How do you decide the best kitten food?

So there is a new arrival in your home. He or she is a tiny squeaking ball of fur and its feeding time. How do you truly decide on the best kitten food for them? More importantly, how do you decide which is not the best kitten food? As the proud parent of a new kitten, you need kitten food that aligns with her nutritional needs in order to keep her active and healthy as she grows up. And because these bundles of energy have different nutritional needs than their older, occasionally less active counterparts, you don’t want to take a one-size-fits-all approach to feeding.

You need to work with your feet or veterinary nurse, for starters. Consider your kitten’s specifics (speak with your veterinarian first, especially if your kitten has any health concerns), and use their guidelines. This will help you to find the food that’ll help her become the happiest and healthiest she can be.

Think nutrition: fatty acids and proteins

It’s so important to find the right food because poor nutrition can increase your kitten’s risk of obesity, poor muscle and bone development, and weak immune response. Luckily, pet food manufacturers are required to identify the life stage for which their product is intended, making your job a lot easier. As the pet parent, however, it’s up to you to determine which kitten food product is best for your young cat, starting with nutrients.

When searching for the right kitten food, look for a product that contains the fatty acid DHA, commonly found in fish oil and helpful to brain and eye development, as well as folic acid for proper cell growth. Taurine, an amino acid, is another important ingredient that aids in the proper function of the heart, immune system, digestive process as well as with vision. OK, so this isn’t a biology lesson, but learning some core facts is always helpful. You can’t properly understand the best kitten food without it.

Look for a food that provides your little one with energy from protein for darting around the house when you’re asleep or at work. Sources of protein come from meat and high-quality grains, such as chicken, tuna, corn, wheat or barley. Choose a product that has these in the top three or four slots on the ingredient list.

Kittens are babies, food texture matters

When you first bring home your furry friend, experiment with both dry and canned food. As vets point out, certain medical conditions that is common later in life.  Such as diabetes or kidney disease, may warrant canned food as part of a treatment plan. You’ll want to offer your kitten both dry and wet food to familiarize her with a variety of textures. So feeding is easier down the road if she’s required to eat canned food for health-related reasons. The best kitten food is all about portion control.

The kitten is eating dry food from a plate. Your vet can advise you on whether dry and/or wet food is best for your kitty, but avoid supplementing or “wetting” your kitten’s food with milk. It can upset her digestive system and may cause diarrhoea. Too much wet food can easily lead to obesity and rotten teeth. It is true cats need it to grow healthy but less is certainly more. You may notice that special wet food for kittens exist. These are really handy as they are much smaller and help to show the real portion size they need. If you are used to adult sized cats you may be falling into the habit of giving far too much. Pause and reflect how much you are giving them.

The best kitten food still needs to be in moderation.

Portion control and timing of feedings

The best kitten food still needs to be in moderation. Kittens have tiny tummies, as you can imagine. So you should aim for three small meals until they are 6 months old (then drop to 2 per day). This is better than the alterative. For example, rather than 24-hour “free feeding” access to their food, which can lead to bad eating habits in adulthood.  I myself have adopted a cat which had this habit and had many rotten teeth. He just constantly ate and had a severe weight problem. Its not fair to your pet to do this. Just like human kids, cats grow up with right or wrong habits.

Perhaps the best way to consider it is this, everything in moderation. The same goes for your kitten, no matter how cute they are at begging. Some owners take every meow as a sign to give more and more food. Don’t! This is a really bad idea. They are babies and it’s natural, even evolutionary for them to keep asking for more. In nature they would not be always ale to receive it. Also, remember they would be competing with the rest of the litter to survive. Just like baby birds the loudest tend to survive. This isn’t the case in the twenty-first century, so use common sense! Remember, the best kitten food needs an owner who follows the guidelines!

It should go without saying, but hey, let’s say it. Follow the recommendation on the pet food package and adjust to your kitten’s needs. These recommendations were designed from trial and error. Kittens’ little mouths and teeth are another important reason not to feed your furry baby an adult cat food just yet; each large kibble can be a choking hazard. Dry formulas, such as Science Direct are always a winner. Kitten Indoor, is made in smaller, kitten-bite-sized pieces for your littlest housemate.

Remember, it’s not all good, avoid the following

In general, stay away from kitten food that doesn’t contain the proteins, vitamins (Vitamins C and E help support a healthy immune system), and fatty acids necessary for your kitten’s healthy growth and development. Pet food companies aren’t required to provide information on the food label about the sourcing or quality of their product. So it’s best to purchase products from reputable, well-known brands that can and will provide you with the information you need.

Starting your kitten off with proper nutrition is a vital step. This helps in ensuring she’ll grow into an active, healthy cat. And remember,  it also provides you with love and companionship for many years to come.

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