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Nutrition is Key to Giving Your Kitten a Healthy Head Start

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If you’ve ever seen a kitten at play, it’s easy to understand why they require more energy than adult cats. Cats are considered kittens up to 1 year of age. To keep those little furry bouncing balls of energy healthy in adulthood, kittens need a proper diet rich in energy, protein and calcium. Help keep your kitten healthy and happy with these nutritional guidelines from PetSmart experts:

Protein is power

Did you know that kittens require higher levels of protein, fats, calcium, vitamins and minerals than adult cats in order to grow up strong and healthy? In general, dry kitten food should contain at least 30 percent protein and 15 percent fat, while canned kitten food should contain at least 10 percent protein and about 6 percent fat. Canned kitten food shouldn't contain more than 78 percent water.

Kittens also need amino acids in their diet and good sources include fish, poultry or other meat-based ingredients. Taurine is another essential nutrient found in meat and fish. Amino acids and taurine might not be listed on the food label. However, if meat, chicken and fish are the first few ingredients listed, these nutrients are usually in the food. Ask a PetSmart associate for help reading nutritional labels.

Choose a high-quality kitten food

Premium foods with high-quality ingredients are more digestible which means your kitten will absorb more of the nutrients she needs to help her grow into a healthy adult. Because of their quality nutrients, premium foods help keep your kitten's skin and coat healthy and may help avoid issues including food allergies, sensitive stomach, obesity and hip and joint stiffness.

Feeding management

Because kittens are natural calorie burners, they need to eat more frequently. Kittens usually eat three times a day until they’re 6 months old and twice a day until they’re 1 year old.

The information used in this report is approved by PetSmart nutritionists and vet experts.

Information from "Small Animal Clinical Nutrition," 4th Edition, Hand, Thatcher, Remillard, Roudebush, Copyright 2000 by Mark Morris Institute was used in this report.

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