Keeping your kitten healthy means providing the best possible nutrition for her. There's commercial kitten food galore you could feed your little ball of fluff, but if you make her food at home you'll know for sure that the ingredients are fresh and that there's no chance of a recall.
Many kitten food recipes are soft and have a canned food texture, but making your kitten a healthy dry food will help keep her tiny teeth clean. Plaque and tartar will be scraped away as she chews the crunchy kibble. This texture is obtained by baking your kitten's kibble, but you should take care not to over-bake it. If the consistency it too hard, your kitten will have a difficult time breaking it up, and chewing it with her tiny jaws and fragile bite strength. Cutting her kibble into pieces smaller than 1/4 inch before baking them also will help make dry kitten food manageable for her petite mouth.
Meets Kittens' Nutritional Requirements
A healthy dry kitten food recipe should meet your kitten's nutritional requirements, otherwise you may as well buy a bag of kitten vittles at the pet supply store. Your kitten needs protein for growth and to build and maintain healthy skin and muscle tissue, fats for energy as well as healthy skin and fur, and carbohydrates for additional energy. When looking for recipes to make for Josie, make sure they contain ingredients from each of these three groups.
Using fresh, natural ingredients in the food you make for your kitten can help supply the necessary vitamins and minerals, but you always should consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet; talk to him about any recipes you intend on making for your kitten to make sure they'll provide complete nutrition for her. Your vet may recommend a quality vitamin and mineral supplement, and also might suggest using calcium and taurine supplements, if he feels they're necessary.
How Much and How Often?
The biggest difference between your kitten's nutritional needs and those of an adult cat are the extra calories and protein your baby requires. She needs almost triple the amount to support her off-the-charts energy levels as well as the rapid growth she'll be undergoing. An effective way to ensure Josie gets enough food to support her growing, active body is to allow her to free-feed until she is about 6 months old. At that point you should transition her to two meals a day, but while she's right in the middle of her most active growth stage she should have food available in her dish for frequent noshing whenever hunger strikes and she needs a boost of energy.
Kitten Kibble Recipe
If you'd like to try your hand at a healthy, dry kitten food that your furry baby will love, you can whip one up using 1/2 cup of taurine-rich cooked beef or chicken livers, 1/4 cup water, 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup mashed cooked carrot, 1 tablespoon finely crushed egg shell for calcium and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Just process the liver and water together in a food processor to form a smooth paste, then mix it together with the rest of the ingredients to form a stiff dough. Roll the dough out on a floured countertop with a rolling pin and cut it into nuggets 1/4 inch or smaller. Place your kitten kibble on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 325 degrees before removing the kitten food from the oven. Always remember to allow your kitten's food to cool completely before you feed it to her.
- MacPherson's Natural Cookbook; Diane Millward
- The Ultimate Pet Food Guide; Liz Palika
- Virginian-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine: Nutrition for the Growing Kitten
- Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life; Elizabeth M. Hodgkins, D.V.M., Esq.
- Web MD: Feeding Kittens: What, When, How Much
- The Cat Handbook; Karen Leigh Davis
- Willy Harris; Hospital Manager, Alta Animal Hospital; Pocatello, Idaho
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.