By Ness Bird – Nutrition Adviser and RVN CertCFVHNut ©
Kittens need to increase their birth weight forty-fiftyfold by maturity, and extra fuel and materials are needed to achieve this. Arden Grange Kitten Food is a delicious, energy-dense diet ideally suited to this purpose, and can be fed during the weaning process until adulthood. The concentrated source of calories means small portions that are perfectly suited to tiny tummies. The small kibble size soaks easily to make “porridge”, and is petite enough for older kittens that are ready for dry food.
Like all of the Arden Grange feline range, the Kitten Food is a grain and cereal free recipe with a high protein level. With 26% fresh chicken and 30% chicken meat meal, this highly digestible and palatable product has the perfect nutrient balance to maintain optimal health for kittens, and with it also being ideal for pregnant and lactating queens, it is very convenient too.
Introducing the food
Arden Grange Kitten Food should be soaked with hot water (for about 30 minutes before serving and left to steep under a tea towel) and then mixed with a fork to form a smooth porridge. More warm water may need to be added to get just the right consistency for lapping and to ensure it is served at body temperature. Initially, you may need to encourage the kittens to take the food by placing some on the end of your finger and allowing them to either lick or suck. Feeding the litter together from a shallow tray will encourage healthy competition at mealtimes. The kittens may be more interested in climbing into and sitting in the feed tray than eating to start with, but when they are cleaning themselves, they will accustom themselves to the taste of their food.
If some kittens are eating significantly more or less than others, then portion controlled individual feeds will enable you to restrict or increase intake accordingly. We suggest leaving the porridge down for 15-20 minutes at each feed, after which time you should remove any uneaten food (the queen may gladly finish any leftovers). This routine will be repeated for each mealtime, usually four or five times a day. Once the kittens are readily eating, you may wish to leave a small bowl of dry food down to encourage the kittens to investigate. The amount of water added to the porridge can be reduced gradually until the kittens are eating the food completely dry. Fresh drinking water in shallow dishes should be available at all times as soon as weaning commences.
Feeding volumes for kittens
Intake will depend on the kittens’ ages, and the quantity of milk they are still drinking from the queen. Careful monitoring of appetite, energy levels, faecal output, weight and bodily condition will enable you to establish whether the kittens’ feeding quantities are proving suitable.
Hints and tips
- Once the litter is three weeks old, it is sensible to feed the queen separately from the kittens to prevent them from consuming her food.
- Fresh drinking water should always be readily accessible. We would recommend the use of stainless steel, glass or pottery bowls, as plastic can deter
cats from drinking.
- The kittens should be weaned completely by eight weeks of age.
- Remember that kittens (and puppies) lose the ability to digest the lactose (milk sugar) that is found in any mammal’s milk shortly after weaning, and its
consumption may lead to diarrhoea. For this reason we do not recommend offering any milk products unless required for hand-rearing or assisted
feeding in very young animals (and the product is specifically formulated for felines, e.g. Cimicat).
- As we have included all of the essential nutrients
your kittens require, there is no need to add any extras to the diet.