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What You Should Know About Changing Your Cat’s Diet
What You Should Know About Changing Your Cat’s Diet

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Significance of Choosing High Protein Kitten Food

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Cats belong to the Felidae family which also includes tigers and lions. Although your little bundle of cuteness is not as fierce as its other distinct family, it still has similar physiological and nutritional needs. Compared to other pets, cats and kittens need more protein for adequate growth and development. Hence, their guardians need to ensure they include kitten food with high protein in their kitty’s diet.

Kittens need more protein as they need more energy. Hence, when choosing kitten food, you must go for foods with higher protein content. Most kitten food use plant and meat-based protein to meet the kitten’s daily protein requirement. While protein is essential, you must also consider your cat’s allergies and medical diagnosis before choosing any protein for kittens.

High-protein kitten food should contain the appropriate balance of all essential amino acids and good-quality digestible protein alongside other important nutrients. Cats are primarily carnivores, which means they largely depend on meat as their main source of nutrition.  
 

Amino acids to look for in kitten food protein

Amino acids are molecules that come together to form protein. Cats need two essential amino acids for their overall growth and well-being, unlike other species that need nine specific amino acids. Hence, when looking for protein for kittens, you should search for the following essential amino acids: 

  1. Arginine - Arginine is the most important source of energy for cats. This amino acid deficiency leads to higher ammonia in the kitten’s bloodstream which may result in seizures and can even be fatal in some situations. 
  2. Taurine - Taurine is essential for a kitten’s eye, heart, and reproductive health. Cats can synthesize a small amount of this amino acid, but it is often not sufficient for their healthy development. Kittens with a taurine deficiency may suffer from retinal degeneration, dilated cardiomyopathy, reproduction failure, and a high risk of abnormalities. Therefore, you should always check the kitten food’s protein content to ensure it contains taurine. 

Cat’s protein requirement 

Ideally, all types of kitten food contain protein. However, as cat parents, you should check its percentage daily value to ensure that you get high-protein kitten food for your growing feline friend. Yet, you must know that your kitten’s protein requirement will change as it ages.  

Cats need approximately 3.9 grams per kg of their body weight. Hence, cat parents should look for kitten food with high protein for their fur baby. Typically, cats need approximately 35 to 45% protein for better growth and development. Refer to the table below to know the approximate amount of protein content in kitten food: 

  Cat’s growth stage 

 Approximate % of protein required 

Kitten 

40-50% 

Adult 

35-40% 

Pregnant/nursing 

45-50% 

Senior 

35-38% 

Common sources of kitten food protein

Protein is an essential element required for your cat’s consistent growth and health. Cats highly depend on protein for energy. Therefore, kitten food high in protein is supposed to be an integral part of your tiny fur baby’s diet not only in their initial years but also as they grow up. When creating a dietary plan for your cat, you must check for the kitten food protein content to ensure you make the right choice. The following are some of the most common sources of protein that will help you make better choices when selecting a cat food brand. 

  1. Plant protein: Corn gluten meal, wheat gluten, soybean meal, and rice protein are some of the plant-based protein sources suitable for your kitty. 
  2. Animal protein: Cats are carnivorous animals. In the wild, they depend on other animals for their food and nutrition. Hence, cat food brands ensure to use best-quality animal meat to provide the appropriate amount of protein for kittens through their product. Chicken, beef, lamb, fish, and turkey are known for providing concentrated protein.

You should look for these meats when buying kitten food with high protein. IAMS Proactive Health Mother and Kitten™ is made with chicken meat and salmon as well as tuna flour, so your kitty can receive the right amount of protein. It supports eye and brain development while also ensuring healthy digestion.

How to tell if your kitty needs protein? 

Essentially, all cats need protein for their ideal growth and overall development. But how to identify how much protein is enough for your kitty? Ideally, all adult cats require approximately 35% protein in their diet. According to AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), cats need a minimum of 30% protein for growth and reproduction and 26% protein for adult maintenance. Poor-quality protein or low protein might lead to indigestion and loss of muscle mass in kittens and cats. Hence, all cat caregivers must ensure to include the optimum quality of protein in their pets’ daily meals. 

How to calculate kitten food protein content 

AAFCO provides nutrient recommendations based on dry matter. This means, if you are feeding wet cat food to your kitten, then you might have to manually calculate its protein content. The following is the formula for calculating wet cat food’s protein content: 

Step 1: Find dry matter of the food by subtracting the maximum moisture percentage from 100.

Step 2: Divide the minimum crude protein by the per cent of dry matter.

Step 3: Multiply its result by 100 to get the result of the percentage of protein available in the dry matter of the meal. 

Frequently asked questions

  1. What can I give my kitten for protein?
  2. You can choose between animal-based and plant-based protein when looking for high-protein kitten food. Please note, it is recommended to consult their veterinarian before choosing the right protein for kittens.

  3. Is high-protein good for kittens?
  4. Yes, protein is the main source of energy for cats. This means a high-protein diet is ideal for kittens as it aids their overall growth and development.

  5. What proteins do kittens prefer?
  6. Most cats prefer meat-based proteins. The three main sources of high-quality protein preferred by kittens are chicken, lamb, and fish. 

  7. What proteins are cats allergic to?
  8. Allergies may differ from cat to cat. Chicken is believed to be a common food allergy in most cats. However, some cats might also be allergic to beef, egg, soy, milk, turkey, and other food items. Please consult a veterinarian before giving any new type of protein-rich kitten food to your kitty. 

  9. What is the easiest protein for cats to digest?
  10. One of the easiest high-protein food for cats to digest is chicken. However, it is recommended to consult a veterinarian to confirm the kitten’s allergies before feeding them any new brand or type of protein-rich meal.

  • Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes
    Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes-mob
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    Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes

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    Understanding and learning how to decipher kitten food product codes will help you choose the right kitten food. While selecting the right ingredients is important, making sure those ingredients are fresh is just as vital to your young cat. Learn how to read the product codes of kitten food packages and cans with our handy guide.

     

    What Is a Product Code?

    A product code is a series of numbers and letters printed on the outer package of each product a manufacturer produces. This code provides information about when and where the kitten food was made.

    As part of the product code, IAMS™ products include a “Best Used By” date, or the date at which the product is no longer considered fresh and should no longer be sold. This date is expressed in “ddmmyy” and “ddmmmyy” formats.

    The second line of the product code represents company internal information for use in traceability and inventory control.


    Line 1: (ddmmyy) (ddmmmyy)

    Example: 040220 04FEB20

    Line 2: 60351111## QQQQQQQ

    This product should be used before February 4, 2020.
     

    Depending on the production line, pouch products* may have code date information in a single or double line. By recognizing and understanding these codes, customers can make sure they are receiving a fresh product.

     

    What Is Shelf Life?

    Shelf life is the duration, measured in months, during which a properly stored kitten food product maintains its freshness. This means if a product has a 16-month shelf life, it is fresh for up to 16 months from the date of manufacture.

    The shelf life for IAMS dry kitten foods is 16 months. All canned formulas have a shelf life of 24 months.

     

    How to Properly Store Dry and Wet Kitten Food

    Unopened dry kitten food products are best stored off the floor in a cool, dry place. Open bags of kitten food should be stored in a clean, dry container with a tight seal. Dry kitten food products may also be frozen without loss of nutrients.

    Opened wet kitten food products are best kept refrigerated in tightly sealed containers for no more than three days after the container has been opened. Wet products should not be frozen in unopened cans. However, wet kitten foods can be frozen if removed from the container, packed in freezer containers and frozen immediately.

    *IAMS has no kitten pouch products at this time.

    Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes