|Feeding an orphan kitten (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Kittens will need kitten food to ensure that they are receiving all of the nutrients they need to grow. When it comes to feeding your cat there are many options. There's dry and there's canned. There are kitten and cat. In general, cats need only four main nutrients. They require a meat-based protein, taurine, water, and various vitamins and minerals. Kitten food includes all of these just more to give the kitty the necessary energy to grow and be healthy and this is the main difference between a cat and kitten food.
For the first five weeks, the kitten will be nursing from its mother. At week five the kittens can start to be weaned. They may continue to nurse until they are eight to ten weeks old. Pet owners should feed the mother a kitten food to ensure that she is receiving all the necessary nutrients that she needs for herself and her kittens. All animals have a higher nutrient requirement when they are pregnant. At week five, the kitten can begin to eat canned kitten food with its mother. The first ingredient on the package should be either chicken, beef or lamb.
Kittens will need kitten food for their first year. At six weeks of age, the kittens should be receiving four small meals per day. At twelve weeks, they can have more food divided into three meals. At one, the kittens may be switched to adult food and fed twice daily. Cats are capable of knowing when they are full so you can leave a bowl out of dry food throughout the day.
The biggest debate amongst cat owners is whether or not they should use wet, canned or dry food. The answer is both. Kittens and cats need wet food because it contains water. They may not drink enough on a regular basis and the wet food ensures they stay hydrated. The dry food ensures they have something to eat whenever they are hungry. It also helps to scrape the teeth and keep them clean, which prevents dental diseases.
The kitten's diet should consist mostly of canned food, as it is more nutritious. Keep track of whether the kitten is on track by weighing the cat on a regular basis. You also do not want to allow them to get into the habit of overeating or eating table scraps. Table scraps are high in fat and it also throws off their balanced diet that they receive through their regular food.