The 10 Best Kitten Foods for Cats in 2019 (Reviews & Guide)

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After analyzing more than 40 products for 20+ hours we reviewed the top 10 best kitten foods which will keep your kitty to be healthy and help her in proper growth.

For those of you who proudly own a kitten, what to feed him is the biggest decision you need to make. Complete and balanced nutrition is very important for your kitten if he is to develop into a healthy, adult cat.

All products claim to be nutritious, but only a few of them can back these claims by offering quality. We have researched scores of kitten foods and reviewed 10 products to make the task of our readers of choosing a diet for their kitten a lot easier.

At a Glance: Iams Proactive Health Dry Kitten Food

Best Kitten Food

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The best kitten food is the Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food because the top ingredient is chicken making it protein-rich to transform your kitten into a lean, strong, healthy, adult cat. Besides, this formulation is also enriched with nutrients that can strengthen the immune system, promote the development of the brain, and improve vision.

Should You Feed Wet or Dry Food to Your Kitten?

When a kitty arrives, it becomes difficult to choose between wet and dry food. Either of them are great sources of nutrition if administered in the right proportion and some pet parents choose to feed them in combination. Each type of food has its own flaws and benefits, though.

Very young kittens must be fed some wet food as part of their diet. Very small kittens have very tiny mouths and will not be able to chew dry food properly. Without any wet food, they will not be able to get sufficient nutrition necessary for their growth. When you are feeding your kitten both dry and wet cat food, feeding wet food twice in a day is enough. If you are feeding the kitten only wet food, then it should be four at least four times every day.

How Long Should Kittens Eat Kitten Food?

Cats that are less than one year old are classified as kittens. The only exception is large breeds such as the Maine Coons, which do not reach adulthood until they are 18 months old.

Kittens can start eating solid food at four weeks. It can be started by feeding your kitten soft or wet canned food. Because kittens grow on a daily basis, the food that they eat must meet the high-energy requirements of this fast-paced growth. However, this diet may need to be adjusted after reaching adulthood.

Though it is difficult to tell when to stop feeding kitten food, generally the process to transition the pet from kitten food to adult cat food should start after the completion of 1 year or as recommended by your veterinarian. The transition should be spread out over a period of 7-10 days, with the quantity of the new food increased gradually on a daily basis during this phase.

When Can Kittens Eat Dry Food?

Kittens can start eating hard food after the fourth week. The process can be started by feeding your kitten soft or wet canned food. As the kitten gets accustomed to solid food and as the teeth start developing, you may start mixing dry food softened with water. Increase the quantum of dry food gradually, in accordance with the instructions provided on the food pack.

The 5 Best Dry Kitten Foods of 2019

Not all of the kitten foods are made equally. They vary in flavor and texture and new parents may be able to choose the right one only after a lot of experimentation. However, this job of selecting kitten foods has been made easier by reviewing 10 products to narrow down the universe size for our readers.

1. Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Diet

The Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Kitten Food is a wonderful combination of proteins, fats, and micronutrients that is essential for the rapid growth and development of young kittens. It is available in a crunchy texture and can also function as a dental chew having the potential to clean your feline’s teeth and prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar.

Healthy Kitten Formula Diet

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Every cup of the healthy kitten formula is equal to 46 grams of lean protein which is mainly composed of real chicken. The high proportion of protein helps to strengthen the muscles. There are no fillers in the formula, which means all the high-quality ingredients have been included for a purpose. This food contains DHA, a nutrient found in mother’s milk that plays a big role in the development of the brain and eyes.

  • Type: Dry Cat Food
  • Quantity: 1 bag of 16 lbs
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Top Five Ingredients: Chicken, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, brewers rice, soybean meal
  • Moisture:12%
Pros
  • Great combination of proteins, fats, and essential micronutrients
  • Protein-rich for stronger muscles
  • No additives or preservatives or fillers
  • Also contains DHA, a nutrient found in mother’s milk and essential for the development of brain and eyes
Cons
  • Complaints that it caused diarrhea

2. Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Natural Kitten Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Dry Kitten Food always contains real meat as the primary ingredient. The high- quality protein from real chicken helps the kitten to strengthen its muscles, apart from which the formula also contains garden vegetables and fruits.

Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Natural Kitten Dry Cat Food

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Specially formulated to meet the needs of growing kittens, Blue Buffalo’s Dry Kitten Food is laden with ARA, DHA, and choline for faster development of the brain and the eyes.

This formula also contains Blue Buffalo’s Lifesource Bits – a precise combination of antioxidants, vitamins and essential minerals meticulously selected by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to strengthen the immune system, meet life stage requirements and a healthy oxidative balance.

Blue Buffalo’s Dry Kitten Food has been formulated for the health and well-being of your kitten and only contains natural ingredients that are enriched with essential vitamins and minerals. It is always free of chicken by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, and preservatives.

  • Type: Dry Cat Food
  • Quantity: 7 lbs bag
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Top ingredients: Chicken, sweet potatoes, brown rice, blueberries, cranberries, flaxseed, peas, and carrots
Pros
  • Real meat the primary ingredient
  • Enriched with fruits and vegetables
Cons
  • This is not a grain-free recipe

3. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food (Chicken recipe)

This particular Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food primarily contains roasted chicken and rice. The protein-rich formula helps to strengthen the muscles of your kitten while the dry kibble can also function as a dental chew to clean the teeth and prevent plaque and tartar buildup.

Dry Kitten Food (Chicken recipe)

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Small kibble with DHA from fish oil is essential for healthy brain and eye development of young cats. This kitten food also contains natural fibers for easy digestion and easy litter box cleanup.

The food is completely made in the USA with trustworthy ingredients sourced from across the globe.

  • Type: Dry Cat Food
  • Quantity: 7 lbs bag
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Top ingredients: Chicken, Whole Grain Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Fat, Chicken liver flavor
Pros
  • Contains roasted chicken
  • Protein-rich for healthy muscles
  • DHA for better development of brain and eyes
  • Also functions as a dental chew
Cons
  • Complains that the food gives diarrhea to the kittens

4. Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food

This comes as a 16 lbs bag of Iams Proactive Healthy Kitten Dry Cat Food that primarily contains chicken. Chicken being the primary ingredient, this protein-rich formula will help to grow your kitten into a lean, strong, and healthy adult cat.

Best Dry Cat food for Kittens

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The formula also contains nutrients like those in mother’s milk, like vitamin E, which helps to strengthen and fortify the immune system. Omega 3 DHA helps in supporting the development of a healthy brain, while Taurine helps to boost vision and promotes better development of the eyes.

  • Type: Dry Cat Food
  • Quantity: 16 lbs bag
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Top ingredients: Chicken, Whole Ground Grain Corn, Chicken by-product meal, Dried beet pulp, dried egg product
Pros
  • Protein-rich diet for stronger muscles
  • Contains nutrients like those in mother’s milk for a stronger immune system
  • Omega 3 DHA for brain development
  • Contains Taurine for better vision
Cons
  • Complaints that the food caused some kittens to vomit, and diarrhea in a few others

5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Natural Kitten Dry Cat Food

This formula is packed with real chicken so that this high protein kitten food is packed with more of the meats that cats like to help boost the healthy development of the muscles. Fatty acids such as ARA and DHA, which are usually found in mother’s milk, and taurine are part of this formulation that helps to support brain and vision development.

Natural Kitten Dry Cat Food

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As with other Blue Buffalo products, this formula also contains Lifesource Bits, a precise combination of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins carefully prepared by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support the health of the immune system, meet lifestage requirements and a healthy oxidative balance.

Blue Buffalo’s formulation is marketed as a formulation designed to promote the well-being and health of your kitten and contains the best natural ingredients enriched with essential vitamins and minerals.

This formulation is not only free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives but also free of chicken by-product meals, wheat, soy, and corn.

  • Type: Dry cat food
  • Quantity: 5 lbs bag
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Top ingredients:
Pros
  • Packed with chicken for muscle development
  • Formula enriched with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
Cons
  • Available only in single flavor

When Can Kittens Eat Wet Food?

Kittens can be put on wet food immediately after being weaned from mother’s milk at around 8 weeks. You should make sure that you are giving them high protein food meant specifically for kittens and proportionately also feed them dry food to prevent constipation and diarrhea.

When you notice diarrhea in the litterbox, give them more canned food. If you notice they have to put more strain in the litterbox, then increase the proportion of dry food. It is with trial and error that you will be able to arrive at the right blend of wet and dry food. Because kittens are growing, ensure that they get plenty of food. At 3-4 months, a kitten may eat more food than an adult.

The 5 Best Wet Kitten Foods of 2019 (Reviews)

It is essential to feed a diet that is a mix of both dry and wet cat food. Cats do not have the drive to drink water and could suffer from dehydration and from complications with regards to the kidney and the urinary tract. Wet Food is food containing lots of moisture which can help to keep the kitty hydrated and also prevent urinary tract issues. We have discussed which are the five best wet foods for kittens.

1. Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe

Instinct Original is made with real cage-free chicken, vegetables, fruit and other healthy ingredients. This is high protein kitten food with responsibly sourced chicken as the top ingredient.

Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe

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The canned food does not contain any grains or other fillers such as soy, corn, wheat, carrageenan, or potato, which are all ingredients known to trigger food allergies in kittens.

The protein-rich nature of the wet food ensures that your kitten develops into an adult cat with lean, strong muscles. To be served as a meal or a topper, the delicious pate texture is something that choosy kittens will love to eat.

This wet canned food offers complete and balanced nutrition from real ingredients and contains DHA for the better development of the brain and eyes in your kitten. It is made in the USA with the finest ingredients sourced from across the world.

  • Type: Raw dry/wet cat food
  • Size: 4.5 lbs bag/ 3 oz can/5.5 oz can
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Top ingredients: Chicken, Beef liver, chicken broth, salmon, eggs
Pros
  • 81% animal ingredients
  • Primarily consists of chicken
  • Free from grains
Cons
  • Complains that already used cans of wet food were delivered

2. Royal Canin Kitten Canned Cat Food

Royal Canin Thin Slices in Gravy canned wet food is specifically formulated for kittens up to 12 months old. Chicken and pork are the most prominent ingredients. The company claims this formula is a healthy ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to meet the energy requirements of a fast-maturing playful kitten.

Royal Canin Kitten Canned Cat Food

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This formula also contains an innovative combination of antioxidants to support the defenses of a kittens immune system as they grow.

Available as small thin slices in gravy, this wet food is easy for your kitten to eat as they transition to solid foods.

  • Type: Wet Food
  • Quantity: 3 oz cans
  • Flavor: Chicken and pork
  • Top ingredients: Chicken by-products, chicken, chicken liver, pork liver, wheat gluten, pork plasma, gelatin, egg product
Pros
  • A healthy ratio of protein, fats, and carbohydrates in the diet to meet the energy requirement of a fast-maturing kitten
  • Rich in chicken and pork
  • Contains a blend of antioxidants to bolster the defenses of the immune system
  • Thin slices in gravy easy for the kitten to eat while transitioning to solid food
Cons
  • Consignment delivered was infested with worm eggs

3. Wellness Complete Health Canned Food for Kittens

This one is a grain-free, balanced, everyday nutrition for your kitten. It contains only premium products with all-natural ingredients and does not contain any meat by-products, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Wet Canned Cat Food

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Contains chicken which is a source of high-quality protein and fatty acids. It is the first ingredient and delivers the taste all kittens love.

Cranberries in the formula are rich in Vitamin C and also a source of tannins, and help prevent urinary tract infections.

Flaxseed is another ingredient that is rich in fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Fiber will help to support digestion whereas omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in keeping the coat shiny.

The last important ingredient is carrots, which contains fiber, minerals, and beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals.

  • Type: Wet food
  • Quantity: 3 oz cans
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Top ingredients: Chicken, chicken liver, chicken broth, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash
Pros
  • Grain-free, complete, balanced everyday nutrition
  • Chicken is the number one ingredient
  • Doesn’t contain any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
Cons
  • Complaints of receiving damaged cans

4. Purina Fancy Feast Grain-Free Pate Wet Kitten Food

Give your kitten a great headstart in life by including the Purina Fancy Feast Tender Feast wet kitten food variety pack in its diet plan. Ocean whitefish, Turkey, Chicken and Salmon formulas with a dash of real milk provides the much needed high-quality protein to strengthen the growing muscles.

Grain-Free Pate Wet Kitten Food

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Each delicious recipe contains real poultry or seafood as the top ingredient so you can feel rest assured that you are providing your growing feline companion with a balanced, nutritious formulation.

The Feast recipes have a soft pate texture, which small mouths can nibble easily.

The Fancy Feast kitten food is composed of 100% complete and balanced nutrition for the first year of your kitten’s life.

The wet food comes in pull-tab cans for convenient serving and storage.

  • Type: Wet cat food
  • Quantity: 3 oz cans
  • Flavor: Poultry or sea-food
  • Ingredients: Milk+poultry, milk+sea-food
Pros
  • Poultry or seafood flavors
  • Available in 3 oz cans
  • A balanced, nutritious formulation that fulfills the growth requirement of kittens
Cons
  • A strong odor that many cats may find offensive

5. Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Natural Kitten Pate Wet Cat Food

This 3 oz can of wet food for kittens is a healthy blend of responsibly sourced chicken, garden vegetables and antioxidant-rich fruits. It is free from chicken/poultry by-products, wheat, corn, soy or other artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Natural Kitten Pate Wet Cat Food

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This natural holistic kitten food provides the essential amino acids and nutrients that your kitten needs every day.  Grains such as barley, oats and brown rice will help to supply your cat with complex carbohydrates needed for energy. Garden veggies like carrots, sweet potato, and parsley while fruits such as cranberries will provide the phytonutrients needed to keep your kitten stay healthy.

  • Type: Wet Food
  • Quantity: 3 oz cans
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Top ingredients: Chicken, chicken liver, chicken broth, dried egg, fish oil, flaxseeds, ground brown rice, carrots, sweet potatoes
Pros
  • Complete and balanced form of nutrition for the growing needs of your kitten
  • A healthy blend of protein, fats, and carbohydrates
  • Free from fillers such as byproduct meals, artificial flavors, preservatives and colors
Cons
  • Complaints that the product delivered is of inconsistent quality
  • Few kittens reported tummy upsets after eating

Our Buyer’s Guide on Kitten Foods for Cats

This section will discuss the factors that must influence your selection, the difference between cat food and kitten food and some FAQs.

How to Choose the Best Kitten Food?

Your kitten may look tiny as of now, but it will grow up very rapidly. Hence, it is so important to feed them a complete and balanced diet now.

The best kitten food is one that is formulated keeping in mind the kitten’s age. It has very high levels of protein, which is essential for growth, plus the levels of calcium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc are elevated to help in building strong bones and teeth. Kitten foods are also rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin E, to strengthen the defenses of their immune systems.

What are the different parameters that should be used to judge a kitten food? We have discussed a few of them here:

  • Ingredients

A good quality kitten food must contain quality ingredients and sufficient nutrients to help the growth of your pet. Please read the label carefully so that you are aware of what you are buying. Veterinarians recommend a diet that is rich in protein and fat, which is further enriched with fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals for the development of your pet. You should be aware of the fact that your kitten’s dietary requirements will change as it grows older.

  • AAFCO Approval

Please keep an eye out for kitten foods that are in accordance with the guidelines of The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The highest quality kitten food will have the statement ‘Complete and balanced nutrition for kittens based on AAFCO feeding trials’ on the label.

  • Flavor and Texture

Cats are terribly choosy eaters so it may become necessary to experiment with different flavors and textures to identify which ones suit your kitten. There is a large variety of flavors and textures available on the market, so hopefully, you should be able to buy a brand that your cat loves.

Kitten Food vs Cat Food

Kittens are not simply smaller editions of cats, they are growing babies that need more calories and nutrition than the adults. Foods for kittens provide them with the ingredients that are necessary to help them mature into adults. Until your little one reaches 1 year of age, feed him kitten food.

1. Reading labels

Labels on kitten food state that they are formulated “for growth and reproduction” whereas the label on the cat food states that they are “for adult maintenance”. These foods can provide a growing kitten with the nutrition he needs based on evidence provided by clinical tests and trials.

2. Protein and fats

The main difference between food designed for kitties and food designed for cats is the proportion of proteins and fats. While the food meant for kittens should contain minimum 22% protein and 8% fat, that for adult cats must contain 18% protein and 5% fats. The extra amino acids and fats in these ingredients help with healthy tissue growth in your little one.

3. Vitamins and minerals

Kitten food contains higher amounts of vitamins and minerals to support the growth of bones and teeth. According to the FDA, larger amounts of calcium and phosphorus are included in the diet of kittens because they are necessary for healthy growth. Adult cat food contains fewer of them because they are no longer necessary for growth.

4. Calories

Kittens need up to 3 times the calories that adults require. The increased proteins and fats in the kitten food give the young ones the extra energy necessary for growth. Kittens also get 30% of their energy from the larger amounts of protein, fats, and calories. Because the tummies of kittens are very small, the small amount of food they consume should be packed with greater calories than adult food.

5. Other Considerations

It is necessary to feed your kitten according to his life stage so that he maintains a healthy body weight and grows normally. While some foods claim to be suitable for all life stages, AAFCO recommendations have specific guidelines for kittens, pregnant or nursing mothers, and adult cats.

In addition to the difference in ingredients, the kitten foods also have a softer consistency for canned foods and small pieces of kibble in case it is dry food to allow your little one to chew and digest the food easily than adult food. Once your little one completes 1 year, it would be wise to change him over to adult food to meet his changing nutritional needs.

FAQs About Kitten Foods

What is the best kitten food?

The best kitten food is Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Kitten Food because it is a great combination of proteins, fats, and micronutrients that are required for the rapid growth and development of your kitten. Made primarily from chicken, the high protein content ensures stronger muscles in your maturing kitten and the crunchy texture also allows it to function as a dental chew and prevent the building up of plaque and tartar. Besides, none of the ingredients is an artificial flavor, color or preservative, which usually cause food allergies.

How much food should I feed my kitten?

To be safer, ask a veterinarian what the portion size should be and how often should you feed the kitten. For kittens 3-6 months old, vets recommend three feedings a day. Once the kitten completes six months, you can reduce it to two feedings a day. Ensure that your cat has plenty of water. Never ever think of giving milk to your kitten because despite a reputation that cat’s love milk, they don’t have the enzymes to digest it properly and your kitten could end up with diarrhea.

When to switch from kitten food to cat food?

Sometimes it’s difficult to understand when to stop feeding kitten food, but generally, the transitioning should start after the kitten completes 1 year or when your vet recommends doing so. The transition process has to be 7-10 days long, and the amount of new food fed should be gradually increased every day during this phase.

Is it okay for a kitten to eat dog food?

It is not advisable to feed dog food to kittens or adult cats both because it doesn’t meet their needs for protein. The protein content in dog food is significantly less than in most commercially available cat food and the protein levels that kittens need.

Conclusion

As pet parents, it is our responsibility to ensure the well-being of our pets. The most important part of maintaining pets is nourishing them by providing them nutritious and balanced meals. And if the pet is still in the early stages of its life, it may have special requirements with regards to nutrition.

This article is aimed at resolving the questions that owners of kittens may have with regards to diet and nutrition. We hope that our readers find something here that is nutritious and helps their kitten to grow up into a healthy, adult cat.

Mark Fredette is a Veterinarian by profession and writes guest blogs for Petlovesbest in his spare time. Having Mark on our team, we ensure that all the products that we promote are safe for pets as well as the guides and blogs are every way risk-free for both the pets and pet parents.

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