Kittens - they're cute, they're crazy, actually they are completely nuts! Everyone knows the power a new kitten has over us mere humans, as even the hardest heart melts when holding a small fluffy kitten.
Watching them grow from a tiny furball to an adult cat, kittens will definitely brighten your day.
However, kittens require special care, not only in the way you handle them, but also in the choice of food you give them.
A kitten's digestive system is not fully developed, and this means that the meals they eat should be specially designed for their digestive system.
Most pet parents make the mistake of giving kittens human and adult cat food, which can trigger health issues and even put your little friend in great risk
Kittens need a complete, and balanced diet that meets AAFCO's pet food nutritional profile. More crude proteins, more crude fats, some fiber, moisture, and essential minerals and vitamins.
We reviewed and tested fifteen different types of kitten food brands to determine their ingredient composition, choice of ingredients, nutritional profile and their popularity among cat parents.
We narrowed it down to nine of the best kitten foods, including wet and dry kitten food that you can buy online and get delivered to your door.
Our website is reader-supported. We research all reviewed products carefully to give you the best choices possible, and if you buy via links on our site we may earn a small commission.
Best Kitten Food Comparison Chart
Best Dry Kitten Food
Best Canned Kitten Food
Best Freeze-Dried Kitten Food
Best Dry Kitten Food Reviews
1. Instinct Original Kitten Dry Kitten Food
Instinct Original dry kitten food is our favourite 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.
Most customers recommend this dry kitten food for kittens with digestive problems.
2. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Kitten Food
Blue Buffalo Freedom 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 Grain Free Kitten Food
Wellness Core Natural dry kitten food 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 before giving it to your kitten.
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 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 Reviews
1. Wellness Complete Health 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
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 Babycat
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.
Freeze-dried Kitten Food Reviews
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 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 Salmon and Chicken
Stella & Chewy is one of the best manufacturers of freeze-dried and raw cat’s food in the United States.
This formula 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.
Factors to Consider When Buying Kitten Food
1. Specially Prepared Diet for kittens
While some would argue that kittens can as well take regular cat food, vets hold a different opinion. Vets recommend that kittens should be given a specific diet that meet their calorie, protein and nutritional needs.
Kitten require these macro-nutrients to build up their body tissues until they reach maturity level. Kittens also tend to be playful, and they need to get the energy from the diets you give them.
Upon maturity, the kitten transition to a new diet for adult cats that provides additional nutrients and ingredients that support proper growth, energy and muscles.
2. High protein (calorie) count
Infants require lots of energy to fuel the various chemical processes in their bodies and physical activities.
Just like human babies, kittens tend to be active, and they rarely laze around unless when feeding or taking a nap.
In addition, the kitten's body goes through complex chemical processes that lead to formation of tissues and organs. Also, cats are obligate carnivores and as such, their digestive systems are structured in such a way that they easily digest proteins.
When buying kitten foods for your young feline, check the calorie content on the packaging to determine the calorie content and active ingredient. The best kitten food to buy should have real meat as the main source of proteins, either from chicken, turkey or beef.
3. AAFCO Standards
Always buy kitten food brands that have passed AAFCO feeding trials.
AAFCO is an association of state and federal agencies that regulates the sale of animal feeds and drugs.
AAFCO-approved kitten food brands have been tested on real kittens before finding their way into the market. This guarantees that the food you buy for your kitten meets the required nutritional profile required by AAFCO.
4. Source of protein
The first ingredient in your kitten’s food should be animal-based protein, for instance real chicken, turkey, lamb or beef meat. These protein-sources provide the required calories to support the kitten's body functions.
However, watch out for the presence of unspecified by-products in the kitten's formula. While there are nutritious ingredients such as chicken liver, some unnamed by-products may pose harm to your kitten.
5. Proper fat levels
Kittens are playful, and they require lots of energy for their activities. Fat is a rich source of energy, and you should check the guaranteed analysis to confirm the proposition of fat content in the diet.
In addition, fat boosts the pets’ immune system, and help in the development and functions of skin, hair, joints and muscles.
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. Confirm the presence of Omega 3 fatty acids in the formula.
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 to support building and development of tissues.
Canned kitten food tends to be delicious that even the most finicky eaters and sick kittens would not resist.
On the other hand, dry kitten food has a high composition of nutrients and very little moisture. If you kitten prefers dry meals over wet food, you should train her to drink water regularly to stay hydrated.
FAQs About Dry and Wet Kitten Food
Do kittens need special food?
Kittens need a special diet that is different from the adult cat food. Usually, kittens need large amounts of energy, and they should derive at least 30% of this energy from proteins. Feed your cat a high-protein kitten-specific formula until she reaches maturity.
Is wet or dry food better for kittens?
Both wet and dry kitten foods are balanced and complete for the kitten’s nutritional needs. The major difference between the two is moisture content. Wet kitten food has a higher moisture content (about 80%) compared to dry kitten food which has only 10% or thereabouts. Vets recommend feeding more dry food since its good for her developing teeth. Remember to provide a cleaning drinking water in a clean water bowl.
What is the healthiest kitten food?
Our overall top pick is the Instinct Original dry kitten food that is prepared with cage-free chicken as the first ingredient. This formula is prepared in the United States, and it contains essential minerals and vitamins such as taurine, folic acid, and Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids.
What should a 6-week old kitten eat?
Once your kitten is 6 weeks old, you should introduce her to solid foods gradually. During the weaning stage, she requires more energy, and you should make the transition gradual. Try giving a mix of milk replacer and dry kitten food and decrease the amount of milk replacer as she ages. Feed her four to five times per day. Ensure the food has enough animal proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Final Wrap Up
Kittens are still in the early stages of development, and this means that they require carefully formulated diets to meet meet the nutritional and growth requirements.
When buying kitten food, always consider the ingredients included in the diet. The first ingredient should be real meat, mainly from chicken, beef or lamb. It should also have enough calories to support the kitten's energy requirements.
Also, you should have a mix of both canned/wet kitten food and dry kitten food. Feeding too much wet kitten food may cause dental issues while dry kitten food tend to keep the kitten dehydrated unless you provide a separate source of water.
Including both types of kitten foods help enhance the strength of each diet, while managing the weaknesses. Also, remember to provide clean drinking water at all times, either using a water bowl or water fountain to keep her hydrated.