For the development of bones and teeth, vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D are needed. The ratio and amount of these nutrients is especially important for maximizing skeletal density and stability. Lack of vitamin and mineral balance in kitten-hood often will result in bone and joint problems later. For kittens - and cats - there are special needs for vitamins A and B, along with thiamin and niacin.
It is best to stick to a formula that is tailored just for kittens. While it is tempting to share some of your people food with them, avoid foods like canned tuna or other fish — fresh or canned — which can lead to thiamine deficiency; milk, which can cause diarrhea; raw meat, a common source of salmonella and E.coli; and raw eggs, which can cause a deficiency of biotin and are also a source of salmonella.
Do your research and talk to an expert if necessary. Your veterinarian or animal nutritionist can help you to select a complete and balanced commercial diet that will meet your growing kitten's needs. Some breeds need a more tailored diet depending on their expected growth potential, but in general, all cats require the same balance of ingredients.
In addition, unless your veterinarian has explicitly advised it, do not give your cat separate vitamin or mineral supplements while she is still in the growing phase of her development. Over-supplementation can be dangerous, possibly leading to improper skeletal development and other health issues. A complete and balanced kitten food should provide every nutrient necessary, without the need for added supplements.
Good luck, and good growing!
Image source: digitonin / via Flickr
One of the vitamins in the B- complex group; also known as nicotinic acid
a) Mass per volume b) The number of animals in a given area
Organic substances that aid in the creation of proteins; also the end product of the decomposition of certain proteins.