Raw Feed All of Those Kittens!

Answers: Raw Feed All of Those Kittens!

We just found out our adopted female cat is pregnant! I've been feeding her your website's Recipe: Feline Nutrition's Easy Raw Cat Food, but should I add more supplements? What should I feed the kittens when they're ready to eat solid food?
 
The kittens can have the same raw food as their mother as soon as they are interested. They eat the same food as adults. The rather new idea of "life stage" foods is a marketing gimmick. In the wild, the diet a cat eats doesn't change as she goes through life. Kittens, adults and seniors all eat the same thing, namely the prey that's available. Kittens do need more protein and calories per pound of body weight than an adult cat, but they get this by eating more food, not by eating something different. Once the kittens are eating solid food, they should be fed more frequently than an adult cat. Every four to six hours, as a guide. They are growing, not just maintaining, so they will eat a lot compared to their body weight. It's a good idea to give them a variety of different meats, so they learn to accept different flavors. You don't want them to get fixated on one food and end up being problem eaters. You should also offer chunks of meat, including meats with small bones. The chewing and gnawing is good exercise for their jaws and great for their teeth. It's a good idea to get them used to eating whole meat pieces when they are young, as refusing to touch chunks of meat is the number one complaint among people trying to convert their older cats to a raw diet.
 
The raw diet is also perfect for your pregnant cat. Like the kittens, she will require more food and more often. Eating more food is how she deals with the temporarily increased nutrient requirements that pregnancy demands. As the pregnancy progresses, she could eat up to twice what she would have before getting pregnant. She will continue to need extra food while she is nursing the kittens, and should naturally decrease her food intake as soon as they are weaned. Keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn't start putting on a lot of excess fat. You can give her a few ounces of water-packed sardines once a week as a good source of natural omega-3 fatty acids. Just don't do it right before bedtime if she sleeps with you. Cats with sardine breath are not nice to snuggle with!
 
We commend you for taking on this added responsibility and for seeking to feed your new charges right, especially as it came as a surprise. It shows how important it is to spay or neuter companion animals. We hope you find good forever homes for all of the kittens, and that the adopters will continue to feed them a healthy raw diet.
 
Note: Feline Nutrition provides feline health and nutrition information as a public service. Diagnosis and treatment of specific conditions should always be in consultation with your own veterinarian. Feline Nutrition disclaims all warranties and liability related to the veterinary advice and information provided on this site.
 
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Margaret Gates is the founder of the Feline Nutrition Foundation.

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