Can Kitten Eat Adult Cat Food?

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As a new parent to your pet, feeling happy and overwhelmed is natural. When it comes to the dietary requirement for your kittens, questions like, “what is the best food for my kitten?” “Is adult cat food good for my kitten?” will surely come to your mind. A balanced and nutritious diet is all your kitten needs to stay happy and fit. But is it okay to feed them food meant for grown-up cats?


Well, the answer is no. You should never feed kittens adult cat food. Kitten food is infused with unique nutrients and higher calorie content to help them grow faster. You must provide them only with kitten food rich in proteins, vitamins, and fat as a good foundation for growth.


This article will explain why you must not feed a kitten with adult cat food and what are their harmful effects.


Can My Kitten Eat Adult Cat Food?

The period of growth and development in kittens is exceptionally crucial, and as a new cat parent, you must take care of their dietary needs with the correct supplements. Adult cat food and kitten food are not the same, and kittens must never be fed with anything apart from food for kittens.


Since kittens are highly energetic, they need lots of proteins and fats not present in adult cat food. One of the essential components in kitten food is DHA which helps kittens develop their vision and brain functions. DHA, along with other nutrients in kitten food, is vital for the immune system of kittens.


Harmful Effects of Adult Cat Food on Kittens

Adult cat food and kitten food generally differ in the number of fatty acids and protein content in them. Formulated kitten food is designed to provide your kittens with the correct amount of nutrients, mainly since kittens mostly never feed on their mother’s milk once you bring them home. The harmful effects of adult cat food on kittens are mentioned below.


1. Lack of Growth: Kittens will not grow into their best versions if they are fed with adult cat food. Because of the lack of vital nutrients, their body will miss out on the growth essentials.
2. Malnutrition: Your kitten will often fall sick and show irritable behavior when they are not gaining the body weight required.
3. Poor Skin and Fur on the Body: Your kitten will look skinny and have wrinkled skin with insufficient fur coating when fed with adult cat food.
4. Multiple Organ Failure: Adult cat foods will not be able to provide your kittens with the right amount of proteins and fat, which will lead to a lack of enzyme production. The immune system will keep weakening, and, lastly, organ failure in kittens.


Proper Nutritional Requirements for Healthy Growth in Kittens

The period between birth and the next four weeks is an essential phase in a kitten’s life. During this phase, kittens obtain most of the crucial requirements from their mother’s milk. After this period, they are ready to consume solid foods.


With so many kitten food products on the market, it is essential to know the crucial nutrients that pet owners must prefer. The nutrients required for growth in kittens are not present in adult cat food.


So, below are mentioned the 3 of the essential nutrients for kittens.

1. Proteins: They are the main building blocks for every carnivorous species and are extremely important for kittens. Protein is the primary nutrient for forming muscles, skin, fur, nails, internal organs, regeneration of dead cells, growth, and repair. It also helps create enzymes that protect the immune system in kittens.
2. Fats:  These elements are another chief requirement for growing kittens. Fats provide kittens with energy which is required for their rapid growth. Omega 3 fatty acids are critical for developing retinal function in the kitten. Adult cat food does not have the essential fats needed for kittens.
3. Calcium and Phosphorus: Bones grow pretty quickly in kittens, and calcium aids in the development of bones. Calcium and phosphorus are critical contributing nutrients to the increase of bone mass in kittens and are not present in adult cat food.


How to Select the Right Commercial Kitten Food?

Improper diet can adversely affect kittens and even lead to fatality. In this scenario, you must not compromise the health of your kittens and give them the best. Always do the following before selecting the right readymade food for your kittens.


  • Read through the nutrients contained in the food packet and check if it is suitable for your little fur ball.
  • Consider taking the recommendation of experienced cat owners.
  • Consult your vet before purchasing to know the right amount of nutrients your kitten needs according to age and weight.

For instance, IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH is a highly recommended kitten dry food infused with vital nutrients, and your kittens will love to feast on it.



Other Food that You Should Not Feed to Kittens

The digestive tract of kittens is still developing and much smaller than a grown cat. There are food items that may cause them digestion trouble and even diarrhea. From the table below, let’s look at such food items and their harmful effects on kittens.


Food Items

Effect on Kittens

Dairy products such as milk
Most kittens have not developed the enzyme required to digest milk, making them lactose intolerant. Milk or milk-related products can cause dehydration and severe diarrhea.
Allium vegetables such as garlic, onion, and chives
Allium vegetables can break down the red blood cells in kittens resulting in anemia and other fatal diseases
Berries and citrus fruits
The citric acid in citrus fruits and berries causes vomiting in kittens and sometimes even leads to kidney damage.
Coconut milk and flesh
Coconut contains a high amount of potassium, leading to digestion problems in kittens and causing muscle weakness.


Kittens are active little creatures who love to nibble on anything available around their sight. Pet parents must be careful and pay full attention while your kitten is in its developing phase.



While still at their early growth stage, you must take good care of kittens. Nutritious kitten food, along with lots of attention and love, can help your kittens to grow to their full strength. A healthy kitten will grow up to be the fittest and most beautiful cat.

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