Taking care of a sweet, tiny kitten is simultaneously a pleasure and a responsibility. When it comes to feeding a kitten, the goal is not only to provide food that is safe, but also food that can keep up with the staggering energy demands of the little cuties -- phew!
Up until a certain point, the safest and healthiest food of all for any kitten is her mom's milk. When a queen cat is still nursing her kitten, she can fulfill all of her wee one's nutritional requirements -- no need for outside intervention at all. Of course, if mom is not available, formula and a kitten milk replacer also can be very effective. Once a kitten is weaned, starting around her fourth week of life, she can slowly begin exploring solid foods. However, in the beginning, she's totally safe just with nursing.
When a kitten is around the appropriate weaning age, she is sufficiently ready to eat "real" food. Look for a commercial dry food that is tailored only for kitten consumption. This is important because kittens do not have the exact same dietary needs as adults. For instance, the wee ones need much more energy than fully grown felines. The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine advises a diet chock-full of B vitamins (niacin and thiamin), protein, calcium and essential fatty acids.
No Cow's Milk
Although milk isn't actually something a kitten "eats," it still is an important part of a kitten's early dietary needs -- if it comes from her mother, that is. Never offer a kitten milk from a cow. Not only can it lead to needless stomach upset and diarrhea, it simply doesn't provide enough fat, protein and energy to fulfill a young kitten's needs. Once a kitten begins the weaning process, however, it is important to encourage her to drink fresh water regularly. Water is a vital component to any proper feline diet.
If you're ever at all uncertain about the safety of certain foods with regard to your kitten, consult your veterinarian beforehand. Some foods that are made for human consumption can indeed lead to potential danger in kittens. The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine cites examples including raw fish, eggs and raw meat. If your kitty for any reason eats any of these things, it could lead to hazardous consequences from seizures to parasites -- not good. Only ever allow your fluff ball food that is made especially for her tiny body -- essentially commercial kitten food.
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