Helping clients ensure their felines get started the right way.
By Tiki Cat Staff
Nothing is cuter than a baby kitten, playful and full of energy. Then in the blink of an eye these frisky little fluff balls become full-grown cats. If it seems like kittens grow up very quickly, it is because they do. A kitten’s body weight may double or even triple during its first few weeks of life. This explosive growth continues, although at a slower pace, until maturity is reached at around one year.
Kittens Need More Calories, Energy and Fat
This rapid growth and development, along with a kitten’s constant frenzied activity, requires a diet that contains more protein than other species and huge amounts of calories, energy and fat. Kittens burn up even more energy than puppies, and they may require up to three times the energy intake of adult cats. At least 30 percent of this energy should come from animal-based protein. Meat is essential to a kitten’s diet, because like all felines, they are obligate carnivores and cannot get all their essential nutrients from plants.
Kittens also need very specific levels of certain amino acids, minerals and vitamins compared to adult cats to support their rapidly developing organs and immune systems. For example, they require more calcium and phosphorus for proper formation of their bones and teeth. Kittens also need large amounts of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid that supports brain, nervous system and vision development. At the same time, their tiny tummies cannot hold much food, so a kitten’s diet must be extremely nutrient dense.
Tiki Cat® Baby™ Life-stage Nutrition for Kittens
Balancing the complex—and changing — nutritional requirements of a kitten during its first year can be a challenge. Veterinary assistants and other pet professionals can help cat-owning clients by alerting them to their kitten’s nutritional needs at each stage of life and helping them choose foods that best satisfy these requirements.
Tiki Cat is offering help in getting the littlest felines off to a good start. The company has come out with a new range of life-stage nutrition for baby cats from newborn to 12 months. The Tiki Cat Baby™ line includes four products with the perfect blend of ingredients to take kitties from nursing, through weaning, to eating whole foods on their own:
- Tiki Cat Baby Thrive: An energy/weight gain supplement for kittens, newborn and up, that are underweight or losing weight
- Tiki Cat Baby Mousse & Shreds: An easy-to-eat and digest starter food for weaning kittens 4 to 8 weeks
- Tiki Cat Baby Chicken & Salmon Recipe and Tiki Cat® Baby™ Chicken & Egg Recipe: Two whole wet foods recipes that provide complete and balanced nutrition for kittens 8 weeks to one year, with ultra-high protein and fat content to support growing carnivores
Newborn to Weaning: The Nursing Stage
Each stage of a kitten’s life requires different types of nutritional support. The earliest, of course, is the nursing phase. For the first weeks of its life, a kitten drinks its mother’s milk, which contains just the right balance of fat, protein, and nutrients, including essential ingredients such as DHA and taurine, to advance the little one’s growth and development.
Even with this “complete formula,” however, sometimes tiny nursing kittens need extra help beyond mother’s milk to grow and gain weight at a normal healthy pace. According to feline veterinary experts, a newborn kitten should gain at least 10 grams of body weight per day on average. If your client’s kitten is not achieving this normal weight gain or is losing weight, a veterinary exam should be given immediately to rule out any underlying conditions that might be causing the problem.
If there are no underlying medical issues, Tiki Cat® Baby™ Thrive offers a perfect solution to get kittens up to their ideal weight and keep them on a healthy growth target. Baby Thrive is an easy-to-lick liquid energy supplement that even newborn kitties can consume and digest. It is high in protein from real chicken, liver and easily digestible egg, which also makes it delicious to baby carnivores. Each tiny packet contains 28 percent fat and 25 calories to give the littlest felines the early boost they need.
4 to 8 Weeks: The Weaning Stage
Kittens normally begin weaning off their mother’s milk at around 4 weeks, with this process typically being completed by the time they reach 8 weeks. Your clients should not try to wean their pets too early, but should wait until the kitten’s eyes are open and focusing, and it is steady on its feet. Some kittens let you know they are ready to stop nursing by trying to eat their mother’s food.
Of course, a weaning pet—or any kitten—should never eat adult cat food. As outlined above, kittens need higher levels of animal protein, amino acids and minerals, as well as certain vitamins, to support their rapid growth and development. And, because a kitty’s mouth and tummy are so tiny, its “first food” must be very easy to eat and digest.
Tiki Cat® Baby™ Mousse & Shreds was formulated to meet the specialized needs of this sensitive period. It is the perfect starter food to help kittens transition from mommy’s milk. Made of delicate layers of mousse and tiny poultry shreds, it can easily be handled by little mouths. High protein from real sources such as easy-to-digest liver and egg is yummy to eat and gentle on young tummies, and added prebiotics further aid digestion. The formula also includes supplemental taurine and balanced calcium and phosphorus to support healthy early growth, as well as DHA for brain development.
8 Weeks to 12 Months: The Whole Foods Stage
A kitten’s extreme growth spurt begins to level off at around 12 to 16 weeks of age. During this time, its adult teeth will start coming in and its digestive system will mature, making it easier to chew and eat solid foods. But these adolescents are still in growth mode with greater energy requirements than adult cats. They need a nutrient-dense, easily digestible whole food that is high in calories and animal protein—and so delicious they will want to eat it.
Tiki Cat Baby Chicken & Salmon Recipe and Tiki Cat Baby Chicken & Egg Recipe are two soft, wet whole food recipes that offer complete and balanced nutrition for growing carnivores up to one year. Both are made with small tasty pieces of shredded chicken as their first ingredient and are high in calories and fat to support growth. The Chicken & Salmon Recipe also contains flaked salmon, while the Chicken & Egg Recipe includes easily digestible egg, enhancing the flavorful formulas. DHA and taurine are also included. Both recipes also offer extra hydration, since cats are not big water drinkers, but have evolved to get most of their moisture intake from their prey (or food).
Tiki Cat’s other wet diets are also formulated to provide the necessary hydration to felines. When a pet parent chooses to feed a dry cat food, it is essential that they continue giving added hydration.
With kittens under one year of age making up 13 percent of the cat population, according to Packaged Facts, pet professionals should take the opportunity to educate their clients about the specialized nutritional needs of this large group. By meeting young felines’ high calorie, animal protein and fat requirements, and providing nutrients that support organ development, in formats appropriate for each life stage, your clients will be assured of getting their kitties started on the right paw.
For more information on Tiki Cat Baby, please visit Tiki Cat® Baby for Kittens – Tiki Pets