Kitten food

flybear

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I have done extensive research but ... I cannot find any studies that really explain why ... kittens need special kitten food ... I understand that kitten need more food ... especially protein which is wha makes sense - much like growing humans ... kids eat often and a lot ... What doesn't make sense is the claim that they have completely different nutritional needs ... Look at wild cats ...kittens ( after nursing age of course) will eat what their parents eat - there are no special mice , bugs or rabbits for kittens ... My reasoning is that a high quality diet for cats with mainly meat ingredients, sufficient protein and nutrients should in theory ... nourish a kitten as well- kittens eat more ... and more frequently but ... I have raised dozens of kittens on super premium adult food ( as one of my adults has severe GI issues with all other food and is an expert in opening drawers and door and there is always a chance he could get into kitten food with disastrous consequences) ... this last batch of kittens has wonderful round bellies , gains weight well, shiny coat and great activity on the quality adult food vs ... the Royal Cabin kitten food they ha before ( gave them diarrhea and vometing) or ... the other kitten food we tried. My vet constantly tries to convince me that kitten need that special kitten food but ... My babies are growing well , eating well , are healthy and happy with no detectable issues ... I am stomped ... I don't want to hurt my babies but ... where can I find some real scientific studies that compared feeding kittens high quality adult cat food or even raw ... and kitten food and conclude that ... kitten need to eat vastly different food up to age 1 ?? I I look at my friend;s barn cats ... kittens about 5 months old are catching mice and moles ... just like the adults ... they look rather lean but grow into beautiful and healthy adults ??
 

Flybynight

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Some brands have higher protein in the kitten vs adult food. Some brands say for all life stages.
As I understand, if you are feeding a good quality ( high protein/ low carb and no added sugar) wet food, then kitten specific is not important.
 

Kieka

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Its not so much that kittens have vastly different dietary needs as it is that the commercial food industry has figured out that adults can survive on lower protein food. Kittens need a certain amount of protein and fat to grow while adults can survive with lower levels without negative health effects. Kittens need more calories per pound because they are growing so quickly as well. Since animal protein is more expensive then plant protein or fillers, the commercial pet food industry has decided that marketing it as adult and kitten food at the different stages is more profitable. Smaller packages for kitten food at a same or higher price point makes the consumer feel that it is special requirement or somehow more when in reality the adult food is typically lesser. When it come to recommendations endorsed by commercial foods (including feeding amounts) keep in mind their goal is just to keep your pet alive so you buy more food, keeping them healthy weight and at peak physical health are not their goals. There is a huge difference between surviving and thriving and not everyone really appreciates that.

If you are feeding age labeled food, your kitten needs kitten labeled food or they won't get enough nutrition to grow. However, if you feed an all stages labeled food your kitten and adult can eat the same because the food has a decent nutrition balance for all ages and stages of cats. Also, if you are feeding a well balanced raw food your kittens and adults can eat the same. You can find studies related to nutritional needs at different stages and the requirements to be labeled as different stages, you won't find a study that says kittens must only be fed kitten labeled foods.
 
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flybear

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I have extensively compared adult food ingredients of premium foods and medium quality foods and low quality foods ... feeding a kitten a low quality " kitten" food is definitely offering less digestible ingredients and protein than say ... a premium unity adult food ... what I mean by that is ... we should be looking a nutritional content of food in general and not if it says kitten on the package. High animal protein adult food with a adequate amount of fats is in my opinion preferable to ... a kitten food that might boast with 35% protein derived mostly from plant sources or low quality by products ?? I have read through dozens of kitten food labels and most of them do not offer superior nutrition in any category besides the overall protein content BUT most of that extra protein is not extra meat ... but pant based. And yes ... you pay extra for kitten food that is not actually higher quality. Kittens need nutritionally dense food ... ideally a meat based diet with healthy fats and some fiber for digestion as well as ... enough calcium and minerals that could be found in bones and cartilage , taurine. Kittens that come from barn cats tend to have very soft fur ... mice are wholesome nutritional goodness for moms and babies ... I think pet food industry needs to stop convincing us to sell " kitten food" or ridiculous specialized diets ( neutered kittens, hairball, sensitive- lol) and just improve the overall quality of what we feed cats in general !...
 

Harborlily

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I was actually coming to ask something similar! I have a new kitten (she was found in a dumpster) and she is between 8 and 10 weeks. She eats fancy feast classic (my 3yo eats this as well) but also likes to nibble the instinct LID canned turkey that my older boy eats. It’s labeled as adult cat food but I’m thinking since it’s a pretty healthy wet food it’s not doing her harm to have a tbs every once in a while, right?
 

minish

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I raised minish with origen dry food (didn't know the cons of dry food then and vets here recommend giving wet food sparingly). It's grain free (at least no maize etc) and high protein. The company doesn't produce kitten food, saying just give the kitten more. She grew up wonderfully. I guess same goes for other rich diets we can provide
 
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