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Kittens: What and How To Feed Them


 

Kitten_Food.jpgYour kitten has come home, he’s about 8-weeks-old and recently separated from his mommy and litter mates, now the responsibility of feeding and providing proper nutrition has switched from the mother and owner to you. What do you feed your kitten? What are the special nutritional requirements that kittens have? Canned food or dry? These are all important questions that you will want to have answered before you go out to buy your kitten food.

What Are the Nutritional Requirements of My Kitten?


The first year of a kitten’s life, much like that of a child, is marked by rapid growth and needs proper nutrition to make sure that your kitty develops good muscles, strong bones, and a healthy, happy body. Kittens have very small stomachs, so the food they eat needs to be able to provide a nutrition-packed meal in just a few bites.

The most important things you will want to look for in kitten food are higher amounts of protein and fat. Fat provides energy, protein helps with muscle development. As with any cat food, you want to avoid anything that has corn listed as an ingredient as this can  cause or aggravate food allergies. You will also want to limit the number of grains in your pet foods as these can cause unnecessary weight gain and allergies.

Canned Food or Dry?


The canned or dry food debate rages on even in kitten-hood and it is up to you, the owner, and your vet to decide what the best options are for your kitten. It is, perhaps, the best idea to provide a high quality kitten kibble throughout the day, and then a high-quality canned kitten food for the nightly meal. Canned food tends to have higher amounts of protein and fat and fewer unnecessary carbs and fillers that your kitten simply doesn’t need. However, there is still a large base of professionals and owners that believe that dry food is necessary for promoting dental health. You and your vet will be able to make the best decision for your kitten.

Canned cat foods are easier to digest and provide a higher balance of protein and fat with huge amounts of moisture to provide your cat with additional fluid intake to keep them hydrated. It’s as close as most cats will get to eating out in the great outdoors and this is one of the main reasons that so many feel a solid canned food diet is the best way to go. Below are the top rated canned cat food options for kittens.

What Foods Are Best for My Kitten?

Below are some of the best canned and dry foods you can feed your kitten.

Orijen Cat and Kitten


Price: 15 lbs./ $50.00
Where Can I Buy It: http://www.orijen.ca/orijen/storeLocator/,
Ingredients: Fresh boneless chicken, chicken meal, fresh boneless salmon, turkey meal, fresh chicken liver, herring meal, russet potato, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), sweet potato, peas, fresh boneless walleye, fresh whole eggs, fresh boneless turkey, fresh boneless lake whitefish, sun-cured alfalfa, pea fiber, fresh boneless herring, organic kelp, pumpkin, chicory root, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, apples, cranberries, blueberries, licorice root, angelica root, fenugreek, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, chamomile, dandelion, summer savory, rosemary, vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, selenium yeast, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium.
Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein: 42% (min)
Crude Fat: 20% (min)
Crude Fiber: 2.5% (max)
Moisture: 10% (max)
Pros: Though it is a sort of “all stages” food, the Orijen Cat and Kitten food provides high quality meats, no grains at all, and a huge variety of fruits and vegetables. Not only that, but the guaranteed analysis shows a minimum protein level of 42%, certainly enough for a growing kitten. The average kitten food has a 20% fat content which the Orijen foods meets as well.
Cons: Price. This is not a cheap food but it is one of the best.

Innova EVO Turkey and Chicken Cat and Kitten


Price: 15 lbs./ $40.00
Where Can I Buy It: http://wtb.naturapet.com/, petfooddirect.com
Ingredients: Turkey, Chicken Meal, Chicken, Herring Meal, Chicken Fat, Peas, Egg, Turkey Meal, Pea Fiber, Natural Flavors, Apples, Carrots, Cranberries, Herring Oil, Tomatoes, Pumpkin, Dried Chicory Root, Cottage Cheese, Alfalfa Sprouts, Taur, DL Methionine, Minerals, Vitamins, Direct-Fed Microbials
Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min) 50%
Crude Fat (min) 22%
Moisture (max) 10%
Crude Fiber (max) 2%
Pros: Another absolutely fantastic food for cats in all stages of life. No grains at all, as close to the natural diet as your cat or kitten can get in a dry food. The protein is a minimum 50% and the fat a minimum 22%. This is a food that will help your kitten thrive!
Cons: Nothing that comes to mind immediately. It is a high quality food for an even cheaper price than the Orijen.


Felidae Grain Free Cat and Kitten Formula Canned Cat Food


Price: 12 cans/ $15.00
Where Can I Buy It: petfooddirect.com
Ingredients:Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Turkey, Lamb, Ocean Fish, Potatoes, Peas, Carrageenen, Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Flaxseed Oil (source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids), Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Sunflower Oil (source of Omega-6 Fatty Acids), Potassium Chloride, Suncured Alfalfa Meal, Calcium Sulfate, Lecithin, Beta-Carotene, Sage Extract, Rosemary Extract, Cranberries, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Niacin, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.
Pros: No grains, at all, not even corn starch as a thickener. High quality meats and fish with potatoes as the carb and plant oils as the fats.
Cons: It would be nice not to see salt mentioned as an ingredient, but otherwise this is a great food.

Innova EVO Cat and Kitten Canned Food


Price: 24 cans/ $33.00
Where Can I Buy It: petfooddirect.com
Ingredients: Turkey Chicken Turkey Broth Chicken Broth Chicken Meal Herring Carrots Whole Eggs Salmon Meal Natural Flavors Guar Gum Seaweed Extract Apples Tomato Flakes Cottage Cheese Herring Oil Potassium Chloride Apple Fiber Inulin Vitamin C Sea Salt Choline Chloride Sunflower Oil Beta Carotene Vitamins/Minerals
Pros: Just like the other EVO products, this canned food is packed with meat, vegetables, whole eggs, and fish.
Cons: Not much, the presence of salt and a dairy product with the cottage cheese would lead me to suggest that the owner keep an eye on tiny kitty tummies the first few times they use this, but the nutritional value of the food is solid and the lack of grains is always a positive.

 

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