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CatFilter - is adult food OK for an older kitten?
October 30, 2008 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Am I hurting my 7-month-old kitten by letting him eat adult cat food?

Zappa is a very playful and active 7-month-old kitten. Ever since we introduced him to Gabby, our older cat, at about 4 months old, he has been eating her food. We kept giving him kitten food, but he always chose the adult food over the kitten food. He ate the kitten food if that's all there was, but wouldn't touch it if there was adult food.

We free-feed dry food to both cats. No wet food, and no cat treats. (Gabby doesn't like them, and we haven't started giving them to Zappa yet.) They're eating a mix of Royal Canin hairball formula and sensitive skin formula.

Zappa is very healthy, and seems to be thriving. He's already up to 10 pounds! I just want to be sure I'm not hurting him by depriving him of some vital nutrients that are only in kitten food.

(And since this thread is worthless w/o pics, here's a link to one of him when he was just a little guy. Gotta upload some new ones...)

Thanks!
posted by CrazyGabby to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
 
Considering that lots of cats who grow to ripe old ages ate mice and birds as kittens, I think any prepared food is fine. IIUC, kitten food has a slightly denser nutrient value than cat food, but there's nothing missing from cat food.
posted by workerant at 9:55 AM on October 30, 2008


My vet told us at 6 months to switch from kitten to adult food. We mixed it for about a month and then moved him to straight adult. And for what it's worth we switched ours from Royal Canin Kitten to Royal Canin Beauty and Fit. But ours doesn't have any hairball problems or we'd probably be on the Indoor or the Hairball formula.

Oh, and he's 11 months now and just as batshit insane as he was at 6 months, so no harm done. :)
posted by fusinski at 10:06 AM on October 30, 2008


I asked my vet a similar question recently (we have a 4-month-old kitten who now scales speakers & amplifiers to get to the adult kitty's food) -- he said, basically, that the kitten food is more nutrient rich but he's obviously eating (& has an adorable kitten belly!) so he's really doing just fine.
posted by oh really at 10:14 AM on October 30, 2008


Kitten food helps with the intensive growth spurts that kittens (and pregnant cats) have, but I'd say that 7 months is fine to shift onto adult food. Cats keep growing until they are 12-16 months old, but by 7 months the really big growth spurts should be done.
posted by baggers at 10:21 AM on October 30, 2008


I don't think there's a problem with a 7 month old cat eating adult food, HOWEVER I do think that a dry-food only diet is a bad idea, especially for a male cat.

Male cats have a higher tendency to develop urinary tract problems and blockages (which are extremely serious medical emergencies) and canned food helps lower the risk of this happening. Most vets recommend canned for cats ... dry has few benefits (it's not even good for their teeth for the most part) and can lead to health problems. If you can get them to switch, I highly recommend it.
posted by tastybrains at 10:48 AM on October 30, 2008


I don't think there's a problem with a 7 month old cat eating adult food, HOWEVER I do think that a dry-food only diet is a bad idea, especially for a male cat.

Seconding this. My vet just made the same recommendation--although it's been tough to get my cat to eat more wet food.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:08 AM on October 30, 2008


I have a friend who is a raw-food fanatic, and all around very well informed on good pet foods (she makes her own, for cats and dogs). She says kitten food is not really necessary, assuming you use a good quality adult food. I would also second (third!) the recommendation to at least feed them both a mixture of wet and dry. My male cat had recurrent UTI issues which have gone away since we started giving him a mix of wet and dry, and also a cosequin supplement. You don't need to do the cosequin obviously :)
posted by Joh at 11:36 AM on October 30, 2008


My vet told me the biggest difference between kitten and adult food is fat content due to growth requirements of kittens.. when one of my cats was around that age he said it was no issue switching since for some reason she refused to eat her own food and wanted our older cats food exclusively (of course)
posted by zennoshinjou at 11:44 AM on October 30, 2008


My kittens have been raised on Adult food wet and dry. They are in perfect health with beautiful coats, so I see nothing wrong with it.
posted by sunshinesky at 12:22 PM on October 30, 2008


It really depends on what kind of food. If you're feeding them Uncle Joe's Good Old-Fashioned Discount Animal Chow, I don't think that's very nice of you. But if you're feeding them any of the quality stuff mentioned in this thread you should do okay. Just remember that kittens need a lot more fat than adult cats.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:04 PM on October 30, 2008


Both of the kittens we've had since we got the dog have eaten, in order of preference, dog food, adult cat food, kitten food. So we'd buy one small bag of kitten food when we got the kitten, and when it started to run low mix it with the adult cat food. Both kittens are now healthy adult cats, running rings around the dog and one older cat we have left.
posted by jlkr at 4:13 PM on October 30, 2008


@jlkr, we had a dog move into a two cat house, three days later the cats wouldn't touch cat food and batted the dog's nose out of the way so they could eat his food.
posted by RobGF at 7:06 PM on October 31, 2008


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