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Can Kittens Eat Adult Cat Food?

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Are you a little overwhelmed at the prospect of bringing your fluffy kitten home for the first time? Browsing the pet food aisles at your local store can leave you feeling confused and inundated with information. It might be easier for you to just purchase the same bag of food you buy for your older cat. Can kittens eat adult cat food?

Before you leave the pet store, here are a few things you need to know about your new kitten’s diet.

In this article:

  • Why do kittens need a different food?
  • Can kittens eat adult food?
  • How to transition to adult cat food

Why Do Kittens Need a Different Food?

Pet owners might look at all of the food options and wonder which ones their cat can have. The fact is that kittens need a drastically different diet than your adult cats. Young kittens have a lot of energy to jump and play all day long, so they really need a diet that can support that.

Can Kittens Eat Adult Cat Food? | Fluffy Kitty

According to the ASPCA, kittens actually have about two to three times more energy than an adult cat. Up to thirty percent of this energy comes directly from the protein in their diet. Overall, this means that a bag of food specially formulated for kittens will require significantly more protein than adult cat food.

This isn’t the only difference in the diet though. Kittens are prone to growing much bigger and at rapid rates during the first year of life.

Growing like this will require them to have more nutrients, protein, and vitamins than an adult cat will really need. The way they grow and metabolize their food is the significant reason why kittens need a different diet than adult cats.

Can Kittens Eat Adult Cat Food?

In general, it is not a good idea for kittens to be fed adult cat food.

You can very easily find a store-bought bag of kitten food that would meet all of your new cat’s nutritional needs. Be sure to keep your eyes open for a bag that matches this description in order to give your little feline the protein and nutrients it needs.

Can kittens eat adult cat food by accident? If your kitten accidentally eats a few morsels of adult cat food, it’s going to be okay. You can give your kitten some adult cat food occasionally to fill him up if you are all out of kitten food.

Can Kittens Eat Adult Cat Food? | Fluffy Kitty

If you have the option to purchase kitten food, please do so to be sure that you keep your feline friend as healthy as possible! A kitten should really have kitten food to support its growing body with this specially formulated food.

How to Transition to Adult Cat Food

Most experts recommend transitioning from kitten food to cat food around the one-year mark. Do this slowly over the course of several days to avoid giving your cat an upset tummy.

Try this schedule to make your transition as smooth as possible:

  • Fill your cat’s dish with ¾ kitten food and the remaining ¼ adult food.
  • Mix the two foods half and half.
  • Fill your cat’s dish with ¾ adult food and the remaining ¼ kitten food.
  • Fill your cat’s dish with all adult food.

Final Thoughts: Can Kittens Eat Adult Cat Food?

Can kittens eat adult cat food? This is a question many pet owners struggle with, but the answer is really rather simple. You should always feed kittens specially formulated food when given the opportunity to do so. Adult cat food won’t hurt them once in a while, but it isn’t the best thing for them long-term.


Sunday 12th of May 2019

SO why cant a kitten have adult cat food if its high in protein and fat and healthy for them? makes no sense.

Brittany, Paul, & Yoda =^^=

Monday 13th of May 2019

Good question, Stacey! We're not vets, but from what we already know, kittens grow super rapidly - at least 3x than normal growth during their first year of kittenhood. Meaning, they require a heck a lot more calories and energy, mainly via protein (but also for amino acids, minerals, and vitamins) than adult cats with a stable indoor adulthood lifestyle. Kitten foods are therefore specially formulated to satisfy these high-requirements, whereas adult cat foods have lower content that mirrors their natural growth and development requirements. Next time you're at the vet, double check the info and let us know what they say!