Cat Food Nutrition Guidelines: From Kitten to Senior
What to Know About Kitten Nutrition
Kittens need more energy-producing nutrients—like proteins and fats—and more vitamins, minerals, and water than adult cats. Essential fatty acids help maintain the health of your kitten's skin and coat, reproductive system, and metabolism. Vitamins help develop their vision, as well as strong bones and healthy teeth. Food that is formulated especially for kittens provides all of these nutrients in the right amounts to help your kitten develop and grow into a healthy adult cat.
When to Transition from Kitten to Adult Cat Food
When your kitten is approximately one year old, their nutritional needs will change and you'll want to switch your pet to an adult food with less protein and fat and fewer calories. This is a good time to consult your veterinarian about your cat's individual health requirements.
Nutrition for Adult Cats
Many nutritional formulas target specific health and lifestyle issues:
According to the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, the number of years before a cat is considered a "senior" can range from about 7–10 years of age. At this point, you may need to transition to a new formula based on health or lifestyle changes caused by aging.
Just like people, older cats may start to develop a number of medical issues in their senior years—including dental problems, diabetes, loss of appetite, and arthritis. Your veterinarian can determine if your senior cat has any health concerns that require a specialized diet—in conjunction with proper medical treatment.
Do Not Feed Your Cat Dog Food
Do not reach for your dog's food when you're running low on cat food. Dog food doesn't contain enough protein or the right amino acids for your cat (including taurine). Also, dog food contains magnesium levels that are too high for your cat. Don't panic if you catch your cat sneaking a bite from your dog's bowl—just discourage the habit.
With proper care and a high-quality diet that best meets your cat's changing needs, you can help ensure that they live a long, healthy, and happy life.