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Kitten food vs. cat food - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Kitten food vs. cat food
Does anyone know what's special in Iams kitten food, as opposed to regular cat food? When I first got Cinderpelt, I thought I was going to be getting a kitten rather than an adult cat, so I had a bag of kitten food ready. After I got her as an adult, I bought food she could share with Jelly, as she prefers eating out of his dish (he's on the diet stuff, because he's the size of about two and half cats). But I was almost out, so I mixed it with some kitten food and put it up on the counter where Jelly can't reach it--a place Cinderpelt has habitually refused to eat as long as there's anything in or near the place where Elizabeth keeps Jelly's bowl (she will caterwaul at me until I move her dish down there so they can eat together)--and not only did she eat it, she totally hoovered it. Obviously, she needs something that's in there, but the box doesn't say what's special for kittens in it, so I'm not sure how to get what it is she needs there with an adult-cat appropriate food.

Also, any ideas on what to do about the Jelly's diet thing? Putting non-diet food on the floor means he'll be eating it--a lot--but, except for the kitten food, Cindy won't go someplace he can't reach to eat, and has been known, despite her own full bowl up on the counter, to eat part of what he does have rather than eat her own food, so I don't know if Jelly's getting the right nutrition. Have any of you had to deal with one cat dieting, while the other is a healthy cat weight (and maybe even a little small)?
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threnody From: threnody Date: February 24th, 2007 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Most cat and kitten foods have all of the same ingredients, but in different amounts. Obviously kittens need more of some things as they're growing, and once they're done they don't need as much. Kitten food usually has a higher (+ 5-10%) protein content. It won't hurt Jelly to have *some*, but I wouldn't let him eat it long term or as his only food. Not just because of a weight thing, but because the extra juice to process all that growing-food he doesn't need will put wear on his body. But a little won't hurt him.

The reason they eat like it's going out of style is because kitten food is loaded with fish oils, and animals just glom the stuff down. It's not a matter of it having nutrition that they need, it's that it just tastes yummier (kind of like replacing a vanilla/white frosting cake with triple chocolate fudge. You're gonna go for the chocolate).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, maybe I'll save some tuna draining water then, and put a little of it over her food. Thanks!
threnody From: threnody Date: February 24th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
N/P. (And an excellent idea, she'll love you forever.)
dreagoddess From: dreagoddess Date: February 24th, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I used to give PsychoCat my tuna drainings whenever I had a can. He adored it. Good idea. :)
kiwi_kimi From: kiwi_kimi Date: February 25th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Kimi-cat (that's him in my avatar) loved, loved loved tuna water. It was a good way to boost his appetite in his old age.

It still makes me a bit sad when I drain a can of tuna and tip the water out.
ivylore From: ivylore Date: February 24th, 2007 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Kitten food is higher in fat (for growing kitties), hence YUMMY! Keeping her on it would be very unhealthy long term.
sreya From: sreya Date: February 24th, 2007 07:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Exactly how old is Cinderpelt? I'd grown up thinking of cats as "adult" at about 6 months, but looking at the food bags in the store for River, they're all advising giving them full kitten food until 12 months, and then start weaning them off by mixing in adult food. I've started doing the mixing a little bit early because she's looking a little heavier than she should be, but I'm surprised I have to continue giving her the kitten food at all.

Also, are the two foods different brands, or both Iams? Changing brands can make a difference, too. One of the dry foods I picked up for River she'd hardly touch.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
They're both Iams.

Cinderpelt was a year old when I got her, so she's about a year and a half now, though you'd never have guessed it looking at her. (She was wandering the streets with kittens of her own, I'd guess conceived when she was barely out of kittenhood herself, and I kind of wonder if the early pregnancy stunted her growth somehow, though it could just be in comparison to Jelly that she seems abnormally small.) Honestly, I think she's actually grown a bit since I got her, which she shouldn't at a year and a half old, though she's got some Maine Coon characteristics--ruff, "britches," trilling meow--and they grow for almost three years, so maybe she's got some of that in her genotype somewhere.
dreagoddess From: dreagoddess Date: February 24th, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
She doesn't seem all that small to me. It's hard to gauge when you're used to a bigger one, though. My first one was PsychoCat, who is around 16 pounds. I didn't realize he was especially large until all my friends started talking about my big cat. ;) Then I got Pidge, who is very dainty.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: February 24th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, my perceptions may be skewed a bit--before Jelly, I shared a cat with my mother, a huge tom named Merlin who looks like a baby panther.
ladyvorkosigan From: ladyvorkosigan Date: February 25th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, she's so adorable! I'm not sure I had seen a picture before.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 25th, 2007 01:40 am (UTC) (Link)
We have two cats with about the same frame - one slightly underweight at 8lbs and the other overweight at 13lbs and have had to deal with the separate feeding regimes. The skinny guy has a history of urinary tract problems - very bad for kitties - and has to eat prescription food (CD). Both kitties have therefore been eating CD for a few years now. Unfortunately for chubby kitty, CD is very fattening. We have been cutting back on the dry food that we leave out and giving the skinny kitty secret CD canned food meals, in the bathroom with the door closed, when chubby kitty is passed out in her favorite nap spot. Meanwhile, chubby kitty has certain behavioral issues - clawing our bed and caterwauling at 3am - which got her relegated to a separate room at night when our new baby was born last May and we could not cope with anybody else making demands at 3am - so she (chubby kitty, not baby) gets diet cat food at night now. Frankly, I haven't seen much change in her weight yet - my personal theory is that she harbors a bit of an eating disorder and eats when she is feeling frustrated - but skinny kitty loves his secret treats and his weight has gone up a bit in the past 2 years. Good luck!

anais_ninja From: anais_ninja Date: February 26th, 2007 08:07 am (UTC) (Link)
They make "multi-cat" food formulas that skinny and chubby cats supposedly can share. I can't remember the name of the brand, but it's a common one (Iams or Pedigree or somesuch). Look for a bag of dry that says "multi-cat".
felis_sidus From: felis_sidus Date: February 27th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Multiple diets for multiple cats is a never-ending pain. At a year and a half, Cinderpelt shouldn't need kitten food anymore. Unless your vet has said she's underweight, I'd mover her to adult cat food to avoid her gaining too much weight. Kitten food has many more calories than adult cat food because the little ones are burning so much energy growing.

As another commenter mentioned, there's at least one food out that's advertised as being appropriate for cats with differing nutritional needs. Your vet might be able to tell you if it's appropriate for both Cinderpelt and Jelly. In addition, Science Diet and Iams (I think) make weight maintenance foods that my vet recommended when I had a very overweight cat and several normal-weight cats who needed to share the same food. The very overweight cat lost weight more slowly than he would have on the reducing diet, but he did lose the weight, and the others maintained theirs.
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