Diet and Nutrition
There is a multitude of different foods on the market to feed our cats so it is often hard to decide which is the most appropriate for our pet. When choosing a food, it is important to realise that the needs of our pets will change throughout their lives and will vary for different species and breeds.
On collecting your new kitten, you will usually be informed of the diet the animal has received. However, the diets given are not always easy to follow, consisting of combinations of weetabix, porridge, scrambled egg, tripe or similar concoctions! Many have the disadvantage of not being completely balanced in minerals and vitamins. It is much better to use a kitten food that has been properly formulated and has a feeding guide to enable you to supply the correct amount of calories.
Kitten food has a much higher level of calories than adult food. Growing animals need lots of energy and also a higher level of protein than adults to enable them to mature properly. Their food also tends to be higher in calcium for their growing bones.
Once an adult, (from 9 months in cats), the growth food needs to be changed to a maintenance diet. Any diet change should be done gradually over a couple of weeks even if using the same brand, to avoid a tummy upset. Adult food is lower in fat and protein as the body requires less of these nutrients for maintaining body condition, compared to growing.
Light versions of a maintenance diet are available if you your pet cannot keep its weight down. These are lower in protein and fat but higher in fibre and are ideal for less active, neutered or obesity-prone animals.
Senior diets can be introduced from 7 years for cats. Again, these are lower in protein to help older kidneys from having to detoxify excess protein. They are also lower in fat as calorie requirements are less in senior animals due to inactivity and loss of muscle. Senior diets tend to be higher in vitamins compared to adult foods to help maintain body functions like tissue repair and cell production.
In summary, match your pet’s age to their food to enable them to get the most from it! Your vet will be able to advise you on a suitable diet for your pet.
If you are a cat owner who feeds your cat on a complete dry food - such as Hill'sTM Science PlanTM - but likes to treat him/her to some wet food (tinned or pouch) now and again, we have good news!
Hill’sTM Science PlanTM has now been launched as a wet food in pouches which can be used in conjunction with the dried food.
The pouches can be bought separately or in packs of 12 pouches and are available for kittens or adult cats in a variety of flavours.