Kitten Food: Government Standards, Nutritional Requirements, and Foods That Must Be Avoided

The production of commercial kitten food is subject to various government standards to ensure the fair sale of cat food. Federal, state, and local laws and regulations were put into effect to protect the pet food industry from unfair practices not only to guard the rights of consumers but also to promote the health of feline pets. Pet foods are subject to the Food and Drug Administration, in which its regulations were designed to avoid the harmful changes and untruthful labeling of pet food. An act also requires for all pet foods to be pure without harmful substances, and must be prepared, packed, and delivered in sanitary conditions. This act is known as the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Another act, known as the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, also prohibits manufacturers to incorrectly label their brands or put misleading information that will prove to be detrimental to the life of the pet. The United States Department of Agriculture has regulations that provide for voluntary inspection of canned pet foods. Most importantly, many states follow the general guidelines of the American Association of Feed Control Officials in terms of the production, labeling, distribution, and sale of pet foods. These regulations include the requirements on product names, flavor descriptions, dietary analysis, nutritional values, names of ingredients, and so much more.

Having said these facts, it is safe to say that indeed, cats are just some of the most favored pets for the household considering that government agencies protect their rights even with regards to ensuring that cat or kitten food manufactured by companies adequately follow certain government rules and regulations. Experts suggest that as responsible cat owners, we must be vigilant enough to check the label of kitten food products especially that the life of juvenile cats is crucial in their long term survival and extended life span. Cat owners are expected to understand pet food components in their labels. It would be of help for you to know that kittens as young as four weeks of age must be fed with food rich in protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Good combination of the three, along with other essential nutrients, is highly beneficial to the growth of your kittens.

Protein in kittens
The requirement for protein in kittens is at 30%, when they become adults it is between 25% and 30%. Proteins are building blocks in animal nutrition. They are important in all growth aspects such as in the growth and development of muscles and bones as well as in the enhancement of the kitten’s immune system. A kitten food such as the IAMS Premium Protection has 22 essential amino acids that animals need, just like humans. One of these is taurine which cannot be synthesized by these felines, and absence of it contributes to an irreversible blindness known as central retinal degeneration.

Fats in Kittens
Essential fatty acids are required by kittens so they are supplied with the right amount of energy and fat soluble vitamins needed for an increased appetite, improved muscle function, and a shiny coat. The minimum requirement of fats for kittens is at 8%, but the recommended fat is about 20% of the total make-up of a commercial kitten food. When we discuss on fats in kittens, but more specifically with the older cats, there should never be deficiencies or excesses, or your cat will be prone to malnutrition or obesity.

Carbohydrates in Kittens
A reasonable quantity of carbohydrates in the diet is well-tolerated by many kittens. We say reasonable because an incorrect proportion of carbohydrates in the kittens’ food will cause many health problems like bloating and diarrhea. This is why while most kitten foods have main ingredients such as chicken, turkey, or beef that are all in meat forms, we also have kitten food products like the Science Diet Kitten Healthy Development formulated with a blend of rice and ocean fish. It has a fair composition of protein, fats, and carbohydrates in a can.

Foods You should Not Feed Your Cat
A homemade kitten food may deem more practical on your part depending on your time and monetary budgets. For a quick guide, here is a list of food sources that might make you think they are alright to be fed with your kittens. The truth is they’re not. In your attempt to make a personalized kitten food, never include the following foods.

1.    Alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, chocolate, citrus juices
2.    Baby food
3.    Dog food
4.    Canned tuna made for human consumption
5.    Grapes and related fruits or preserved forms
6.    Human vitamin supplements
7.    Raw meat or fish, eggs
8.    Salty and sugary foods
9.    Rhubarb leaves, onions, garlic
10.    Garbage, moldy or soiled food, and leftovers
11.    Yeast dough, mushrooms, macadamia nuts

You may self-teach yourself on the essentials of kitten food through thorough research in books, magazines, or the World Wide Web, but never take for granted the role of your veterinarian. He can provide you with more insights on kitten nutrition and can also provide you with a step-by-step guide on what food to feed your kittens on a periodic basis.

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