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Kitten Nutrition

Proper kitten nutrition is important for healthy, happy adult cats. Whether destined for show or breeding or just a pet, healthy cats come from healthy kittens.


There is a wide variety of opinion any time care and management comes up. There are those who feed just any cat food, some higher priced cat foods, some mix kibble and wet food while others say only raw food is enough for their kittens. Left to their own devices a mother cat might catch a squirrel and kittens will dine without any thought to “proper nutrition” labels.


Kitten food from commercial products have feeding directions on the bag that often recommend ½-1 ounce three to four times per day. The growing kitten needs top nutrition for proper development and most agree this is with a formula developed for kittens. During the first weeks kittens grow rapidly and can triple in the first month! This kind of rapid growth demands good kitten nutrition.


Along with this demand it’s important to remember that kittens have smaller stomachs than adult cats. Smaller amounts several times per day helps insure the proper amounts as well as the proper kitten nutrition.


Still other people – and companies! – insist the same food can be fed to kittens and adults, but more frequent meals to kittens.


A couple days after having kittens the queen will usually have an increase in hunger due to the nutritional demands made on her by the nursing kittens. Don’t let her get down in body condition – if she’s losing weight increase her feed. The important thing is that without watching this it means that she is feeding the kittens at her expense and that they are not getting as much to eat as she is capable of on a good program.


At 3-4 weeks make a kitten mush with kitten food and liquid kitten milk about baby food consistency. This gets them started eating well and by 7 to 8 weeks they’re well equipped to eat dry food, drink and use the litterbox. Before weaning the kittens drop the queen’s food in half for a few days, which decreases the milk production. As that slows it is then safer to wean off kittens without mastitis and other risks.


For those wanting to feed a raw diet an added step for the kittens is adding in ‘real food’ so they learn to navigate chewing diced or ground meat, bone meal and other raw foods tht add protein and nutrients directly. Because heat and cooking reduces the nutrition some breeders feel this is the best way of feeding. A compromise is buying pre-packaged raw foods put together for kittens.


Whichever way you choose to feed research, ask questions, form your own beliefs and choose what works for your cats no matter what anyone else thinks or says. One case of a very sick kitten was diagnosed with possibly having FIP or feline leukemia. Against veterinarian suggestion the owner fed raw and the kitten for the first time blossomed in health. Sometimes even experts don’t know everything. 

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