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Kittens need certain key nutrients to grow strong muscle and bones, to build immunity, and to aid the proper development of their brains. The market is chock full of cat food designed for specific life stages. Just a cursory glance at the packaging should give you a fair idea of where to start. You need to make sure that you choose food that meets all the nutritional needs of your kitten if you want to avoid paying for vet visits, special diets and medication later on.
Protein and carbohydrates
Cats are obligate carnivores. They cannot subsist on carbohydrates or vegetables. So, it is crucial to have a meat source as a main component of your kitten’s daily diet. If kitty does not receive the correct quantity of meat proteins, the body will start breaking down the muscle to get the nutrients you don’t provide. Animal protein is absolutely necessary for the healthy growth of tissue and muscle. They supply amino acids, which are the building blocks of all the tissues in the body. Having said that, some of the amino acids are more important than the others. For instance, kittens need taurine for a healthy heart and vision. Without it, your cat will suffer from heart problems and grow blind eventually. And it can be found only in meat sources.
A lot of the cat foods in the market are made with grains and carbohydrates. So, it is hard to avoid them completely. But you need to take care to ensure that they constitute a very small percentage of the food. Excess carbohydrates in the diet can lead to intestinal problems and weight gain.
Fats are a very important part of every kitten’s diet. They help absorb the important vitamins, like vitamin K, A, D and E, and add flavor to the food as well. They are also a very good source of energy and contain oils that maintain healthy hair coats and skin. If the diet is low in fat, it can lead to scaly, dry skin and increase the chances of your cat contracting a skin infection. Arachidonic fatty acids are essential for skin growth and blood clotting.
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals like phosphorous, calcium and vitamin D are needed for the development of teeth and bones. The amount and ratio of these nutrients is important for maximizing skeletal stability and density. Lack of mineral and vitamin balance will result in joint and bone problems when your kitten grows up.
What to avoid
You need to stick to a formula that is tailor made for kittens. Under no circumstances should you share your food with your kitten. Try to avoid canned fish as much as possible as a prolonged diet of canned food can lead to a thiamine deficiency. Also, avoid raw eggs as they can lead to a biotin deficiency and are a common source of salmonella.