Can kittens eat adult cat food? Not really—feeding kittens food for adult cats can prove harmful since it doesn’t contain all the essential nutrients required for optimal growth. Therefore, it’s important to seek food formula explicitly developed for kittens.
You can consider getting adult cat food after your kitty turns 12 months. Keep reading to learn more about this and what happens if your kitten eats adult cat food.
Can Kittens Eat Adult Cat Food
Kittens have their nutritional needs met during the first few weeks of life through their mother’s milk. Weaning begins at around four weeks, so kittens should be gradually introduced to solids—but wet or at the very least semi-moist food, not hard, dry food. This is because munching dry food while they’re teething might get painful; wet or canned food is easier to consume. If you want to take it a step further, you can go for one of the top CBD oils to help stop inflammation caused by the teething process.
Adult and kitten diets are designed with different life stages in mind; therefore, they’re not the same. They include various quantities of essential nutrients needed to support your cat at each stage of life. A kitten’s dietary requirements vary vastly from an adult cat’s.
The calorie composition of the adult and kitten diets differs significantly. Kittens require much more calories to fuel their maturing bodies—most of these must come from high-quality protein foods. These proteins are the foundation for developing nearly every cell within the body. Adult cat food includes fewer calories and proteins and will not provide your kitten with sufficient energy. In fact, kittens might face nutritional deficiency when fed improper adult cat food.
What Is the Difference Between Cat and Kitten Food
As we previously mentioned, kitten food differs from adult cat food primarily in terms of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, protein (amino acids), and fat (fatty acids). Both adult and kitten diets contain the right proportions of water, taurine, and extra minerals for your cat. These amounts have been carefully calculated for each life stage.
Fats are an important diet element—they provide fatty acids for healthier development. They’re responsible for the endless energy that kittens often display. Calcium, phosphorous, and potassium are essential vitamins and minerals that growing kittens need to form healthy bones and teeth.
These levels frequently change between adult and kitten diets due to different growth needs. For example, kitten food has 34% protein, while adult cat food has 30%.
What Age Can Kittens Eat Adult Food
In general, kittens should consume kitten food until they reach at least 90% of their adult weight. The perfect time to switch to adult cat food is at 10 to 12 months of age.
Some larger breeds, like Maine Coons, might be an exception. They don’t mature until they are 18 months to two years old, so it’s recommended that you feed kitten food to them until they reach this age. We strongly advise you to consult with your veterinarian before switching your kitty’s food to adult cat food (or any other time you consider changing their diet).
What Happens if Your Kitten Eats Adult Cat Food
Don’t worry—a small amount of adult cat food will not hurt your kitten, but constantly feeding them adult food, on the other hand, will not help them develop into the best and healthiest shape.
So make sure you always have a decent quantity of kitten food on hand. Additionally, try to keep their brand and kind consistent. This takes discipline, so before you get a kitten, ask yourself how willing you are to do all these things.
How to Switch from Kitten Food to Adult Cat Food
It’s recommended to transition your kitten to adult cat food around its first birthday (anywhere between 18 months and two years for large breeds). To reduce gastric discomfort, shifting to adult meals is best done over a 7- to 10-day period. Here’s how:
AMOUNT OF KITTEN FOOD
AMOUNT OF ADULT CAT FOOD
|Days 1–2||¾ Kitten food||¼ Adult cat food|
|Days 3–4||½ Kitten food||½ Adult cat food|
|Days 5–7||¼ Kitten food||¾ Adult cat food|
|Days 8–10||/||Only adult cat food|
As you can see from the table, start with a small dosage and then gradually switch up the foods as each day goes by. You need to be persistent and observe your cat’s behavior. If it doesn’t like the brand you chose, consult with your vet about it and decide on a different brand that will fit perfectly into your kitty’s diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is adult cat food bad for kittens?
A little adult cat food never hurt no kitten. But if you give your kitten adult cat food all the time, it might not be able to grow into the best version of itself. That is why there is cat food designed for each life stage, allowing it to fit perfectly into your cat’s diet.
Can adult cats eat kitten food?
Kitten food is packed with extra calories because the kitten needs them for optimal growth. If an adult cat consumes kitten food regularly, the calorie surplus may cause your cat to develop obesity and various health issues.
So, can kittens eat adult cat food? Yes, but try to avoid it as much as possible. Your kitten needs all that protein and fatty acids, and they can only find them in cat food that’s made specifically for their life stage. Most people consider a cat to be fully grown once they reach 12 months, so after a full year of having it, slowly start switching their food to adult cat food, and they’ll barely know there’s any difference.