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Do kittens need kitten food

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi, I wondering what the opinions are on here of whether or not kittens actually need a "kitten food" or if a regular good quality cat food is fine? For 7 week old kittens.

If a kitten food is required, for how long should it be fed?

Thank you

ETA: will be feeding a dry kibble, no canned.
post #2 of 13
First of all, welcome to you and to your kittens. Is there any important reason you are only feeding dry - wet food is much better, or a mix is what most of us do. A wet meal morning and evening at least, with a bowl of dry to keep them going in between, though 7 week old kittens need feeding four/five times a day. I also give my foster kittens a supplement of fromage frais (unsalted cream cheese) three times a week, and some kitten milk or goats milk daily until they are 8/9 weeks old, though this is not strictly necessary. Do not give them cows milk as this is high in lactose and can upset their stomachs.

On the kitten food question, the existence of kitten food is quite recent in the scheme of things - in the old days kittens were put onto adult food as soon as they were weaned. But kitten food does give them a better start in life - it is balanced for growing bodies and sensitive stomachs. It is also made in smaller pieces, easier for them to eat. I would keep them on it until they are 6 months, gradually starting to switch over at 5 months, adding the adult. Some people might say longer. If they seem to be very hungry, start earlier.

Good luck.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi, actually for a long time I have believed that wet food was no more nutritious than dry, but I just did a little google search and I think I actually will follow your advice and feed canned food for at least one meal per day. Thank you the kitten food rule the same for canned?
post #4 of 13
Flip the cans over and read them. There are many all stages food that can work for at least some of a kitten's meals.

Some higher end dry foods also work as an all stages food. But ultimately it depends on what your kitten can and will eat.
post #5 of 13
Kitten food is good for them, or "all life stages."
I ended up switching my last litter of rescued kittens to a grain-free "all life stages" food after they were a few months old, because I wanted to use grain free and most of the grain free foods are "all life stages" rather than a separate formula for kittens/adults.
post #6 of 13
Attitude and Nuts have pretty much been on all life stages food since they came inside and even before that since I was feeding all of them it and it was kitten food before that for the most part. They have been on grain free all life stages for a month or so, I think.

I think they are doing ok, well Attitude is fat but that is my fault for overfeeding. They are big in body size as well but that could be because they are Maine Coon mixes(grandma is one) and their dad was huge(body wise, he wasn't fat but built huge he came up to my knee when standing on all 4's.)

post #7 of 13
Kitten foods work, as does "all life stages." A lot of the higher quality foods carry all life stages. Most lower end grocery store brands will only carry kitten or adult lines. Personally, I'd feed an all life stages food. That way you don't have to worry about switching it or finding another food that they like once they hit adulthood. Plus, if you alread have others cats or plan on adding another cat later on, you can feed them all one food. I also like the fact that many of the all life stages formulas are grain free, but just a personal preference.

I know for a fact that Felidae, Innova, Wellness, Acana, Taste of the Wild, Nature's Logic and Nature's Variety carry all life stages.
post #8 of 13
I show cats and from my experience, kittens only need kitten food (and free fed) for the first 4-5 months old. After that they can be changed over to 2 meals a day and on adult food.

With early spay/neuter now (3-4 months old), there really is no reason to keep a kitten on kitten food for longer then 5 months. The exception would be if the kitten has a rough start and needed the extra calories or the kitten was a large breed like a Maine Coon - then they could be on it up to 9/10 months old at the most.

Feeding this way I've never owned a fat cat by the time its grown. If you keep your kitten on kitten food for a "year" ,then you will more then likely have a fat cat and its harder to take weight off then to add a little!

We feed our cats one meal of dry and one meal of canned every day - and raw 2-3 times a week.
post #9 of 13
I prefer kitten food for at least the first 18 months... I also have never had a fat kitten and my oldest did not get off kitten till about age 4 ...

All stage is good but compare to a like quality kitten to make sure you get a good one with higher protein and fat
post #10 of 13
I believe kitten food is important to get your kitten started out right. I usually recommend up to 12 months depending on the cat. I feed dry and wet as it has worked well for my Chester. Of course every cat is different and works for mine may not work for everyone else. He eats Nutro Natural Choice now and has eaten Nutro since I got him.

I hope your kittens do well on whatever you decide.
post #11 of 13
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
I prefer kitten food for at least the first 18 months... I also have never had a fat kitten and my oldest did not get off kitten till about age 4 ...
I should try to get some decent pictures and slip a tape measure around my kittens' waists to show.
I'm going to have to get them off kitten food soon, they're fat.

I probably have the rare problem of kittens that behave more like the adult cats they're around, though. Meaning that they're not super active.
post #12 of 13
Kitten formulas tend to emphasize two selling points:

1. The inclusion of DHA, an Omega 3 fatty acid found in mother's milk that supports eye health. DHA is found naturally in most cat foods, but I believe it is supplemented in some kitten formulas.

2. Higher calorie/protein content than maintenance/adult formulas. This is generally the case.

In short, any decent adult food is fine for kittens, as long as it says it's ok for all life stages. Kitten food is usually the same price as adult food and since it is more protein/calorie dense, you might get more bang for your buck, if that's a consideration.
post #13 of 13
We feed our kitties (ages from 12 weeks to almost 8 years) all stages food in dry food. They have a bowl sitting out all day. Each morning & evening, the kitties share a can of food ( we have 7 cats so sometimes they get two to share). We put it on a paper plate and they all run in and snack on it. They love it!
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