January 21, 2023 by Pauline G. Carter
Everyone wants their cat to be happy and healthy, and choosing the right food is a big factor in this equation. But with so many cat food options on the market, it can be hard to know where to start. Thankfully, we now know the basics of feline nutrition. But with freeze-dried, grain-free, raw, and more, how can you figure out where to start? How do you know which kind of food gives species-appropriate nutrition for your kitty?
Why wet food?
Did you know that your kitten’s ancestors came from the desert? Living in the desert meant that a cat’s body learnt to adapt to the limited availability of water – a cat’s kidneys are able to concentrate their urine. This means that many kittens instinctively only drink when they urgently need to.
However, now that they don’t live in the wild, there’s no need for them to do this. In fact, it is much more beneficial for your kitten to get some water regularly. Otherwise, your kitty risks kidney stones. And wet food is a great way to ensure this for kittens that don’t drink much!
What is species-appropriate wet food for kittens?
In the past, pet nutrition was somewhat hit and miss. We knew what kittens appeared to like, but not necessarily what was good for them. Now though, we have a much better picture of your kitty’s needs. Let’s take a look at some of the nutrients a kitten needs in their food:
Being obligate carnivores, kittens need to get several nutrients from meat. One of these nutrients is taurine. This imperative amino acid not only allows your kitty to digest their food, but also aids their tooth development, boosts their eye health, makes for a strong immune system, and means they’ll have a healthy heart, too. Your kitten can’t produce taurine in their body.
Another facet of being an obligate carnivore is that your kitten also needs protein from meat. A good species-appropriate wet food for kittens will feature the right amount of meat protein for your kitty to grow up healthy and strong.
Your kitten also needs fat in their food. Unlike us, kittens don’t need so much carbohydrate. Instead, cats need a food that’s about 60% protein, 40% fat, and just 10% carbohydrate.
DHA is a nutrient that promotes your kitty’s brain development and vision health. DHA is an imperative nutrient when your kitten is young, though it will continue to be important throughout their life.
Then there’s the calcium that your growing kitten needs. With plenty of calcium, your kitty’s teeth and bones will grow strong and healthy, ready for those adventures later in their life!
And now, of course, the main reason why you feed your kitten wet food – the moisture it provides. As we mentioned above, cats have a very low thirst drive, which they inherit from their desert-dwelling ancestors. But did you know that cats also have a very inefficient method of drinking? To drink, cats curl their tongue into a J shape and “bite” the water, which isn’t very effective. That’s why many cat owners feed their kittens wet food to keep them hydrated.
Some owners opt to feed their kittens dry food in a bid to keep their teeth clean. However, much as with drinking, cats do not chew food up enough for this to happen, either. So, if you plan on giving your cat the benefits of wet food for the rest of their life, it’s best to get them started on species-appropriate wet food while they’re still a kitten.
About Author (Pauline G. Carter)
Pauline G. Carter is a well-known pet blogger who has written about the world of pets for several years. She is passionate about pets, from cats and dogs to birds, reptiles, and poultry. Her blog, which is updated regularly, is filled with articles and guides on pet care, nutrition, and training. She also shares her experiences and observations on pet ownership, making her blog relatable and informative for pet lovers. She is a true animal advocate and is dedicated to promoting responsible pet ownership. Let’s Go …