Getting a kitten is a lot of work. Not only are they rambunctious and need a lot of attention, but they also have specific diets too! It is essential to understand your kitten’s needs and how to transition them into adulthood effectively. Maine Coons have different needs than most other cats.
So, how long should a Maine Coon eat kitten food? Maine Coon should not be taken of kitten food until around nine months, as opposed to the 4-month range for other breeds. Most cats reach maturity in one year. But, Maine Coons are the largest cat breed and don’t reach maturity until 3-5 years.
Various aspects go into what makes a kitten diet healthy and how to transition them into adult food. Following these steps will ensure positive results and take away the stress of kitten feeding.
What Is The Maine Coon Diet
As mentioned before, Maine Coons are the largest cat breed. So not only do the kittens take more time to develop, but they also have specific food requirements to help them grow. Coon kittens need to develop at a steady pace, and considerations for hip dysplasia should be taken into account. The right diet with help the kittens grow healthy and strong.
The most important aspect to consider is protein requirements. Cats do not naturally eat grains, which causes obesity. Instead, to ensure healthy growth, there should be plenty of protein in your kitten’s diet. Another important nutrient is fat content. Even more importantly, kittens require a different fat and protein ratio than adult cats. Kittens require 22% protein/ 8% fat. An adult cat does not need as much of either nutrient. In addition to protein and fat, some other important nutrients include:
● Amino Acids
● Various vitamins and minerals (including vitamin E and calcium)
Kittens require a lot more vitamins and minerals than adult cats do as well. Mineral-rich diets help a kitten grow into a healthy adult. What your cat eats directly affects their mood, energy, and life expectancy.
For the Main Coon kitten, getting enough calcium and phosphorous is especially essential. These two minerals aides in healthy bone growth, which reduces the risk of hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a condition where the hips can become dislocated. For a cat that is dangerous because it can affect how they run around and jump.
The combination of higher fats, proteins, and minerals, ultimately makes the calories much higher in kitten food. This is a good thing! Kittens need a lot of calories for daily function.
All cat food goes through a quality test to make sure the proper amount of nutrients are provided. The AAFCO ensures ingredient standards for your pets.
What Happens If I Feed My Kitten Adult Food?
Adult food won’t necessarily harm your kitten, but it is vital to feed your cat the right food in each stage of life. Adult food does not have the proper nutrients or calories for your kitten. More than likely, your kitten will not develop as well. Poor development can lead to many medical issues down the road.
This is the equivalent of giving a baby a salad. A baby needs full fats and nutrients, just as a baby cat would. A kitten needs all the nutrients to be healthy and big. Avoid giving your kitten adult to prevent future health risks.
Another consideration is where they are in their kittenhood (more on that in a moment). Kittens who are still getting formula, should not be having any type of normal kitten or adult cat food. There are different stages a kitten goes through before graduating to big kitty food.
Feeding A Kitten
Depending on where your cat is in their development, certain steps might need to be taken. Kittens should be bottle-fed from birth until about four weeks old. This is best done with a syringe and carefully measured formula. Newborn kittens go from being fed once every two hours to once every four hours, as they start to grow.
After this stage, they can begin the weening process and eat gruel. Gruel is a mixture of wet food and formula. This helps the kitten learn to chew and get food from their food bowl. This stage only lasts about a week. It is important to continuously monitor your kitten to make sure they are eating! Some kittens can be reluctant to try new things.
Once they are ready to start eating kibble, water must be mixed in. This makes sure the kitten does not harm itself while eating. Towards the end of 8 weeks, most kittens can begin to make the switch to adult food.
For a Maine Coon, it is typical for owners to keep their kittens on a formula for a more extended period. It is also typical for owners to keep their kitten on kitten food or a much longer time.
It is ultimately up to your vet if your cat should be kept in a certain stage longer. When it comes to Maine Coon kittens, the basic guidelines are kept mostly the same. The biggest difference is that they are kept on kitten food for nine months. It is suggested to continue formula feeds during the weening week to ensure proper nutrient intake. Also, adult food should not be introduced until nine months later, sometimes longer.
Dry vs. Wet Food
The preference is ultimately up to your Coon kitty. There is not an ultimate consensus among experts. However, most people agree that a mix of both will ensure a proper balance for your cat. Dry food is essential for your cat’s teeth because it acts like a toothbrush. It helps remove tartar and other buildups. Wet food has higher water content and ensures adequate hydration.
There are pros and cons to each type of food. For example, wet food has more protein and fat in it, but dry food is economical and might help fight tooth decay. Generally, kittens should not be eating dry food until they are more developed. They need all the nutrients they can get.
To ensure your Maine Coon cat is getting the proper nutrition and nutrients, it is recommended that they are on a mix of dry and wet food.
When Your Kitten is Ready For Kibble
At the end of nine months, your Maine Coon should be ready to transition to cat kibble. It’s important to remember that a dramatic change in food can cause your cat to be sick. There is a 7-day transition plan that will help your cat with the transition.
The first two days are mostly the previous cat food. Only a third of the bowl should be the new food. After, it is an even 50/50. This lasts for another two days. The next two days consist of a majority of the new food. This leaves the last day of only the new food.
Some cats may not enjoy new food. These guidelines may not line up with your cat’s preferences. If this is the case, just take an extra day in the day your cat has the most adversity to the food mixture.
Rushing your cat into a new diet can cause them to vomit or have other bad reactions. As with any diet change, do so gradually.
What To Do When Your Maine Coon Becomes An Adult Cat
Now that your Maine Coon kitten is a healthy adult cat continue the care by providing quality nutrition. Remember, if there is a time when your cat needs new food, carefully transition them to avoid complications.
If your cat needs additional nutrition guidance, reach out to your local vet. By doing this you won’t just get standard advice. Your vet can help you develop a feeding regimen specific to your cat’s needs.
All kittens need extra attention when it comes to feeding. Maine Coons need additional support because of how large they can get. It is important to provide adequate nutrition, so they grow up healthy and strong. When it is time to transition food, make sure you are giving your cat time to adjust. If your cat or kitten is not adjusting well, please reach out to your vet.