Cats are, at heart hunters, descended from wild cats. Their physical make-up and biology closely mirrors that of their ancestors, with their teeth, jaws and digestive system all evolving to suit protein-concentrated diets, specifically ones rich in a fresh and diverse range of meats.
Cats are obligate carnivores
As the RSPCA states, “cats need a well-balanced, meat-based diet to stay fit and healthy – they cannot be vegetarian.” That’s true of cats all of ages and just because a kitten is young, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be receiving the same meat-based diet that it will need when it’s older. In fact, the early months of a cat’s life are critical in providing a solid foundation and avoiding health problems later.
Kittens need energy. As they explore their surroundings, learning about the world and play, they’re constantly burning calories. That means they need food which releases energy quickly, whilst at the same time helping their muscles to grow at a rate that doesn’t put too much strain on their young bones. A good kitten food will be rich in animal proteins to fuel that growth and be high in calories to keep them energetic.
They also need to be consuming phosphorous and calcium for strong bones, as well as fatty acids to support their organs. It’s therefore important for them to consume meat that comes from a variety of animals and includes muscle, bone and organs to provide those nutrients.
Is your cat eating enough meat?
For more details on how to determine if your kitten’s pet food has the right amount of meat, follow the MeatMath formula
Feeding your cat
Cats naturally eat small meals, and kittens are no different. This can help owners monitor how much their kittens are eating. Initially, the food pack labelling will provide feeding guidelines based on age and weight to help determine what a portion should look like. Each kitten is unique, however, so it’s important to be monitoring their growth and weight to ensure they remain healthy, adjusting portions as needed.
Finally, it’s imperative that kittens and cats have a source of fresh, clean water available at all times. Even a few hours of not being properly hydrated can make them unwell, so always keep the bowl topped up!