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What’s for dinner?

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Why it’s important to choose the right food for your kitten. So you’ve taken the plunge, you’ve chosen a kitten and she’s coming home next week. But what do you do about feeding the little mite?

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So you’ve taken the plunge, you’ve chosen a kitten and she’s coming home next week. You’ve sussed out the local kitten socialisation class and booked a place. You got a gorgeous cosy bed and heaps of toys and other goodies on that fun shopping spree. But what do you do about feeding the little mite? Panic not. To begin with, we would recommend you go with what her breeder suggests. Your kitten will have been reared on one particular brand of kitten food and it is not a good idea to change her diet, at least not immediately. When you do decide to change it, remember to do so slowly.

Most breeders would either have told you what they feed, and you can go out and get a packet before the big day, or will give you a sample to tie you over until you can get your own supply. Once your kitten has settled in, or when she has finished growing, then you may decide to change her diet.
When it comes to kitten food the choices are endless, but there are good reasons for this as the ‘one size fits all’ rule no longer applies. Kittens need to be fed a specially formulated kitten food, and in general offered three meals daily from eight to 16 weeks of age. From 16 weeks to one year of age they need to be fed twice daily (depending on the kitten). At one year you can continue to feed twice daily or decrease to once daily, unless your vet advises otherwise.

Until a kitten reaches half her adult size she will require a diet that contains twice the amount of energy needed by an adult of the same breed, and feeding the best balance of nutrients early on in a kitten’s life can have a marked effect on her health in later years. So, it is important that you select the food that is right for your pet’s life stage, namely ‘kitten’, and later on for her lifestyle – active or couch potato, indoor or outdoor cat – and even breed.

There are a great number of good cat foods on the market, available from both supermarkets and veterinarians, which do a great job of providing your pet with an adequate diet. The trick is to find the one that your kitten not only likes, and eats with gusto, but also the one that keeps your pet in peak condition.

Text: Tracy Cox

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