How to feed a kitten
For the first seven to ten days of life, the newborn kitten's eyes remain closed. However, during that time, kittens double their birth weight and become increasingly active. Always allow the kitten to obtain colostrum (the mother's first antibody-rich milk), which provides protection in its first months of life, and if possible, never wean the kitten before 3-4 weeks of age, Since it is still receives some local intestinal protection from breast milk. A typical kitten's introduction to solid food (around 3 to 4 weeks old) generally equates to the kitten moving around and through the mother's food bowl, and licking the wet, dry food off its paws. Kitten trafficking will tend to compact the food, so you should consider stirring the compacted diet or offering fresh amounts periodically. At six weeks of age, most kittens are ready to be weaned. If they have started eating solid food from the female's plate, it is not unusual for kittens to begin to wean at four to five weeks of age.
Research shows that a kitten grows from infancy to adulthood in about a year, and during its first 20 weeks a kitten can gain its birth weight 20 times. At 26 weeks of age, the growth rate begins to level off. However, kittens continue to develop indoors with normal growth that ends at approximately 12 months of age. Kittens also require approximately twice as much energy as adult cats.
Kittens require higher levels of protein than puppies, and they also have a unique requirement for the free amino acid taurine. Lack of enough taurine in a kitten's diet could lead to vision problems. They also need essential fatty acids like linoleic and arachidonic acids. For these and other reasons, it is recommended that kittens be fed only kitten-developed foods. When a nutritionally complete and balanced feed is offered to a normal, healthy kitten, there is no need to supplement the diet with vitamins and minerals.
Feeding kittens two or three times a day is recommended during this period of rapid growth, and many owners make food available at all times along with a clean, fresh source of water. Dry foods can be moistened with lukewarm water to help soften food and make it easier to eat. Moisturized dry food or canned food left at room temperature can become unpleasant and can even spoil if left out for several hours. The uneaten portions should be removed and discarded after one hour. As with other animals, any dietary changes should be made gradually over a period of 7 to 10 days to avoid causing digestive distress.
Kittens tend to be "casual" eaters as they eat a large number of small meals throughout the day. Typically, the kitten approaches food, sniffs it quickly, and then begins to eat. After consuming a small portion of the food, the kitten leaves and returns at various intervals to eat. This behavior should not be confused with a reluctance or refusal to eat. Too much noise, new surroundings, clean food / water dishes may be factors to consider if a kitten refuses to eat. If the refusal of food is prolonged and / or the kitten shows signs of illness, such as apathy, diarrhea, repeated vomiting, discharge from the eyes or nose, straining to urinate or constipation, or unusual concealment in dark places, you should consult a vet immediately.
From six months to a year, kittens should be fed twice a day if fed dry, canned, or wet canned foods. Dry foods can be freely fed, filling the bowl with a sufficient amount of food once a day. However, overfeeding should be avoided. Kittens must be fed individually, and the amounts to be fed will depend on activity and body condition. It is a good idea to start with the recommended amounts on the package label and use this information as a guide. Adjust the amount fed to obtain a healthy body condition. A veterinarian can help the owner assess the cat's body condition and, if necessary, help plan an appropriate weight reduction program.
Cats, like people, have individual food preferences. Kittens in the same litter can acquire different tastes and eating habits. However, the cat's reputation for being fussy is often the result of feeding practices established by the owner. The more variety a cat is offered, the more variety it will expect. With the wide variety of commercial cat food, it is easy to provide a nutritionally complete and balanced diet that a cat will eat.
If you feed your cat a complete and well-balanced diet, he or she will have all the necessary ingredients to be healthy and will not need additional supplements.
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