Kittens have different nutritional needs than adult cats. They not only need a different distribution of amino acids and fats than adult cats, but they also tend to need more calories as well. They also tend to need a diet that’s higher in protein. All of which means that kittens need their own food and can’t be fed regular cat food.
Once we discovered that fact, we decided to go out and hunt down the best kitten foods currently available, and we’ve placed those into the following list. We feel that any one of the following kitty foods will meet the unique requirements required to keep your kitten in good health. So if you’re looking to pamper and care for a young kitty, then you’ll find what you need here.
Best Kitten Foods – Top List
10Nutro Soft Loaf Wet Food
Each 3-ounce can of this soft kitty food is designed to deliver your animal with the optimal amount of nutrition possible. This easy-to-eat formula doesn’t just deliver all of the protein, vitamins, and minerals that your kitten needs, however. It also does it without any added preservatives, artificial colors or artificial flavors. This product also doesn’t contain corn, wheat or soy that can be found in other cat foods. Which makes it a grain-free formula that won’t set off any grain allergies that your young cat may have. All of which makes this food easy on the cat’s system and a healthy addition to any diet.
9Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe
This product not only provides your kitten with the nutrition he or she needs but manages to do it without grain. They do it by using a blend of 81% real animal ingredients and natural oils that are then paired with a 19% blend of fruits, vegetables, and other natural ingredients. The chicken that’s used in this formula is cage free, and the product is made without using artificial colors or preservatives. This means that this is a food that’s made with raw ingredients. Of course, all of that doesn’t matter if your kitty doesn’t like the taste of this food, so they’ve made it with all of the delicious flavors that cats prefer.
8Purina Pro Plan Focus Wet Food
Made with a unique blend of tuna and ocean whitefish, this wet kitten food is specially formulated to provide your kitten with the right amount of DHA they need for normal vision and brain development. It’s also made with a number of ingredients which help to boost the cat’s immune system and help them with their focus. And it’s made in such a way that it’s not only easy for your kitten to digest but also tastes great. This cat food contains a maximum moisture level of 76.5%, a minimum of 13% protein and a minimum of 5% fat. All of the nutrients that a growing young kit needs for a great start.
7IAMS Proactive Health Dry Food
Making a quality kitten food that kittens love and contains all of the ingredients they need for a good start in life is hard, but this dry food manages to do it quite well. It contains a number of ingredients which help to support the growing cat’s nutritional needs. It has Omega-3 DHA to promote healthy brain development, Vitamin E to help strengthen its immune system, essential minerals to encourage strong bones, beet pulp and probiotics for digestive health, and taurine for strong eye development. And since it’s made with real chicken, the kitty will not only get the nutrition it needs but will also love its flavor.
6Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein
Packed with more of the meat that cats really love, this high-quality dry food is designed to not only meet the nutritional requirements of your cat but to he extremely tempting to their taste buds as well. It’s made to be a high protein formula that contains absolutely no grain ingredients. It does have a lot of nutrients though. It has DHA and ARA for healthy brain and cognitive development, Choline for healthy vision development and calcium for bones developments. It’s made using quality animal products such as chicken and is never made with poultry by-product meals, artificial flavors or artificial colors.
5Blue Buffalo Blue Healthy Growth
Manufactured without using any chicken or poultry by-products, wheat, corn or soy, this high-quality food is designed to provide your cat with a high-quality dining experience. Some of the nutrients which can be found in this amazing formula include DHA and ARA, Choline, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. It even has glucosamine and chondroitin to help support joint health as the kitten grows. This product’s chicken and brown rice recipe are also as delicious as it is nutritious and cats just can’t seem to get enough of it. That’s a good enough reason alone to add it to your cat’s diet.
4Hill’s Science Diet Dry Indoor Formula
Specially formulated to meet the dietary needs of indoor cats, this dry kitten food helps to provide kittens with the nutrition they need to grow up healthy and strong. It’s also a formula that will ensure the kitten maintains a healthy rate of weight gain. Manufactured by Science Diet, a company that’s been making high-quality pet foods since 1939, this product is the result of years of experience and hard work. This recipe contains a wonderful blend of antioxidants which include Vitamin C and Vitamin E, and plenty of protein to keep the cat full and happy. And it never contains any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
3Purina One Healthy Kitten Formula
With real chicken listed as its number one ingredient, this food can become an important part of just about any kitten’s diet. This recipe contains absolutely no fillers and is made with high-quality protein that your cat will love. It’s a blend of crunchy textures that are filled with all of the vitamins and minerals your kitty needs as she goes about her day-to-day life. And it has a high protein level that supports strong muscles. This delightful dry food provides a nutritionally balanced diet for both young cats and old cats alike. This food takes all of the guesswork out of caring for your cat.
2Royal Canin Mother & Baby Soft Food
One of the biggest transitions your cat is going to have to make is the transition from being a kitten living on a diet of its mother’s milk to being a cat eating solid food. And no other cat food is capable of making this transition easier than Royal Canin. This soft food is a well-balanced blend of proteins and fats, of carbohydrates and vitamins. It can be fed to kittens as young as four months old and is considered to be a nutritionally complete kitty food. This recipe even features antioxidants that help to support the kitten’s growing immune system. All of which are good reasons to include this food in your kitten’s diet.
1Royal Canin Mother & Baby Dry Food
Kittens have developing digestive systems that need to be nurtured as they grow into adult cats, and no feline food does a better job of caring for their fragile digestive systems than this one. Its recipe is made with high-quality ingredients that are easy for the cat’s body to digest, and it contains small dry kibble that’s easier for the kitten to chew. It also contains a number of nutrients to help the cat grow up healthy and strong. These nutrients include plenty of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. This recipe even has DHA to help with the cat’s brain development as it grows into adulthood.
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Part One: How to Choose a Kitten Food
Although some pet food manufacturers like to believe that all cats are the same, the truth of the matter is that cats are individuals and should be treated as such. That’s why one particular brand of kitten food may work for one cat but won’t necessarily work for another. Therefore, you should choose cat food that reflects your kitten’s breed, health, and activity level. After all, you know your kitten the best.
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some general guidelines that can’t be followed to help point you in the right direction. All cats have the same basic nutritional needs, so there are some things to keep in mind as you search for the perfect food. Let’s look at some of the nutritional requirements that cats may need in order to grow up strong and healthy.
One thing that you need to keep in mind is that kittens often require food that has more calories in it than adult cat food. That’s because about half of the calories a kitten burn goes into building muscle and tissues. This is also the reason why you should never feed an adult cat food to a kitten. It just doesn’t have enough calories per serving.
DHA & ARA
DHA and ARA are Omega 3 fatty acids which are extremely important for the kitten’s brain and visual development. For far too long, not enough kitten food had these two elements included in their recipe. Fortunately, that’s beginning to change, and now most of the high-quality kitty foods have DHA and ARA in their formulation.
A Named Source of Protein
A great way to judge the quality of your kitten’s food is by checking to see if they have named the source of the protein that’s in the recipe. This means that it should say chicken, ocean whitefish, salmon or turkey. Or it should say chicken livers or turkey hearts. When the protein source is listed on the label in that way and listed toward the top of the ingredients list at preferably the number one position, then you know that you’ve selected a high-quality pet food. However, if you kitten food says something like poultry by-products or turkey by-products, then the food is probably a low-quality recipe.
A Named Source of Fat
As was the case with the source of the protein, your cat’s food should list where it’s fat comes from. Therefore, it should say something like chicken fat, salmon oil or something to that effect. Try to avoid food products that don’t list where the animal’s fat originate. If they don’t list the source of the fat, then the fat could come from just about any source, including dead chickens or rancid beef tallow, so be aware.
Like humans, cats of all ages need Taurine to remain healthy. Taurine is an amino body that helps to support retinal and heart health in the cat. If the cat food doesn’t have enough Taurine, then the kitten can develop problems with her eyesight or can develop heart disease. Fortunately, this amino acid has been added to just about every cat food commercially available for the last few decades now.
Vitamin C & Vitamin E
Vitamin C and Vitamin E are often added to cat food as a preservative agent, but it also provides the kitten with plenty of benefits. Most of the time Vitamin C is listed as calcium ascorbate, and Vitamin E is listed as alpha-tocopherol on the list of ingredients.
Although grains aren’t specifically bad for your kitten, they should never be listed as the first ingredient on the package. If they are, then they are probably used as a cheap source of protein. It is also indicative of the fact that the food may have too many carbohydrates for your cat. A high-carbohydrate diet can cause obesity and other health problems in cats, so look for cat foods that have more protein than carbohydrates.
Avoid Bone Meal & Animal Digest
If your kitty food specifically says bone meal, animal digest or uses a generic meat by-product description, then you should avoid it. That’s because the EPA allows for euthanized cats and dogs to be rendered down and turned into these specific products. Products which are then added to the food. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to feed my kitten these ingredients.
Part Two: Additional Tips on Feeding Kittens
Don’t Ween Your Cat Too Early
Your kitten should only feed on mother’s milk for the first month of its life. That’s because mother’s milk has the complex nutritional profile and antibodies that the kitten needs to grow up healthy. Sure, there are some products that are sold as a replacement to the cat’s mother’s milk, but these should only be used when the cat isn’t able to feed the kitten. Nothing beats mother’s milk, so make sure you don’t ween your cat too early. Once the cat is about 4-weeks old, you can then work kitten food into its feeding routine. Always start with wet food and then eventually move towards dry food, if that’s what you intend on feeding the kitten.
Mix Dry and Wet Food When Appropriate
Now that we’ve covered what should and shouldn’t be in your kitty food, it’s time to give you another tip which may help your kitten get the nutrition it needs. Sometimes it may be necessary to mix dry food and wet food together to make it more palatable to the cat.
Feed Small Meals Throughout the Day
I know that it’s common for people to just leave a big bowl of cat food out for their cat and refilling this big bowl when it’s empty. However, that’s not the best way to feed your kitten. That’s because leaving food out all of the time may result in the kitten overeating and this can be the fast track to obesity. A better strategy is to feed the kitten several smaller meals all throughout the day. If you’re not physically able to do this, you can always buy an automatic feeder that will do it for you.