ve been feeding her an effective formula or food made especially for young cats as a kitty parent. However, as she grows and matures, how do you know when to move her from kitten to adult cat food? In other words, how long should I continue feeding my kitten food to my cat? And how am I to manage the transition?
This article is intended to answer these specific questions by providing the cautious cat parent like you with all the knowledge necessary to manage the transition from kitten to cat food.
What Should Kittens Eat?
Kittens and adult cats have distinct nutritional requirements, which is why they must be fed differently. The primary distinction is that kittens develop rapidly, while adult cats have matured and stopped growing. Since growth requires a great deal of energy, kittens need more power from their diet than adult cats do.
Most kittens are born weighing just a few ounces, gain two pounds within the next 2-3 months, and then keep developing until they reach just under a year. It takes a significant amount of calories to sustain all that development. Kittens are also known to participate in a lot of play, which adds to their energy requirements.
Kittens begin by drinking their mother’s milk, and after about a month, they can be transitioned to soft food. Besides being high in calories, kitten diets are high in protein and fats, omega-3 fatty acids that aid in vision and brain development. Moreover, the kitten food supplies specific minerals and vitamins for growing bodies.
Kittens need to have balanced nutrition, particularly if you intend to continue feeding them on wet food. No question, have your cat completely evolved its mandibular muscles for raw meat diets. Give it a few tries with wet or tiny bits of wet for it to get used to. Make sure you start the transition gradually.
Bear in mind that stores and online merchants must list the life stages of food. Make sure that the cat food is labeled for kittens before feeding.
What is the right time to switch from kitten to adult food?
As a general rule, you can feed your cat kitten food until it reaches approximately 90% of its adult body weight. This enables your cat to receive all of the nutrients necessary for growth and development as they need it and then move to a lower calorie diet to meet their diminishing energy requirements. Around 10-12 months, most cat breeds reach their maximum adult body weight, although this is not true of all cats.
Larger breed cats, such as the Maine Coon, typically do not achieve adult weight until they are between 18 and 2 years old. Therefore, they should be kept on a kitten food diet for an extended period.
If you’re ever uncertain when to begin adjusting your cat’s food, don’t be afraid to consult your doctor, who will assist you.
Adults cats usually are more sedentary and less active than kittens, so weight management is critical when transitioning to a kitten food with a different profile. Kitten food has higher protein and fat ratios, while adult food usually has lower percentages of protein and nutrients.
Making the Transition: From kitten to adult cat food
If your kitten has reached adulthood, steadily decreasing the amount of kitten food and raising the amount of adult food is a good way to go. It is usually a seven to ten-day cycle, but you can keep an eye on your cat during the transition to see how she responds.
Allowing your cat’s digestive system to adjust to the new food gradually is the primary reason for doing so. Since cats usually consume the same thing every day, the microbes that develop in their digestive system are specialized in digesting that particular diet. As a result, abruptly adjusting your cat’s diet does not allow the bacteria in his or her gut sufficient time to adapt, which may result in an upset stomach and symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.
To avoid this, begin by mixing a small amount (no more than 25%) of the new food into the old food for at least the first two days. Then, for two or three days, alternate between old and new food at a 50/50 ratio, gradually rising to 75 percent new and 25% old. Finally, after seven or eight days, you may begin feeding your cat completely the new food.
Additionally, you can offer your cat two different foods but have less of the old food to help him/her eat more of the new.
The transition from kitten to adult food is an essential stage in your cat’s maturation. If things aren’t going as planned, don’t despair. Keep your attitude optimistic and caring. Remember the tips and details given above. Keep in mind that many cats are picky eaters. That’s why you will need to experiment with several different adult foods before finding one that your cat likes. If nothing works, you always try to add different food toppings.
Written by: Usman H. Yahya Reviewed by: Stephanie G. Gabriel