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Cats and Kittens: What’s the Difference?

Becoming a pet owner is an exciting development in anyone’s life, but it comes with challenges. Caring for your pet effectively, in a way that keeps them healthy, happy and fulfilled in the long term is a big responsibility. The key is specificity – making sure you’re providing the very specific kind of care your pet needs. A one size fits all approach simply isn’t enough.

Today we’re taking a look at cats and kittens – specifically the different kind of care you need to give a kitten as it ages into a cat, and the unique challenges and risks each life stage brings with it.

Kittens and Food

It’s important to make sure you’re feeding a kitten the right food for its stage of life, not simply generic cat food. While a kitten can begin to look like an adult cat from six months of age, they’re a kitten in terms of the changes their body is going through and the nutrients needed to support those changes until a year old. Look for food formulated for kittens to make sure you’re feeding that need for growth!

Kittens can also suffer issues with food, and it’s important to be aware of what to do, as for kittens diarrhea and vomiting is a more serious issue than it is for adult cats. Kittens are smaller, slighter and less robust than adult cats, which means that even if the causes of a bout of diarrhea aren’t serious, the knock effects of weakness and dehydration could be much more dangerous.

Be active in monitoring your cat’s condition – if you note that they suffer from gastric trouble after eating a particular food, then you may have discovered an allergy or intolerance! You should also be wary of using too many treats or giving your kitten dairy products – these can all lead to upset stomachs.

Going Outside

Many cats like to explore outside, maintain a territory, and even hunt (though you can try to reduce the desire to hunt in your cats). You should keep your kittens inside though, until they are at least six months old. This gives them time to finish their vaccinations, to keep them safe from common infections, to be neutered, and to grow in size, strength and independence.

While kittens are more energetic, whether it’s a kitten you’re keeping indoors, or an older cat that you’d rather keep as an indoor cat, it’s important to provide both physical and mental stimulation. From places they can explore, to play that replicates some of the satisfaction of the hunt, to food challenges that make dinner more interesting for them, the importance of this kind of enrichment is one way kittens and cats are very similar.