Kittens are like babies- they have very sensitive stomachs.
Give them poor quality diets, and you will be visiting the vet almost daily. Even worse, you pose a risk to the little kitten’s health.
Give them the best kitten food, and you will see a happy, healthy kitty. Plus, you will drastically reduce the number of visits to the vet.
Like human babies, kittens need a complete, and balanced diet that meets AAFCOs pet food nutritional profile. More crude proteins; more crude fats; some fiber; moisture; and essential minerals and vitamins.
While that may appear like something easy to do, getting the right diet is a problem. Why? Because there are waaaay too many kitten food brands, and some are poorly formulated. Some pet owners even go to the extent of feeding their fur babies cat food for adult cats, which is wrong!
Best kitten Food Comparison Chart
Kitten food brand name
Instinct Original Kitten Food
Dry kitten food
Wellness Complete Health Natural
Canned kitten food
Instinct Raw Boost
Freeze-dried kitten food
Best Dry Kitten Food (Top Picks)
1. Instinct Original Kitten Dry Kitten Food (Editor's Choice)
Instinct Original dry kitten food is our overall best kitten food.
It is prepared with cage-free chicken as the first ingredient to facilitate proper growth from an early age.
The proportion of real animal ingredients and oil is 81%, while vegetables and fruits represent 19%. It is also grain free.
This recipe contains the right balance of poultry, fish and lamb meat to provide the best composition of animal proteins. It contains essential supplements like taurine, folic acid, vitamins, and minerals.
Instinct Original Kitten dry recipe is prepared in the United States at the company's facilities in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Instincts pet foods have become a popular option for pet owners for their use of raw diets. They are minimally processed foods to preserve the original taste of the raw recipes.
Some of the customers recommend this dry kitten food for kittens with digestive problems. They have reported success with this diet.
2. Blue Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free
Blue Wilderness dry cat food is a high protein diet is a specially formulated kitten diet that is made to cater for your cat’s nutritional and energy requirements. The first ingredient is deboned chicken that provides essential real animal proteins.
The top five ingredient composition comprises crude proteins (40% min), crude fat (20% min), crude fiber (3.5% max), moisture (10% max) and calcium (1.5%).
The diet also contains Omega 3 fatty acids and DHA & ARA acids (from fish oil). DHA and ARA help in eye and brain development. Blue Wilderness kitten dry cat food is grain free and does not contain artificial additives.
This diet is supplemented with a blend of vitamins, minerals and LifeSource bits (rich in antioxidants) that provide the necessary nutrients to support the kitten’s early development.
3. Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Kitten Food
Wellness Core Natural dry cat food for kittens is an all-natural diet that is prepared with turkey and chicken as the primary ingredients.
It is complete and balanced to provide your cat with the essential nutrients to support growth and energy needs.
The first five ingredients used to prepare this diet include deboned turkey, deboned chicken, chicken fat, and salmon oil.
This high-protein kitten food also contains cranberries and DHA to aid in development. It is grain-free, and it does not contain wheat, corn, soy or any artificial additives.
One of the concerns that a customer reported about Wellness Core Natural kitten dry food is the smell. The smell can be managed by putting this bag in a refrigerator for about an hour.
There was also an old complaint of this kibble having large pellets, but the pellets sizes have since been reduced to a small size that the cat can manage.
Wellness Core Natural kitten dry food is prepared in the United States, by Wellness Core company- one of the top pet food manufacturers in the continent.
Best Wet Kitten Food-Top Picks
1. Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free
Wellness Complete Health canned kitten food is one of the best canned kitten foods for finicky eaters.
This diet is complete and balanced to provide the necessary energy to support the kitten’s playfulness and energy needs.
This brand of canned kitten food contains relatively more proteins and fats that typical cat foods.
Cats have a high need for proteins to build muscles and bones and, therefore, this diet provides the necessary nutrients for growth. It is supplemented with whole fruits and vegetables that provide natural vitamins and minerals.
Its top ingredients include crude proteins (min.11%), crude fat (min 6%), crude fiber (max 1%) and moisture (max 78%). It also contains DHA acid (0.4%) and taurine (0.1%) that help in eye and brain development.
Other essential ingredients include cranberries to support urinary tract health, flaxseed for healthy skin and coat as well as carrots that are high in antioxidants.
2. Nature’s Original Kitten Grain-free Canned Cat Food
Nature’s Original grain free is a high protein kitten food recipe that contains a mix of real chicken, salmon, and beef liver.
The high level of proteins provide the energy required by active kittens, and also provides protein exposure from an early age.
The ingredients composition is as follows: crude proteins (min. 12%), crude fat (min. 6%), crude fiber (max. 1%), and moisture (max. 78%). It also contains omega 3 fatty acids (min. 0.2%) and omega 6 fatty acids (min. 1.0%).
It does not contain grains, by-product meals, or artificial additives.
This diet comes in a delicious pate texture that even the finicky eaters will eat to the last piece.
Nature’s Original recommends feeding one can per 3lbs body weight per day for a kitten less than 6 months and ¾ cans per 3lbs body weight for a 6-12 months kitten.
Nature’s Original canned kitten food is prepared in the United States using local and imported ingredients.
3. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Babycat Cat Food
Royal Canin Baby Instinctive canned food is ideal for young cats aged one to four months that are in the weaning stage.
It is a soft and easy to eat mousse with a balance of the essential nutrients for cats that are moving from a milk-only diet to a solid food diet.
Its ingredient composition comprises crude proteins (min. 9%), crude fat (min. 4%), crude fiber (max. 2%) and moisture (max. 81%).
The high moisture content helps in digestion and processing the foods. Also, young cats require to be hydrated at all times, and this diet is an ideal choice for a cat that is transitioning from a milk diet.
It has a unique balance of proteins, fats and whole carbs that are preferred by kittens, including picky neonatal kittens. The diet is supplemented with antioxidants that strengthen the cat’s immunity to fight off infections and infant illnesses.
Although Royal Canin Feline Health canned cat food may appear a little pricey, it comes in 24 cans to last you for several weeks or months before you go back to the shop. This diet is recommended by vets as the best kitten food.
Best Freeze-dried kitten food (Top Picks)
1. Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Recipe
Instinct Raw Boost grain-free is a high protein kibble that is prepared using cage-free chicken as the first ingredient. It is formulated to meet the AAFCO cat food nutrient profiles for both kittens and adult cats.
Guaranteed Analysis Top 5 components: crude protein (min. 43.0), crude fat (min. 20%), crude fiber (max. 3.5%), moisture (max 9%), omega 3 fatty acids (min. 0.5%) and omega 6 fatty acids (min 3.5%). All components are all-natural.
This diet is also supplemented with whole non-GMO fruits and vegetables to provide essential vitamins.
The probiotics, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants help in digestion, smoothening the skin and coat as well as boosting the cat’s immunity. It is grain-free and does not contain artificial colors and preservatives.
Instinct Raw Boost is an ideal freeze-dried for both kittens and adults cats. Feed kittens twice as much food as the amount given to adult cats.
This diet is also suitable for pregnant and nursing cats to provide them with a boost of premium proteins and natural omega fats.
Instinct Raw Boost is prepared in the United States, in the company-owned facilities in Lincoln, Nebraska.
2. Primal Pet Foods Freeze-Dried Feline Turkey Formula
Primal freeze-dried feline turkey formula is a grain-free feline formula that is prepared using turkey meat as the first ingredient.
The company claims that this food is made with 100% human-grade ingredients. Turkey, organs and crushed bones make up 93% of this diet.
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude proteins (min. 57%), crude fat (min. 23%), crude fiber (max 2%) and moisture (max. 3%).
The first five ingredients are turkey, turkey necks, turkey hearts, turkey livers and organic collard greens. Other organic includes squash, celery, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut oil, etc.
All the ingredients used to prepare Primal Feline Formulas are sourced from ranches and farms located in the United States and New Zealand. These farms produce organic, wholesome foods using natural agricultural methods.
Primal pet foods freeze-dried turkey formula has essential amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that support the cat’s bodily functions.
Primal foods are complete and balanced diet for all life stages. It is free of grains, gluten, and wheat. This diet is prepared here in the US.
Apart from turkey formula, primal pet foods also have pork formula as well as chicken and salmon formula.
3. Stella & Chewy’s Yummy Lickin Salmon and Chicken Freeze-dried dinner
Stella & Chewy is one of the best manufacturers of freeze-dried and raw cat’s food in the United States. This diet is prepared with wild-caught salmon and cage-free chicken. The diet also includes appropriate organs and crushed bones.
Guaranteed analysis: crude protein (min. 45%), crude fat (min. 15%), crude fiber (max. 2%), moisture (max. 5%) and taurine (min.0.25%).
The top ingredients in this diet are salmon with ground bone, chicken with ground bone, chicken liver, chicken gizzard and pumpkin seed. It also contains pea fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
It does NOT contain grains, gluten, artificial colors, and preservatives. It is complete and balanced for all life stages.
Stella & Chewy Yummy Lickin Salmon and Chicken freeze-dried is prepared in the USA in the company’s kitchens using locally-sourced and imported ingredients.
Apart from salmon and chicken, Stella & Chewy freeze-dried cat food also comes in other flavors such as salmon and cod, turkey, chicken, herring and tuna, rabbit, duck, and chicken.
What to Consider When Purchasing Kitten Food
1. Specially Prepared Diet for kittens
While some would argue that kittens can as well take adult cat food, vets hold a different opinion. They recommend that feline should be given specific foods that meet their calorie, protein and nutritional needs.
Kitten require these macronutrients to build up their body tissues until they reach maturity level. Once mature, their nutritional needs change since the macronutrients work on maintaining tissues and repairing damaged ones.
Therefore, cats and kittens have different nutritional needs. If you want to raise a healthy and happy kitten, always buy the best kitten food that meets the cat’s nutritional needs.
2. High protein (calorie) count
Infants require lots of energy to fuel the various chemical processes in their bodies and physical activities. Just like babies, kittens are very active pets that rarely laze around unless when feeding or taking a nap.
If you already have a kitten, you will notice that it plays a lot with interactive toys, roams around and often exercises thus demanding lots of energy to cater for its vigorous physical activities.
In addition, the bodies of kittens go through complex chemical processes that leads to formation of tissues and organs. These processes demand lots of energy
Generally, cats are considered as obligate carnivores and as such, their digestive systems are structured in such a way that they easily digest proteins.
When choosing the best cat food for kittens therefore, consider food whose primary source of calories comes from proteins and fats.
3. Proper approval
Always buy kitten food brands that have passed AAFCO feeding trials. AAFCO-approved kitten food brands have been tested on real kittens before finding their way into the market. Buying such foods guarantees quality diet for your kitten.
4. Source of protein
The first ingredient in your kitten’s food should be animal-based protein, for instance real chicken, lamb or beef meat.
However, stay away from by-products proteins since most of such foods do not specify its composition as well as the sources of its proteins.
The lack of specification in by-products food means that any other protein could be included that may pose harm for your kitten if eat that food.
5. Proper fat levels
Although most people consider taking low fats as part of healthy eating lifestyle, this is not quite true even for kittens.
Kittens are active pets who require lots of energy for their activities, and that is where proper fat content comes in. In addition, fat boosts the pets’ immune system, aids the development and functions of skin, hair, joints and muscles.
As you shop for the best kitten food, consider the types of fats that will boosts the functions of the body.
Supplement the crude animal fats with other essential types of fats including omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids found in fish, flax, salmon, sardines, and Krill.
Omega 3 fatty acids is especially important and veterinarians recommend consumption of 250 mg per day to supplement pet’s diet.
6. Wet kitten food vs. dry kitten food
Wet kitten food comprises a high percentage of moisture compared to nutrients implying that she will require a large quantity of wet food to meet its nutritional requirements.
The high moisture content in wet food helps in boosting chemical processes in feline’s body that without it, building and development of tissues would be hampered leading to health complications.
Canned kitten food is usually very delicious that even the most finicky eaters and sick kittens would not resist.
On the other hand, dry cat food is the direct opposite of wet food. It has a high composition of nutrients and very little moisture and, therefore, economical.
To boost the physiological processes in her body would require that you train her to drink water from a bowl to keep her hydrated.
Foods that you Should not Give Your Kitten
Humans would do all it takes to develop a strong bond with their little feline.
One of the strategy they might employ is sharing human food with them especially snacks that might spell doom for these adorable pets. Here are some of the foods that you ought not to give to your kitten:
Who would have thought that chocolate can be harmful? Well, chocolate is generally to harmful to pets including cats and kittens since it contains natural stimulants, particularly caffeine and theobromine.
The stimulants speeds up the heart’s palpitation rate and worse still can cause tremors, muscle twitching and seizures.
Human liver digests alcohol and the same is true for kitten’s liver. Remember that most of these feline organs are still at developmental stages.
Therefore, just a spoonful of alcohol intake can cause liver problems and subsequent brain damage since once digested some of the byproducts reach the brains neurons causing harm.
3. Onions and garlic.
Onions and garlic contribute to digestive problems among kittens, and the extent of the digestive upset increases with the amount consumed.
Also, studies have shown that ingestion of certain types of onions by kitten could lead to anemia and other related problems. Thus, keep onions and garlic out of reach for your young feline.
4. Raw food
Some of the raw foods including meat, fish and eggs might contain salmonella that may lead to gastrointestinal problems among young felines.
5. Dairy products
Some kitten exhibit allergic reactions to lactose found mostly in dairy products. Therefore, when a kitten drinks milk, she will likely vomit and diarrhea and the end result is dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
Click here to see the complete list of human foods that are poisonous to cats and kittens.
Kittens depend solely on us for their nutritional requirements. Always remember to choose kitten food with high calorie and protein content to enhance the development of tissues and organs even as they grow towards maturation.
Also, if possible have a mixture of both wet and dry kitten food to enhance the strength of each while negating their weaknesses. It is important to provide them with the best diet so that they grow towards optimum growth and development.
We all dread to see our adorable felines getting sick, right? Ensure that your kitten does not consume certain human foods that may affect their health, for instance chocolate and raw food.