Spayed, Neutered, and Thriving: Kitten Nutrition Essentials

Visitor weblog by Dr Emmanuel Fontaine, Scientific Communications Veterinarian at Royal Canin North America 

“An oz. of prevention is price a pound of remedy.” This quote from Benjamin Franklin is one thing pet dad and mom ought to all the time bear in mind. That is very true when occupied with spaying and neutering. Certainly, that is at the moment a typical surgical process, typically carried out on kittens as early as 8 weeks. This surgical intervention comes with a myriad of well being advantages, together with an elevated life span and prevention of sure medical issues, (to not point out its contribution to controlling cat populations clearly!). Nevertheless, there’s a catch that every one kitten adopters want to concentrate on – spaying and neutering can improve the chance of kittens turning into obese! And that’s the place the significance of correct diet is available in. On this weblog, we’ll discover the important position diet performs in supporting the well-being of spayed and neutered kittens, and the way it can assist mitigate the obese threat we simply talked about. So, let’s give attention to the highest questions pet dad and mom have about their kitten’s dietary wants after spaying and neutering!   

#1 How do my kitten’s dietary wants differ from an grownup cat’s?  

Understanding the impression of spaying and neutering on a kitten’s dietary wants is essential for his or her total well being and wellbeing. It is very important acknowledge the distinctive circumstances surrounding the timing of the process, because it sometimes happens throughout the progress part of a kitten’s life. Which means their dietary necessities are totally different from these of grownup cats. 

The first distinction lies within the want for extra vitamins to gas a rising kitten’s physique. Kittens require extra vitality, protein, nutritional vitamins, and minerals in comparison with grownup cats. A well-rounded food regimen for kittens must be wealthy in high-quality protein sources, that are important for progress. Proteins assist construct sturdy muscle groups and assist a wholesome immune system, enabling your kitten to thrive. 

Nevertheless, there are extra vitamins to think about in your kitten’s food regimen. As an example, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a vital nutrient to assist mind improvement. In kittens, mind improvement happens quickly; by three months of age, their mind is sort of the dimensions of an grownup cat’s! Omega-3 fatty acids like DHA have been proven to reinforce visible and cognitive improvement, making them essential parts of a kitten’s food regimen. 

Antioxidants, betacarotene, and betaglucans are additionally vital vitamins for kittens. These compounds assist assist immune perform, which is especially vital throughout the early phases of a kitten’s life when they’re extra susceptible to diseases. 

One other vital side of a kitten’s food regimen is prebiotics. Prebiotics are vitamins that assist the expansion of useful micro organism within the intestine, collectively known as the microbiome. The microbiome is a fancy neighborhood of microorganisms dwelling within the digestive system that play an important position in sustaining total well being. In easy phrases, the microbiome might be thought of as a “mini ecosystem” inside your kitten’s physique, serving to to digest meals, produce nutritional vitamins, and keep a powerful immune system. 

Whereas these vitamins are important for all kittens, spayed and neutered kittens require particular consideration. Latest research have proven that spayed and neutered kittens develop in another way in comparison with their unaltered counterparts. If no particular dietary measures are taken, these kittens usually tend to achieve weight and expertise elevated fats accumulation. 

Spaying and neutering alters a kitten’s metabolism, which can result in weight achieve if not correctly managed by means of food regimen and train. To account for these adjustments, you will need to make sure that your spayed or neutered kitten receives the appropriate steadiness of vitamins whereas avoiding extreme calorie consumption. 

When deciding on a food regimen in your spayed or neutered kitten, search for one that’s specifically formulated to fulfill their distinctive dietary necessities. These diets ought to present sufficient protein, nutritional vitamins, and minerals to assist progress whereas sustaining a wholesome weight. 

In conclusion, offering correct diet in your spayed or neutered kitten is crucial for his or her progress and long-term well being. By understanding their distinctive dietary necessities and deciding on an acceptable food regimen, you possibly can assist make sure that your kitten develops right into a wholesome and comfortable grownup cat. Bear in mind to seek the advice of along with your veterinarian for personalised recommendation on feeding and caring in your spayed or neutered kitten. 

#2 How a lot ought to I scale back my kitten’s calorie consumption after spaying or neutering? 

Spaying and neutering, whereas providing quite a few well being advantages, also can result in elevated meals consumption, decreased vitality wants, and lowered exercise ranges in kittens.  

In consequence, pet dad and mom should make mandatory changes to their kitten’s calorie consumption to forestall extreme weight achieve and keep total well being, all whereas guaranteeing the dietary necessities for progress are nonetheless met. 

After spaying or neutering, as a basic guideline, it is suggested to scale back your kitten’s day by day calorie consumption by roughly 25-30%.  

Even with lowered calorie consumption, spayed and neutered kittens nonetheless require sufficient proteins, nutritional vitamins, and minerals to assist their ongoing progress and improvement.  

For that reason, it’s essential to think about a food regimen particularly formulated for spayed and neutered kittens, which takes these totally different facets into consideration.  

Such diets are sometimes decrease in energy and fats, but nonetheless present the important vitamins wanted for optimum well being. 

#3 What are the advantages of feeding my kitten a mix of moist and dry meals? 

Feeding your spayed or neutered kitten a mix of moist and dry meals gives a number of advantages, offering a well-rounded strategy to diet that caters to their distinctive wants, significantly in terms of managing their weight. 

  • Satiety: Combining moist and dry meals helps kittens really feel fuller, as moist meals sometimes has the next quantity on account of its moisture content material. This elevated sense of fullness can forestall overeating and contribute to sustaining a wholesome weight, which is particularly vital for spayed and neutered kittens. 
  • Hydration: Moist meals promotes hydration on account of its greater moisture content material, supporting kidney perform and digestion. Hydration is a essential side of a cat’s well being, significantly on account of their desert ancestry. Cats developed in environments the place water was scarce, which led them to develop a low thirst drive. In consequence, they have a tendency to not drink sufficient water to take care of optimum hydration. Feeding your cat a moist food regimen can assist guarantee sufficient water consumption, supporting their total well being. 
  • Palatability: Moist meals is usually extra interesting to kittens, guaranteeing they eat important vitamins for progress and improvement.
  • Dental well being: Dry meals aids in dental well being by decreasing plaque and tartar buildup, due to its abrasive texture.
  • Selection: Providing each moist and dry meals introduces your kitten to totally different textures and flavors, selling a various food regimen. 

It’s important to decide on a moist meals particularly formulated for spayed and neutered kittens and comply with feeding pointers for blended feeding conditions.  

By combining moist and dry meals, you possibly can handle varied facets of your altered kitten’s well being and well-being whereas managing their weight successfully. 

#4 How can I transition my kitten to a brand new meals regularly and safely?  

As we simply mentioned, transitioning your spayed or neutered kitten to a brand new food regimen (a kitten spayed and neutered food regimen) is an important step in guaranteeing their long-term well being.  

Since meals consumption will increase instantly after surgical procedure, it’s really helpful to modify to a food regimen formulated for spayed and neutered kittens even earlier than the process, when attainable.  

Right here’s easy methods to transition your kitten to their new food regimen regularly and safely: 

  • Begin sluggish: Start by mixing a small quantity of the brand new meals along with your kitten’s present meals. Steadily improve the proportion of the brand new meals whereas lowering the outdated meals over 7 days (see image 1). This sluggish transition helps keep away from digestive upset and permits your kitten to regulate to the brand new style and texture.
  • Monitor your kitten: Keep watch over your kitten’s habits, urge for food, and bowel actions all through the transition course of. In the event you discover any indicators of digestive upset, similar to vomiting or diarrhea, seek the advice of your veterinarian for steering.
  • Preserve consistency: Persist with a constant feeding schedule and comply with the really helpful portion sizes for spayed and neutered kittens. This consistency helps set up a routine and prevents overeating.
  • Be affected person: Some kittens could also be hesitant to strive new meals. Provide optimistic reinforcement and reward once they eat the brand new meals and be affected person throughout the transition course of. 
Image 1
#5 How typically ought to I feed my kitten?  

Cats exhibit a singular feeding habits, typically consuming quite a few small meals all through the day, generally as much as 20. This tendency might lead some pet dad and mom to imagine that filling their cat’s bowl to the brim and letting them self-regulate their meals consumption is the very best strategy. Nevertheless, this technique just isn’t advisable, significantly for spayed and neutered kittens who face an elevated threat of weight problems. 

As an alternative, portion feeding must be emphasised for these kittens to make sure they keep a wholesome weight. It’s essential to comply with the feeding quantities really helpful by your veterinarian or meals producer, accounting in your kitten’s age, weight, and exercise stage. 

To accommodate their pure feeding patterns, you possibly can divide the day by day really helpful portion into a number of smaller meals, offering construction whereas additionally satisfying their instincts.  

This steadiness ensures that your spayed or neutered kitten receives important vitamins with out overeating, paving the way in which for a wholesome and comfortable life. 

#6 How can I forestall my kitten from turning into obese after spaying or neutering?  

Stopping weight achieve in spayed and neutered kittens requires a multifaceted strategy that goes past merely adjusting their calorie consumption.  

By combining varied methods, you possibly can make sure the long-term well being and well-being of your altered kitten. 

  • Balanced food regimen: as beforehand mentioned, select a food regimen particularly formulated for spayed and neutered kittens, which offers the important vitamins they want whereas nonetheless accounting for his or her decreased vitality necessities. These diets are sometimes decrease in energy and fats however nonetheless wealthy in high-quality proteins, nutritional vitamins, and minerals mandatory for progress and improvement.
  • Portion management: Follow portion feeding. Divide the really helpful day by day quantity into a number of smaller meals to accommodate your kitten’s pure feeding habits whereas stopping overeating.
  • Common train: Encourage bodily exercise by offering toys, partaking in playtime, and providing alternatives for climbing and exploring. Train is essential not just for sustaining a wholesome weight, but additionally for selling muscle tone, psychological stimulation, and total well-being.
  • Monitor weight: Often weigh your kitten and alter their meals consumption as wanted. Seek the advice of your veterinarian for steering on figuring out and sustaining an excellent weight in your kitten. A fantastic software to leverage listed here are the kitten pediatric progress charts, that can enable you to guarantee your kitten is rising healthily. These charts can be found on-line HERE and are an awesome monitoring software that every kitten proprietor ought to implement I imagine! Don’t hesitate to speak to your veterinarian about them to allow them to information you right here.  



Waltham Kitten Development Charts  



Dr. Emmanuel FontaineEmmanuelFontaine graduated from the Toulouse Veterinary Faculty in 2004, he continued his research on the Alfort Veterinary Faculty (Paris) as trainee Vet within the home carnivore unit of the Replica Division. From 2005 to 2011, he labored on the Centre d’Etude en Replica des Carnivores (CERCA) [Research Centre for Reproduction in Carnivores], a unit specializing in pet breeding help. Emmanuel Fontaine can be certified on the European Faculty for Animal Replica (ECAR) and accomplished his PhD in 2012 on the usage of GnRH agonists in canines. From September 2011 to September 2018, he labored as Technical Providers Veterinarian for the PRO staff at Royal Canada. He then was accountable for Scientific Communication for the Americas till August 2022. He now works as Senior Scientific Communications Veterinarian for Royal Canin North America.   


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