Has Your Cat Outgrown Kitten Food?
Has Your Cat Outgrown Kitten Food?

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Has Your Cat Outgrown Kitten Food?

When you adopted your kitten, you couldn't dream of feeding her anything but food designed for her growing body. Now that she's nearly grown, it's time to start thinking about a premium formula specially made for adult cats.
Though she still plays like a kitten, your adolescent cat is quickly maturing into an adult, and contrary to what some would have you believe, one food (whether it's kitten food or adult food) doesn't fit all cats. The nutritional needs of kittens and cats are vastly different, and it's critical to give your pet premium nutrition that's age-appropriate.


Does premium matter?


Why move your nearly grown kitten to a premium adult cat food? Because quality counts. It's important to continue the superb nutrition she's been getting from a premium kitten food into adulthood. Downgrading to a basic nutrition brand at this stage of her life may upset her digestive system and certainly won't provide her with the same type of nutrition she was raised on.

Think of a baby. When it's time to start giving him solid food, you wouldn't feed your child anything less than the best nutrition you can buy. The same is true for your maturing kitten. Premium foods such as IAMS ® are formulated with high quality ingredients to help maintain overall health. They're specifically designed to provide your cat with a formula that features:

  • High-quality ingredients
  • Balanced, optimal levels of protein, fat, moderately fermentable fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals which make costly supplements unnecessary
  • Consistent high-quality recipes that do not change regardless of manufacturing costs
  • Great taste proven by feeding
  • Meeting or exceeding Association of American Feed Control Officials standards
  • Nutrient-dense formulas that are right for each life stage
  • Product guarantees

See the results

What do all of these features add up to? A happy, healthy cat. With premium cat food, you can expect to see these important indicators of good health. They contribute to providing your cat with a long, healthy life:

  • Exceptional muscle tone
  • A shiny, luxurious coat
  • Healthy skin and bones
  • Clear, bright eyes and clean teeth
  • Small, firm stools

Founded upon decades of research, premium formulas from IAMS help maintain your cat's health and provide him with the nutrition he needs for a long life. Generic brands simply may not match the level of expertise that goes into every bag of IAMS Cat Food.


When to switch


When your cat is about 12 months of age, it's time to change her diet to a premium maintenance formula. When you transition your cat to an adult diet, it's important to monitor her weight and body condition and adjust portions if necessary.

Because cats generally eat only what they need, free-choice feeding is adequate for most cats. (Free-choice makes food available to your cat around the clock and lets her eat when and how much she needs.) Indoor cats that don't get much exercise, however, may overeat if fed free-choice. For them, portion-controlled feeding is a better routine. We recommend to split the daily ration into at least two meals per day.

To determine how much food to give your cat, check the recommendations of the pet food manufacturer on the label. Use the guidelines and weigh your cat on a weekly basis. If your cat is gaining or losing weight and shouldn't be, slightly adjust her daily intake and weigh again the following week.


How do you do it?


To avoid intestinal upsets, make the change from a kitten formula to an adult diet over a period of four days with the following method:

Day One: Fill your cat's dish with 75 percent kitten food and 25 percent adult food.
Day Two: Mix adult and kitten food in a 50/50 ratio.
Day Three: Feed your cat a mixture that's 75 percent adult food and 25 percent kitten food.
Day Four: Switch to 100 percent adult formula.

  • Does Your Cat Have Tummy Troubles?
    Does Your Cat Have Tummy Troubles?

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    Does Your Cat Have Tummy Troubles?

    An upset stomach is more common in cats than you might think. But how can you tell if it's a serious problem?

    Every cat owner recognizes the warning signs of an upset feline stomach: the mournful meow, gagging, and heaving retch. But in a flash, the cat seems to snap back to good health while you're left scrubbing the carpet.

    The scenario is a familiar one for Cynthia Bowen of Cleveland, Ohio. As the owner of four Maine Coons, Bowen has cleaned her share of messes. "It would happen every couple of months or so," she says. "Otherwise, they were perfectly healthy."

    Although it's not a pleasant subject, vomiting is something cats seem to do almost on cue. Many cat owners accept this as a natural part of owning a pet, but it doesn't have to be that way. Knowing what triggers an upset stomach and what you can do about it will make for a better relationship with your cat.

     

    Cause for Alarm?

    Repeated cat vomiting should never be ignored because it can lead to dehydration. But, because vomiting is common in cats, how do you know what's normal? "A general guideline is that if the cat is vomiting one to three times a month, we consider this 'normal,'" says Dr. William Folger, a DVM from Houston.

    He considers it serious if the vomiting occurs twice daily for two or three days. If your cat stops eating, seems to have stomach pain, or retches continuously, or if there's blood in the vomit, take her to a veterinarian. And, as always, if you're suspicious that a lingering problem could be harmful to your pet, call your veterinarian. A visit to the office can help relieve your cat's discomfort and your worries as well.

     

    Why Cats Vomit

    Many owners attribute their cat's vomiting to hairballs, but that's not the only culprit. "It's careless to assume that most cases of vomiting in cats are due to hairballs," says Dr. Folger. Two other frequent causes of an upset stomach are:

    • Eating too fast. Cats sometimes eat too much, too fast. When the stomach wall expands too quickly, a signal is sent to the brain to cause regurgitation. In these cases, the mess on your floor is from regurgitation, not actual vomiting. When a cat regurgitates, he brings up fluid and food from his esophagus by opening his mouth–unlike vomiting, where there's gagging and retching. Regurgitated food is still formed, and may smell fermented. "Cats that eat too quickly because they are gluttonous or stressed by food bowl competition can regurgitate right after eating," says Dr. Sara Stephens, a DVM from Montana. But don't assume regurgitation is always a case of eating too fast. It could be caused by esophageal problems, obstruction of the digestive tract, hairballs, or dehydration. If you've forced your cat to eat slowly and he still has problems, contact a veterinarian.
       
    • Curiosity. Grass, carpet, and toilet paper are just a few things cats may digest and later vomit. The vomiting is a protective mechanism–nature's way of cleansing your cat’s system. Sometimes, though, curiosity can lead to more serious problems. String, toy parts, and feathers are favorites of playful felines and can lodge in the stomach or intestine, causing repeated vomiting and severe distress. If your cat exhibits these symptoms, take her to a veterinarian immediately; surgery is often necessary to remove the object.

     

    Preventative Measures

    Often, owners accept their pet's vomiting as a natural part of their behavior, but just because cats seem to have more than their fair share of tummy troubles doesn't mean you have to sit idly by.

    One simple preventative measure is to get your fast-eating cat to slow down or to simply eat less. Stephens recommends smaller portions, elevating your cat's food dish slightly, or putting an object, such as a ball, into the dish. The cat will be forced to eat around the ball, and thus her intake will be slowed. If you do this, make sure the ball isn't small enough to swallow. And you may need to feed cats in a multiple-cat household at different times and places to reduce competitive eating.

    If simple solutions don't work, watch your cat's eating behavior and reactions. Bowen, for example, tried changing her cats' diets. "Since switching to IAMS®, they rarely throw up," Bowen says.

     

    "Usually, when you change to a higher-quality diet, there is no problem," Stephens says. Here are some tips for helping make sure your cat's change is as successful and comfortable as possible:

    • Go slowly. Make the transition gradually to allow your cat time to adjust. "Make sure the cat eats something every day," Stephens advises. "A cat that quits eating suddenly can develop liver problems."
       
    • Add appeal. Switching from wet to dry or vice versa should also be done gradually. Many cats find canned food more palatable. If you switch to dry, add water and warm it slightly for more appeal. Discard uneaten food after 20 minutes to prevent spoilage.
       
    • Measure up. How much should you feed? Your cat's age, sex, breed, activity level, and overall health need to be taken into consideration. Talk with your veterinarian, then read the manufacturer's recommendations. Premium foods like IAMS cat foods are more nutrient-dense than many non-premium diets, so don't be surprised if the recommended amounts seem low.
       
    • Pay attention. Beyond careful measuring, also regularly weigh your cat and adjust the feeding amount accordingly after switching to a premium food. Your cat may appear happy if you overfeed him. But over time, he may become overweight. Tummy troubles can be in the past with your veterinarian’s help and a little effort on your part.

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