Do All Kittens Have the Same Nutritional Needs?

Kittens normally come home with their owners when they are around eight to ten weeks old. But some kittens may be brought home as early as five or six weeks. Kittens that young often have difficulty with solid food because they are still transitioning from their mother’s milk. Kittens this young are sometimes referred to as “babycats,” until they are four months old. The most important thing to know is that babycats have different nutritional needs from older kittens.

What’s the Difference?

Babycats are growing so quickly that certain kitten foods aren’t tailored to their needs. Babycats’ bones are continuing to develop, their deciduous (baby) teeth are just emerging, and their digestive and immune systems are still developing.

Older kittens over four months of age and younger than one year have a more developed skeletal system and are building more muscle. Their deciduous teeth are gradually replaced by adult teeth, and they are becoming more playful and active.

Why Does It Matter?

Well, knowing the difference between a babycat and a kitten is an important part of making nutritional decisions. Because babycats have a developing immune system, they need additional support. Feeding the appropriate diet can help cover the immunity gap that exists until the kitten’s immune system is fully developed by helping support her natural defenses as she grows. Babycats also need a high-calorie food to keep up with their rapid growth and development. Finally, a small kibble that is easy to chew can help the transition from mother’s milk to dry cat food.

Older kittens are developing their own immune system and can benefit from a diet made to suit their own needs. An older kitten will need more protein than a babycat to support muscle growth and other development.

Talk To Your Vet

Your veterinarian is an excellent resource when it comes to your kitten’s nutrition. Talk with them to learn more about how nutrition can support your kitten’s health.

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