Murphy was a four year old boxer – bright and bouncy in all ways apart from an intermittent reaction to an unknown cause. Each time it would appear start with
Last year I had the delight of becoming a kitten owner. Having not experienced ‘kittenhood’ for over 14 years, I quickly realised that owning a kitten was not all plain sailing. A bit like having children, you learn as you go along and some of it can be down to trial and error but there are some things that can be learnt from experience….
Finding our Kitten
Meet Woody, my much loved, fawn British Shorthair kitten, who is turning one this month! @woodyandbuzz.bsh
Woody was found from a lovely small breeder in Essex who welcomed us to come and meet him and the rest of the litter, prior to making our decision to purchase. This is so valuable in choosing a kitten as it gives you the opportunity to observe their behaviour and decide if they have the right temperament; Woody was very confident and took to the kids straight away so I knew he would fit in with our family environment.
Finding a reputable breeder is so important. For me it came down to lots of research including:
- Looking on the GCCF cat register, where you can search by breed and location.
- Looking at breeders’ websites, social pages, reviews etc, this gives you a good feel for a breeder and then you can shortlist and make contact.
- Visiting the kitten and seeing the Mum & Dad (if possible). Breeders that don’t allow you to see the kitten before purchasing/collection was a big warning sign for me.
Choosing the food
It is usual practise for breeders to use a selected brand of kitten food and they tend to advise you to stick with it. Whilst this is a good idea as the kitten is settling in, it is of course entirely your choice what you feed your kitten. Woody was being fed a dry kitten kibble accompanied with fresh chicken and broccoli and there was no way I was going to maintain this! There is so much choice when it comes to kitten food that it can be overwhelming. Narrow it down by asking yourself a few questions:
- Do you want to feed wet food, dry food or a mixture of both?
- How important is convenience to you? Raw feeding involves defrosting or buying fresh regularly
- Ingredients – what is actually in the cat food? Types of meat, how much meat, what are the other ingredients? Read more about understanding the ingredients list.
- Is it grain free and what does that mean for my kitten?
- What other health benefits does the food offer for my kitten?
- Affordability and value for money. Am I getting the best kitten food for my budget?
I knew I wanted to feed a mixture of wet and dry, to get the benefits of both. ACANA offers both a wet premium pate and a dry kibble for kittens. The kibble contains 70% small prey ingredients with 5 different animal proteins including free-run chicken and whole herring. It has WholePrey ratios of meat, organs, cartilage and bone and supports a healthy skin and coat, strong muscle and bone growth and healthy eye and brain development. To complement this, the ACANA Premium Pate Kitten is made with 85% quality animal ingredients including chicken and fish and contains no grain ingredients.
Transitioning to the new food
A really important part of introducing a new kitten food is the transition stage from the old one to the new one. I learnt the hard (and messy) way that kittens can have very sensitive stomachs, so it is vital that they are transitioned slowly. I started introducing the new kibble by mixing 25% of the new food with 75% of the current food and increased the new food in 25% increments every couple of days, while decreasing his current food accordingly. It took me about 10 days to fully transition Woody onto the new ACANA First Feast Kitten dry kibble. Read full details of how to transition safely.
After a couple of weeks and once fully settled, he was slowly introduced to ACANA Premium Pate Kitten, fed alongside the kibble to add variety. I started with a very small amount at first, adjusting the feeding portions to find the right ratios for Woody.
Despite the slow transition, it wasn’t easy with Woody. He suffered with a very unsettled stomach at times, apparently very common in kittens. I soon discovered that he is a very greedy kitten and unbeknown to be me was often stealing things off the kitchen worktop. I left some chicken out one day to defrost and when I later came downstairs, he had taken it out of the freezer bag and eaten half of the frozen chicken breast! He did a similar thing with doughnuts and bread. We now have to ensure human food is out of his reach!!
What worked best?
It was a bit of a rollercoaster with Woody and food. Looking back, I think a lot of it was down to his greediness and getting hold of things he shouldn’t but what did help me on the journey was:
- Sticking to the feeding guidelines of recommended amount
- Not changing food often, it can take several weeks to transition and get used to new food
- Being vigilant that he was getting his usual food only (no treats etc) when his stomach was unsettled.
I have learnt that Woody has a very sensitive stomach (not helped by his greediness). He has now started to transition to ACANA Pacifica dry food in preparation for adulthood. ACANA Pacifica is a food for all life stages and is made with six different fish proteins and contains no grains, so is great for those with a sensitive stomach. As you can see, he is very content!
Written by Zoe Jones, Marketing Executive (and Cat Lover)