Tag: cat feeding

Best Soft Food for Kittens

Kittens are cute and cuddly creatures that need constant care and attention. To guarantee that they grow up to be strong and healthy cats, they must be properly fed during the first few months of their life. If you’re curious to discover the best soft food to feed kittens, you’ve come to the right place! Read More...

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Kittens are cute and cuddly creatures that need constant care and attention. To guarantee that they grow up to be strong and healthy cats, they must be properly fed during the first few months of their life. If you’re curious to discover the best soft food to feed kittens, you’ve come to the right place! In this Waldo’s Friends post, you’ll find answers to the questions:

This blog post is meant to equip first-time kitten owners, foster parents, and even longtime pawrents with all the information they need to raise kittens under their care. It is not meant to replace regular visits to the veterinarian. As a reminder, consult with your vet to create a customised meal plan that fits your kitten’s ever changing needs.  

When is a cat considered a kitten?

A cat is referred to as a kitten as soon as she is born and until she reaches six months old. In this first stage, she is highly dependent on her mother for survival—from maintaining body temperature to receiving much-needed nutrients. With her mother’s assistance, a kitten learns how to eat, pee, and poop. She also picks up her mother’s social skills and behaviours throughout this period. 

What should I feed a kitten?

A kitten rapidly grows during the first few weeks of her life, gaining double or triple her body weight in this stage. Initially, a newborn cat should drink her mother’s milk to receive essential nutrients and antibodies. When her mother is absent or unable to provide milk, kitten supplement formula or kitten glop may be given instead. Kittens cannot just drink any kind of milk produced by animals or derived from nuts because these may cause unwanted side effects. 

Milk can be consumed by kittens until they are 3 to 4 weeks old. After that, they must transition to soft food to compensate for their rapid growth and active lifestyle. Since they are still unable to chew properly, a combination of milk and wet food can be fed to kittens about 3 to 4 times a day until they are 6 weeks old. They should be able to consume high-quality dry food by the time they turn 1 and a half months old. Specially made kitten formula food should be served to your pet until she reaches 1 year old.  

Which ingredients should be in my kitten’s soft food?

Always choose commercially produced cat food labelled specifically “for kittens” or “for growth,” which have been approved by your vet. It must be nutritionally complete and balanced to ensure the healthy development of your kitten’s growing organs and body systems. Refrain from buying cheap and generic wet food brands that may not contain premium ingredients. If a product lists whole grain cereal, cereal byproduct, or meat byproduct as its primary ingredient, do not purchase it.

When looking for soft food to feed your kitten, make sure that (1) it is packed with high quality ingredients, and (2) a balanced amount of protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fat, and carbohydrates: 

  • Protein: As carnivores, kittens should receive at least 30% of protein in their daily diet to assist with tissue and muscle growth. It should contain real meat such as chicken.
  • Amino acids: Ingested protein turns into amino acids that are absorbed by the intestine and transported through the bloodstream. Taurine is an example of an essential amino acid needed by kittens, which they cannot produce sufficiently. This amino acid aids in vision, digestion, heart muscle function, and immunity.
  • Vitamins: Food with vitamin E and selenium will help your kitten develop a stronger immune system. Meanwhile, vitamin A is needed for muscle and neurological development. Kittens also need vitamin D for bone growth and maintenance by helping manage calcium levels in the body.
  • Minerals: Look for kitten food packed with phosphorus and calcium to aid in bone and teeth growth. 
  • Fat: Because of their active nature, kittens need fat in their diet, which they can efficiently transform into energy. Omega-3 fatty acids contain arachidonic, linoleic, and docosahexaenoic acid, which kittens need for their overall development. 
  • Carbohydrates: Kittens do not need to consume a high amount of carbohydrates, but eating a small amount can work as an additional source of energy and fiber. Carbohydrates can also help stimulate your pet’s immature gut tissue.

What are the best soft food brands for kittens?

Aside from the use of premium ingredients, nutrient balance, quality assurance, palatability, and digestibility are also important factors to consider in choosing the right soft food for your kitten. If you’re living in Australia, check the nutrition facts label to make sure that the product complies with the Australian Standard for the Manufacturing and Marketing of Pet Food AS 5812:2017. If you’re residing in the USA, look for kitten food brands approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

Try these trusted brands and see which ones your kitten will enjoy eating:

Purina Pro Plan is scientifically formulated for specific cat life stages. It comes in multiple flavours such as chicken jelly and salmon gravy that your kitten will surely love. 
Royal Canin Instinctive in Jelly is specially made for kittens as well as gestating queens. The high energy diet is presented in small chunks and makes it easy for young cats to chew. 
Proudly Australian made, Black Hawk produces grain-free kitten food with the right amount of protein, nutrients, and minerals to keep your growing kitten healthy. 
Promising precisely balanced nutrition in every meal, Hill’s Science Diet offers Tender Chicken Dinner and Roasted Chicken & Rice Medley for kittens. This American brand is backed by industry-leading science, and is highly recommended by veterinarians worldwide.
Advance kitten food is produced in state-of-the-art facilities in various parts of Australia. Available in either trays or pouches, their wet food comes in a variety of flavours: lamb, chicken, and chicken and salmon

Other kitten feeding reminders

Do not feed your kitten food that’s created for adult or senior cats since these contain different levels of nutrients, which may not be enough for your growing kitten. These adult formulated meals may cause indigestion, or worse, prevent your kitten from achieving her ideal height and size.

Also, refrain from feeding your pet homemade kitten meals. The ingredients you use may cause allergies or intolerances, or may even be toxic for her. More importantly, these home cooked meals may not be nutritionally complete and balanced.

TIP: Check out our “can cats eat” category to discover which ingredients in the kitchen may be safe for your kitten to consume.

Ask your veterinarian which kitten food brands to try, and how many times a day you should feed your pet. Since your kitten’s stomach can only hold small quantities of food, you may need to feed her many times throughout the day. Doing this will also help prevent her from gorging and vomiting. Aside from feeding her right, keep her hydrated with fresh water via drinking bowls or a running fountain.  

Read up on more Waldo’s Friends articles focused on kittens. Learn what kitten season means and how to introduce a kitten to a cat!

The Best Food to Feed an Elderly Cat

Just like us, cats go through various life stages and have different needs at every stage. It’ll take years before they are officially called “seniors,” but once they reach the age of 7, their metabolism and activity levels may start to slow down. As such, their nutritional needs alter as well. This Waldo’s Friends article Read More...

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Just like us, cats go through various life stages and have different needs at every stage. It’ll take years before they are officially called “seniors,” but once they reach the age of 7, their metabolism and activity levels may start to slow down. As such, their nutritional needs alter as well. This Waldo’s Friends article delves into the best food that should be fed to senior cats, and discusses:

How old is a senior cat?

Catfriendly.com shares that cats go through 6 stages in their lives, namely: kitten (from birth to 6 months), junior (7 months to 2 years), prime (3 to 6 years), mature or middle-aged (7 to 10 years), senior (11 to 14 years), and geriatric (15 years and above). 

As your pet cat gets older, you should be more vigilant in looking after her well-being. After she turns 7 years old, it is recommended that she undergoes wellness exams every six months instead of annually. Plus, you should be more observant of changes in your cat’s behaviour, her toilet habits, and what she eats or how much she consumes.

When should I switch to senior cat food?

There is no hard and fast rule as to when you should switch to food specially made for senior cats. It all depends on your cat’s needs, issues she may be experiencing, and your veterinarian’s recommendations. Hence, it is essential to consult with your veterinarian and run tests before modifying your cat’s diet. These goals should be considered and discussed with your vet as well:

  • Keeping or losing body weight
  • Maintaining body muscle 
  • Decreasing symptoms of a pre-existing illness
  • Preventing or slowing down of a chronic illness

Some veterinarians recommend a change in a cat’s diet when they manifest early signs of an illness. PetMD lists the most common diseases that ails senior cats:

  • Cancer
  • Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
  • Dental disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Osteoarthritis

If you suspect that your cat may be suffering from any of these diseases, set an appointment with your veterinarian and share your observations. 

What should be in my senior cat’s food?

Once your aging cat’s physical exams and wellness test findings are complete, the vet can recommend the best meal plan for her. Remember to transition her food slowly by doing a gradual seven-day switch, and choose meals with high-quality ingredients to keep her healthy and strong. Most, if not all, of senior cat food should contain:

  • High levels of antioxidants: Vitamins A, C, and E, carotenoids, and selenium are known to be powerful antioxidants. Food packed with these antioxidants help break the cycle of molecular and cellular damage by donating electrons to free radicals. 
  • Moderate to high levels of fat: Since aging cats have a harder time digesting fat, the amount of fat they consume needs to be adjusted depending on their body condition score. Those with diabetes, colitis, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may benefit from meals high in fat, while overweight cats should have less. 
  • Right amount of protein: Older cats also have a difficult time digesting protein. Compounded by difficulty in digesting fat, this may result in loss in body fat and muscle mass. Therefore, protein intake should be closely monitored in senior cats so they stay within their ideal weight. Older cats suffering from chronic kidney failure, colitis, IBD, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism should go on diets with highly digestible protein.
  • Low levels of phosphorus: The kidneys are responsible for removing excess phosphorus from the bloodstream. When a cat suffers from chronic kidney disease (CKD), she is unable to process phosphorus, other compounds, and waste products within her body. High levels of phosphorus may damage your cat’s body, pulling calcium out of her bones and making her feel weak. Therefore, cat food high in quality protein but low in phosphorus should be served to senior cats with CKD.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Said to aid cats with cancer, arthritis, and cognitive dysfunction, these polyunsaturated fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects. They are commonly found in cold-water fish oils such as salmon, anchovies, and sardines.

Aside from the aforementioned ingredients, cat food rich in dietary fiber can benefit those with colitis, constipation, or anal gland disease. Meanwhile, meals high in taurine but low in sodium can benefit senior cats with heart diseases. 

Other reminders for feeding older cats:

  • Since their senses have started to wane, it is important to serve your aging cat more palatable meals that smell irresistible, taste great, have a good amount of moisture, and offer the texture they prefer. When feeding your senior cat, make sure her dry food contains 10% fat and 28% protein. Meanwhile, wet food should have 4% fat and 8% protein. 
  • Cats with missing teeth or suffering from oral diseases may have an easier time consuming wet food or kibble softened with warm water. Wet or moistened food can also benefit cats with urinary tract issues. 
  • Serve your cat’s food in a clean, shallow dish. Some cats dislike eating from bowls where their whiskers touch the sides.
  • Warming up your cat’s wet food may help it become more palatable and delicious smelling. Make sure to heat it close to but not above body temperature. You can also add some water from a can of unsalted tuna to encourage your cat to eat more. 

Always consult with your veterinarian regarding your cat’s ever-changing nutritional needs. With the proper care and sustenance, your senior cat can stay healthy and purrfectly content until she crosses the rainbow bridge.

Check out our guides to read more articles on responsible cat parenting. Discover the truth about cats and water, or learn how to remove fleas on your cat!

The Difference Between Kitten Food and Cat Food

There are so many things a first-time cat parent needs to learn, such as preparing a starter kit before your cat comes home to finding ways to groom her at home. Depending on the age of the cat you decide to adopt or foster, you’ll also need to provide the right meals so that she Read More...

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There are so many things a first-time cat parent needs to learn, such as preparing a starter kit before your cat comes home to finding ways to groom her at home. Depending on the age of the cat you decide to adopt or foster, you’ll also need to provide the right meals so that she receives the proper nutrients to make her grow into a healthy pet. For kittens, feeding her right will help her achieve her maximum size and weight. 

When it comes to food, it’s important to provide the appropriate meals for your cat’s physical and mental well-being. You should not give adult cat food to kittens, and young cat food to fully grown cats. (Also, feeding your pregnant cat is a totally different matter.) Both cats have specific needs, and letting them eat the wrong type of food may lead to malnutrition or obesity. 

Before we reveal the difference between each food type, let’s break down the components of regular cat food and discover what should be in it.

Cat Food Components

Fetch by WebMD states that complete and balanced cat food needs to have four key nutrients: protein, fat, fiber, and moisture. Protein should come in the form of high-quality meat such as beef, turkey, and chicken—not low-grade rendered meat. 

To guarantee you’re getting the best for your cat, check the label found on the side or back of the package. It should list the percentages of nutrients found in the cat food, starting with the heaviest weight. Aside from listing the minimum protein, minimum fat, maximum fiber, and maximum moisture, other vitamins and minerals can be indicated as well. 

Make sure to get your veterinarian’s approval before feeding something to your cat or switching brands. Some cat food may trigger stomach irritation, especially if they’re made with ingredients your cat is intolerant or allergic to. Other brands may also contain additives, flavourings, and/or preservatives that are not recommended for your cat.

The Main Difference Between Cat Food for Kittens and Adults

A kitten’s nutritional needs vary greatly from that of a full-grown cat. During this stage in her life, she is engaged in high-level activities and grows double or triple in size. Because of these factors, she needs more protein, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in her body—much more than what an adult cat needs. 

Protein and Fats: Fetch by WebMD recommends that kittens get approximately 30 to 40% of their energy from protein. The Nest adds that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires kitten food to have a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat, plus amino acids and essential fatty acids to help with healthy tissue growth. Meanwhile, the US FDA requires adult cat food to contain at least 18% protein and 5% fat.

Vitamins and Minerals: There should be calcium and phosphorus in kitten food to assist in proper bone and teeth growth. Aside from these, vitamin E and selenium aid in developing a kitten’s immune system. Adult cats do not need these aforementioned vitamins and minerals, so they may or may not be found in their food. 

Other Kitten Food Considerations

It is advisable to feed kittens food high in protein, fat, vitamins, nutrients, and calories until she turns one year old. Your kitten should eat specially formulated kitten food multiple times a day since her stomach can only hold a small amount of food. This will also prevent her from gorging and vomiting what she eats.

Kitten food is available in wet and dry forms. It is best to let your young cat eat canned food since it is softer and has more protein than dry food. If you prefer feeding your cat dry and canned food, it is recommended that you do canned feedings two times a day. But if you choose to feed her only wet food, do so four times a day.

What Happens If You Feed the Wrong Food to Your Cat?

Kittens that consume adult cat food may not achieve their ideal height and size. Worse, the food may not sit well in their stomach and may cause indigestion. On the other hand, adult cats that regularly consume kitten food may gain unnecessary weight and become obese. 

With the proper meals, your cat should appear healthy, active, and alert. She should have a glossy coat and energy to do her everyday activities. If something in her appearance or behaviour changes, speak with your veterinarian. 

Decipher your cat’s intriguing behaviour through our blog. Find out how long she can go without making a trip to the toilet or learn how to prevent her from sleeping in your bed.

How to Feed Your Cat with a Sensitive Stomach

Feline pawrents, especially new ones, should be aware that cats experience tummy troubles at least once in their lives. Some cats will vomit white foam, while others may puke their food after a meal. There are many culprits to digestive issues, ranging from foreign objects in your cat’s body to skipping a meal. However, some Read More...

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Feline pawrents, especially new ones, should be aware that cats experience tummy troubles at least once in their lives. Some cats will vomit white foam, while others may puke their food after a meal. There are many culprits to digestive issues, ranging from foreign objects in your cat’s body to skipping a meal. However, some cats are just born with sensitive stomachs. If you suspect this is the case with your pet, don’t worry! There are ingredients that help make it easier for your cat to digest her food. 

Before we discuss what you can feed cats with sensitive stomachs, please be reminded that this article is only a guide. It should not be replaced with a visit to the veterinarian. We want to arm you with information that can help your pet, but only a qualified and trained professional can truly assess if your cat has a sensitive stomach and guide you regarding which food/ingredients will suit her.

With that in mind, this article tackles:

Common causes of cat stomach irritation

There are many possible reasons why your cat is suffering from a gastrointestinal (GI) disturbance. Common culprits include poorly digestible foods made of low-grade rendered meats, food allergies or intolerances, or food made with additives, flavourings, and/or preservatives. Changing the food or treat she eats may instantly trigger a GI disturbance, so before switching cat food brands or making the change from dry to wet food, get your vet’s approval first. 

If your cat is sensitive to a certain ingredient, she may display these signs: vomiting, diarrhea, irritated skin, poor coat condition, and hair loss. These may be linked to a food allergy or food intolerance, which may also manifest as flatulence, frequent scratching, inflamed skin, chronic ear problems, coughing, wheezing, and/or sneezing.

Aside from food-related irritation, having parasites in her stomach or getting stressed can cause stomach sensitivities. Stress can manifest through physical and behavioural changes. Some signs include vomiting, experiencing the runs, eating less, and avoiding the toilet.  

It is important to note that cat vomiting does not necessarily mean your pet is sensitive to her food. It may also be a symptom of more complex health issues, such as pancreatitis, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism. A trip to the vet is recommended so that he can determine the real cause of your cat’s ailment and suggest the right course of action.

Human food options for cats with sensitive stomachs

If you’re the type of paw parent who likes making your cat try human food, go through our growing list of cat-friendly ingredients before giving her anything. Some cats are known to have allergies and/or intolerances to beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, and cheese.  

Remember that cats can consume some fruits occasionally and moderately. These include watermelon, strawberry, blueberry, and mango. Meanwhile, cat-safe veggies include corn, potato, carrot, broccoli, and asparagus. All of these raw produce should be washed and prepared properly before being given to your cat. Never cook the vegetables with garlic, onion, salt, or sugar, which are known to be toxic for your cat. 

Cat food ingredients for sensitive stomachs

Once your vet has confirmed that your cat has a sensitive stomach, you can modify her diet with your vet’s guidance. A diet trial can last for a few months until you get it right. You will need to gradually introduce new ingredients and/or cat food brands to find the best mix your cat will enjoy eating and, at the same time, fully benefit from. 

When choosing new cat food to feed your pet, look for highly digestible meals that have moderate to low fat, moderate protein, and moderate carbohydrates. Some meals may even contain additives that improve GI health, namely: antioxidant vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and soluble fiber. They should never have ingredients such as gluten, lactose, food colouring, or food preservatives. Scan the ingredients of the nutrition label, making sure the vet-approved ingredients are on the top of the list and do not contain ingredients your cat is allergic to.

Go for a hypoallergenic diet with either a limited ingredient, a novel protein, or a hydrolyzed protein. PetMD reports that limited ingredient diets typically contain only one single protein source and one single carbohydrate source. These can be bought without a prescription. Meanwhile, novel animal protein diets are vet-prescribed and contain a single-source protein. Plus, they are produced in a facility that prevents cross contamination, guaranteeing less risk for your cat. Lastly, hydrolyzed protein diets have broken down protein, so they are less likely to be recognized by your cat’s immune system. Similarly, they also require a veterinary prescription.

You can also try switching your cat’s food from dry to wet (or vice versa!) and reduce the amount of food she eats per meal. This will help her digest meals better, and prevent post-meal vomiting from happening. Placing her meal over a lick mat can also promote slow feeding habits, and, as a result, help decrease digestive issues.

In conclusion

Cats with sensitive stomachs need not suffer from blah-tasting meals or limited feeding options. By carefully choosing premium ingredients and crafting a well-rounded and nutritious diet for your pet, she can get back to being one happy, healthy, and contented cat.   

Discover more pet-related guides in our blog! Help your cat gain weight or learn how to make kitty glop.