Understanding The Dietary Needs Of Your Kitten
Your kitten has unique dietary needs owing to their rapidly growing body, so they should be fed a diet that's designed to meet their nutritional requirements. Here's an overview of essential nutrients your kitten will require for healthy development and common signs of nutritional deficiency:
In order to support your kitten's rapid growth, their diet needs to be high in protein to support muscle growth, energy production and healthy skin and hair. Around a third of your kitten's diet should be high-quality protein, and it's best to opt for a kitten food with a high meat ratio, as kittens can absorb animal protein more easily than vegetable protein.
Calcium is also required for the development of strong bones, so check whether that's included in your chosen brand of kitten food. Some well-meaning kitten owners give their kitten milk as a calcium source, but once a kitten is weaned they no longer have the enzyme required to break down milk proteins. So, it's best not to give your kitten milk, but if you feel that you really want to supplement their calcium intake, a little organ meat or red meat can give them a boost.
Taurine is an essential amino acid for kittens and is required for healthy vision and cardiovascular health. Ensure taurine is included in the ingredients of your chosen kitten food, as some brands leave it out. This may be due to the fact that taurine is typically derived from animal tissues, and there is a growing demand for vegan-friendly cat food. However, your kitten needs taurine for optimum health, and if you have concerns about the availability of taurine in their diet, you should consult with your vet.
Signs Of Nutritional Deficiency
When a kitten is being fed a balanced diet with enough vitamins, minerals, protein and fat, they are on the right track to optimal health. However, it's important to be aware of common signs of nutritional deficiencies, as your kitten may require veterinary intervention to get their health on track. Digestive problems can be a strong indicator of poor nutrition and can indicate your kitten has a food allergy or intestinal inflammation that is preventing them from absorbing nutrients in their diet. Significant weight loss, failure to gain weight and an insatiable appetite can also indicate your kitten is not getting all the nutrients their body needs. Other potential signs of a nutritional deficiency include dull eyes and coat, dry skin and brittle claws.
If you have any concerns about your kitten's nutrition, or if you would like to discuss their diet and growth, schedule an appointment with your vet. They can weigh your kitten, recommend brands of pet food, prescribe supplements and support you as you endeavour to provide the best nutrition for your kitten.