The right food for your kitten.
Congratulations on being a kitten owner! This is a special time for both of you, filled with opportunities to start your kitten's life with her.
Your kitten may be small and cuddly now, but before you know it, your grown-up cat will be pouncing around. To ensure your kitten will be a happy, healthy cat for years to come, it's important to recognize her kitten-specific needs now.
All kittens need the basics - precise nutrition, time to sleep and play, and lots of love - but kittens have individual needs, as well. Cat owners tend to think of these early years as the "healthy years" and may not give enough consideration to feeding practices. But because of features like size, breed, age, environment, exercise, heredity and others, a "one size fits all" approach to nutrition just won't work. Improper feeding can increase your kitten's risk of obesity, poor muscle and bone development, and poor immune response.
Your kitten needs precise levels of essential nutrients to stay her healthiest throughout life. Her body needs a kitten food to provide taurine and other nutrients she needs for proper growth and development.
Starting your kitten off with proper nutrition is a vital step in ensuring she'll grow into an active, healthy cat. Feeding her a properly formulated kitten food, such as Hill's® Science Diet® Kitten pet food, helps fuel her growth and energy from day one.
How much and how often to feed your kitten
Once you have talked to your veterinarian and chosen the right Science Diet® cat food, you're on the right track to giving your kitten the healthiest life possible.
It's important to feed your kitten the right amount of Science Diet® cat food at proper intervals, but that can be tricky, as feeding requirements vary greatly from one kitten to another. Feeding guides on the food can or bag are just a starting point. It's critical to your kitten's health that her physical condition is monitored regularly and the feeding amount is adjusted as needed.
Ask your veterinarian which of these three feeding methods is best for your kitten:
- Free Choice: Food is available to your kitten at all times.
- Time-Limited Feeding: Food is available to your kitten for a limited time.
- Meal Feeding: A measured amount of food is available to your kitten at specific meal times each day.
To help your kitten grow up healthy, we recommend following the simple steps in this cycle:
- Weigh your kitten.
- Feed her based on feeding guides and veterinary recommendations.
- Evaluate your kitten's physical condition using our body condition scoring system every two to three weeks for the first six months.
- Adjust the amount you feed accordingly.
Adult Indoor Cat
The lifestyle of an indoor cat differs greatly from that of an outdoor cat. Often, an indoor cat has a lower exercise level than one that lives outside. And, since she has more time to groom, an indoor pet is more likely to develop hairballs.
Encouraging indoor exercise can help your pet stay fit and healthy. An increase in activity and decrease in mental stagnation may help prevent many behavior and grooming problems. Create a positive and enriched environment with activities like grooming your longhaired cat once a day or brushing a short-haired cat once a week can help mental stimulation and hairball issues.
It's also important to nourish the good life enjoyed by your pet with a food specially formulated for indoor cats. Hill's® Science Diet® Indoor Cat food is available in a variety of formulas for all life stages and needs, including hairball control.
- Ideal for spayed or neutered cats who are generally more sedentary
- Helps maintain healthy weight with levels of energy appropriate to an indoor lifestyleAntioxidants to support a healthy immune system
- Unique natural fiber technology reduces hairballs and helps comfortably move hair through a cat's system
- High carnitine helps turn fat into energy while maintaining lean body mass
- Precisely-balanced nutrition for an indoor lifestyle.
Always consult your veterinarian if you have questions about your cat's health.
Try any of these formulas:
- Science Diet® Indoor Cat Adult Dry - for cats age 1 to 6
- Science Diet® Indoor Cat Mature Adult 7+ Dry - for cats over age 7
- Science Diet® Indoor Cat Kitten Dry - for kittens less than 1 year old
- Science Diet® Indoor Cat Chicken Entrée Minced - high quality ingredients, including real chicken, cooked in savory juices for a great taste and soft texture
- Science Diet® Indoor Cat Seafood Entrée Minced - high quality ingredients, including real fish, cooked in savory juices for a great taste and soft texture
Your Overweight Cat
Being overweight puts a cat at risk for developing many serious health issues. Weight gain indicates an increase in body fat and usually results when your cat eats too much and exercises too little.
Other factors that may impact your cat's weight gain include:
- Age - older cats are less active, have less energy, and require fewer calories
- Neutering/Spaying - studies have shown that neutered cats have a lower basic metabolism and, consequently, require fewer calories
- Medical Problems - sometimes weight gain is associated with a
Every cat has an ideal weight for its size and breed. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation or use this Interactive Weight Check tool to help determine your cat's ideal weight.
Signs of a problem:
- Ribs cannot be easily felt
- Loss of an obvious waist
- Collar needs loosening
- Sagging abdomen
- Difficulty walking
- Slow movement
- Sleeping more than usual
What can you do?
- Get with the program. If your cat is already overweight, a program like the Hill's PetFit™ Challenge can help. It's a complete plan of action - with tools and expert information - for optimizing your cat's weight. An active, healthy and happy life is the greatest gift you can give your best friend!
- Talk to your veterinarian. Take your cat for a thorough examination and health check. Ask your vet to recommend an ideal weight for your cat and tips for achieving that goal.
- Get active. Cats gain weight when they consume more calories than they burn. Increase your cat's physical activity.
- Curb treats and snacks. The calories in treats and snacks can really add up. See the impact of those "little extras" with the Hill's PetFit™ Treat Translator. Reward your cat with non-edible treats, like a belly rub or a few minutes of playtime. Feed a lighter formula. The most effective way of achieving a healthy weight is to combine increased exercise with a change in food. Consider switching to a high quality food made just for cats that are too heavy or are prone to weight gain.
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