The best kitten food brands offer a wide variety of products which meet the specific nutritional needs of young cats.
Kittens have an increased need for a meat-based, high fat diet that will give them the nutrients to build strong bones and muscles. The best kitten food for your young pet may be wet food, dry kibble, or a combination of both.
Let’s take a look at some of the best options available to you.
All of these products were carefully and independently selected by The Happy Cat Site team. If you decide to make a purchase from one of the links marked by an asterisk, we may earn a small commission on that sale. This is at no extra cost to you.
Our Top Picks
|BEST KITTEN FOOD||BENEFITS|
|Blue Wilderness Canned Kitten Food||High Protein, High Fat, Grain Free, Natural Kitten Food|
|Wellness Core Canned Kitten Food||High Protein, High Fat, Grain Free, Natural Kitten Food|
|Blue Healthy Gourmet Canned Kitten Food||High Protein, High Fat Kitten Food|
|Wellness Core Dry Kitten Food||High Protein, Grain Free, Natural Kitten Food|
|Purina Pro Plan Focus Canned Kitten Food||High Protein Canned Kitten Food|
|Purina Pro Plan Focus Dry Kitten Food||High Protein Dry Kitten Food|
|Purina Fancy Feast Canned Kitten Food||High Protein Canned Kitten Food With Milk|
All of these foods listed above have high protein and high fat. This makes them some of the best kitten food options around.
You can find out all about these and lots more of the best kitten food brands in the article below.
Kitten Food Quick Links
This article contains an extensive look at several different types of food, including the best kitten wet food, best dry kitten food, organic and high protein kitten food options, and even the best choice for kittens who are a little older but still under one year.
We have aimed to find the healthiest options from the best kitten food brands.
- Best Wet Kitten Food
- Best Dry Kitten Food
- Grain Free Kitten Food
- High Protein Kitten Food
- Organic Kitten Food
- For Older Kittens
- Raw Kitten Food
Benefits Of Kitten Food
Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they have evolved to eat meat and nothing else. Following this meat-based, high fat diet is even more important when they are young.
As they develop, kittens need a wide range of nutrients to fuel their growing bones, brains and immune systems.
There are many options when it comes to selecting your kitten’s food. You could feed them wet or dry food, or a combination of both.
Lots of people choose combination feeding because they feel that fussy kittens can grow into fussy adult cats.
It’s sometimes a good idea to get your kitten used to different textures early on. You can do this by adding both dry and canned kitten food to their diet.
Wet Protein Vs. Dry Protein In Kitten Food
The top food for kittens is a well-known, trusted brand that provides all the nutrients kittens need. That’s why it’s important to read the labels on your cat food. Protein and fat are important considerations.
Remember – you can’t compare the protein and fat percentages of wet and dried food. This is because there is so much more water in wet food. So the percentage of protein will be relatively lower, but still high in reality.
You can see a comparison table of the moisture adjusted protein and fat content of the best kitten food options we will look at below here:
|KITTEN FOOD BRAND||PROTEIN |
|Blue Wilderness Canned Kitten Food||48%||41%||89%|
|Wellness Core Canned Kitten Food||55%||34%||89%|
|Blue Healthy Gourmet Canned Kitten Food||50%||34%||84%|
|Purina Pro Plan Focus Canned Kitten Food||55%||21%||76%|
|Purina Fancy Feast Canned Kitten Food||55%||18%||73%|
|Wellness Core Dry Kitten Food||50%||20%||70%|
|Newman's Canned Cat Food||41%||27%||68%|
|Rachael Ray Nutrish Canned Cat Food||43%||24%||67%|
|Purina Pro Plan Focus Dry Kitten Food||46%||20%||66%|
|Blue Wilderness Dry Kitten Food||44%||22%||66%|
|Hill's Science Diet Dry Kitten Food||40%||26%||66%|
|Purina ONE Dry Kitten Food||45%||20%||65%|
|Merrick Purrfect Bistro Dry Kitten Food||46%||19%||65%|
|Nature's Variety Raw Cat Food||43%||19%||62%|
|Iams Proactive Health Dry Kitten Food||37%||23%||60%|
|Royal Canin Dry Kitten Food||37%||17%||54%|
You can find a great explanation of how I’ve worked out these adjusted percentages on the Burns website here if you are interested.
But now, let’s take a look at more in-depth reviews of each of these options. While protein and fat percentages are an important part of what makes the best kitten food, there are other things to consider as well.
Best Kitten Food
Kittens have similar needs to adult cats in terms of vitamins, fats, and fatty acids. But because of their rapid growth, kittens have much higher needs for proteins, amino acids, and minerals than their older counterparts.
So the best kitten food brands will incorporate these nutrients.
Experts recommend that kittens get about 30% of their energy from protein in their diet.
And young cats have trouble getting enough energy from just one meal a day, so it’s also recommended that they be fed multiple smaller meals throughout the day. They also need plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated.
Best Wet Kitten Food
Wet or canned food is a popular choice with new pet owners. It has a higher hydration level, helping your cat to be able to get the water content she needs.
The best kitten wet food also tends to smell yummy to kittens. Not that most kittens will need any extra incentive to tuck into their food!
Let’s take a look at some of the top of the pack of best wet kitten food.
Wellness Turkey And Chicken Liver Canned Kitten Formula
One of the best canned kitten food options is Wellness’ Turkey and Chicken Liver* canned kitten formula.
It has no meat by-products or preservatives.
This tasty food contains real turkey, chicken and even herring! And it has the benefit of being grain free too.
Purina Fancy Feast Canned Ocean Whitefish
This is made with milk and is suitable for very young cats.
Blue Buffalo Gourmet Chicken Pate
For a more upscale option, or a special occasion, give your kitten wet food in the form of Blue Buffalo’s Gourmet Pate*.
It’s got a high protein and high fat content.
The chicken dish contains DHA, an essential fatty acid that helps brain development.
Best Dry Kitten Food
Dry kitten food has a few advantages over wet food.
While wet food may be more expensive per meal, kibble tends to be a little cheaper. It also stores well, so you can buy more at a time.
On top of that, if your little kitten gets distracted and wanders off to play instead of finishing her food, dry kibble can sit out without needing to be covered or refrigerated. So you may well decide that dry is the best food for kittens.
However, kibble doesn’t have the moisture content of wet food. So extra attention should be paid to ensuring that your kitten always has water available.
Purina Pro Plan Chicken And Rice Formula
Real chicken is the main ingredient, and it has high protein and fairly high fat content too. Overall it’s a great choice for your growing kitten’s body, and rated as some of the best cat food for kittens.
IAMS Proactive Health Kitten
They have a proactive health range for kittens a year old, or younger.
This popular food contains fairly high level of fat for a processed pet food. And real chicken is again the main ingredient.
Purina One Healthy Kitten Formula
It also has a high level of protein and fat for a dried cat food.
If your kitten is reluctant to nibble dry food, the manufacturer suggests moistening the kibble using no more than one part warm liquid to three parts Purina.
Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Kitten
It claims to help boost your cat’s muscle and brain development, as well as reduce furballs.
Grain Free Kitten Food
Grain free foods for animals of all types are increasingly popular. And many feel that grain free makes the best food for kittens, too.
These have a basis in the overall health of the animal. Cats especially need to have a meat-based diet for their well-being. So food that involves a lot of grains as fillers is often not the first choice.
On top of that, some animals develop sensitivities to grains due to inability to properly digest them. This can leave them with an upset tummy.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Tuna Purrrrfection
Real fish makes up the main ingredient of this yummy food. And it also boasts a lack of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.
However, this all stages cat food is suitable from kittenhood to adulthood – so if your cat loves it, you can stick with it.
Blue Wilderness Grain Free Kitten Food
It’s high in protein and fat, which is great for your developing cat.
A big benefit is that it’s grain free. Made from chicken and trout, it has absolutely no corn, wheat or soy.
Wellness Core Grain Free Dry Food
Yet again, the protein and fat levels are great for a dried food. You may consider this the best cat food for kittens!
Merrick Purrfect Bistro
This popular grain-free product is Merrick Purrfect Bistro*.
It’s made from deboned chicken.
High Protein Kitten Food
As we discussed earlier in this article, kittens need a high concentration of protein in their diet. This helps them to develop strong muscles.
All of the recommended kitten foods on this list should have the right amount of protein for your little cat. But suppose your vet recommends that you focus on kitten formulas with a specific focus on protein.
We can recommend the following, if that is the case.
Purina Pro Plan Flaked Whitefish And Tuna
This yummy food has a high level of protein.
It is also rich in omega fatty acids, and made with real fish.
Blue Wilderness Kitten Grain Free Food
Their grain-free dry food for kittens is chicken flavored. It’s labelled as high protein kitten food, and is also high fat as well.
A great choice across the board, and perhaps the best kitten food for your tiny new pet!
Organic Kitten Food
Increasingly, pet owners are shunning conventional pet food for fear of pesticides and preservatives.
As loving owners, we want to ensure the healthiest products for our kittens as they grow. This includes keeping a watchful eye on the ingredients involved.
Organic kitten food can offer some peace of mind. These options may be considered among the best cat food for kittens.
Castor And Pollux Organix Grain Free Kitten
This entry from Castor and Pollux Organix Healthy Kitten* contains chicken, flaxseed, coconut oil, and cranberries. All of these ingredients are organic.
This option, like several others on this list, is made with DHA for healthy kitten development.
Newman’s Own Organics Chicken Kitten Food
This brand has a canned kitten food made with salmon and organic chicken.
It boasts a good level of protein and high fat too.
Best Kitten Food Brands For Older Kittens
As kittens begin to mature, they become even more dependent on good quality protein for energy.
The part of kittenhood after the first few months is when you will really start to see their energy take off!
There are a few kitten food brands which specialize in foods for this age.
Royal Canin’s Feline Health Nutrition
It contains antioxidants and prebiotics, as well as proteins, minerals, and vitamins that are needed for this very high-energy part of a kitten’s life.
Royal Canin Spayed/Neutered Feline Health
Royal Canin’s Feline Health Nutrition* also offers a kitten food specifically for the post-surgery time. After your kitten has been spayed or neutered, she or he will see a reduction in energy and an increase in appetite. This combination could lead to weight gain.
Raw Kitten Food
For those owners who want more control over their kitten’s diet, raw feeding can be a good option.
Homemade food does require a little more effort but many pet owners are turning to raw feeding as a way to boost their cat’s health.
One study has shown that there is no advantage or disadvantage when comparing raw to prepared kitten food.
The Feline Nutrition Foundation is a firm advocate for a raw meat diet. They advise trying a range of raw meats, so your kitten gets used to variety. They also say feeding ground meat at first can help with the transition.
Instinct Raw Boost
If you’re not quite at the homemade stage, Instinct Raw Boost* is a mix of grain-free kibble and freeze-dried raw meat pieces. It’s suitable for kittens and contains probiotics, Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
Perhaps surprisingly, the protein and fat levels are good, but no higher than some of the leading standard dry kitten food options.
How Much Food Do Kittens Need?
Now you know what the best kitten food is for you, you’ll need to know how much to feed her.
Your kitten food will give quantities on the container, but these are often overestimated. Growing kittens up to six months of age may need three meals a day, but some owners prefer four smaller meals.
From six months, most cats only need to be fed twice a day. A little bit of trial and error is normal with feeding, but be sure to keep an eye on your cat’s weight.
Underweight kittens will not develop properly and may be malnourished. At the other extreme, overweight pets can develop serious health problems. Make sure that your kitten looks a healthy weight, that he appears slim but that you can’t feel his spine.
If you’ve any concerns, it’s always a good idea to check in with your vet. They can help you develop a feeding plan based on your kitten’s individual needs.
Choosing The Best Kitten Food
Good formulas specially formulated for kittens, as their needs are different from adult cats.
They also need smaller quantities of food, to be fed more frequently. The best option is high in protein and fat, and has minimal fillers. And a lot of people will want it to be grain free too.
Your kitten’s personal tastes will also come into play.
Don’t be afraid to try a few different options, just remember to change food types slowly to avoid upsetting her delicate stomach.
Have you used any of the choices listed here in this article? Did you find the best dry kitten food? How about the best wet food for kittens? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section below!
Affiliate link disclosure: Links in this article marked with an * are affiliate links, and we may receive a small commission if you purchase these products. However, we selected them for inclusion independently, and all of the views expressed in this article are our own.
References And Further Reading
- Cat Nutrition Tips. ASPCA
- MachPherson McKay 1920 The Effect on Kittens of a Diet Deficit in Animal Fat. Department of Experimental Pathology
- Hardy, AJ et al 2013 Valine Requirement of the Growing Kitten. Department of Animal Science
- Hamper, BA et al 2015 Apparent nutrient digestibility of two raw diets in domestic kittens. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
- Seawright et al. 1974. Severe retardation of growth with retention and displacement of incisors in young cats fed a diet of raw sheep liver high in vitamin A. Australian Veterinary Journal.
- Hamper, BA et al 2016. Evaluation of two raw diets vs a commercial cooked diet on feline growth. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
- Kerr et al 2010 Apparent total tract energy and macronutrient digestibility and fecal fermentative end-product concentrations of domestic cats fed extruded, raw beef-based, and cooked beef-based diets. Journal of Animal Science
- Feline Nutrition Foundation
- Hamper, BA, 2012. Nutritional Adequacy and Performance of Raw Food Diets in Kittens. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Tennessee
- Hill’s Science Diet
- Cornwell Feline Health Center
This article has been extensively revised and updated for 2019.
Your Amazing Cat!
We are so excited to share our new book with you!
If you have enjoyed your visit to The Happy Cat Site we think you'll love The Happy Cat Handbook.
Written by the founders of this website including the author of the hugely successful Happy Puppy Handbook, it's packed with cat care information and fascinating cat facts.
Grab your copy today!