Because adult cats have stopped growing and are typically more sedentary than kittens, switching to an adult cat food with less calories and a different nutritional profile is important to ensure your cat doesn’t develop health issues like obesity. Typically, adult cat foods will have less protein and fats than kitten food, and the vitamin and mineral ratios will be different too, as the priority switches from growth to maintenance of health.
How to Make the Transition
Once your kitten is reaching maturity and it’s time to start transitioning to adult cat food, it’s important to make the transition gradually, slowly increasing the amount of new food and decreasing the old food. Typically, this process occurs over a period of a week to 10 days, but keep an eye on your cat to see how she is handling the switch, as it’s difficult to predict her reaction until she tries it.
Letting your cat’s digestive system get acclimated to the new food is the main reason for taking the switch slowly. Because cats generally eat the same thing every day, the microbes (bacteria and yeasts) they develop in their intestinal system are tailored to digesting that specific diet. As a result, quickly changing your cat’s diet doesn’t give the microbes in your cat’s gut enough time to adjust, which can lead to an upset stomach and symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.
In order to prevent this, start with a small amount (no more than 25% of the total food) of the new food mixed in with the old food for at least the first two days. Then, transition to a 50/50 split between the old and new food for 2 or more days, and then increasing to 75% new and 25% old. Finally, after 7 or 8 days, you can try giving your cat only the new food.
Alternatively, you can provide two separate food dishes instead of mixing, but still providing less of the old food to encourage your cat to at least try the new food.
From Kitten to Cat
The transition from kitten to adult food is part of your cat’s journey of growing up. If it doesn’t seem to be going as smoothly as you’d like, don’t lose hope. Keep a positive and loving attitude, remember the tips and information above, and remember that many cats are notoriously picky eaters. You may have to try more than one adult food to find the one your cat really adores.