Nutritional Features of Commercial Kitten Formula Products

There is a difference between adult cat formula and kitten formula. Kittens have small stomachs, and therefore aren't big eaters, therefore it is important that your kitten is receiving all the nutrients he needs from the calories he's consuming. Although you won't be harming your kitten by feeding him adult cat food, you won't be meeting his nutritional needs.

What Kittens Needs from Their Food

Kittens need a higher percentage of fat, minerals and protein. There are a number of vitamins found only in fats, and are essential to your kittens growth. Fats also provide extra energy, which kittens need for their rapid growth and high activity level. Minerals such as calcium, phosphorous and potassium promote the growth of strong bones and teeth. Proteins are necessary for the growth of muscle tissue and cartilage. Cats can only process proteins that are meat-based, not plant-based. Receiving enough protein in a kitten's younger years may help reduce the effects of degenerative conditions in its later years.

Commercial Dry Food

There are pros and cons to feeding your kitten dry food. The benefits of feeding your kitten dry food is that it can be left out for the kittens to eat whenever they are hungry. Since a kitten's stomach is so small, it will each around 4 meals a day. Also, dry food will help clean a cat's teeth during chewing. The downsides to dry cat foods are these:

  • it contains a lot of carbohydrates that cats have no use for

  • it contains very little water, which is essential for a growing kitten

  • higher sugar levels can lead to diabetes and obesity

These downsides can't be readily observed, and take time to develop. This is why it is recommended that a diet of dry food be supplemented with another form of food, such as canned, wet food. When choosing a dry food, be sure to stay away from foods that contain too many things such as corn, corn gluten meal, wheat, wheat gluten and soy. Again, your cat has no use for the nutrients found in these, they are just for calorie content. In other words, it will satisfy your kitten's hunger, but not his nutritional needs.

Commercial Canned Food

Canned food is a bit more expensive than dry food, and is also less convenient. It cannot be left out for you kitten to nibble on when he is hungry. Even so, there are nutritional benefits to feeding your kitten canned food:

  • high water content

  • higher percentage of fats and proteins, and therefore less carbohydrates than dry food (your kitten will get more from the calories)

  • easy to have a variety of flavors

The higher percentage of fats and proteins are the main reason why your kitten should be receiving more wet food than dry food. Be sure to check that the main ingredients in both dry and wet kitten food are meat products.