The Best Time to Switch Your Kitty from Kitten Food to Cat Food

Thinking about switching your adorable little furball from kitten food to adult cat food? You’re in the right place! Just like you wouldn’t feed grown-up food to a sweet, gurgling baby, kittens have specific nutritional needs that differ from adult cats. It’s crucial to transition them to cat food at the right time and in the right way to support their development into healthy, thriving adults.

Why Switch from Kitten Food to Cat Food?

Kitten food is specially formulated to support rapid growth and development. It provides more calories, protein, and fat compared to adult cat food. Additionally, it contains essential nutrients like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which promotes brain and vision development in young kittens. Kitten food also offers increased levels of vitamins, minerals, and optimal calcium to phosphorus ratios.

However, continuing to feed kitten food to an adult cat can result in weight gain, which can lead to various health problems. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, nearly 60% of pet cats in the United States are overweight or obese. Maintaining a healthy weight is vital for your cat’s overall well-being, as excess weight can increase the risk of diabetes, arthritis, and hepatic lipidosis (a potentially fatal liver disease).

When is the Right Time to Make the Switch?

In general, kittens should continue eating kitten food until they are about 90% of their adult weight. At this point, they have reached their full adult height and only need to fill out a bit more. Most kittens reach this milestone at around 10 to 12 months of age, making it the perfect time to transition to adult cat food.

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However, there is an exception for large breed cats like Maine Coons. These majestic kitties take longer to mature, typically reaching adulthood between 18 months and 2 years of age. For these breeds, it’s best to continue feeding them kitten food until they are at least 18 months old.

If you have any concerns about when to switch your kitten to adult cat food, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice.

How to Successfully Transition from Kitten Food to Cat Food?

When switching from kitten food to adult cat food, it’s important to do so gradually. Cats have delicate digestive systems that are home to essential bacteria and yeast, which aid in digestion and support their immune system. Abruptly changing their diet can disrupt these microbes, leading to digestive upset such as vomiting and diarrhea. Plus, cats are not particularly fond of change, so introducing a new food suddenly may result in them refusing to eat altogether.

To ensure a smooth transition, follow this gradual process over seven to ten days:

  1. Days 1 and 2: Mix ¼ of the new adult cat food with ¾ of the old kitten food.
  2. Days 3 and 4: Combine ½ of the new adult cat food with ½ of the old kitten food.
  3. Days 5 and 6: Include ¾ of the new adult cat food and reduce the old kitten food to ¼.
  4. Day 7 to 10: Fully transition to adult cat food by feeding them 100% of the new food.

What to Do if Switching Causes Problems?

If your cat loses their appetite or experiences digestive issues during the transition, don’t worry. You can temporarily go back to their old kitten food for a few days and then restart the transition at an even slower pace. This will give their digestive system more time to adjust.

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Additionally, if you’ve been feeding your cat dry food, you may consider switching to wet food. Wet cat food has a higher water content, which promotes urinary health, weight management, and can help with constipation. Some recommended wet food options include Karen’s Kollars’ Wellness CORE Signature Selects Shredded Boneless Chicken & Beef Entree in Sauce Grain-Free Canned Cat Food or Earthborn Holistic Chicken Catcciatori Grain-Free Natural Adult Canned Cat Food.

If you prefer to stick with dry food, try opting for a higher quality option. Some premium dry cat foods to consider include Iams ProActive Health High Protein Chicken & Salmon Recipe Dry Cat Food or Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Dry Cat Food.


By switching your kitten from kitten food to cat food at the right time and in a gradual manner, you’re ensuring their nutritional needs are met as they transition into adulthood. Remember to consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice, and make the switch smoothly to support your kitty’s growth and overall well-being.

For more information about cat food and other cat-related products, visit Karen’s Kollars.