What is the ideal diet for a kitten after weaning?

 What is the ideal diet for a kitten after weaning?

What is the ideal diet for a kitten after weaning?

You are the proud owner of a cat and her litter of adorable kittens: to best support their physical and mental development, special attention must be given to them during the weaning period.

Find out how to proceed and what food to provide them during this key age which extends from their fourth to their twelfth week of life.

At what age should the kitten be weaned?

Around 4 to 5 weeks, the kitten will naturally begin to explore its environment and take an interest in its mother's food if it has access to it. This is the time to offer him kibble sprinkled with a little warm water or formula milk to soften them. At this age, kittens will begin to eat more and more solid food and less and less breast milk, which is no longer sufficient to meet their energy needs during growth. In principle, weaning will continue on its own until the mother rejects her young, around the 12th week.

Food transition: how to proceed?

The watchword for weaning is a smooth and gradual food transition: indeed, the kitten must go from a liquid diet to a solid diet, and too abrupt a change risks causing digestion problems. To prepare for this transition, a trick is to give the mother the kibble you plan to give to the kittens from lactation. These ranges have the advantage of being rich enough in nutrients to cover the needs of the nursing cat, and the little ones will be able to get used to them by going to bite into their mother's bowl.

After the 4th week, it is time to offer the kittens their own kibble on a separate plate and to gently remove the mother at mealtime if she is insistent. It is important to moisten them beforehand because the little ones still have their baby teeth: they will only develop their permanent teeth around the age of 16 weeks. In the meantime, weaning should be completely complete and the kittens should be able to feed themselves from around the 7th week.

The nutritional needs of the kitten

Due to its rapid growth, the caloric needs of the kitten are double those of an adult cat. In particular, he must consume protein in large quantities, provided that it is easily digestible and of good quality. The intake of phosphorus, calcium and essential fatty acids is also crucial for the proper development of its bones and to strengthen its immune system.

Indeed, around the age of 4 weeks, which corresponds to the end of breastfeeding, the babies are no longer protected by the antibodies contained in their mother's milk: this period called the "immune gap" will extend until at around 8 weeks of age. Care must therefore be taken to provide the kitten with healthy food rich in minerals, omega 3, trace elements (copper, zinc, magnesium), and vitamins A, B, C, and D. For this reason, it is advisable to turn to a range of croquettes specially designed for the kitten being weaned, preferring foods offered by the veterinarian rather than products sold in supermarkets whose composition is not always clear or really adapted to the specific nutritional needs of the young kitten.

Which diet to choose?

Avoid giving adult cat food to kittens, as these kibbles may contain allergens and other ingredients in unsuitable amounts. This is why we recommend giving kibble for kittens to the whole family. Cow's milk is also to be banned under penalty of causing serious diarrhea. If you observe an abnormal decrease or stagnation in weight in the little ones (their mass should in principle increase by 5 to 10% per day during the growth phase), it is because the mother's milk is no longer sufficient and it is time to switch them to a solid diet possibly washed down with milk replacer for kittens.

As for the choice of croquettes, we strongly advise giving a special weaning range (sold at the veterinarian and in specialist shops) up to 4 months, then making a second transition to croquettes for kittens adapted to their needs and their teething up to 12 months of age.

What feeding rhythm for the kitten?

Since kittens have small stomachs and high energy needs, it is important to feed them frequently in small amounts. After weaning, an average of four meals a day is ideal initially (up to 8 weeks), then this number can be gradually reduced to three meals daily. Around the age of 10 to 12 weeks, the final transition to exclusively solid food should be made. Beyond 4 months, it is necessary to continue to reduce the splitting little by little to arrive ideally at two rations per day at the age of 6 months.

To facilitate this new eating rhythm, leave them some kibble available as a snack and make sure they have fresh, clean water at all times of the day, to be renewed several times a day. day if necessary. Around the age of 12 months, you can switch to classic adult cat food. Again, this change in diet should be done gently over a seven to ten-day period, mixing a small amount of the new food into the usual food. However, the intake of food supplements remains interesting to continue to support their development and strengthen their bones.

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