The nutritional needs of kittens are different from those of adult cats. And for good reason, they are still growing! It is for this reason that kittens must benefit from a diet specially designed to promote their development. But at what age should you switch to adult cat food? We tell you everything in this article!
The difference between kitten food and adult cat food
Not only are kittens more active than adult cats, but they also need more energy to grow well. Therefore, their food is usually higher in calories. It also has more protein and fat than that of adult cats. Thus, if an adult cat were to eat kitten food, it would tend to gain weight rapidly.
In addition, the presence of vitamins, minerals, calcium and phosphorus is obviously essential to allow optimal development of the bones and the immune system of the kittens. Likewise with omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for brain and vision development.
When to make the transition?
As we said above, kitten food has a higher fat content. However, adult cats have lower energy requirements. Therefore, making this dietary transition is absolutely essential, otherwise your cat could quickly become overweight.
But at what age should you switch from kitten food to adult food? In reality, it all depends on your cat. Indeed, it is estimated that kittens should benefit from a special growth diet until they have reached at least 90% of their adult weight.
For most cats, the transition therefore takes place around the age of 10 to 12 months. On the other hand, for large cats (Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Norwegian…), it is done later, at the age of 18 months, or even 24 months. The reason? They take longer to grow!
In any case, do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian for advice during your cat’s annual health check-up so that he can tell you when is THE right time for your hairball.
How to make the transition?
Switching from kitten food to adult cat food is not a snap. In fact, it usually takes one to two weeks to make this transition. Indeed, in the event of a too sudden change in diet, your feline could suffer from more or less serious digestive disorders, their digestive system not having had time to adapt to this new food.
So, go gradually. On the first day, add 1/4 of the new feed to the old one. Continue this for several days to check that your cat is digesting this new food well, then add 1/3 of the new food to the old one. The following days, increase to 1/2, then to 3/4 until completely replacing the old diet.
Good to know: this gradual transition must be made with each change of diet. So, even if you only change your cat’s brand of kibble, for example, you will also have to gradually incorporate the new food into its usual diet.