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Life-stage appropriate foods (Kitten, Adult, Senior)

1 min read

Just like humans, cats have different dietary requirements at various stages of their lives:

Kitten Food #

Kittens are bundles of energy, and their bodies are rapidly growing and developing. During this crucial stage, they require a diet rich in protein, calories, and essential nutrients to support their growth and development. Kitten foods are formulated with higher levels of protein, fat, and calories compared to adult cat foods. Key features of kitten food:
  • High protein content (minimum 30% on a dry matter basis) for muscle development
  • Increased calorie density to meet their high energy demands
  • Optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus for proper bone growth
  • Adequate amounts of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals
It’s recommended to feed kittens a high-quality kitten formula until they reach around 12 months of age or when they reach their adult weight, whichever comes first.

Adult Cat Food #

Once your cat reaches adulthood, their nutritional needs shift. Adult cat foods are designed to maintain their overall health and provide the necessary nutrients for an active lifestyle. Characteristics of adult cat food:
  • Moderate protein levels (around 25-30% on a dry matter basis) for muscle maintenance
  • Balanced fat content for energy and essential fatty acid requirements
  • Appropriate levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for immune system support
Adult cats can be fed a high-quality adult cat food formula from around 12 months of age until they reach their senior years, typically around 7-10 years old.

Senior Cat Food #

As cats age, their metabolism slows down, and their nutritional needs change once again. Senior cat foods are formulated to address the specific requirements of older felines, such as weight management, joint health, and digestive support. Key features of senior cat food:
  • Slightly lower protein levels to reduce stress on aging kidneys
  • Increased fiber content for improved digestion and hairball management
  • Antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids for cognitive function and joint support
  • Controlled calorie density to prevent obesity, a common issue in senior cats
It’s generally recommended to transition your cat to a senior formula around the age of 7-10 years, depending on their breed and individual needs. Sources:
  • PetMD: “Kitten Food vs. Cat Food: What’s the Difference?”
  • Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: “Feeding Your Kitten”
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA): “Kitten Nutrition”
  • Tufts University Cummings Veterinary Medical Center: “Nutrition for Adult Cats”
  • American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA): “Nutritional Needs of Adult Cats”
  • PetMD: “Senior Cat Food: What to Look For”
  • Veterinary Centers of America: “Senior Cat Nutrition”
  • Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: “Feeding Your Senior Cat”
Updated on June 12, 2024
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How the score is calculated?

The actual calculation of the score is based on sophisticated and advanced algorithm that takes into account multiple parameters.

To simplify the explanation, the calculation is based on three main criteria:

(1) Amount of protein (more is better)

(2) Amount of carbohydrates (less is better)

(3) Quality and source of ingredients.

Based on that 3 main criteria, 9 score calculation rules are used to compare the different foods.

One major assumption is that the closer an ingredient is to the top of the ingredient list, the greater its relative weight and contribution to the food.

In general, cat food is composed of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins, and minerals.

Protein is the most important component in a cat’s diet, and cats primarily get their protein from animal meat.

Fat is a primary source of energy and essential fatty acids.

Carbohydrates are controversial in a cat’s diet, as cats are obligate carnivores and typically consume very few carbohydrates.

Fibers play an important role in digestion and food absorption, and vitamins and minerals are essential for different organism functions.

Dry matter values are used to compare the amount of nutrients in different cat foods.
This means that moisture is excluded from the equation to provide a more accurate comparison.

Putting all of these and more into a formula results in a product score.

The maximum score a cat food can receive is 100.
Points are added or removed based on the score calculation rules.