Adapting your cat’s diet throughout their life
What you choose to feed your cat can make all the difference...
We love our feline friends and want the very best for them, which is why it’s important to understand their different life stages – and how what we feed them can benefit their health and wellbeing.
From tiny, mischievous kitten to elegant adult, right through to their golden oldie years, choosing high quality cat food will provide your favourite feline with the right balance of protein, vitamins, and minerals that they need to stay in tip-top condition.
It’s been estimated that kittens grow at roughly 15 times the rate of a human baby and so, at this point in their life, need a diet that’s high in energy, boosted with extra minerals and vitamins to support that rapid growth. And, with an average life expectancy of around 16 years and counting, it’s no surprise that a cat’s nutrition needs change over time.
THE LIFESTAGES OF CATS
- Kitten – 0-6 months – a period when the young cat is growing rapidly
- Junior – 7 months to 2 years – during this time the cat reaches full size and learns about life and how to survive it
- Prime – 3 to 6 years – the cat is mature physically and behaviourally, and is still usually healthy and active, looking sleek and shiny and making the best of life
- Mature – 7 to 10 years – the cat is equivalent to humans in their mid-40s to mid-50s
- Senior – 11–14 years – this age takes the cat up to the equivalent of about 70 human years
- Super Senior – 15 years+ – this is equivalent to around 80 human years – many cats do reach this stage, some not showing any signs of being so senior in age!
Source: International Cat Care
Cats are carnivores
Just like lions, tigers and panthers, domestic cats – from beautiful Bengals to glamorous Persians, affectionate British Shorthairs and playful Ragdolls – are ‘obligate’ or ‘true carnivores’, which means they must eat meat to survive and thrive. All cats require nutrients found only in animal flesh. While they might be able to ingest small amounts of plant matter, they’re not able to fully digest it.
DID YOU KNOW?
Complete foods are those which will deliver all your cat’s required nutrients in their daily ration. Complementary diets have high or low levels of certain nutrients and are therefore only complete when fed in conjunction with other foods. All the recipes in the Burgess Cat Food range are complete. This means that you can be sure you are providing your cat with all the nutrients they require in exactly the right proportions, so you don’t have to worry about balancing their diet.
EARLY DAYS – HELPING YOUR KITTEN TO THRIVE
Kittens go through so many stages as they mature into adult cats that it’s essential to get up to speed with their constantly changing needs and important kitten milestones.
From around five weeks of age, when kittens are learning to walk, play and groom, the weaning process can begin, although kittens are still regularly nursing from their mother.
They can try some solid kitten food – very small amounts at first, softened with water and mashed up, served in a shallow bowl. Gradually increase the amount they eat as they grow. Follow the on-pack guidelines to ensure you are feeding the correct amount for the weight of your kitten.
Remember to supply your cat with plenty of fresh water, but in a separate place to their feeding area. A cat’s motivation to drink is not connected to hunger, so many find it confusing when water bowls are set out next to their food. Lots aren’t keen on drinking water from a bowl, preferring moving water to still – so it may be worth investing in a cat fountain if you don’t want them drinking from a dripping tap!
By eight weeks, kittens should have almost all of their baby teeth and be eating mostly solid food. They can stay on this food until they reach a year old.
Choosing a high quality, complete kitten food will ensure your young cat will get all the essential nutrients they need to get the very best start in life.
Burgess Kitten Chicken has a unique recipe that contains a balance of highly digestible proteins and essential amino acids to help build muscle, calcium to support developing bones and teeth, antioxidants to support your kitten’s immune system, and essential fatty acids to support healthy skin and a shiny coat.
Changing up your cat’s diet from kitten to adult is something that has to be done gradually, to avoid upset tummies. You should plan to do this over a week or two by gradually introducing more of the new adult cat food and reducing the old food.
THE ADULT CAT – HELPING YOUR FELINE FRIEND ENJOY THE PRIME OF LIFE
When the time comes to move your young cat onto adult cat food, you want to be sure that you’re making the right choice. Providing your cat with a nutritionally balanced, complete diet will help keep them in tip top condition during the prime of their life. Adult cat food is suitable for cats from 12 months, up to 7 years.
DID YOU KNOW?
It’s estimated that up to 70% of cats develop dental disease by the age of three. That’s why – along with premium ingredients to ensure excellent quality and superior taste – Burgess Adult Cat Food contains a specialist ingredient which helps to promote an all-round healthy mouth.
- High levels of protein to build and maintain muscles and body condition
- Vitamins and minerals to help develop and maintain healthy bones, teeth, nervous and immune system
- Taurine – an essential amino acid required by cats for good health, vision and heart functions Prebiotics to support beneficial gut bacteria
- Essential fats to provide energy and deliver omega 3 and 6 to help maintain a health coat, skin, heart, brain and joints
- Carbohydrates to provide energy, help with food digestion and for forming firm poos!
Burgess Adult Cat Chicken with Duck and Adult Cat with Salmon contain elevated levels of protein to support obligate carnivores, taurine for a healthy heart and essential fatty acids for a healthy skin and shiny coat. Natural antioxidants help support your cat’s immune system and there are natural prebiotics for a healthy gut.
The amount of food your cat needs depends on your cat’s age and lifestyle. For instance, house cats may need less calories than cats who spend much of their day roaming outdoors. Find out more with our Cat & Kitten Feeding Guide >>
HELPING NEUTERED CATS MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT
Most pet cats are neutered when they are young adults. Neutering both males and females tends to slow their metabolic rate, so that they use the food that they take in more efficiently.
It’s important to ensure neutered cats are fed a complete, balanced adult food, in the correct amounts to meet their nutrition needs, but guarding against obesity. ‘Light’ diets can also help those pets who find maintaining their weight a bit of a challenge!
When serving up food for your favourite feline, the golden rule is don’t guestimate. Measure out each meal accurately. Giving your cat a little more than they need means that you run the risk of your cat becoming overweight, which can lead to all manner of health problems. Equally, if you don’t feed enough, your pet will not be getting all the nutrients they need and will become underweight. Unlike wet cat food, dry cat food stays fresh inside the pack until you’re ready to serve it to your cat. And, by following the on-pack instructions, it’s easy to measure out exactly the right sized portion.
Burgess Neutered Cat with Chicken is an advanced, high protein, complete food with added L-Carnitine to help maintain a healthy weight. Just 48 hours after neutering, cats need an estimated 20% fewer calories and neutered cats are more prone to weight gain.
Is your cat the correct weight? Cats Protection advises: “Overweight cats are usually defined as being more than 15% over their ideal weight and obese cats are more than 30% over their ideal weight. You should be able to feel your cat's ribs easily when you stroke their body lightly and you should clearly see a waistline when you look at them from above.” UK Pet Food has Cat Size-O-Meter you can download here >>. International Cat Care also has a useful Body & Muscle Condition Score chart that can help you identify if your cat is very thin, thin, normal, overweight or obese.
HELPING GOLDEN OLDIE CATS LIVE THEIR BEST LIFE
Many older cats – from age 7 onwards – develop specific conditions, such as arthritis – some of which can be eased by diet. Top quality cat food for senior cats should contain easily digestible, high-quality protein along with ingredients that help alleviate the signs of ageing – such as stiff joints, coat quality and urinary tract health – to help the more mature feline enjoy a great quality of life during their golden years.
Protein levels will generally be restricted, since the kidneys of many older cats are unable to cope with a high protein diet, but enough good quality protein must be provided to keep their body tissues in good repair. Older cats absorb food less efficiently and tend to lose weight, so senior feline diets tend to have a higher calorie content than a normal adult food.
Burgess Mature Cat with Turkey & Cranberry is specially designed to support your cat into their senior years and includes highly digestible proteins to help maintain strong muscles, natural antioxidants to support the immune system and glucosamine to support healthy joints.
Cats naturally eat lots of small meals per day. Try to split their daily intake into several small meals (unless advised otherwise by your vet). In the wild, cats have to work for their food, which exercises their bodies and stimulates their minds. Providing a complete dry cat food in a variety of ways, such as treat balls or cat puzzles can deliver a much more exciting and rewarding experience for your cat.
GOOD TO KNOW At Burgess, all our cat food is made at our own factory in the heart of Yorkshire, using only ingredients that meet our stringent specifications – locally sourced wherever possible to support British farmers.
Caroline recently posted a FIVE STAR REVIEW “Exactly as described, our two cats love it, and it seems to be much more agreeable on their digestion than the more mainstream stuff.” Zeynep told us: “My kitten so healthy and he is enjoying it.” Bibz added: “Very impressed with product and my cats won’t eat anything else.”
NEED MORE ADVICE? If you are at all unsure about the best way of feeding your cat or have any concerns about specific nutritional requirements at different times of their life, ask your veterinary practice for advice. You can also contact our expert team who can help with your cat food query. Call us between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday on +44 (0)1405 862241 or fill in our online contact form.
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