Foods & Feeding
Your kitten has been raised on raw chicken and a variety of high-quality commercial wet and dry foods. Raw meat is best for them and for their teeth, however many kittens raised on raw food won’t continue to eat it. NEVER feed Whiskas or similar cheap cat foods as they are filled with colourings, preservatives and taste-enhancers and once started, you may not find it easy to change to something healthier. A lower quality diet will result in a greater quantity of unpleasant smelling poo, whereas a high-protein diet is most efficient and more appropriate for your cat’s needs.
Many breeders say that cats must be fed five times a day, but this is impractical for most people. Two to three times a day is fine as adults, particularly if there are always biscuits available to them. The kittens have been fed four times a day so far, but they are probably ready to move down to three times a day now. Kittens will ‘browse feed’ so put down food for them and they will either eat it then, or come back to it later if they are more interested in something else at the time. They’ll soon learn how often they are fed and pace their intake to match that. The main thing is to be regular so that they never have to panic about not getting food. They will often not finish something on their plate as nature advises them to leave something for later – so don’t throw away food they have left behind until much later. As they may try to bury food, don’t put it down on newspaper as you might come back to find it shredded and stuck to the food. Pets at Home sell rectangular silicon rubber mats which are easy to clean and work well on shiny floors.
ALWAYS PROVIDE PLENTY OF FRESH WATER in multiple locations around the house – especially if feeding biscuits. Multiple locations in case of an accident – this way that cats are still going to have something to drink even if another bowl has been knocked over. Change water regularly, and keep it fresh, change immediately if any coloured toys have fallen in the water as the dye can leach out. You can use filtered water from a Brita jug – this is enough to take out the chlorine added to the water supply but is not essential. Do not use softened or bottled water. We have not felt the need to use a water fountain ourselves – should you have one remember they need to be kept scrupulously clean. Ceramic water bowls are easiest to keep clean – bowls made from plastic or natural fibres are likely to degrade quickly and scratches on the surfaces can be a home to bacteria.
How much food should you give them? As much as they can eat, considering the specific needs of neutered and indoor cats, particularly in the first year whilst they are still growing. In warm weather if you don’t want to leave soft food down, make sure there are biscuits available all the time, with plenty of water. Avoid human foods from the table – once started, your cat will be unlikely to change this behaviour you’ve taught them and it can be frustrating.
Complete and Complementary Foods
It’s critical to understand the difference between ‘complete’ and ‘complementary’ foods, as it can be hard to spot the difference given how many of the complementary foods are marketed. They may look full of meaty goodness, but your kitten will be at significant risk if you only feed a complementary food – it will not have the full range of vitamins and nutrients necessary for its healthy development. You will need to feed your kitten on at least one complete diet and there is no harm in feeding more than one complete food, such as a raw meat diet and complete biscuit diet at the same time. Complementary foods are just that – extras – which the kitten will no doubt enjoy but must only be given in combination with a complete food diet.
ZooPlus do an OK job of explaining this:
‘A complete wet or dry food is designed to provide the full range of nutrients that your cat needs to stay healthy. This means that the food can be fed on its own, without the need to combine it with any other food products or supplements. So choosing a complete food makes it really easy to meet all of your pet’s nutritional requirements – all you need to do is make sure that you serve the right feeding amount to suit your cat’s size, age, breed and activity levels.
Things get a bit more complicated when it comes to supplementary food (sometimes also called complementary food), which is lacking in one or more essential nutrients, such as taurine or calcium. This type of food must be fed alongside other products to make sure that your cat receives everything they need to stay healthy. Some brands provide specific guidelines for combining their wet and dry food to ensure a balanced diet. Even though incorporating supplementary food into your pet’s diet can be difficult to calculate at first, this is a great way to offer your cat more variety in their food bowl, with a range of flavours and textures. Supplementary food also makes a great occasional treat, just like how we might enjoy a portion of chips or piece of steak every now and then, but still need to make sure we balance this out with other types of food.’
Age & Sterilisation Specific Diet
Cats that have been neutered require less energy, however they are inclined to eat more once neutered. This can lead to weight problems, and if feeding dry food that’s available for the kitten to graze on (which is recommended) – you should consider a product which is suitable for sterilised kittens from age 6 months to one year. After one year, there are equivalent sterilised and light diets for cats that are indoors or indoors with access to a secure garden or run. Discuss diet with your vet when your kitten is neutered and when you have the first booster vaccinations in a year’s time.
What Does Your Kitten Eat?
Your kitten pack contains a list of the foods that we’ve fed after your kitten was weaned, and we’ll make sure you have a copy in time to order some of the foods in advance of your kitten coming home. Changing foods should be done gradually, as cats will often show interest in a new food once or twice, and then decide they don’t like it. Always have something they do like available when trying something new, and check to make sure you have a complete food available all the time.
Complete Raw Diet
We start all our kittens on minced raw chicken and ground bone with chicken liver, heart & gizzard. This is obtained from a very good company called PurrForm. (See www.purrform.co.uk). We buy it in bulk in 450g tubs, but they sell an equivalent in pouches that offer more variety as well and are very convenient. Tubs or pouches are defrosted overnight in the fridge and last a day (pouches) or 2 days (tubs). You may find the pouches a more convenient way of feeding if you only have one kitten. There are a few days delivery time on orders from PurrForm but they are highly reliable and use a specialised courier for frozen food deliveries.
Eating raw food kittens will eat less, poo in smaller quantities and with much less odour, and can be healthier and stronger cats with less fat and more muscle. Over time we have found that kittens tend to go off the raw food as they get older, and it takes a determined effort to keep them on raw, which is probably only viable if your other cats are on the same diet. It doesn’t matter provided you continue a high quality, appropriate diet. It’s a good idea to have some raw available to start with however we’ve made sure that your kitten is used to a variety of high-quality foods. Your focus should be that your kitten is always well nourished – neither the kitten nor the owner needs to be worrying about feeding.
Complete Dry Food Diet
Our cats and kittens have constant access to a high-quality high-protein dry food – there are a wide variety of similar foods on the market now. They tend to be more expensive, but your cats will eat less than if fed lower-protein alternatives. Always ensure a plentiful supply of fresh water alongside dry foods.
Wet Food (Non-raw) Diet
We feed a variety of high-quality wet foods to ensure that kittens are used to different sorts of foods. We’ll supply some of each in your kitten pack.
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