Kittens need certain nutrients to grow strong bones and muscles, to feed their developing brains, and to build their immune systems. There are a lot of foods on the market. Some foods are obviously made for specific life stages, and they say as much on the packaging, while other foods appear to cover all of life's stages of development. Keeping in mind that starting off well is important for your cat's long term health and life, you will want to choose the food that is tailored to meet your kitten's needs during this crucial stage, or you may find yourself having to pay later in veterinary services, medications and special diets.
Once you are familiar with your kitten's nutritional requirements, and what ingredients you need to look for, choosing the right food will be a snap.
Carbohydrates and Protein
First. it is important to consider that cats are strictly carnivorous. They do not subsist on vegetables or carbohydrates, so animal meat proteins should be the main component of a kitten's diet. If your cat does not receive the correct amount of meat proteins, his body will be deficient and will break down its own muscle in an attempt to provide those nutrients. Animal protein is essential for the healthy growth of muscle and tissue, supplying essential amino acids, the building blocks of tissues.
Some amino acids are more important that others. For example, an important amino acid for kittens (and cats) is taurine. Taurine is necessary for the normal performance of the heart, vision, and reproduction. Without it, cats will go blind and suffer from cardiac problems. This amino acid can only be found in meat sources and must be a part of a healthy daily diet.
A lot of cat foods are made with carbohydrates and grains, they are hard to avoid, but these ingredients should make up a very small percentage of the food. Too much carbohydrates in a cat's diet can cause intestinal problems and excessive weight gain at the worst.
Fats: They're Good for Your Kitten – Really!
Fats are an important component in the diet of young cats, helping to absorb important vitamins, such as vitamin A, D, E and K, and adding flavor to the food to increase enjoyment. Fats are also an excellent source of energy for cats and also serve to add oils to the body to maintain healthy skin and hair coats. A diet too low in fats can result in dry, scaly skin, increasing the likelihood of skin infection.
Far from being bad for the health, fats and fatty acids are necessary for strong development in kittens. Kittens in particular must be fed a source of arachidonic fatty acids. These acids are essential for blood clotting and skin growth.
Kittens also need linoleic acid for a healthy inflammatory response.