L'alimentazione del gattino, cosa dargli da mangiare?

Diet for baby kittens, what should I feed them?

 The kitten, regardless of size, is not a small cat, but the cat's baby. Precisely for this reason, it is very important to be able to understand that the kitten's organism is different from an adult cat, and consequently also has its specific needs. The fundamental aspect on which this concept must be applied is above all that of nutrition.

So let's see what his nutritional needs are and what the kitten's diet should be based on.

The kitten’s body

The kitten, as we said before, does not have the same physical characteristics as an adult cat.

  • Stomach: the proportions of the stomach of the two animals are very different. The kitten has a very small digestive system, so it will need smaller rations, but well divided over the course of the day;
  • Intestine: the intestine of the kitten, especially if it is still very small, is structured to follow the digestion of mother's milk only. Only after 4 weeks of age it will begin to undergo changes that will allow it to digest some foods offered by the mother. Despite this, it is still very delicate, so giving the kitten adults foods could cause diarrhoea and indigestion;
  • Nutrients: kittens grow very quickly and to do so the body needs a lot of calories and nutrients. For example, a kitten is like a house which is still under construction, while the adult cat is a building that needs to be often renovated. To be able to build a house from scratch, you need money, bricks, concrete, plants and everything else. On the other hand, to renovate, the money and materials needed are much lower. Similarly, in order to guarantee the right growth to the kitten, much more calories and nutrients will be needed;
  • Teeth: Kittens, just like babies, are born without teeth. It is only from the second week that the first milk teeth begin to appear, to complete the non-definitive teething around 50-60 days of age. Permanent teeth, on the other hand, do not appear before 6 months. For this reason, the specific food for kittens must also be very easy to chew, with smaller and softer kibble, adapted to the mouth and teeth of the kitten.


Weaning, i.e. the transition from mother's milk to solid and wet food, should occur no earlier than 40 days after birth.

If you have found a very small kitten or your cat has just given birth, you will need to do the weaning yourself.

gattino mangia nella ciotola

The ideal period to progressively start replacing breast milk is from 4 weeks of age, to be completed around 7-8 weeks of age. Maternal feeding, in fact, is essential only for the first month of life, because it helps the baby to grow and develop the first immune defenses.

Weaning too early can harm the kitten, which would feel stimulated to refuse mother's milk and start to prefer the food you want to offer him, causing gastrointestinal problems and an increased susceptibility to infections.

A delayed weaning beyond two months of age, on the other hand, would lead to serious nutritional deficiencies in the kitten. Breast milk begins to run low and is no longer sufficient to guarantee the right nutrients necessary for the baby's growth.

Weaning must begin with a liquid or semi-solid food. For very small kittens, you can opt for a specific type of food, usually included in the “babycat” category. After 7-8 weeks, on the other hand, you can already start with a “kitten” type food.

Dilute one tablespoon of wet food with two teaspoons of warm plain water. Mix well and offer the food to the kitten. At this age, the little ones need to eat little and often, so you should feed them at least 5-6 times a day with small rations.

As the kitten grows, you can invert the proportions between water and the wet food until you can completely eliminate the water from the paste, which you will still have available in a separate bowl for the kitten to drink when they want.

Once the kitten has its final teeth ready (usually no earlier than 50 days) you can also give it dry food. Choose a good quality type of food that is specific for kittens. For the first period, you can moisten the croquettes with warm water, in order to make them softer.

gattino dentro la ciotola

The baby food

Once the weaning is complete, and the kitten has learned to eat the food you offer instead of breast milk, you will need to continue feeding it with special attention.

Always leave a bowl with fresh water and a bowl with dry food available. Kittens, when they are small and when they grow up, must eat often. Make sure he can always have the dry food available, but supplement them with wet food 1-2 times a day.

For the right doses, ask your veterinarian for advice, who will be able to establish them based on the growth and health of the kitten.

In any case, the food, whether it is wet or dry, must be specific for kittens even after weaning. Kittens must grow up healthily, so they need a food that contains everything they need and, above all, in the right proportions.

The quality of the food provided is an indispensable factor.

Most low-quality foods contains very little meat, compared to flours and cereals which are in greater quantities. The cat is a carnivore in the strictest sense of the word, so it needs a lot of proteins.

Meat has its own cost, as does the integration of vitamins and mineral salts necessary to define a complete meal.

Kitten health must come first. Think about it, what would happen if you feed your child bread and water every day?


L’alimentazione del cane e del gatto sterilizzato

Diet for sterilized pets

Sterilized animals have a greater tendency to overweight and obesity, so they must be offered a food with particular characteristics, which must aim above all at weight control. What is the ideal diet for neutered dogs and cats?


Sterilization, also called castration (in males), is the intervention that allows the removal of some parts of the animal's reproductive system. In particular, in females ovaries, with or without the uterus, whilst in males only the testicles.

Sterilization mainly serves to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it also has other very important tasks. First of all, by sterilizing our animals, the so-called recurring "heat" in females is avoided, your dog will not run away at night to have fun as they might have been doing before.

Furthermore, sterilization is essential to reduce the risk of breast tumours in females and testicles in males, especially if carried out before the onset of the first heat in females.

This is an intervention that can now be easily defined as routine. It is performed under general anesthesia and has a fairly short duration, especially in males.

Why do neutered animals gain more weight?

Sterilization is not the direct cause of weight gain, but rather is able to induce a series of changes in the animal. If the owner does not do anything about this, the animal will become fat.

These changes include:

  • The metabolism: the set of processes that occur in the body to exploit the energy obtained from food, becomes slower, so energy is accumulated, rather than consumed;
  • The animal tends to get bored more and wants to eat more often;
  • The animal becomes lazier;
  • Stress and mental and physical activation caused by the "heat" are reduced.

gatto sterilizzato sovrappeso

In any case, dogs and cats that live indoors in most cases tend to gain weight regardless of sterilization. Owners are responsible for the food given to the animal and for the amount of physical activity they do during the day. Therefore, in this case, sterilization is just the icing on the cake.

What does the diet for sterilized animals include?

The specific diet for sterilized dogs and cats must aim first of all at weight control, but also at preventing recurring conditions in these animals.

Key features of sterilized animal food include:

  • Low Calorie: Calories are our body's fuel. Their contribution must be balanced with the actual use. By giving the animal too much caloric food, without having the opportunity to dispose it off through the right physical activity, will undoubtedly make it fat;
  • Less fat: fats should not be banned from the diet, because they are essential for many functions. Their content, however, must be balanced and proportionate to that of the other ingredients;
  • Rich in fibre: fibres perform many different functions for our body, but in this case, they are essential to stimulate the sense of satiety and to promote intestinal transit. The fibres, in fact, once arrived in the intestine, swell, giving the perception of having eaten much more, and at the same time pushes the stool outwards;
  • Good quality protein: in lower quality pet foods, you can find poor quality meats and protein sources, such as offal and waste. A healthy food, on the other hand, must contain good quality proteins, such as eggs, fish and meat;
  • Low magnesium content: magnesium is one of the most harmful minerals for the urinary tract of animals, but especially for cats. If present in excessive quantities, it can cause the so-called struvite stones. For this reason, the diet of sterilized animals must not exceed magnesium content. The diet must make the urine more acidic, in order to facilitate the dissolution of the stones;
  • Relationship between calcium and phosphorus: the relationship between these two minerals in the body must be well balanced. In fact, a lack of phosphorus stimulates the elimination of calcium through the urine. Calcium can compact in the urinary tract, creating calcium oxalate stones that are much more difficult to remove than struvite stones.

In conclusion, it is important to constantly stimulate the animal to drink, also encouraging it to consume the right amount of wet food. By doing this, he will feel less hungry and we will also prevent the formation of stones and inflammation of the urinary tract.


immagine Alimenti monoproteici, cosa sono e a cosa servono

Mono-protein food for pets, what is it

In the last period of time there has been a great diffusion of single-protein foods, specific for animals with problems of food intolerances and allergies. Let's try to understand what they are and what they are for.

What are mono-protein foods?

When we buy food for our animals, we often read on the packages "chicken croquettes" or "salmon cans". In reality, this does not mean, with a few rare exceptions, that we will only find chicken or salmon inside, but there will be many ingredients, including these two protein sources.

mangime per cani gatti monoproteico

In the case of mono-protein foods, however, their formulation ensures that they only contain one type of meat or fish, adding only supplements of vitamins, mineral salts or amino acids.

The principle on which mono-protein foods are based is to guarantee the right tolerability of the food even for animals with allergies or food intolerances.

This does not mean that we will have absolute certainty that that monoproteic food will not cause reactions in the animal, but it will certainly allow us to proceed with exclusion in search of the origin of the intolerance or allergy.

Shortly, if the animal does not tolerate a specific type of meat, fish or cereal, it will have a series of consequences that we will analyse later, so it is important to look for the incriminated  ingredient which causes the allergy, replacing it with another deemed "harmless" from the body of the dog or cat.

Mono-protein foods are made with fish or meat "alternative" to those that usually cause reactions in dogs and cats. In fact, in most cases, a mono-protein fish-based food can solve the problem of intolerances in cats.

At the same time, dogs should eliminate cereals, in favour of meats such as rabbit, duck, deer, quail or pork, strictly of biological origin.

What are food intolerances and allergies?

Some animals, from birth or during their life, can develop intolerances or allergies towards a particular food.

cane gatto si grattano prurito intolleranza

Generally, both conditions are classified within Adverse Food Reactions (AFR), which include:

  • Allergic reactions: the body mistakes the food that the animal has ingested as something dangerous, so it attacks it, at the same time triggering a strong inflammatory reaction in the digestive system or throughout the body;
  • Intolerances: the body is unable to digest the food or some substances contained in it, so an inflammatory reaction is generated, in this case localized in the intestine or spread throughout the body.

Allergies are actually very rare, and most Adverse food reactions are mainly caused by intolerances.

When the animal ingests a substance to which it is intolerant or allergic, two types of reactions may occur: a dermatological or gastrointestinal reaction.

The first group includes symptoms such as skin itching, the onset of dandruff, redness of the skin and hair loss.

Among the gastrointestinal symptoms, on the other hand, we find above all vomiting, diarrhea, excessive weight loss and abdominal swelling.

In addition to these manifestations, over time, inflammations of different parts of the body and organs can also appear, such as eyes, ears, joints, heart, kidneys and bladder.

The most incriminating and dangerous ingredients for dogs and cats include above all:

  • Cattle
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Cereals
  • Dairy product
  • Soy
  • Eggs

In reality, the main problem with these food sources is not represented by the protein itself, but by everything behind that specific ingredient, starting from the breeding of the animal that will be slaughtered, up to the production of the food in the can.

Simply put, when raised for food, both animals and fish are often fed unhealthy substances, such as hormones, antibiotics, and supplements.

All these substances inevitably end up in the meat and fish that we and our animals eat, with harmful consequences for the body.

How single-protein foods work

When choosing a mono-protein food, it must be done on the advice of your veterinarian. If the animal does not show any problems, it would make no sense to deprive it of substances that could still be useful for him.

Once you have purchased mono-protein dry and wet food for the dog or cat, it must be administered for at least two months, categorically excluding any other food source. We also have an article where we explain the procedures to find the incriminating food. 

Once the two months have passed, the veterinarian will be able to evaluate the animal's response to the food change. If we found the right food on the first try, the animal's inflammatory problem should improve within one or two weeks.

If, on the other hand, the situation does not improve, we will have to change the type of food, experimenting with another mono-protein food type, until we can uncover the ingredient that causes intolerances to our animal.