When you adopted your kitten, you couldn't dream of feeding her anything but food designed for her growing body. Now that she's nearly grown, it's time to start thinking about a premium formula specially made for adult cats.
Though she still plays like a kitten, your adolescent cat is quickly maturing into an adult, and contrary to what some would have you believe, one food (whether it's kitten food or adult food) doesn't fit all cats. The nutritional needs of kittens and cats are vastly different, and it's critical to give your pet premium nutrition that's age-appropriate.
Does premium matter?
Why move your nearly grown kitten to a premium adult cat food? Because quality counts. It's important to continue the superb nutrition she's been getting from a premium kitten food into adulthood. Downgrading to a basic nutrition brand at this stage of her life may upset her digestive system and certainly won't provide her with the same type of nutrition she was raised on.
Think of a baby. When it's time to start giving him solid food, you wouldn't feed your child anything less than the best nutrition you can buy. The same is true for your maturing kitten. Premium foods such as IAMS ® are formulated with high quality ingredients to help maintain overall health. They're specifically designed to provide your cat with a formula that features:
- High-quality ingredients
- Balanced, optimal levels of protein, fat, moderately fermentable fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals which make costly supplements unnecessary
- Consistent high-quality recipes that do not change regardless of manufacturing costs
- Great taste proven by feeding
- Meeting or exceeding Association of American Feed Control Officials standards
- Nutrient-dense formulas that are right for each life stage
- Product guarantees
See the results
What do all of these features add up to? A happy, healthy cat. With premium cat food, you can expect to see these important indicators of good health. They contribute to providing your cat with a long, healthy life:
- Exceptional muscle tone
- A shiny, luxurious coat
- Healthy skin and bones
- Clear, bright eyes and clean teeth
- Small, firm stools
Founded upon decades of research, premium formulas from IAMS help maintain your cat's health and provide him with the nutrition he needs for a long life. Generic brands simply may not match the level of expertise that goes into every bag of IAMS Cat Food.
When to switch
When your cat is about 12 months of age, it's time to change her diet to a premium maintenance formula. When you transition your cat to an adult diet, it's important to monitor her weight and body condition and adjust portions if necessary.
Because cats generally eat only what they need, free-choice feeding is adequate for most cats. (Free-choice makes food available to your cat around the clock and lets her eat when and how much she needs.) Indoor cats that don't get much exercise, however, may overeat if fed free-choice. For them, portion-controlled feeding is a better routine. We recommend to split the daily ration into at least two meals per day.
To determine how much food to give your cat, check the recommendations of the pet food manufacturer on the label. Use the guidelines and weigh your cat on a weekly basis. If your cat is gaining or losing weight and shouldn't be, slightly adjust her daily intake and weigh again the following week.
How do you do it?
To avoid intestinal upsets, make the change from a kitten formula to an adult diet over a period of four days with the following method:
Day One: Fill your cat's dish with 75 percent kitten food and 25 percent adult food.
Day Two: Mix adult and kitten food in a 50/50 ratio.
Day Three: Feed your cat a mixture that's 75 percent adult food and 25 percent kitten food.
Day Four: Switch to 100 percent adult formula.
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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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