You might thinking giving your cat food is a relatively sordid affair, but it is anything but. Because of the different needs that cats have during their lifespan, your cat will probably need different sources of food as it develops. Here is a detailed guide to what your cat should eat and when.
Why should I know what to give my cats?
If you’re new to raising and keeping cats, you may begin to wonder at the complexities of all this. After all, cats in the wild don’t really have specific preferences that you can see. However, cats usually need a balanced diet to survive and live healthy lives, just like humans. Additionally, giving the wrong thing to your cat at the wrong time can cause problems in his or her development, and can even be dangerous.
Factors that affect your cat’s feeding schedule
So based on what exactly will you be making a feeding schedule for your cats? Because a number of things affect what your cat needs to eat, here are some common factors:
- Age: how old your cat happens to determine whether or not he or she needs certain nutrients in their diets.For example, kittens usually need high energy foods because of their active and energetic lifestyle.
- Weight: based on your cat’s current weight, a vet can not only determine if it is under or overweight but also calculate the concentrations of each thing needed.
- Health: unhealthy cats need to be treated first before their schedule is made.
- Your schedule: you won’t be able to enforce a schedule that you’re not there for.
How adult food differs from kitten food
If you have a kitten at home that you feed using dry food, you may have noted that there are different variants of food available for kittens, aka cats that are under a year old. The kitten stage of life is very important for cats, as this determines how they will grow and behave even as adults. Because kittens usually have a lot of energy and take part in a lot of activities and play, their food needs more proteins and fats.
These act like energy sources and allow kittens to grow rapidly in the first year of their life. Plus, because kittens are growing teeth and bones, they will also need a lot of minerals for strong bone development. One reason why these foods are not interchangeable is the high amounts of these minerals, which can even harm adult cats who no longer need them.
Cat feeding schedule
The first few weeks are vital for kittens, and they rely on their mother’s milk during this time. This milk is crucial for kittens and is needed for them to survive and grow healthily. This is why it is always recommended for kittens to stay with their mother for at least the first 2-3 months, so they are not kept from the nutritional value that the mother’s milk provides.
If the mother is not available or has rejected the kitten, it will need Milk Replacer Powder in order to survive. You usually need to keep a ratio of 1 part milk powder to 2 parts of water. You can make 30 ml of this replacer at home, using the following steps:
- Buy Milk Replacer Powder from your local pet store or at the vets.
- Sterilize water by boiling, then cool it down enough to not disperse the milk powder.
- Mix 10 ml of the powder with 10 ml of the water, and make it into a paste.
- Add the rest of the 10 ml of water, and mix it will.
- Prepare the milk and place it into a Kitten Feeder and use it to feed your kittens.
On the basis of your kitten’s age, you can use the table given below to decide on how many meals your kitten should have, and the amount of milk that needs to be given per meal.
|Age in Weeks||Number of meals/kitten/day||ml of reconstituted milk/kitten/meal||Ml of reconstituted milk/kitten/day|
|Week 1||7||3||21 ml|
|Week 2||6||8||48 ml|
|Week 3||5||12||60 ml|
|Week 4||5||12||60 ml|
|Week 5||5||12||60 ml|
|Week 6||4||15||60 ml|
After this age, you will need to wean your kitten off the Milk Replacer and instead, move towards solid food. This will start to happen at around 4 weeks of age, and a way to generate interest in dry food is by introducing special kitten food at this time into the replacer. Slowly, you should increase this in the diet. Kittens should not be weaned off until at least 8 weeks.
Between the ages of 1 all the way up to 12 months, a cat is considered to be a kitten and usually consume Kitten Dry Food. This kind of food typically contains all the kinds of nutrients that your kitten will need to have a balanced diet.If you wish to give it Kitten Dry Food, you must consider that because of the low moisture content of the food, you will need to provide water along with the food so the cat can stay hydrated.
|Age in Months||Number of Meals/kitten/day||Grams of Food/kitten/meal||Grams of Food/kitten/day|
|1-2 Months||3||10 grams||30 grams|
|2-4 Months||3||15 grams||45 grams|
|4-7 Months||3||20 grams||60 grams|
|7-10 Months||3||25 grams||75 grams|
|10-12 Months||3||30 grams||90 grams|
In addition to this, you can also introduce Wet Food to your kitten in a combination with its Dry Food. If your cat is between 4 months to a year old, incorporated up to 100 g of wet food with 20-40 g of dry food is a good way to go.
Always consider that to calculate the right amount of food needed as wet food by your cat, you will need to consider the weight of the cat in kilograms. For a wet food only diet, however, you can consider the table that explains it all below.
|Cat’s Weight (kg)||1-2 kg||2-3 kg||3-4 kg||4-6 kg||6-8 kg|
Once your cat hits the one year mark, they are officially considered adult cats! You can give your cats different kinds of meals, such as fixed schedules, free food, or a combination of both. You should now go for adult cat foods, which include both Dry and Wet Cat Food. An example of a fixed meal schedule has been described in the table below.
|Number of Meals/cat/day||Grams of Food/cat/meal||Grams of Food/cat/day|
|1-3 Kg||3||10-18 grams||30-50 grams|
|3-5 Kg||3||18-23 grams||50-70 grams|
|5-7 Kg||2||23-30 grams||70-90 grams|
|7-10 Kg||2||30-33 grams||90-100 grams|
You might find that the values and calculations made in the tables above are a generalized look at cats based on average health and requirements. After all, each cat is different and unique. However, your cat or kitten may have different needs based on their:
- Overall weight
For specific values that will fit your cat better, you should contact your vet, especially if your cat suffers from health issues and needs different kinds of food at different schedules.