Difference Between Kitten and Cat Food

Felis catus is the scientific name of the adorable and highly cuddly species, cat. Their young ones are called kittens. Just like how it is in humans, the babies can’t be given the food of the adults.

They need to be fed a different diet depending on the nutrient requirements of the kitten as based on the breed and environment.

Kitten vs Cat Food

The main difference between a kitten and cat food is that kitten food is usually high in all forms of nutrient content be it calorie, fat, proteins, or even the minimal required vitamins and minerals that don’t give much difference to the general nutrient richness in the food given to these lovable pets. Even the amount of water content that presides in the food given to the kitten varies with that of the cat due to the ability of cats to consume more in less time.

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Kitten food is always prepared with a lot more care and a definite formula that is hardly ever deviated from. These formulations are devised to create the perfect blend of carbohydrates, nutrients, and calories thereby helping the kittens gain the energy to satisfy the needs of the body that they spend in their activities and playful nature.

Cat food is just a regular preparation of a pure blend of the usual nutrient that cats gain even from scavenging from the outside world that they roam around and gather from. They include a minimal amount of fat and calorie to not overly nourish the cats and hence limit their movements due to obesity. The other nutrient content in cat food is also kept to the bare minimum and hence only enough to give strength to the cats and help in their daily activities.

Comparison Table Between Kitten and Cat Food

Parameters of ComparisonKitten FoodCat Food
Can They Consume the Other’s FoodCant consume cat food owing to malnutritionCan have kitten food provided they have enough activities to keep them healthy or are nursing mothers
Protein Content30-45%26-40%
Fat Content8%5%
Essential Fatty Acid and Amino Acid QuantityHighLow
Vitamin and Mineral CompositionHigher in calcium and phosphorousLow in general

What is Kitten Food?

Kittens are the offspring of cats (Felis catus). As an offering of all kingdoms and genus and animal families, kittens too require a specific nutrient food.

The kitten food formulas are formed to satisfy the rapid growth shown by a growing baby.

This growth rate is shown by almost all species of animals in their young and tender age is prime time for nourishment.

Unlike cats, kittens need a large number of calories to be included in their regular meals.

This is to recharge the energy needs of the kitten that it might have spent in its regular and highly energy-consuming activities.

The general aura presented by kittens is that of a playful young one that keeps itself busy with a ton of outdoor playtime.

The growth rate along with the playful livelihood manner of kittens encourages greater energy consumption within the body.

This in return increases the nutrient content and the richness of the food it eats.

The kitten food made by manufacturers is always formulated to have a high amount of calories, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.

This is also accompanied by the greater calcium and phosphorus-like minerals and vitamins that assist in the bodily development of the kittens like their bones and teeth.

The diet planned by companies preparing kitten food makes it in such a way that it isn’t proving to be an issue for the digestive system.

Being in its starting stage of life, kittens have a sensitive and weak digestive system that won’t be able to digest heavily made food.

Being highly concentrated with many nutrients, kitten food tends to be pretty dense.

This densely packed nutrient-rich food is prepared to keep in mind the kitten’s stomach capacity and digestive capabilities.

Kittens have a smaller tummy and hence can only consume little food. This increases the need for the food to be densely packed.

This is because as kittens only consume a small amount at a time, the need to give them all the nutrients required becomes greater.

The protein content in kitten food accepted internationally is about 30-45%, which is high considering it is being given to a baby being.

The general fat amount in kitten food used by manufacturers is within 8%. This is to provide a great growing feature to the kitten.

The essential amino acids and fatty acids in kitten formulas are comparatively high for a baby.

This is to help in the growth of the internal organs and tissue development of the kitten.

Kittens can’t consume the food prepared for adult cats as they won’t get the proper nutrients needed and would become stunted or malnourished and underdeveloped adult cats.

About 30% of the energy requirement of the kitten is acquired from the proteins, fats, and calories in the food alone.

What is Cat Food?

Cats are the feline opposite of dogs much loved and accepted as pets since ancient times.

Even since the time of ancient Egyptians, cats were considered as per royalty given the best treatment. This includes the food given to them.

Olden times, cats were given the food prepared at home in a measured quantity. Recent times have changed it.

Now a proper food content formula is prepared for cats that are followed internationally by all food manufacturers and creators.

Cats need food to only satisfy the required energy that it spends daily. They don’t require food to help them in their developmental and growth factors.

They have about 20-40% of protein content added to the factory-prepared cat food.

This is quite a normal amount of protein provided in the food preparation of an adult animal with the body dimensions and activities as that of a cat.

The fat percentage advised being added to cat food is a standard 5%.

The more the fat amount in cat food, the greater becomes the fat accumulation in the body of a cat, therefore, leading to obesity and lack of movement.

There is a lower amino acid and fatty acid content that are essential and are required from an outside source in cat food.

This applies to the accepted amount of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus in the food. A smaller quantity of vitamins is prescribed in cat food formulas.

The lower vitamins and minerals lead to lower chances of mineral accumulation in the body of the pets that may lead to cell growth.

This can be the start of tumor-like growth and can be fatal to the pet.

Such low nutrient percentages in cat food are due to the major fact that they don’t have any growth requirements of developmental needs.

Cats are not prescribed to consume food meant for kittens as the high nutrient content might lead to obesity in cats.

But that doesn’t mean that they can’t consume kitten food. Because kitten food is given to nursing cats or pregnant female cats. This is to meet the needs of the growing fetus within the mother.

Main Differences Between Kitten and Cat Food

  1. While the protein content specified for kitten food is 30-40%, the protein content advised for cats is quite low at 26-40% and is usually taken in the lower limit.
  2. The fat percentage advised for kitten food manufacturers is 8%, which for cat food is again a lower limit of only 5% to reduce the fat accumulation in the body in case of lack of activities.
  3. The usual vitamins and minerals that are considered to be added to kitten food are high when in comparison to the low amount added in the cat food.
  4. Kittens have a smaller stomach and therefore the food given to them is usually in small quantities. This is showing that their food has to be densely packed with nutrients when compared to cats who have a larger tummy and hence a bigger appetite.
  5. While kittens can’t eat cat food owing to the lack of exact nutrient needs, cats can consume kitten food given they have the right amount of exercise and activities.

Conclusion

As kittens grow fast, they have a greater nutrient requirement owing to the similar food composition formula followed by manufacturers.

They are more active than adult cats thereby creating an understanding of the food nutrient requirement differences.

Both are adored are accepted as pets by people all over and thus, the food differences are always in the mind of those who foster or adopt them.

The moisture content in the surroundings judges the moisture content in the food given to the cats or the offspring.

A regular nutrient formula is followed for the preparation of cat food. This includes only the basic required quantity of fats, calories, and proteins.

The need for nutrient content varies between breeds of cats and their immediate surroundings.

Kittens are slow eaters and hence the need to give them a small quantity of food with greater nutrient concentration is necessary.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1250243/
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.2045-0648.2012.00182.x
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