Kittens are born with an average weight of 100 g. In the first week of their life they double that weight and continue to grow at 100 g per week until the age of 6 months. At the age of 3 weeks, kittens start exploring their surroundings and taste the food of the adults. From that moment, owners have to make sure that the kitten receives all the necessary nutrients for a proper development.
Water should be all the time available to kittens and cats. Although dry cat food contains most of the nutrients needed for a kitten, veterinarians recommend varying the kitten and cat diet with the addition of fresh products such as quark, kefir or plain yogurt, egg yolks, beef and chicken or turkey.
Siberian cats grow slowly and reach full body size and maturity by the age of five. Therefore, it is important to feed the cat with nutrition rich food. If the cat is not overweight, there should always be dry food available in her bowl. In addition, once or twice a day, the cat can be fed some wet food, either premade or prepared by the owner. Below is a summary of suggestions given by veterinarians for a correct cat diet.
DO NOT FEED A CAT WITH:
- Premade dog food, as it does not contain an organic acid (taurine) essential for the cat well-being,
- Fresh liver,
- Sweets and chocolate.
FEED A CAT WITH:
- Each cat has food preferences, try to find what your cat likes best. This will ensure that she eats enough and stays healthy. Remember that many cats will not eat food they do not like, even if they are hungry.
- Cats are carnivores and therefore their diet should be mostly composed of meat or fish. Only small amounts of vegetables should be added.
- Include on certain days fresh meat or fish to the food portion of a cat. In order to eliminate possible parasites, meat and fish should be cooked before being served.
- Canned tuna and frozen meat contain easily oxidised fats which can cause digestion problems for cats and therefore should only be given in moderate amounts.
- Cooked liver can be fed to cats only once or twice a month, due to the abundance of glucose which might cause diarrhoea. However, little amounts of cooked liver should be given to cats as they are an important source of vitamin A.
- Cook for prolonged times food which contains starch (pasta, rice) so that the cat can digest them more easily.
- Cook the vegetables before serving. Cats prefer carrots, squashes, pumpkins and beans. However, if the animal suffers from diarrhoea, only carrots should be given to the pet.
- Add a pinch of salt to the home-made cat meal.
- Sunflower oil contains many essential fatty acids, while olive oil has a high amounts of vitamins. A table spoon of each oil can be daily fed to cats.
- More vitamins should be given to cats during certain periods of their lives: growth, pregnancy, breastfeeding and illnesses.
- Vitamin D can be synthesised by the cat's body when exposed to the sun.
- It is possible to give milk to adult cats once a day. However, milk is not essential for a proper diet nor needed to the cat well-being.
- Cats love to eat grass. If this product is not present in the house, they might try to eat plant leaves, which may be poisonous. To avoid this, plant some grass seeds, which can be purchased in animal shops.
Source of information: www.enpamilano.org.