Raising a kitten is one of the most enjoyable experiences a pet owner can have, but it can also be as challenging as it is rewarding. When it comes to your kitten’s diet, it’s important to set up a solid foundation to make sure your kitten grows into a healthy, well-adjusted cat.
Feeding Your Kitten during the First 6 Months
The timeline for feeding your newborn kitten changes rapidly during the first six months. The following is a broad overview of the key development milestones your kitten will experience to help you learn what and how you should feed the newest member of your family.
Common Milestones for Kitten Development
|7-10 days old||Kittens begin to urinate and defecate on their own.|
|10-18 days old||Kittens attempt to stand.
Kittens double their birth weight at about day 14.
Kittens’ eyes begin to open.
Kittens’ ears begin to open.
|18-21 days old||Kittens hear and respond to noises.
Kittens begin to walk.
|3 weeks old||Begin weaning process for orphaned kittens.
Kittens begin responsive vocalization.
Deciduous (baby) teeth will begin erupting.
|4 weeks old||Begin weaning process for mother-fed kittens.|
|3-6 months old||Kittens’ adult teeth erupt.|
Due to breed differences and animal individuality, it is impossible to predict exact dates for growth and development milestones for kittens. However, by using these milestones as a guide for healthy growth, you can spot and possibly prevent developmental problems early on.
How to Wean Kittens with IAMS™
When your kitten reaches 4 weeks old (or 3 weeks old for orphaned kittens), you can begin the weaning process. Follow this step-by-step process to wean a kitten using IAMS:
- Introduce a small amount of water in a shallow dish. Most kittens will play in the water; however, within four or five days, they begin to develop drinking skills. Some kittens may require longer periods for training, so don’t be discouraged if they resist bowl training.
- Begin mixing IAMS™ Perfect Portions™ Kitten Premium Pate with Chicken with water. Be sure to also provide a separate dish for fresh water.
- Gradually increase the amount of soft food while decreasing the amount of water in the mixture until the kitten is eating soft food only.
- Repeat the process, mixing the appropriate dry IAMS kitten food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Healthy Kitten, with the soft food, and then increasing the solid food while decreasing the soft food until the transition is complete.
The entire process should take approximately three weeks.
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Understanding and learning how to decipher kitten food product codes will help you choose the right kitten food. While selecting the right ingredients is important, making sure those ingredients are fresh is just as vital to your young cat. Learn how to read the product codes of kitten food packages and cans with our handy guide.
What Is a Product Code?
A product code is a series of numbers and letters printed on the outer package of each product a manufacturer produces. This code provides information about when and where the kitten food was made.
As part of the product code, IAMS™ products include a “Best Used By” date, or the date at which the product is no longer considered fresh and should no longer be sold. This date is expressed in “ddmmyy” and “ddmmmyy” formats.
The second line of the product code represents company internal information for use in traceability and inventory control.
Line 1: (ddmmyy) (ddmmmyy)
Example: 040220 04FEB20
Line 2: 60351111## QQQQQQQ
This product should be used before February 4, 2020.
Depending on the production line, pouch products* may have code date information in a single or double line. By recognizing and understanding these codes, customers can make sure they are receiving a fresh product.
What Is Shelf Life?
Shelf life is the duration, measured in months, during which a properly stored kitten food product maintains its freshness. This means if a product has a 16-month shelf life, it is fresh for up to 16 months from the date of manufacture.
The shelf life for IAMS dry kitten foods is 16 months. All canned formulas have a shelf life of 24 months.
How to Properly Store Dry and Wet Kitten Food
Unopened dry kitten food products are best stored off the floor in a cool, dry place. Open bags of kitten food should be stored in a clean, dry container with a tight seal. Dry kitten food products may also be frozen without loss of nutrients.
Opened wet kitten food products are best kept refrigerated in tightly sealed containers for no more than three days after the container has been opened. Wet products should not be frozen in unopened cans. However, wet kitten foods can be frozen if removed from the container, packed in freezer containers and frozen immediately.
*IAMS has no kitten pouch products at this time.
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