Nutritional Supplements for Kittens
|Nutrition Suplements For Kittens|
The nutritional supplement market for pets is now a massive one but the question on many pet owners lips is do their cats really need these additional elements? And do kittens require nutritional supplements to grow up fit and healthy?
The first thing to understand about a cat of any age is that they are obligate carnivores. What this means is that they don't naturally have enzymes in their digestive system that convert vegetable proteins into amino acids. This means that no matter what their owner's personal beliefs are, cats cannot be vegetarian - it will kill them eventually.
An adult cat needs to have at least 26% protein and at least 9% fat. For kittens, this needs to be higher as they need to create more energy to grow. For the first six months of their lives, they need some 25% more nutrition than an adult cat and this is why specific kitten food is needed. This has a high ratio of all the good stuff they need and is specially designed to provide all the vitamins and minerals for a healthy body.
Most all cat foods contain some ideas about feeding instructions and portion sizes on the packet but this isn't set in stone. Monitoring how much your kitten eats will give you an idea of what they can manage and talk to your vet is another good way to make sure they get the right portion size. Too little is dangerous but too much can lead to obesity.
Normally, in the first six-seven months of life, kittens receive three meals a day, as their stomachs are small and fill up then empty quickly. Once they have been spayed or neutered, their energy requirements will drop by around a quarter so portion sizes can be adjusted accordingly.
In the majority of cases, supplements aren't needed for kittens provided they are receiving the right food for their age group. Good quality foods provide everything they need and mean that supplements are simply adding more of something that isn't required.
The main time that a vet may recommend a supplement is if the kitten isn't eating enough, won't eat the kitten foods provided or has some kind of medical problem. These problems can lead to an imbalance in their system and a supplement may be needed to address the problem.
One such problem can be a disease of the small intestine. This means they are unable to absorb B vitamins such as folate and cobalamin and would need an injection to compensate for this, as oral supplements wouldn't work any easier than the natural way of getting it.
The most common types of supplements recommended by vets can be a general vitamin and mineral multivitamin if the kitten isn't eating their food properly, essential fatty acids such as omega-3 or omega-6 and probiotics. The latter is a boost of good bacteria that help improve digestive health and may be given to kittens with digestive issues.