As a new cat lover, you might have questions on how and when to switch from a kitten to adult food. We’ve answered the top questions all cat parents need to know about making a smooth transition.
WHY DO I NEED TO TRANSITION FROM KITTEN FOOD TO ADULT CAT FOOD?
When it comes to feeding your cat, it’s important to note that kitten and adult foods generally differ in terms of protein, fat, and caloric content. Kittens grow quickly and need a lot of calories to support that growth, as well as plenty of essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. These are the building blocks cats need to establish a strong and healthy body as they mature.
WHAT SHOULD THE TIMELINE LOOK LIKE FOR TRANSITIONING FROM KITTEN FOOD TO ADULT FOOD?
Around 10-12 months of age, your kitten will likely be fully grown. Since your cat has matured at this point and is no longer going through a growth phase, they no longer need to consume extra calories. This is generally the best time to start transitioning your kitten to an adult cat food diet. However, some larger breeds don’t reach their adult weight until up to 18 months of age. If you’re unsure, consult your trusted veterinarian for advice on when to change your cat’s diet.
To avoid digestive upset and to allow your kitten to adjust to their new cat food, we recommend transitioning over a seven-day period. Start with 75% of their kitten formula mixed with 25% of the new adult formula. Over the span of the week, slowly increase the percentage of the new food you add. By the end of the seven day span, if your cat is eating the whole serving and you don’t observe anything abnormal (loose stool, vomiting, excessive itching, etc.), you can go ahead and fully transition to the new adult cat food recipe.
REMEMBER – EVERY CAT IS UNIQUE
If you run into any signs that your cat is experiencing digestive upset, slow down the transition. Some kittens are more sensitive to dietary changes than others, so it is important to observe your cat closely during the transition. The most sensitive tummies may require an adjustment period of up to a few weeks, so be patient.
Keep in mind it is always important to monitor your cat’s weight and body condition. Some cats become less active as they enter adulthood and their metabolisms slow down. Ensure you continue to encourage exercise and play even after your kitten has matured, and refrain from feeding those extra meal scraps under the table!
WHICH ACANA® RECIPES ARE BEST TO TRANSITION TO?
The easiest transition for your cat will be to feed them similar protein sources. For example, if you are feeding a chicken-based kitten recipe, we recommend transitioning to a chicken-based adult recipe as well. If you were feeding ACANA® First Feast as a kitten, ACANA® Homestead Harvest or Meadowland® might be good choices to try.
WHAT IF I FED MY KITTEN AN ALL LIFE STAGES DIET?
If you were feeding an all-life stages diet to your kitten, such as ACANA® Wild Atlantic® (Pacifica® for our Canadian fur friends), you can continue feeding that recipe into your cat’s adulthood. You will just want to ensure you reduce the amount you are feeding daily — we recommend you follow the feeding guide for adult maintenance. A slow reduction in feeding amount may be necessary, especially if your cat likes to beg for food. Remember that begging doesn’t necessarily mean your cat is still hungry – they may just love to eat! Your cat’s body condition is the best indicator as to whether you are feeding the right amount. If you are ever unsure, we recommend consulting your veterinarian. Knowing your cat’s full history will help your veterinarian make the best decision for the individual needs of your cat.