Can Kittens Consume Cat Food?

Just as how you would not want to feed a human baby a burger or pasta meant for adults, neither should you consider giving your kitten adult cat food.

Kittens have specific nutritional requirements that are different from adult cats to support their rapid growth and high energy. This is why kitten food tend to be of higher calorie intake and contains more protein and fat. Such kitten food are also formulated with a fatty acid called DHA (sound familiar? We use it in human babies’ milk formulas too!) to help support brain and vision development, as well as vitamins and minerals needed for their developing immune systems.

It is widely known that kittens have a higher requirement for protein, amino acids, minerals, and some vitamins. In fact, they need to get about 30% of their energy from protein sources. So while adult cat food are protein-focused, they lack other nutrients and energy content that makes up the remaining 60% of your kittens’ dietary needs. This means that their energy content will not be balanced for optimal growth.

Furthermore, feeding your kitten adult cat food can potentially lead to an underfed kitten, or an overfed one since they will have an increased appetite considering their protein intake is lower per serving.

Generally speaking, kittens should eat a complete and balanced kitten formula until they are at least 1 year old before growth ceases around 10-12 months into their lives.  When kittens are below 4 weeks old, they should be able to obtain all their nutritional requirements from their mother’s milk before slowly being introduced to solid food when they wean off.

However, once they reach adulthood, they tend to be less energetic and require less calories that kitten food contain, if they are continued being fed kitten food, this could lead to unnecessary weight gain and potential obesity.

It is easier to introduce wet or canned food to kittens as they come off as liquid diet as opposed to introducing them to dry food straight away, just like how human babies are fed baby food when they move on from milk. It is important to note that during their first year of their lives, kittens can and will increase their body weight by up to 40 to 50 times compared to when they were born. That is why kittens should not be fed cat food and instead, suitable kitten food or formulas to ensure they get all the nutrients they need for growth before their growth spurt slows down or come to a stop.

With that said, the ingredients within your kittens’ food should be from a quality and reliable source in order to facilitate healthy growth. It is crucial that your kitten can easily access the nutrients contained within their food once the food starts to get digested and metabolised in their bodies. An easy way to identify this is if you see food labels listing down animal proteins which are easily recognised such as salmon, lamb and chicken as opposed to grain-based or vegetable-based proteins.

Another way to know that the kitten food you feed is of high quality is that if the label reads “Meets the nutritional requirements of kittens established by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)” or “Complete and balanced nutrition for kittens based on AAFCO feeding trials.”

Be wary of kitten food that are heavily advertised in terms of their taste and colour of the food as opposed to the nutrition it provides. As pet owners, we all know that the costs of caring for our favourite feline can add up, and kitten food formulas may not only be hard to find, but also more expensive than adult cat food. With that being said, the nutritional benefits that your kitten stands to gain, far outweighs the costs of feeding them the wrong diet.

So, when is it okay for kittens to eat adult cat food then? If you ever come across a food label which says it’s formulated “for all life stages,” that means it’s safe for both kittens and adult cats to eat.

When in doubt, always consult your veterinarian on what diet would suit your individual cat or kitten’s needs.

Write a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published