At about 12 months, your cat no longer requires the high levels of minerals, protein, and energy needed while he was a quickly growing kitten. So switch him to a high-quality food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Original with Chicken, which is specifically balanced for the nutritional needs of adult cats. When choosing food, follow these steps.
- Read the nutritional claims on food packages. Check the label to make sure the food is appropriate for the stage of your cat's life (kitten, adult, or senior). Also, look for a statement saying that the food meets the requirements of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). If your cat's food doesn't have the AAFCO’s nutritional claim on its label, there is no guarantee that your cat will get a complete and balanced diet.
- Choose premium food. Premium cat foods, which generally use higher-quality, more easily digestible ingredients, are more nutrient-dense than the less expensive brands. So, your cat will get the calories he needs by eating less food. As a result, the difference in actual cost of feeding him premium food instead of generic may be only a couple of cents a day.
- Consult your veterinarian. Because your cat's nutritional needs change as he grows older and certain medical conditions require a special diet, always talk with your vet about cat feeding specifics, including what–and how much–to feed your cat.
Once you've selected a food, establish healthy feeding habits.
- Always measure the food you feed your cat. Start with the portion recommended on the package, even though the serving size may not be ideal to keep your cat healthy. If he doesn't eat all of the food or starts to gain too much weight, cut back the portions; if he begins to look thin, increase the amount until he's maintaining a healthy weight.
- Create a cat feeding schedule. Nutritionally, one meal a day is OK for adult cats. If your cat seems hungry more often, try multiple smaller meals at established times. Remember, more mealtimes shouldn't mean more food. Split up the recommended serving size to create several meals.
- Consider free-feeding for fit and trim pets. Leaving dry food available all day so your cat can nibble whenever he likes will work if he's at a healthy weight. If he's overweight or overeats, or you can't gauge how much he's eating because other pets share his food, it's best not to leave food out.
- Ban table scraps and limit treats. Not only are they high in fat and calories, but they also can interfere with the correct—and complete—nutrition your cat is getting from his food.
- Introduce new food gradually. Whenever you want to begin your cat on a new food, mix it in with the old. Start with a small amount of new food and increase the percentage over several days. Cats are more likely to accept change if it happens slowly, and their digestive systems are less likely to be upset.
- Keep fresh water in a clean bowl available at all times. Cats need water to help regulate their body temperature, digest their food, and eliminate waste, among other things. Providing plenty of fresh water is especially important if your cat eats only dry food or is prone to urinary tract blockages.
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Taurine is an important component found in all IAMS™ kitten and cat foods. This important amino acid is essential for cats of all ages, and critical for healthy development, normal heart muscle function, vision and reproduction. It even aids in digestion!
Unlike other amino acids, taurine is found as a free amino acid in body tissues, such as the heart and eyes, and is not incorporated into proteins.
Most mammals manufacture taurine from other amino acids, but cats and kittens need more than their bodies can produce and rely on their food to make up the difference. Pet food’s animal-based protein ingredients are natural taurine sources, and the amino acid can also be added to pet food recipes on its own.
Why Does IAMS™ Add Taurine to Kitten and Cat Food?
All IAMS™ kitten and cat foods are formulated with high-quality animal-based proteins that are naturally rich in taurine as their primary ingredient. So why supplement these foods with additional taurine? Two reasons: natural variability and the production process.
IAMS™ Dry Cat Food: The Natural Variability
IAMS™ dry cat and kitten foods include taurine to supplement each food’s primary source of the amino acid — an animal-based protein like chicken, egg, lamb or fish. These natural sources naturally vary in their nutrient content, so adding supplemental taurine helps ensure your cat or kitten is getting enough in their diet every day.
IAMS™ Wet Cat Food: The Production Process
For wet food, the canning process itself may affect the complex taurine balance of the food. That means IAMS™ wet cat foods must contain more taurine, as much as twice the taurine found in dry food, to ensure cats are getting enough.
Symptoms of Taurine Deficiency in Cats and Kittens
Cats and kittens need their taurine! Kittens need taurine for healthy growth and development, and adult cats that don’t get enough taurine can develop serious health conditions. Low levels of taurine put your pet at risk for preventable health conditions that can become serious over time.
Impaired Vision and Blindness
Taurine is essential to the proper development and ongoing health of feline eyes, particularly the retinas. Without enough taurine, retinal cells can’t function properly and may die, which can cause impaired vision and even blindness (a process called feline central retinal degeneration).
Taurine plays a key role in supporting cardiovascular health, too. A lack of taurine weakens the heart muscle, which, in turn, can lead to heart failure. This condition is known as dilated cardiomyopathy and can be fatal.
Decreased Reproductive Performance and Growth
Optimal reproductive health and growth also rely on taurine to complete a number of important health processes. Maintaining adequate levels during pregnancy, nursing and early growth helps ensure proper structural development for kittens and wellness for the mother.
Feeding your pet well is an important part of taking care of them. Learning the importance of ingredients like taurine is one way you can ensure you’re giving them exactly what their body needs. By giving your kitten a healthy start and understanding their nutritional needs, you’re giving them the best shot at a long, healthy and happy future. Your cat would thank you if they could!
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