There’s No Reason For “Kitten Food”!
A listener wrote me with a question that I’ve heard a lot: “What’s the best kitten food for my new family member?” The research I did for THE CAT BIBLE showed me that the dietary requirement of a kitten is this: to get twice as much high-protein food as a grown cat, in twice as many small meals. Because their stomachs are small — and their metabolism is fast — a kitten needs much more food than an adult cat for growth and development. There’s no reason to feed a kitten anything except the best canned cat food you can find, because it is the amount and quality of protein that matters.
Just like mature cats, kittens need a high-protein diet with the protein derived from quality sources. That is why I have always been so happy to recommend Weruva cans and pouches, since what kittens need describes Weruva recipes perfectly: high protein, low-carb, with the protein coming from real chicken meat (not a chicken carcass!) and made in a human food facility.
Kittens also need a good percentage of fat in their diet — some cat enthusiasts say a kitten needs 1/4 teaspoon of butter every day. Adding the same amount of a quality omega-3 fish oil (made for pets or humans) does the trick just as well.
The feline-devoted veterinarians I have interviewed over the years since I researched and wrote THE CAT BIBLE – like Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, who had her own feline-only practice and bred champion Ocicats — agreed with me. “The best food for a kitten is twice as much quality cat food!”
Kittens Eat Like Teenage Boys!
Kittens need to eat all the time — just like teenage boys! — but the difference is that human boys can get away with junk food while kittens require high-quality protein. My book has a full explanation of how to feed kittens, which is basically as much as their little stomachs will hold in 10 minutes at each of several daily feedings. There’s a nice feeding chart (on pages 242-243) that explains exactly how often to feed a kitten during her growth periods (6 to 8 meals daily from 6 to 10 weeks of age, then 5 to 6 meals from 10 weeks to 4 months) so that by 5 to 7 months old she’s getting 3 to 4 meals a day, until she’s about 8 months old, when she should taper down from 3 meals a day to two, just like an adult cat.
This is smart kitty Jinx, who my friend’s son brought home with cans from the supermarket because they knew I said “canned food only for all cats!” Then my friend asked and I said “Go bold — try some Weruva,” which they got from Chewy. Jinx tasted Paw Lickin’ Chicken and there was no going back. He’ll try other Weruva recipes, but it’s now the only brand he likes. Smart kitty cat!
NOTE: Kittens definitely should not eat “kitty crack” – because they will get “hooked” on the carbohydrate-heavy kibble, which is not appropriate for obligate carnivores (whether it says “grain free” or not).
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