When is my kitten “fully grown” and ready to start on adult food?
Cats are generally fully grown at about 12 months old. But this is not always the case. Some larger breeds like the Maine Coon and the Norwegian are said not to reach their final full size and character until 3 years old. Generally , 12 months is a good time to switch from kitten to adult type food. Please note that if your kitten is neutered/spayed it may be better to choose a special kitten food, to help prevent early age weight gain.
Is it okay to feed milk to my kitten?
It is very common to see pictures or cartoons showing a cat drinking milk from a bowl. However this is wrong. In fact, most cats can’t actually tolerate cow’s milk. The sugar (lactose) in milk cannot be digested by them and will cause an upset tummy and diarrhea. Trust us, if you feed your cat some milk, you will soon know if they can tolerate it. Small kittens will naturally tolerate their mother’s milk, but later in life milk is neither good nor necessary for a cat. Water is the natural and best drink for them.
Are there any foods I shouldn’t give my cat to avoid digestive problems?
All cat foods available on the market are approved by authorities, and therefore safe for cats to eat. That said, it is obvious that the quality of the different foods vary, as well as the needs and condition of the individual cat. If your cat is food allergic/intolerant there may be certain ingredients (beef, pork, etc.) that will cause digestive problems. Do not feed your cat cow’s milk, as most cats cannot digest the milk sugar (lactose). Generally a food with highly digestible quality ingredients is a safe and good choice, and if your cat has recurrent stomach problems, talk to your vet, as a special digestive support diet may help.
Which food is better for my cat with bladder problems, kibble or wet food?
This really depends on what kind of bladder problem your cat suffers from. If your cat seems to have a changed urination behavior, it is very important to get your vet to look at your cat and get the correct diagnosis. If your cat has bladder stones, a dry or wet food with a reduced content of certain minerals or protein is recommended. If they simply have “bladder irritation”, a special wet food will be the best choice. Guidance from your vet is critical, as these problems may be very painful and even fatal to your cat, and may require a life-long diet to avoid recurrence.
My cat has many hairballs, what can I do to help?
All cats naturally ingest their own hairs as they groom using their tongue. Longhaired cats will logically swallow more hair than shorthaired ones. Hairs that do not pass through the digestive system may form hairballs inside the stomach. Most cats get rid of these hairballs by vomiting or retching, but sometimes they cause digestive problems. Grooming your cat regularly with a comb will remove loose hairs, reducing the hairs left for the cat to swallow. Some oil added to the cat’s food or even better an oily hairball remedy will lubricate the hairs and help them pass through the stomach. The SPECIFIC™ foods for adult and senior cats contain fibres that help the passage of ingested hairs through the digestive system and prevent hairballs.
Is it true that my cat is a predator and needs a lot of meat?
It is true that cats must have meat in their diet. This is because, by nature, they are predators and “obligate carnivores” (this means that they are meat dependent). Throughout evolution, they have been used to eat relatively large amounts of meat and have lost the capacity to cope with lower protein intake and to make certain nutrients themselves (for instance making vitamin A out of carotene, which is present in carrots). This makes that cats have a need for some extra nutrients compared to dogs and that they need meat to get sufficient of these essential nutrients through their diet. As a result of this, a cat cannot live and thrive on a vegetarian diet.
My cat is eating my dog’s food, is that okay?
Cats need a certain amount of meat protein and other meat nutrients in their diet. They are by nature predators and meat dependent. They need certain parts of the meat (for example amino acids) for their body to work. If the cat only takes a kibble from the dog’s bowl now and again, this will not cause a problem. But most dog foods will not be a sufficient healthy food for a cat, so should not make up their complete diet. Also, if the dog food is a therapeutic diet, or if the cat has a health condition that requires a specialised diet, sharing food is definitely not recommended.
My cat’s nose is dry and warm – is it sick?
Contrary to popular belief, your cat’s nose does not tell you whether they are well or not. Of course, if your cat is ill and has a fever, their nose will probably be warm. But cold or warm, wet or dry, your cat may be feeling well. The best and most reliable way to check a cat’s temperature and wellbeing is by using a thermometer.
Should I feed my cat dry or wet food?
If you choose a diet from a quality range like SPECIFIC™ the differences between wet and dry diets are not important for the basic nutrition and health of your cat. The wet and the dry version of a kitten diet or of a kidney support diet are nutritionally quite similar. However, the dry/wet consistency may have different benefits. A dry diet is typically more economical and works the teeth more to prevent dental tartar. Wet diets provide more water and therefore may be better for some urinary problems (bladder irritation, stones and crystals).
What are the most important ingredients in cat food? So my cat can stay healthy?
Many cat food commercials focus on the ingredients (raw materials). This may be a matter of taste for the cat, but whether the food is made from pork, chicken or shrimp is not really important for health and nutrition. What IS important, however, is that the food contains a sufficient amount of the nutrients that cats need. This is because cats are “obligate carnivores” and must have a certain amount of meat protein and other meat nutrients in their food. This meat must be digestible quality meat/protein so that the cat can use it efficiently, from e.g. muscles and liver and not just from skin, chicken feet and feathers. The balance between proteins, carbohydrates (vegetables) and fat in the food is also important, but this can be achieved with many different ingredients.
How do I switch from my cat’s normal food to another?
Changing food may require some adaptation of the stomach, to get used to the new food. Your cat may also need to get used to the new taste, smell, texture or kibble size/shape. If changes are done gradually, though, it will usually be a smooth and successful process. A gradual switch, mixing more and more of the new food into the old one, should be done over a period of 7-10 days. This is important for any change of diet. The exception is in cases of acute illness where a specialised diet must be introduced as quickly as possible, e.g. a digestive support or intensive care diet.
One of my cats is on a special food/diet. How do I make sure it only eats this and not my other cats’ food?
It is a big challenge to try to control what a cat eats, especially if they are not an indoor cat. The natural feeding pattern for cats is to have many small meals (mice, birds) during the day or night. This is usually imitated by always having food ready in their bowl. To separate feeding in a multi cat household you can restrict “time” and/or “place”. To do this you can keep one cat in a separate part of your house during some of their feeding hours every day and remove the food when all cats have access to these areas. Placing one cat’s food where only they can get access (high position or behind electronic cat flap) may also be a solution. If it is difficult to feed your cats separately, you can also ask your vet if all cats in your house can be switched over to the special diet.