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When Do You Change From Kitten Food to Adult Food?

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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You waited until your kitten was at least 12 weeks old before you brought her home. You made sure you had plenty of toys and treats. You never missed a veterinary appointment and you've fed her the proper kitten diet. Now you have to decide: When do you begin switching to adult cat food?

Growing kittens have different dietary requirements than adult cats and should only be fed a high quality growth-type diet. You can allow your kitten to eat as much as she wants, because overeating is not a significant concern in kittens, like it is in puppies. Supplementation with vitamins and minerals is not usually recommended as it can cause serious illness. Supplement only on the advice of your veterinarian.

For most cats, leaving dry food out to nibble on through the day and offering small amounts of canned food twice daily should work. If your kitten does not eat the canned food within 20 minutes, remove it and offer it in the evening as normal. Soon your kitten will catch on and eat when the canned food is offered. Even if your cat does not like canned food, the dry food that is left out is sufficient.

Once you have chosen a good quality kitten food, continue feeding it until your cat reaches 80 to 90 percent of his anticipated adult weight. For most cats, this occurs around 9 months of age.

Once your kitten is ready for his new diet, gradually begin changing by feeding 1/4 adult food and 3/4 kitten food for a few days. Then add 1/2 adult food and 1/2 kitten food. After a few more days, feed 3/4 adult food and 1/4 kitten food. Then, you can feed straight adult food.

If you have any concerns about changing your kitten's diet, consult your veterinarian for advice.

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