Should I give my kitten raw food as its first food?
Although there are perceived benefits to feeding your kitten a "raw food" diet—that is, one that consists of uncooked meat mixed with other ingredients at home—it is important to understand the risks this may pose to your kitten's health.
Firstly, homemade food without specific, professional nutritional calculations does not guarantee the adequate balance of nutrients essential to growth. A majority of homemade preparations tend to be deficient in at least one of several key nutrients. Furthermore, a raw food can be contaminated by bacteria or other toxic elements that can cause food poisoning.
When should I change my kitten's food?
After four weeks, your kitten will begin to show an interest in solid food—normally its mother's! From this point, you can rehydrate dry kibble in water or kitten milk to a softer consistency, and allow the kitten to smell, nudge and eat this.
If your kitten was a little older when they arrived at home, it's best to stick to the food the original breeder or owner gave your kitten to prevent digestive upsets and unnecessary stress. When they're settled, you can transition to a different food by mixing progressively larger amounts of the new food in with the old one over a period of seven days.
Follow these guidelines to help you choose your kitten's first food with confidence—and if you're unsure, consult your vet who'll be able to advise you further.