The 12 Best Kitten Foods

The Top 6 Best Kitten Foods on the Market Today. Rest assured that our recommendations contain only the finest natural ingredients. In this article we will discuss everything you need to know about kitten nutrition, so you can make the best decision for your new baby. 

 

Our top picks:

Rachael Ray Nutrish
  • Real Salmon

  • Gluten Free
  • No Preservatives
  • No Artificial Flavor
  • No Meat by-products
Blue Buffalo Wilderness
  • Real Meat

  • Grain/Gluten Free
  • No Preservatives
  • No Artificial Flavor
  • No Meat byproducts
Hill’s Science Kitten Food
  • #1 Vet Choice

  • Real Chicken

  • Omega 3 DHA
  • No Preservatives
  • No Artificial Flavor
  • No Meat byproducts
IAMS Proactive Health
  • Real Chicken

  • Grain/Gluten Free
  • No Preservatives
  • No Artificial Flavor
  • No Meat byproducts
Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original
  • Real Chicken

  • Grain/Gluten Free
  • No Preservatives
  • No Artificial Flavor
  • No Meat byproducts
Taste of the Wild
  • Real Venison & Salmon
  • Antioxidant blend
  • Probiotic blend
  • Sustainably Sourced
  • No Grain, Corn, Wheat, Filler
  • No Artificial Flavors, Colors, or Preservatives
Blue Buffalo Wilderness
  • Real Chicken
  • Grain/Gluten Free
  • No Preservatives
  • No Artificial Flavor
  • No Meat byproducts
Hill’s Science Kitten Food
  • #1 Vet Choice

  • Real Chicken

  • Omega 3 DHA
  • No Preservatives
  • No Artificial Flavor
  • No Meat byproducts
Taste of the Wild
  • Real Venison & Salmon
  • Antioxidant blend
  • Probiotic blend
  • Sustainably Sourced
  • No Grain, Corn, Wheat, Filler
  • No Artificial Flavors, Colors, or Preservatives
Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original
  • Real Chicken

  • Grain/Gluten Free
  • No Preservatives
  • No Artificial Flavor
  • No Meat byproducts
Royal Canin Kitten
  • Real Chicken

  • Grain/Gluten Free
  • No Preservatives
  • No Artificial Flavor
  • No Meat byproducts
Purina Kitten Chow
  • Real Salmon

  • Gluten Free
  • No Preservatives
  • No Artificial Flavor
  • No Meat by-products

 

What is The Best Kitten Food for your cat?

Bringing a new kitten into your home is an exciting time, and as a loving parent you want to do what is best for your new baby. Providing your kitten with a suitable good quality diet is an important way to help him have a healthy and long life. Kittens rapidly grow and develop in the first 6 months of their life, it’s a big growth spurt! They need lots of energy, protein, calcium, phosphorus and other necessary nutrients to ensure they can develop healthily. 

Which is Better: Dry or Wet food?

There is no easy answer to this question, and different vets, pet nutritionists and cat breeders will all have their own opinion on whether dry or wet food is better. 

Firstly, lets take a look at the main differences between dry and wet kitten foods:

DRY FOOD (kibble)

Dry food is also known as kibble or biscuits. It is most commonly used alongside a wet food option. Dry food is perfect for free-feeding, which is when you make food available for your kitten to snack on throughout the day as opposed to strict meal-times. Wet food tends to spoil faster, and aren’t a good option for free feeding.

Pros

  • Dry food diets are convenient, and often have resealable bags
  • They have a much longer shelf life than canned food once opened
  • Dry food is usually much less expensive per meal
  • Easy to measure/weigh out the exact amount required
  • Can help keep your kitten’s teeth healthy- chewing dry food may reduce the build of plaque
  • Good option for free feeding

Cons

  • High in carbohydrates, which may promote obesity
  • Some kittens dislike the hard texture of kibble     
  • Low in moisture, so your kitten will need to have a higher water intake         

Dry Food and Hydration  

We think that feeding wet food or a combination of wet and dry kitten food, is better for your kitten than dry food alone. Dry food is often higher in carbohydrates and calories, and may be more likely to make your cat fat in the long term. 

There is also some concern that feeding a dry only diet, could reduce your cat’s water intake and increase his risk of developing kidney disease or lower urinary tract diseases. 

Some research has found that cats eating a dry food diet only will drink approximately half the amount of water, compared with cats eating canned foods.    

Top Tips for Keeping your Kitten Hydrated

Making sure your cat stays hydrated is just as important as feeding it the right food. It is extra important if you choose to only feed a dry food diet to your kitten. 

Some tips for keeping your kitty hydrated include:

  • Make sure you have a low rimmed bowl for kittens to drink comfortably
  • Cats tend to prefer ceramic bowls over metal ones
  • Always have fresh, clean water available for your kitten
  • Ideally have more than one water bowl, located in different areas of your home
  • Keep the food and water bowls away from the litter box
  • Adding broth to the kibble, using a cat water fountain or adding ice cubes to the water bowl are all good ideas to increase water intake

The Best Dry Foods for Kittens

We have done the hard work and after extensive research we have compiled a list of our favorite dry foods for your new feline friend. This selection of recommended kitten dry foods is all high quality and nutritionally balanced to provide your kitten with everything he needs as he grows and develops. 

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten

Blue Wilderness diets are made with premium natural ingredients and high-quality real meat protein. You can be sure your kitty is eating as nature intended with all natural ingredients, without grains, gluten, additives, by-products or fillers. 

 Key Benefits

  • High in REAL CHICKEN protein to meet the energy demands of a growing kitten
  • Exclusive blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for healthy development and to boost the immune system
  • Prebiotics and probiotics to support a healthy digestive system
  • DHA omega-3 fatty acids important for normal brain and eye development
  • Omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat
  • Added Taurine, an essential amino acid for normal vision and a healthy heart
  • No nasty ingredients: 100% grain-free and gluten free, 100% wheat and by-product free

Hills Science Diet Kitten

Hill’s Science Diet is the #1 vet recommended diet for very good reason. It is a reputable brand with a long history of producing carefully formulated diets for pets, using only high quality ingredients.

Key Benefits

  • High quality CHICKEN protein for building muscle and providing lots of energy 
  • Balanced and complete diet, to provide all the nutrients your kitten needs
  • DHA Omega-3 from fish oil, to support healthy brain and eye development
  • Balanced mineral content, with just the right levels of calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth
  • Strict quality control protocols to ensure the safety and nutritional value of each pet food
  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed or your money back 

Instinct Original Kitten dry diet uses the nutritional benefits of raw, natural ingredients, which are freeze-dried to lock in all the amazing benefits and then blended with nutritious kibble. So you get the best of both worlds, the pure and natural raw food, and the convenience of dry kibble. 

Key Benefits

  • Tasty blend of high quality animal protein (real poultry, fish and red meat) to give your kitten all the energy he needs for growth and play
  • All natural ingredients: 81% real animal ingredients and nutritious oils, 19% vegetables, fruits and other wholesome ingredients
  • DHA omega-3 for brain and eye development
  • Natural probiotics to support a healthy digestive system 
  • NO grains, potatoes, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meals, artificial colors or preservatives.

Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Feline Recipe

Taste of the Wild diets are based on a more natural approach to what cats might eat in the wild. It is classed by the AAFCO, as being suitable for all life stages. We don’t advocate many diets that are suitable for both adults and younger cats, as sometimes they can’t quite meet the demanding nutritional requirements of kittens.  This one provides your little kitty with everything he needs to grow and develop. It is jammed packed with high quality real meat, and carefully selected fruits and vegetables, to create a delicious, natural and balanced diet. Although it is not a hypoallergenic diet, many cats with allergies can benefit from it’s novel protein and carbohydrate sources. 

Key Benefits

  • High quality digestible protein from roasted venison and smoked salmon
  • High protein content to meet the energy needs of adventurous kittens, and promote good muscle development
  • Rich natural meaty taste
  • High level (80 million/lb) of live probiotics to support a healthy digestive system
  • Antioxidants from real fruit and vegetables to support the immune system
  • NO grain, corn, wheat, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives

Purina Kitten Chow Nurture Dry Cat food

Purina is one of the oldest pet food companies in North America, and the pet diets are based on solid research from scientific studies. The Kitten Chow Nurture Dry food offers a tasty, high protein and balanced diet but at a more affordable price than some of the other diets.  

Key Benefits

  • High protein content to help develop strong, lean muscles
  • Provides the 25 essential vitamins and minerals that kittens need
  • Balanced and complete nutrition                          
  • No artificial flavors or colors

Royal Canin Kitten Dry Food 

Royal Canin is one of the big players in pet nutrition, with a long history of producing high quality nutrition. It offers some specific foods for particular breeds of kittens too, but the dry kitten food is a good all-rounder. 

Key Benefits

  • High Protein content to give all the energy your kitten needs as their activity level increases
  • Blend of antioxidants and vitamins for a developing immune system
  • Balanced mineral content for developing bones, muscles and teeth  
  • Highly digestible proteins, dietary fibers, and prebiotics to aid developing digestive systems
  • Small kibble made with your tiny kitten’s mouth in mind  

WET FOOD

Most cats tend to prefer the taste, texture and smell that wet food provides. Wet food is available in a variety of pouches, cans and trays. Some single sachets and small cans can be very practical for single use. However, they usually need to be refrigerated if they are opened and not used straight-away. 

Pros

  • Single sachets and tins may be practical for some people
  • Meaty content, high in protein and fat
  • Contain lots of water to help keep your cat hydrated
  • Many kittens prefer the smell, texture and taste of wet food 

Cons

  • More expensive per serving
  • Usually need to be refrigerated once opened and have a short shelf life  

 

The Best Wet Foods for Kittens

Most kittens love wet food as the smell and taste is often more appealing than dry food. However, all wet kitten food is not made equal, and some are much more nutritious and balanced than others. We have made a list of our favorite kitten wet foods, that offer your kitty a yummy and complete diet with every mouthful.  

Wellness Complete Health Kitten Canned

The Wellness brand focuses on holistic nutrition, using the best natural ingredients to promote good health and wellbeing for your kitty. It is a good option for the health conscious clients, but at an affordable price too. 

Key Benefits

  • Made with real high quality chicken and chicken liver 
  • Made with a variety of whole fruits and vegetables for lots of vitamins, minerals and immune boosting antioxidants
  • Prebiotics, probiotics and healthy fiber support healthy digestion
  • Supports urinary health with healthy moisture from real chicken broth, and antioxidant rich cranberries
  • Zero grains, artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. No meat by-products.  NO corn, wheat or soy. 

Royal Canin Feline Thin slices in Gravy Wet Kitten

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Kitten Food will have even the fussiest of kittens asking for more dinner. The thick gravy coats a blend of delicious soft meat based protein, making the transition onto solid foods that bit easier for your little one. 

Key Benefits

  • Contains a variety of high quality protein sources: chicken, chicken and pork liver, and eggs
  • Contains a balance of high quality protein, fats, and easily digested carbohydrates to provide lots of energy for longer hours of playtime.
  • Promotes healthy growth and digestion with digestible proteins, fiber and prebiotics
  • A unique blend of antioxidants to support the developing immune system 
  • Small soft slices coated in delicious gravy are easy for kittens to enjoy

Earthborn Holistic Monterey Medley Natural Canned Cat & Kitten food


Earthborn Holistic is a family owned business, specializing in producing natural and wholesome pet food that supports and boosts your cat’s overall health. They are also passionate about environmental issues and sustainability. They use recyclable materials whenever possible, as well as environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. This is a great option for the environmentally conscious cat owners! This Monterey Medley combines skipjack tuna and grilled mackerel, but there is a delicious variety of paw lickingly good flavours available. 

Key Benefits

  • High quality fish protein with wild caught skipjack and tuna
  • It is dolphin safe
    • Guaranteed levels of nutrients like vitamins and minerals to support a healthy immune system, and taurine for heart and vision health.
    • Rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to promote a healthy skin and coat
    • Nothing artificial here: zero grains, zero artificial colors, preservatives or flavors
    • Monterey Medley is produced in a human-grade facility 
  • Focused on environmental sustainability and protection

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Chicken Grain-Free Canned Kitten Food

Blue Wilderness diets are inspired by the diet of the lynx, so it is only filled with natural ingredients, including high quality protein food that will provide your cat with the REAL meat she loves and needs. This chicken pate recipe has a smooth texture that’s irresistibly tasty. However, the Blue kitten range is available in a variety of tempting flavours and textures, so you are sure to find one that even the pickiest kitten likes. 

Key Benefits

  • Real high quality chicken is the main ingredient, to aid healthy muscle growth and give your kitty all the energy she needs
  • Rich in DHA omega-3 fatty acids from salmon oil, it supports healthy skin and coat as well as normal brain and eye development
  • Contains Flaxseed, a rich source of essential omega-3 fatty acids and a great source of fiber to promote healthy digestion and a shiny coat
  • Only natural ingredients: does not contain any grain, gluten, by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives.

Purina Fancy Feast Kitten Canned Food Variety Pack Salmon & Chicken

Purina Fancy Feast Kitten canned food is available in two delicious flavors: salmon or chicken. Each recipe features chicken or salmon as the number 1 ingredient, so it is rich in high quality protein. This wholesome wet kitten food provides 100% complete and balanced nutrition with every bite, so you know she’s getting everything she needs to help her stay healthy and strong. Purina fancy feast offers your kitty a delicious and nutritious diet, at an affordable price.

Key Benefits

    • Real chicken or salmon is the number one ingredient providing a protein rich recipe
  • 100% complete and balanced nutrition for kittens, filled with all the essential vitamins and minerals
  • A smooth pate texture that kittens love
  • Convenient pull-tab cans making it easier for you to serve

Purina Pro Plan Focus Kitten Favorites Canned Food Variety Pack


Pro Plan Focus is more like a premium range from Purina. These complete and balanced kitten recipes are backed by Purina’s years of experience and quality assurance. With the favorites selection you get a variety of the finest real meat protein ingredients such as salmon, ocean white fish, chicken and tuna. 

Key Benefits

  • Real meat or fish is the number one ingredient 
  • Higher in protein and fat, than most kitten canned recipes
  • Packed with essential vitamins and minerals for strong bones, teeth and help nourish your kitty’s developing immune system
  • Added taurine which helps promote healthy eyesight and a strong heart
  • Three irresistible flavours: Chicken & Liver, Ocean Whitefish & Tuna and Salmon & Ocean Whitefish
  • Responsibly Sourced: Purina can trace every high quality ingredient back to their trusted sources

Kitten vs. Adult Cat Food

Feeding an adult cat food to a kitten is not a good idea, as it wont give the kitten all the nutrients it needs to thrive. Kittens need an energy rich diet to ensure they can grow and develop normally. A kitten diet is higher in protein and fat, providing lots of energy for playing and adventures.  

Their diet also needs the right balance of essential vitamins and minerals to support their developing organs, and their immune and digestive systems. It is extra important for kittens to have the right balance of minerals like calcium and phosphorus, so they can form strong bones and teeth. 

From Birth to Weaning

Newborn kittens get everything they need from their mum’s milk. It is full of fat, energy, protein, immune boosting antibodies and all the vitamins and minerals that the kittens need. If the kittens are orphaned, then they need to be fed a feline milk replacement every 2-4 hours.  

Around 3-4 weeks of age, the curious kittens will start to eat a little bit of kitten food as well as mum’s milk. Weaning is normally completed around 8-9 weeks of age, when kittens no longer require milk and most kittens will be ready for their new home. 

Did you know that during a kitten’s first four months it requires nearly two times more energy than a mature adult cat?

Do Cats Have Special Dietary Needs?

Yes, cats do have special dietary needs. Actually, they have different requirements compared to humans or dogs. 

  • Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they NEED to eat meat to thrive and survive. 
  • Cats have evolved to rely on a meat based (high protein) diet to meet their energy needs.  

Which Nutrients Does Your Kitten Really Need?

According to the European Pet Food Industry there are five key components that any cat food should contain: Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats, Vitamins and Minerals.      

Let’s take a look at each one in more detail, and find out why each one is important to your kitten:

  • Protein

Kittens need a high percentage of protein in their diet for energy and growth

Proteins are made up of small building blocks called amino acids.  For cats there are 11 essential amino acids which they need to get from their diet. 

For example, the amino acid Taurine is only found in meat and fish, and if a kitten’s diet is deficient in taurine it can quickly cause serious eye and heart problems.

  • Fat

Fat improves the taste of cat food, and acts as an important energy source too. 

It also provides fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D and E

Fats are made up of fatty acids. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are needed for normal development, healthy skin and immune system. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for normal brain and eye development in kittens, while Omega-6 fatty acids are especially important for healthy skin and a shiny coat. 

  • Carbohydrates

Carnivores (meat eaters) like cats, naturally have a relatively low requirement for carbohydrates. Cats can use some types of carbohydrate as an energy source, and some dietary fiber can help improve digestion. It isn’t an essential nutrient for cats, but is often included in dry foods to bind and produce kibble. Normally a kitten’s diet should not include a high percentage of carbohydrates, as they just can’t digest it very well.

  • Vitamins

Your kitten needs a variety of vitamins from it’s diet to stay healthy. Vitamins are essential compounds that are necessary for the body to function properly. For example, vitamin D is needed for healthy bones, and vitamin A is required for healthy vision. If the levels of essential vitamins are too low or too high, then the cat is at risk of health problems. 

  • Minerals

Some minerals are an essential part of your kitten’s diet. Calcium and phosphorus are examples of important minerals that are needed to form healthy bones and teeth. Other minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium, are required for nerve cells and muscles to function properly. If a cat gets too much or too little of some minerals, it can cause an imbalance and create some serious health problems. 

How to Choose a Kitten Diet?

We understand that there are a lot of different types of kitten foods on offer, the choice can be overwhelming. You need to consider things like the nutritional content, price range, flavors and if you want dry or canned food for your kitten. 

You should select the best kitten food for your own budget, lifestyle, and kitten’s individual needs. Some kittens are more “picky eaters” than others, and may require different flavors and textures of food, which might mean you need to try out a few different types of food. 

Some important things to consider when choosing your diet:   

  • Does it meet AAFCO standards for complete and balanced nutrition?

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a voluntary organisation in the United States dedicated to making sure feed companies don’t mislead clients. 

They have strict guidelines established for nutritional content for each life stage of an animal’s life, as well as guidelines on product labelling and ingredients. 

If the AAFCO statement says the kitten food is “complete and balanced” then you know that it is good quality. “Complete” means the product contains all the nutrients that kittens require, while “Balanced” means the nutrients are present in the correct ratios. 

  • Choose a high protein, low carbohydrate diet

Check the ingredient list. Cats are obligate carnivores which means they need meat in their diet to survive. Choose a cat food which reflects their natural diet of being high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Ideally choose a diet with real meat products to ensure good quality protein sources, and these should be high up on the ingredient list.          

  • Ask your veterinarian

Your veterinarian will play an important part in your kitten’s life, from routine check ups and vaccinations, to the person you call when you need advice or your cat is sick. Ask your veterinarian which cat food brands they prefer and why. If your cat is having any skin or digestive problems, then your veterinarian will be able to advise you if a change in diet might help. 

What is the Healthiest Kitten Food to Buy?

A healthy kitten food is one which uses wholesome, natural ingredients packed with a high level of real meat protein for your kitty’s energy and growth. It should be filled with vitamins and minerals, as well as essential amino acids and omega fatty acids, all of which are important for your kitten’s health and wellbeing. 

It shouldn’t contain artificial flavors, additives or preservatives, and shouldn’t be filled with plant based protein sources like soy.

All our favourite picks are pretty healthy, but Blue Wilderness range was our choice for being the healthiest. Available in dry and wet forms:  Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Chicken Grain-Free Canned Kitten Food and Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Dry food. 


What Kitten Food do Vets Recommend?

Every veterinarian will have their own answer to this question. Some vets want a science based approach to a diet, some might like a local cat food brand, while others prefer more natural ingredients.

However, every veterinarian will want you to have a complete and balanced diet for your kitty, one that provides all the nutrients that your kitten requires. 

In the United States, Hill’s Science Diet pet food is veterinarians number one choice to feed their own pets. 

Which Human Foods are Not Safe for Kittens?  

Although it can be nice to share a little bit of your roast chicken with your cat as a treat, there are lots of human foods which could make your kitten very ill. 

Some common human foods which you should not give to your cat include:

  • Chocolate
  • Tea, coffee and energy drinks
  • Dairy products
  • Raw raw meat and raw fish
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions and garlic
  • Xylitol (sugar free sweetener)
  • Raw dough
  • Alcohol

Curious and adventurous kittens might even try to steal some food, or break into the trash, so be prepared to keep human food out of their reach. 

Final thoughts

Providing your new kitten with a high quality kitten food is one of the best things you can do to give them the best start in life. It is also an investment in your kitten’s future, as good nutrition can help give them a long and healthy life. Always remember to check the list of ingredients on any kitten food. Choose the best diet that you can afford which is full of wholesome, natural ingredients and high in real meat protein. 

Good luck on this new adventure with your kitty!

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