5 Tips On Proper Nutrition For Your Pregnant Cat
If you’re taking care of a pregnant cat, you need to provide her with the proper nutrition she needs to stay strong throughout her pregnancy and give birth to a litter of healthy kittens. Without the right balance of nutrients, your cat’s health will deteriorate and the kittens won’t develop properly or they won’t be able to survive.
Start with a High Quality Species-Appropriate Diet
The basis of health, especially for a pregnant cat, is nutrition, so you definitely want to switch from the average commercial diet to a premium one that consists of the highest quality ingredients for felines. Animal proteins and fats are important, as they’re the means by which your pregnant cat will produce energy and maintain and repair tissues throughout the body while also ensuring the healthy development of her litter.
Some cat owners choose to feed their pets a raw or homemade diet. This is fine if your pregnant cat is already used to this way of eating, but pregnancy otherwise isn’t the best time to make such a drastic transition. Instead, focus on making upgrades to the type of food you’re currently feeding and that your cat already enjoys and has been healthy on.
Additional Calories and Fat
A pregnant cat will need extra calories throughout her pregnancy because she is eating not only for herself but also for her litter, which is typically an average of two to five kittens. So, in addition to providing your cat with a high quality species-appropriate food, you also need to increase the number of calories as the pregnancy progresses.
In addition to increased calories, your cat should be receiving higher amounts of fat throughout the pregnancy. Unlike humans who use carbohydrates for energy, felines use fat for energy. Therefore, increasing the fat content in the food will fulfill the energy needs of the mother and assist in the development of her kittens. And when she begins nursing, she will continue to expend a lot of energy and require high levels of fat to produce enough milk and feed her babies.
Increase Protein, Calcium, and Phosphorous Levels
Extra protein is necessary while a cat is pregnant, as it will ensure proper development of the kittens. And a pregnant cat also needs extra calcium and phosphorous in order to maintain her own bone health while supporting the bone development of her babies. These nutrients are key in ensuring her milk supply will be adequate and loaded with nutrients as well.
Foods that are Highly Digestible
A food may look great on the label, but the true test of its quality lies in how digestible it is. Digestibility is a measure of how much of the food is actually broken down and absorbed and how much of it goes through the body and is eliminated as waste. When you consider the increased energy and nutrient demands of a pregnant cat, it makes sense to go with a food that is highly digestible and results in little waste. On top of that, a highly digestible food will provide more calories in a smaller amount of food, which is important because there is less space in the mother’s abdomen while her kittens are growing.
Kitten Food for Pregnant Cats
A common recommendation for pregnant cats is kitten food. This can be fed throughout the pregnancy as well as during lactation. It is a good option because it contains higher nutrient levels that will support the health of the mother and the healthy development of the kittens. It will also provide the mother’s body with everything she needs to generate enough milk for her litter once the babies are born.
No matter what, a pregnant cat should be checked by a veterinarian, who can provide you with the best recommendations for her particular needs in order to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a strong litter of kittens.
Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. An advocate for better treatment of all animals, she enjoys producing content that educates others, helps them understand animals better, and inspires them to help, whether that means volunteering at a shelter, fostering strays, or simply giving their own pets a safe and happy home to live in.
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