Adopting a kitten is a wonderful experience, suddenly your home is filled with a furry bundle of energy, that at times, can be difficult to keep up with. Eventually, that little kitten is going to grow up, and as it changes, so does its dietary requirements. The responsibilities of a cat owner don’t stop at giving their cat a wonderful start in life, but ensuring that they stay healthy and fit, with the right food to match their changing needs.
When Should I Change My Cat’s Diet?
For most cats, the change from kitten food to adult food should occur at around 12 months of age, which is when your kitten is finally classed as an adult cat. There is a little discrepancy here, as it is advised that your cat should have reached between 80% and 90% of its final weight before any food adjustments should be made. This could mean that your cat is a little younger or a little older than a year.
With large cat breeds, like the Maine Coon cat, the transition to adult food normally happens much later. These breeds don’t reach adulthood until between 18 months and 24 months, so they require kitten food for much longer.
What Is the Difference Between Kitten Food and Cat Food?
The difference between kitten food and cat food is not always very obvious, and most foods generally look the same, with slight changes in size. Appearance aside, the difference is quite outstanding. While kitten food is formulated to give a growing kitten everything it needs, the nutritional requirements of an adult cat are very different.
One of the largest changes between kitten food and adult food is the balance of fats and proteins. Adult food contains considerably less protein and fat, along with less vitamins and minerals. While it may seem that adult food is not as healthy for your cat, it tailors to the lowered requirements. As your cat is no longer growing, it doesn’t need the boost in nutrients, or calories, that it did as a kitten.
What Is the Best Way to Switch to Adult Food?
Any changes to a cat’s diet should be done gradually, and never be instant. After so long on one type of food, your cat is going to need time to adjust to the new food type, especially seeing as the composition of the food is very different.
Changing from kitten food to adult food should be done over the course of about 7 days. When you’re ready to change, you should replace about a 6th of the kitten food with adult cat food on the first day. Then, over the course of a week, keep replacing an additional 6th of the food, until the 7th day, when the kitten food should have been completely removed.
How Do I Select the Right Adult Food for My Cat?
The cat food that you choose for your pet is very important. It needs to be well-balanced and your cat has to enjoy it! Changing from kitten food to adult food is a big step, but one that your cat will certainly thank you for. High-quality cat food contains a great balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, fiber, fat, and minerals. This gives your cat everything it needs to stay healthy, have a shiny coat, and strong bones and muscles.
Not all cat owners land on the right adult food immediately, with cats being notoriously picky when it comes to food. Testing out a few adult foods, and keeping an eye out for any intolerances, will make sure that you select food your cat loves.
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Dry Food vs Wet Food
A big part of picking out the right food for your cat is the choice between dry food and wet food. Some cat owners choose one or the other or opt for a healthy mix of them both. If your cat has a healthy appetite, then wet cat food can be a great choice as it’s less calorie dense than dry cat food. Both food types have their benefits, so finding a combination that works for you is essential.
We all want the best for our pets and giving them the care that they deserve starts with the food that we feed them. Transitioning from kitten food to adult cat food is something that all pet owners have to go through when raising a kitten. By keeping an eye on your cat through the transition, and choosing a good quality food, you can make sure that your feline friend is getting everything they need to stay happy, healthy, and active.