Can adult cats eat kitten food? I always wondered if there was anything wrong with feeding cats with kitten food. If you have more than one cat, you will see your older cat trying to eat the food of your kittens. They do it for a good reason.
Adult cats can eat kitten food with no problems. Kitten food contains more calories, vitamins, and nutrients necessary for growing a kitten to a healthy cat. Grown-up cats eating this type of food might gain weight in the long term if they eat too much of it.
Let’s see the consequences of an adult cat eating a lot of kitten food and the benefits of it.
WHY IS MY OLDER CAT EATING MY KITTENS FOOD?
Kitten food is rich in fat and proteins, and it tastes better than the food a grow-up cat is used to eating. If you have two cats and one is a kitten almost impossible not to have fights over food, where the bigger cat is winning the battle and eating all the food of the smaller cat.
It can also work the other way around in some rare cases. For example, my three-year-old cat, being shy, is easily pushed around by the younger new kitten that pushes him away to eat from his bowl without any consideration.
Adults cats may eat kitten food in some circumstances:
- Because you have a kitten in the house and they steal the food
- Pet owners buy kitten food for their adult cats as a treat
- A pet owner is feeding it to an adult cat because he needs more nutrients
- Cats are too curious and have to get into the other cat food bowl
In general, it is common to have the adult cat sneak into the kitten food bowl using their strength. Cats have a superfine sense of smell. As soon as you try to feed the kitten, the smell of it will attract older cats that will fight for it if they have to!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KITTEN AND ADULT CAT FOOD?
Kitten food should contain a higher amount of fats and proteins compared to adult cat food. It should also contain fewer carbohydrates.
Kittens need to grow and need a higher content of nutrients; adult cats have already developed and need fewer fats depending on their activity level.
Cats are growing until they are one year old. However, some breeds of cats require longer to reach maturity. An example of this can be the Main Coon.
Therefore, what to expect in kitten food:
Taurine, an amino acid essential in several of the body’s metabolic processes, has antioxidant properties. It is found naturally in meat, fish, dairy products, and human milk, and it’s also available as a dietary supplement.
Therefore, adult cat food has fewer proteins and fats, less taurine, and more carbohydrates. It should be a balanced food to keep the cat healthy.
I have simplified the explanations. However, if you want a more in-depth study, you can find it HERE.
So based on this summary of data, it is possible to answer the question: “Can adult cats eat kitten food?”. Yes, it is possible and not dangerous if it happens.
HOW TO KEEP MY CAT AWAY FROM KITTEN FOOD?
There are a few methods and tricks one can use to keep cats away from each other when they are eating. However, young kittens will take some time and patience to train to use their bowl, and adult cats are difficult to keep away from tasty food once they smell it.
Here are some good tricks you can use to stop your cat from eating the kitten’s food:
1. FEED THEM SEPARATELY
You have to feed your cats with two separate bowls. One cat would eat in their bowls in separate rooms or two different areas of the same room. In my experience, if you teach them their eating areas and act as a traffic cop, they will learn what is expected from them after a while.
With time both cats will eat their food without bothering each other. In more extreme cases, cats can eat in separate rooms.
2. TRICK YOUR CATS
If your adult cat is adamant about getting into the kitten’s bowl, you can feed the kitten with his food and provide your adult cat with his food, but place a little bit of the kitten food in it as well. Your grown-up cat will be lured to his bowl, leaving the kitten alone.
I do this with my older cat. He will start eating the kitten food in his bowl and then continues to eat his own food underneath it.
3. DISTRACT YOUR OLDER CAT WITH TREATS
Another trick you can use is to give a few treats to your adult cat while you feed the kitten. It will distract him long enough to leave the kitten to finish the meal. It is necessary to bring the kitten to eat the food in another room or choose even separate rooms.
4. FEED THEM AT DIFFERENT TIMES
It is not easy or even practical to feed cats at different times. But in some cases, you want to give food to the kitten on a different schedule. For example, perhaps when your adult cat is sleeping, or out on the balcony, etc. Or take the kitten to another room, feed him, and feed your other cat at his usual time.
5. AUTOMATIC FEEDER WITH MICROCHIP TECHNOLOGY
If you want to give access to food to your kitten but not your older cat, you can try using a feeder that opens only when the kitten is within range. Typically, a chip in the kitten’s collar will trigger the opening of the feeder giving access to food.
The feeder will also close automatically when the cat has finished the meal. Here are a few examples:
IS AN “ALL STAGE” CAT FOOD OK FOR KITTENS?
In general, all-stage cat food is formulated to meet the nutrient requirements for kittens and adult cats. For example, it might have a higher protein content and thus favor the growing and development of kittens and all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that each cat would need to live a healthy and long life.
In the wild, kittens eat the same food that the mother cat eats. So, ultimately a kitten could start eating the meat and the cat food for grown-up cats too and be perfectly fine. But, it is always better to provide specifically formulated food for kittens to help them get enough nutrients.
As long as kittens have enough proteins and fats, they will be fine. Some high-quality cat food, even for adults, contains higher amounts of proteins than general cat food, and it may be suited for kittens and the rest of your cats.
Here are some excellent ideas of “all stage” cat food:
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When to switch from kitten to adult cat food?
Usually, when they are one year old, one can start transitioning from kitten food to adult cat food. It is common to gradually transition, meaning don’t take away the kitten food right away.
It would be good to mix the kitten food and the adult food until they are properly transitioned.
How much wet food is needed to feed a kitten?
Feeding a kitten 3 or 4 times a day could be necessary. Since a can of wet food (3 oz) provides 100 kcal on average, a kitten needs between one to two cans a day, depending on their age. Over six months old, they might need more than one can. Depending on your kitten, you can do a combination of wet and dry food or only wet food.
What happens if a Kitten eats adult cat food?
A kitten needs to grow and should definitively eat the recommended kitten food. In the long run, if a kitten always eats adult cat food, it may lack nutrients. There are types of adult cat food that may contain higher nutrients.
However, the kitten food, or at least labeled as such, should include the nutrients needed for a young cat.
What is the difference between cat and kitten?
Cats are fully grown up, while kittens are still developing. Usually, it is considered that a kitten becomes a cat around one year old. But, cats continue developing for a year or two. Sometimes even longer, depending on the breed.
Is kitten’s food good for senior cats?
It depends on your cat. Kitten food is higher in nutrients; therefore, senior cats could benefit from it if they need more nutrients. However, it is not a good idea if he has some health problems connected to eating protein. Always check with the vet.
Is there cat food for all life stages?
Yes, there is cat food for all file stages. One should read the labels on those products. However, even if the cat food is suitable for all ages, it is always better to feed specified kitten food to kittens.