Ask the expert… May-June 2014
Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.
Q: We have adopted two stray kittens and currently giving them- roti, milk and rice. What else can we
feed them, keeping in mind we are vegetarians?
–Mrs Murthy, Udipi
Dr KG Umesh: Kittens/cats are natural carnivores and have evolved to depend on meat. They depend on meat for the majority of their protein and special nutrients like taurine. Plants sources and vegetables will not deliver these important nutrients. Therefore, it is not possible to raise a cat or kitten on vegetarian diet. In addition, our home prepared diets will not be able to meet their nutritional requirements. Your kitten will grow 15 times faster than a baby. At 10 to 12 months, your kitten will be ready for an adult diet. To give your kitten the best start in life, give her well-balanced, nutritiously prepared kitten food. You have choice of feeding only a dry food or wet food or mix of both. Make sure she has her own feeding and water bowls and that they’re cleaned after each meal (cats don’t like to eat from dirty dishes). Make sure fresh, clean water is always available. Stick to the same food. Changing it suddenly or repeatedly can upset her delicate stomach. If you do have to change her diet, introduce the new food gradually, a little at a time. Don’t give her uncooked meat or let her eat human food. It’s bound to be too rich, or even toxic, for her. Don’t put her food bowl near her litter tray – cats don’t like to eat where they go to the toilet.