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Dietary Considerations for the 6 Stages of Your Cat’s Life

In order to ensure that your cat lives the longest, healthiest life possible it is important to understand the different life stages your cat will encounter. As a pet parent you will adjust your cat’s living environment, bedding, toys, and routines to meet dynamic needs. One of the most important considerations you will make in your life together is how you will meet your cat’s dietary requirements. Those will change at each stage based on activity level, metabolic rate, energy level, and more.

Stage 1. Birth to 4 Months: Newborn a.k.a. Itty Bitty Crazy Kitty

Your kitten spent the first 8-9 weeks of life nursing mother’s milk, which provided all the calories, nutrients, and immunity protection needed to get a great start in life. Typically kittens are not sent home with their humans until after the kitten is weaned. Once you get your little bundle of joy home, get ready! Most kittens at this stage of life have a pretty predictable routine. They eat, sleep, run around the house like a fur ball on fire and then start the process again.

Birth to 4 months for a kitten is equivalent to the first 10 years of a human life!

Your kitty is expending tons of energy in this stage. Not only does it take significant calories to fuel all that zooming, climbing, and leaping, the body is growing at an impressively fast rate. Getting the right mix of nutrients and adequate calories is vitally important at this stage. Your kitten’s food should include:

  • Fatty acids such as DHA, commonly from fish oil
  • Taurine for immune and digestive system development, heart health, and vision
  • Protein from meat sources
  • Calcium for bone health

Dr. Angie from “I and love and you” says that feeding your kitten canned food that has been watered down around the age of 8 weeks will help smooth the transition from milk to solid foods. “I and love and you” offers a wide variety of cat pates and stews that are appropriate for all life stages and include all of the recommended kitten nutrient requirements and then some. You just need to feed a kitten more than the recommended adult serving suggestion.

Stage 2. 7 months to 2 years: Junior a.k.a. Foot Loose and Fancy Free Kitty

In general, junior cats will still have energy to spare and copious amounts of curiosity. If your cat doesn’t go outside, now will be a prime time when escapes are constantly pursued. It’s perfectly understandable, as your cat is moving through adolescence into adulthood.

At 7 months to 2 years old, Juniors are the age equivalent of humans aged 12-27.

Stage 3. 3 years to 6 years: Prime a.k.a I’m the Bees Knees Kitty 

At this stage your cat is a bon-a-fide adult with (occasionally) the attitude to match. Your cat has life all figured out and really just needs you to recognize the inferiority of your species. Cats in their prime of the exact same age will vary widely on their activity levels. Some will still enjoy running around and playing, burning up calories like a kitten. Others will prefer to sleep in a sunny spot more often than not. As the person who knows your cat better than anyone, you will adjust serving sizes that match your cat’s activity level rather than just feeding the recommended serving on your cat food.

Cats aged 3-6 years are the human equivalent of 28-40 years old. Prime indeed!

Dietary recommendations are the same for the junior and prime life stages so they are included here together. From about 7 months to 6 years of age, food choices for your cat should:

  • Take into account any known digestive issues, like a sensitive stomach.
  • Provide appropriate levels of both fat and protein.
  • Contain taurine.
  • Be served according to activity level, not recommended serving size on the package.

“I and love and you” has a wide variety of recipes of both wet food and kibble that will appeal to your cat’s appetite. With fresh meat, veggies, fruit, and probiotics the “I and love and you” brand of pet foods provides your cat the absolute best in nutrition with a taste your cat will find purr-fect. Your cat will sail through adulthood with energy, a shiny coat, and a healthy body by eating “I and love and you” foods.

Stage 4. 7-10 years: Mature a.k.a. Midlife is Not a Crisis Kitty

This stage of life typically represents the middle of a cat’s life and beyond. Your cat will definitely have an opinion on all things and may become more assertive in demands related to food. It is at this time that finicky behaviors tend to show up, if they haven’t already. Cats are brilliantly smart and know what is best for them nutritionally. If your cat refuses food, you may want to assume it is for good reason and try a different brand or formula more suited to your cat’s needs and tastes.

7-10 year old cats are living in the human equivalent years of 40 – mid 50’s.

Just like us, this is the time in a cat’s life when it becomes easier to gain weight and much harder to lose it. You will need to monitor your cat’s weight, body condition, and calorie requirements closely to keep your cat within a healthy weight range. As activity levels decrease, the number of calories needed decrease as well.

"I and love and you"

Stage 5. 11-14 years: Senior a.k.a. The Retired Life Kitty

Your senior cat will continue to experience changing calorie requirements and activity levels. At this stage, many cats are more prone to lounge around and enjoy the napping lifestyle than to run around chasing toys. The main difference at this stage is that medical issues are more prevalent. Your cat is more susceptible to disease and will find it harder to fight illness during the senior years.

A senior cat of 11-14 years is the human equivalent of 60 – early 70’s.

Dietary considerations are similar for the mature and senior cat. They include:

  • Adjusting calories per serving to accommodate changing activity levels.
  • Avoiding obesity, which can lead to diabetes, arthritis, and other diseases.
  • Appealing to a changing appetite and preferences.
  • Ensuring your cat is always hydrated, as dehydration is more common in aging cats.

“I and love and you” has the perfect solution for your finicky eater. Meal Enhancers are a gravy-based pouch of delicious meats, vitamins, minerals, and veggies that even the most discerning cats find completely irresistible. Keep your cat’s changing tastes satisfied with a different meal topper every day.

Stage 6. 15+ years: Geriatric a.k.a. Sweet Thing Kitty

Once your cat hits the age of 15 or older, you may notice that your cat seeks attention more frequently and just wants to cuddle beside you for long periods of time. As an effect of the natural process of aging, your cat may experience more health problems including vision and hearing changes, weight loss, and dental issues such as broken or lost teeth.

Cats who live to the ripe age of 15+ are 75 and older in human years!

Your elderly kitty will need you to keep her comfortable and satisfied while eating. When choosing food for your older cat, consider:

  • Medical conditions that impact the ingredients your cat can tolerate.
  • Medications that may make your cat prone to dehydration.
  • Dental problems that make chewing painful.
  • Formulas that have high nutrient content to support longevity.

You will not find a cat food brand that offers higher-quality kibble and wet food options that are more gentle, pure, or fortified than “I and love and you.” Give your elderly cat the nutrition needed to enjoy these golden years.

“I and love and you” Cat Food Formulas Are Good for ALL Life Stages

“I and love and you” kibbles and wet foods are made from high-quality real meat, veggie, and fruit ingredients that are slow cooked to preserve nutrient content. They are formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages so they are perfectly suitable for all of your cats, regardless of age or stage.  Best of all, they are made and packed with love. The pet loving people at “I and love and you” started their business for the love of their own pets and now they share that love with you. Give “I and love and you” a try and see what a big difference a little love can make.

Exclusively for the iHeartCats community, “I and love and you.” is offering $10 off of any order with code ILY10!

Written by Kristen Cudd
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