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  • Feeding Your Kitten

How to feed

Recent advances in nutrition have played a key role in helping pets live longer and healthier. Kittens grow and develop extremely quickly and during this important stage in your kitten's life, profound changes occur and development needs to be closely monitored.

Once weaned from mum, your kitten's digestive system is still immature and they are not yet ready to digest large amounts of food. Overlooking this can lead to serious digestive disorders. During this growth phase your kitten's energy needs are greater than those of an adult cat.

Your kitten should be fed little and often using an ultra digestible food specially designed for kittens. This can mean up to four meals a day until the age of four months, given at evenly spaced intervals to avoid overstretching their small stomachs. This can then be reduced to three and then two meals by the time they are six months old. It is also important not to vary feeding times and types of food fed as this will cause problems with your kitten's digestive system and toilet training regime. You must always make sure they have access to water at all times.

What to feed?

Your breeder may have given you advice on what your kitten's diet has been and it is advisable not to change this too suddenly. It is important to ensure that your kitten is fed a complete and balanced good quality kitten food.

You should feed a complete kitten food until your kitten is at least six months of age, moving on to a neutered adult cat food following their neutering operation.

At Cinque Ports Vets we recommend the Royal Canin Paediatric Weaning and Growth Kitten range. We work closely with Royal Canin to make sure we are able to provide you with the best pet food available for your new addition. All team members are fully trained to offer advice and support on your kitten's dietary needs. The Vet Care range of food is a good quality, highly nutritional kitten food which provides support for your kitten's digestive system and natural defences by a complex of antioxidants.

The Royal Canin Paediatric Weaning range comes in both wet and dry forms and can be fed from 4 weeks until 4 months of age to facilitate the transition from liquids to solids. It is a high energy density food which is ultra digestible to support your kitten's delicate digestive system.

The Royal Canin Paediatric Growth range also comes in both wet and dry forms and can be fed from 4 months until either neutering or 12 months of age. The food contains highly digestible proteins to aid in digestion of the food and also reduce stool quantity due to the food being extremely digestible.

A lot of owners place importance on varying the type and flavour of food they offer to their kittens and cats. It is important to remember that although we like to eat a variety of flavours this is not necessarily an important issue to our cats! Cats place more importance on the texture of their food than the flavour. This is due to them having a significantly lower number of taste buds than humans!

As a veterinary practice we are aware that there are a wide range of complete kitten foods on the market and the quality varies widely. It can be very daunting trying to decide which brand to choose. Pet foods currently available on the market, range from economy brands to premium. Economy brands are a much cheaper option to buy but do not provide optimum nutrition with generally a larger volume needing to be fed. This in turn can mean a larger volume of faecal output due to their poor digestibility.

Premium foods are consistently made of high quality ingredients of a high nutrient and energy density which means you can feed a lower volume. They are also made with a fixed formula which means the same source of for example protein (chicken) is used in each bag. These foods suit kittens delicate digestive system well. The cheaper economy foods have a fixed recipe which means they use the cheapest source of for example protein (chicken) available at the time. It isn't necessary to declare the levels of minerals like phosphorus, sodium, potassium, sugar and starch on the packaging but the more premium pet foods do which aids in deciding on a suitable pet food for your pet's lifestage. Although the premium foods may appear more expensive to buy, you do not need to feed the large amounts which are required from a lower grade food, so many of them actually work out to cost the same if not less! Remember all pet foods provide nutrition but the premium ones offer your kitten health benefits as well.

Royal Canin rigorously test every ingredient in their pet food and if a batch of ingredients does not meet their standards they do not use it in production of their pet food.

We will be happy to advise you on which diet would be best suited to your kitten and we also offer free nutritional consultations with our qualified Royal Canin Pet Health Counsellors who can advise you on your cat's diet throughout their life.

Useful links:
Royal Canin