We realize how important properly fulfilling your beloved kitten’s dietary needs is for you, which is why we have prepared this list of best Kitten Foods.
Kitten foods are available in Canned, Wet and Dry form. Keep this in mind when you are choosing Wet or Dry foods and adjust your kitten’s water intake accordingly.
Due to the onset of rapid growth in kittens, it is imperative that their diet consists of foods high in protein and fat. The right balance ensures healthy growth and development of tissues and organs.
Our Top 5 Picks for Kitten Foods
|Healthy Kitten Formula Kitten Food||Dry||Chicken|
|Iams Proactive Health, Healthy Kitten Dry Cat Food||Dry||Chicken|
|Purina Fancy Feast Kitten Canned Wet Cat Food||Wet||Chicken or Salmon|
|Pro Plan Total Care Canned Kitten Food||Wet||Salmon / Oceanfish|
|IAMS Perfect PORTIONS Grain-Free Wet Cat Food Pate||Wet paté||Chicken/ Salmon/ Tuna/ Turkey/ Chicken & Tuna/ Salmon & Turkey|
1. Healthy Kitten Formula Kitten Food
- Manufacturer: Purina ONE
- 5 lb. Bag: 3.6 Pounds
- 7 lb. Bag: 7 Pounds
- 16 lb. Bag: 16.2 pounds
- 3 oz: 5.3 Pounds
- 5 lb. Bag: 4 x 7.5 x 7.8 inches
- 7 lb. Bag: 4.2 x 9.2 x 11 inches
- 16 lb. Bag: 3.2 x 14.8 x 22 inches
- 3 oz: N/A
- Type: Dry
- Uses real chicken as the main ingredient
- A veterinarian recommended brand that provides you kitten high-quality protein.
- The yummy taste of this formula increases your cat’s appetite
- Crunchy kibble provides a unique texture and helps to whiten teeth.
- Contains DHA, an essential ingredient present in mother's milk for vision and brain development.
- Available in three different sized bags, as well as in cans.
- As it is advertised as high-quality food, it is a bit expensive.
- The advertising is somewhat gimmicky, as some people claim it’s average cat food.
- Bad litter box odor is a common complaint from many buyers.
- Contains corn, which is considered as a filler ingredient and not a kittens dietary need.
2. Iams Proactive Health, Healthy Kitten Dry Cat Food
- Manufacturer: Iams
- Freight weight: 7.2 pounds
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 8.8 x 16 inches
- Type: Dry
- Chicken is used as the primary ingredient
- Small-sized kibbles are easy for small kittens to chew
- Suitable for both outdoor and indoor kittens
- Includes nutrients similar to those in mothers milk that ensure the development of a healthy immune system.
- Omega-3 DHA encourages healthy brain growth
- Excellent at reducing hairballs in cats.
- Is a bit pricey, and some users think it does not provide enough value.
- Many long term users now complain about their cats rejecting IAMs and vomiting due to a change in formula
- Poor quality control; customers complain about torn packaging and flies inside the bag.
- Uses cornmeal and grits as fillers and binding ingredients.
- Not good at helping with weight control in chubby cats.
3. Purina Fancy Feast Kitten Canned Wet Cat Food
- Manufacturer: Purina Fancy Feast
- Freight Weight: 5.5 pounds
- Product Dimensions: 3 x 7.8 x 5.2 inches
- Type: Canned Wet Cat Food
- Uses real chicken or salmon as the main ingredient
- Available in multiple flavors
- Milk is used as an ingredient to add flavor and enhance the nutritional value
- Smooth pate is easier to eat
- Formulated to complete the needs of growing kittens.
- Contains various vitamins and supplements to help with healthy growth of your kitten
- Canned wet food fulfills some of the liquid needs and is more digestible than dry food.
- Some cats are lactose intolerant and might have an allergic reaction due to milk in this product
- The packaging is confusing, and people receive fewer cans than advertised.
4. Pro Plan Total Care Canned Kitten Food
- Manufacturer: Pro Plan
- Freight Weight: 4.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 10.5 x 3 x 8 inches
- Type: Canned Wet Cat Food
- Available in delicious salmon and Ocean fish flavors.
- Real seafood is used the no. 1 main ingredient.
- The food comes in easy to open, flip-top cans that make serving and storage convenient
- A tasty formula that young kittens can’t get enough of
- Suitable for kittens as well as old cats.
- The right ratio of nutrients and minerals ensure healthy growth for your kitten
- Some key details about ingredients are hard to find or are ambiguous which makes it hard for
customers to trust this product.
- Some cats and kittens do not like this wet food as it does not look appetizing.
5. IAMS Perfect PORTIONS Grain-Free Wet Cat Food Pate
- Manufacturer: Iams
- Freight Weight: 5 pounds
- Dimensions: 12.6 x 7.8 x 4.1 inches
- Type: Canned Wet Cat Food
- Consists of plenty of antioxidants, Vitamin E, and DHA to aid with healthy growth.
- Uses chicken or fish as a primary part of the food
- Grain-free kitten food means its rich in meat-based protein
- The recipe is yummy for cats, which means increased appetite, especially for finicky cats.
- Protects your kitten against urinary tract infections
- Expensive compared to some other options available.
- Opening the can be messy as it sticks to your fingers
6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Kitten Dry Cat Food
- Manufacturer: Blue Buffalo
- Freight Weight: 5lb pack: 5.4 pound
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 8 x 13.7 inches
- Type: Dry
- High-quality premium kitten food
- Does not contain any fillers or unnecessary ingredients to make it cost-effective
- Has one of the highest percentages of protein available in cat foods
- Made from real chunks of poultry
- Lifesource bits strengthen the immune system and allow the growth of strong bones and organs.
- Makes kittens’ coat silky smooth
- Grain-free means its rich in meat-based protein, which is much better for your cat
- Dry cat food is easier to serve and provides ample nutrients
- An expensive option
- Some kittens might get chubby due to the higher percentage of protein
- Might cause foul smell from stool in some cases
7. Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Kitten, Indoor
- Manufacturer: Hill’s Science Diet
- 6 pounds
- 4 pounds
- 4 x 4.5 x 6.4 inches
- 4 x 5.5 x 7.4 inches
- Type: Dry
- Appropriately balanced minerals ensure healthy growth of bones and teeth
- Ingredients include DHA from fish oil that is crucial for the development of eyes and brain
- Uses natural fibers, that make digestion easier and litter cleaning less of a hassle for you
- Uses high-quality ingredients and has chicken, lamb, or salmon as a protein source
- It is clinically proven this cat food provides antioxidant benefits
- Minimizes chances of foul-smelling or stinky stool
- Even drier than some of the other dry cat foods.
- Does not contain Omega 6, which is crucial for healthy fur.
- Kibbles are so small that some kittens cant crunch it, and some kibbles are swallowed whole.
8. Hill's Science Diet Wet Kitten Food
- Manufacturer: Hill’s Science
- 2 oz. pack: 5.2 pounds
- 5 oz. pack: 9.4 pounds
- 2 oz. pack: 10.5 x 8 x 3.1 inches
- 5 oz. pack: 14 x 10.4 x 3.1 inches
- Type: Wet
- Uses real poultry or seafood as main products.
- Contains gravy that’s juicy and fulfills some of your cat’s hydration needs.
- The packaging is easy to open, and convenient to store.
- Uses high-quality ingredients and stringent quality checks to ensure a safe and healthy diet
- Focuses on providing natural ingredients, and avoids artificial flavors or preservatives.
- Available in 2 oz. As well as 5 oz. Packs.
- An expensive kitten food.
- Contains a lot of by-products
- Food is watery with too much gravy for the liking of some cats.
- Not as savory as other brands
- Some people complain that their cats have stinky breath after using this.
9. Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Natural Kitten Pate
- Manufacturer: Blue Buffalo
- 6 pack: 3.1 pounds
- 24 pack: 5.4 pounds
- 6 pack: 11.1 x 8.2 x 4.4 inches
- 24 pack: 8.2 x 11 x 3 inches
- Type: Wet
- Great value for the price
- Does not contain any animal by-products
- Available in various sizes
- Gourmet food that’s yummy and fulfills all dietary needs of young kittens
- Yummy food keeps your kittens coming back for more, increasing its appetite
- Variety packs make it easy to order various flavors with the same pack
- An expensive option
10. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Kitten Canned Cat Food
- Freight Weight: 2.6 pounds
- Dimensions: 2.6 x 7.9 x 5.6 inches
- Type: Wet
- Thin slices in gravy are easier for growing kittens to eat
- Included antioxidants help in strengthening the immune system.
- The right ratio of fats carbohydrates and proteins ensure muscle and bone growth for you kitten
- Digestible proteins, prebiotics, and fiber make digestion easier
- A popular product that is recommended by experts
- Finicky or picky cats also like this kitten food
- Real poultry or seafood is not among the primary ingredient
- Might cause stinky or foul stool smell
As pet owners, we all want the best for our pets. But oftentimes there are various options available in the market, and it gets difficult to decide which ones to go for and which ones to avoid. Therefore, we have prepared a buyer's guide for you.
Kitten foods are generally divided into two broad categories, Wet and Dry, each with their own attributes and benefits. Let us now discuss each of them in detail.
Wet cat foods usually come in cans. Their main feature is their high moisture content. This means that these foods can contain as much as 78% moisture. It also means that the nutrients, fats, and proteins make up only 22% of the food.
If you take a 3 oz. can of wet kitten food, as much as 2.34 ounces may consist of moisture and just 0.66 ounces of nutrients. The growing body of playful young kittens need a decent dose of nutrients, and therefore you need to feed it more wet food.
Moreover, because they are packed in cans, they are also hard to open and store. Opening some cans might be a hassle, and you might be inconvenienced by spills or gravy messing up your hands.
But wet foods are not all bad. Since cats do not have thirst mechanisms like us humans do, they don't feel the sensation of thirst. Needless to say, keeping your kitten hydrated is extremely important for its health and wellbeing. This is why wet cat foods are so important.
Moreover, wet cat foods have distinct features and are easier to chew. For young kittens or even old cats, wet cat foods are much easier to nibble on or chew. They are also very yummy and taste so good they are considered gourmet cat food.
If you have a finicky kitten or your kitten is sick and has lost its appetite, it will definitely come around for a batch of yummy wet food.
Dry Cat Food
As the name suggests, dry cat food has less moisture when compared to wet. Typically, dry cat food package will consist of 40% protein, 20% fat, and 5% of fibers. That’s 65% nutrients, much more than the percentage found in wet cat food.
Dry cat foods come in packs that can be stored anywhere. They are easy to open and store, and are more convenient to deal with than wet foods.
But don't let the convenience and more nutrients fool you. Less moisture means your cat is not getting the liquid intake its body requires, and you need to be extra careful that it's well hydrated through alternate sources.
Another shortcoming of dry food is their taste. They are not as yummy as wet foods and have a higher chance of your cats disliking. If your cat is finicky or not in the mood, be ready as your cat might reject it.
Evaluation of Wet and Dry Cat Food
Both wet and dry foods have their benefits and shortcomings.
Let's compare them:
It is a good idea to use a combination of dry and wet kitten food to provide the right amount of nutrients as well as moisture to your pet. But before you decide on feeding your cat this way, we sure to consult your veterinarian, and follow the guidelines given to you.
Kittens grow rapidly for the first few months, which is why they need a good combination of nutrients and minerals. After 3-4 months, though, their growth slows down, but they become hyperactive and playful. All this physical activity demands more energy.
As it develops from a kitten to an adult, you should keep a close eye on its growth and activities, and adjust its diet accordingly.
What, When, and How to Feed Kittens
Once a kitten is four weeks old, it slowly begins to wean off its mother milk. This transition from mother's milk to kitten food lasts until the kitten is about eight weeks old. If you're a first pet owner, you are understandably clueless about feeding your baby kitten. But we have just the right guidelines prepared for you.
The fundamental difference between kittens and cats is that kittens experience explosive growth. Their weight may double or triple during their early weeks. This growth, coupled with the tendency for a lot of activity means your kitten will require a healthy dose of nutrients and minerals.
Kittens dietary needs differ from cats as they require more protein, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins than cats. Whereas, their requirement for fat, fatty acids, and almost all other vitamins is the same.
Because of these critical differences, kitten foods are formulated differently than other cat foods. Kittens should be fed these specially formulated foods until they are 12 months old.
Which Foods Should you Feed your Kitten?
You will feed your kitten about half wet and half dry kitten food. The foods you pick should be manufactured by reputable brands, be high in protein, and low in carbohydrates.
The amount of food required will be mentioned in the guidelines printed on the packet. As a starting point, give your cat the right portion corresponding to its weight and age. As it grows, you will have to adjust its portions depending on its weight and size. If it is becoming chubby, decrease the amount, and if it's becoming thin, increase it.
Moreover, make sure your kitten stays well hydrated. Make a fresh supply of water available and clean your kitten's water bowls daily.
The first meal of the day:
The second meal of the day:
The third meal of the day:
The Nutrient Requirements for Young Kittens:
We mentioned kittens have different requirements for nutrients and minerals than adult cats. Let us now take a look at a detailed table of how a kitten's daily nutrition requirements differ from adults.
Let's take calories, for example. A kitten food of the same brand may contain 520 kcal/cup whereas their cat food may contain only 500 kcal/cup. This might not seem like a lot, but the extra calories are crucial for your kitten in the long run.
That's just one example. Check out the Association of American Feed Control Officers' (AAFCO) nutrient recommendations for kittens and cats.
|Vitamin A (IU/kg)||5000||9000|
|Vitamin D (IU/kg)||500||750|
Nutrient deficiency can be dangerous for kittens if you feed them cat food, and might prohibit the development of bones or muscles, which might cause problems when your kitten grows up. Similarly, an excess of nutrients can also be just as dangerous for adult cats if you feed them kitten food.It is evident that kittens need a lot more nutrients and minerals than adults cats. Another nutrient, DHA ( docosahexaenoic acid) is an important nutrient included in well-regarded kitten foods as it helps in brain and eye development.
How to Determine which Kitten Food are High Quality, and Sufficient?
You will come across dozens of different brands, each with their unique selling point. Even though each of these claims to be the best for your kitten, you should choose the one that meets the nutritional requirements of kittens defined by AAFCO.
Moreover, you should only give your kitty supplements if they are not included in its diet. Because similar to many other instances, too much of a good thing is terrible, and an excess of nutrients can be dangerous for your cat.
Some people choose to feed their kittens home-made diet. This diet is usually made from meat, i.e., poultry or fish. Even though it's rich in protein, it may not fulfill other nutritional requirements, such as calcium. These deficiencies can lead to mineral imbalances and diseases common among growing kittens. The good news for you is that home-made diets can work well, but it's highly recommended that these diets are formulated by capable nutritionists or veterinarians.
How to Feed your Kitten:
Kittens tend to be very active and grow rapidly. Their growing bodies need loads of nutrients, which is why they require many meals a day. It is recommended to feed young kittens 4-5 times a day.
Another popular approach is to free feed your kittens. This means you make kitten food available to them throughout the day. This helps avoid a few problems, such as stomach distention. Later, you can transition to fixed mealtimes when your kitty is 4-6 months old.
This method is especially effective for thin kittens, as well as the ones who experience slow growth. Understandably, it may not benefit obese or overweight kittens as much. For these kittens, it is better to feed them fixed portions recommended by your veterinarian. Preventing obesity is more manageable than controlling the diet of an obese kitten.
Moreover, for very young kittens, it is important that their diet consists of some canned food. Because young kittens have very small teeth and find it difficult to chew the kibbles, they need canned food to fulfill their nutritional requirements. If you're using both dry and canned food, feed your kitten two canned servings a day, otherwise feed it four canned servings a day.
Foods that you Should Avoid Feeding your Kitten:
Apart from being mindful of fulfilling your kitten's daily nutritional requirements, keep in mind that there are things your kitten should avoid. Some of these may cause non-fatal issues, such as weight gain, diarrhea, etc. while others can be life-threatening.
Raw meat or liver: Raw meat and liver can be dangerous for your cat as they might contain bacteria or harmful parasites.
Raw Eggs: Raw eggs have the risk of containing salmonella bacteria. This can cause intestinal issues as well as illness. Moreover, raw eggs may also hamper the absorption of vitamin B, which might result in skin and coat problems.
Raw Fish: Raw fish can be very dangerous for your kitten. It can lead to issues such as vitamin B deficiency and loss of appetite to seizures, and even death.
Milk: Feeding milk to kittens, especially the ones who have recently been weaned off their mothers, may cause diarrhea as they lose the enzyme to digest milk.
In addition to the aforementioned foods, there are several other items that are toxic to your kitten.
Lastly, as far as treats are concerned, you may give your cat as many treats as you like but just remember the 10% rule.
At what age can kittens start eating wet food?
Kittens begin weaning off their mothers at around 4 weeks of age. When this starts happening, they will attempt to nibble at their mother’s food. You will notice their mother pushing them away. This behavior is an indication that the kitten is old enough to start eating wet food.
Over the course of a few weeks, it will slowly transition to wet food.
What should I feed my kitten?
Kittens usually completely wean off their mother's milk at 8 weeks of age. When you bring it home, it is able to nibble on solid food. At this age, you can feed your kitten canned wet food or kibble. For young kittens, small-sized kibble foods are available, and if you go for wet foods, you can provide it with wet canned food with a nice texture that it enjoys.
When can kittens poop on their own?
Kittens who are very young can't excrete feces on their own. They require stimulation to be able to poop. Usually, their mothers encourage and help them pass the feces. If you decide to adopt a young kitten less than three weeks old, be sure to learn how to stimulate it and allow it to pass feces.