13 Best Kitten Food Brands of 2022: Quality, Ingredients & Price
Just one trip to the pet section of your local supermarket will convince you that there are an overwhelming number of options for the best kitten food. Fancy labels and catchphrases are designed to attract you, but the ingredients inside are what truly matter.
It can be hard to know the best food for your kitten. You want to provide them with the best possible nutrition, so they grow healthy, but you don’t want to overfeed. This article will share some of our best kitten food options and tips on choosing the right one for your pet. Once you’ve found a recipe that your kitty loves, stick to it religiously, and you’ll be sure they are gaining all the nutrition they need.
Our List of the Best Kitten Food Products & Where to Buy Them
1. Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Ground Bird Cat Food
Many options are available, and it can be challenging to initially determine which food to feed your kitten. Smalls provides fresh food recipes that are suitable for human consumption. No preservatives, fillers, by-products, or artificial additives are used in their production. The recipe for Human-Grade Fresh Ground Bird with high water content and chicken thighs, breasts, hearts, and livers is the best overall.
Other noteworthy ingredients include kale, green beans, and peas, which provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals that serve as an energy source and maintain the health of your kitten’s skin and fur. Despite the inclusion of vegetables, the carbohydrate content is low, which is ideal for your kitten, which significantly benefits from a low-carb, high-protein blend.
As it is a subscription service, it will be more expensive than buying in bulk at a pet store. Nevertheless, it may be worth it. Smalls provides tasty, hygienic food that your kitten won’t be able to resist. The Human-Grade Fresh Ground Bird Recipe is suitable for a maintenance diet but not for all specialized diets. Therefore, if this is something your kitten requires, consult your veterinarian for guidance.
It is one of the most well-known pet food brands. Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food does not appear to be one of the commercial brands that cut corners and sacrifice quality to increase profits. This formula is dry kibble and compared to other kitten foods; it is reasonably priced. However, do not let this deter you. This blend contains abundant nutrients designed to improve the health of your growing kitten.
For instance, at least 40 percent of the crude protein will come from chicken and chicken meals. Taurine, DHA, and vitamin E, all essential nutrients for cats, are also in adequate quantities. Unfortunately, this formula also contains soy and corn, which contribute to its affordability while providing sufficient nutrition. We consider this one of the most cost-effective best kitten foods based on the quality you receive for the price.Check Price
We were impressed when we began reading the Instinct Original Grain-Free Dry Kitten Food nutrition label. Four of the five main ingredients in this recipe are animal-based protein sources. The primary ingredient is chicken, followed by turkey meal and menhaden fish meal. As can be seen, Instinct did not skimp on protein content, offering a variety of high-quality meat-based proteins totaling at least 42.5%.
Protein is not the only nutrient in this food. In addition, it contains ample amounts of DHA, taurine, and essential fatty acids, all of which are essential for your kitten’s health. This blend’s vitamins and minerals are primarily derived from whole-food sources instead of supplements, making them more easily absorbed by the body.
Given that this is a high-quality, nutrient-rich cat food that will keep any kitten healthy, it is not surprising that it is also costly. Given the incredible nutrition this mixture offers your kitten, we believe the higher price is justified; our only complaint is that the kibble pieces are too large for some tiny kittens to eat.Check Price
Hill’s Science Diet is a brand whose primary objective is to promote feline health through superior nutrition. As a result, their products are typically more expensive than those of competitors, but you can rely on them to provide adequate nutrition. To achieve this, Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine The majority of the ingredients in canned kitten food are animal-based, including chicken, pork liver, and chicken fat. With a minimum crude protein content of only 6.5%, this recipe contains significantly less protein than the vast majority of similar offerings from other manufacturers.
This canned cat food does not contain any artificial flavors or preservatives. Everything here is natural and was created with the health of kittens in mind. High concentrations of vital nutrients are also included, including 0.34 percent taurine, which is significantly higher than most competing cat foods. Especially, kittens appear to enjoy this food.Check Price
Blue Buffalo is well-known for producing a healthier alternative to commercial cat foods that are overly processed, and the Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Dry Kitten Food is among our favorites. Three of the five main components are animal-based protein sources, with high-quality deboned chicken listed as the primary ingredient and source of protein.
This food contains a minimum of 36 percent crude protein, which is necessary for a growing kitten due to the inclusion of many high-quality animal-based proteins. Also essential are nutrients such as omega fatty acids and taurine, which are abundant in this food.Check Price
Wellness Total Wellness Cat Formula Wet Canned Food is canned kitten food available in three-ounce cans at a more affordable price than many canned foods emphasizing health. It is rich in fatty acids from fish oil and flaxseed to help maintain your cat’s luxurious coat. In addition, there is ample protein for a growing kitten, with a minimum of 11 percent. However, there is less DHA and taurine than comparable products so additional supplementation may be necessary.
Due to the absence of grains, this recipe is easy for kittens to digest. Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals ensure that your cat’s health is never neglected despite the absence of grains. Although it is not our first choice, we would certainly eat this if our preferred foods were unavailable.Check Price
Royal Canin Feline Nutritional Health Wet Kitten Food is near the top price pyramid for best kitten food. With only 78 calories per three-ounce can, this best kitten food is not the most calorically dense among its competitors, despite its higher price. It contains a minimum of 11 percent crude protein derived from various animal-based sources, including chicken, pork liver, chicken live, and chicken by-products, which are listed as the primary ingredient. We prefer to see higher-quality protein sources, such as chicken or deboned turkey, as the primary ingredient, a strike against Royal Canin.
There are no complaints regarding the flavor. We haven’t tried it ourselves, but we’ve never encountered a cat that didn’t enjoy Royal Canin wet kitten food. If you have a picky eater, it may be worthwhile to try this food. But if your cat will eat other foods, we recommend locating a less expensive option with higher-quality ingredients.Check Price
8. Diamond Naturals Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food
The Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food from Diamond Naturals is reasonably priced and of adequate quality. It does not contain corn, wheat, soy, or peas, all poor cat food ingredients. Chicken, chicken meal, and chicken fat, which are three of the five primary ingredients, are present. You will also find a few additional animal-based proteins, such as fish meals and salmon meals, further down the list. In addition, many whole-food ingredients, such as pumpkin, blueberries, oranges, carrots, and spinach, were used to provide nutrients.
On the downside, this formula contains only 0.5% DHA, which is significantly less than our preferred blends, but there is an abundance of taurine and essential fatty acids. At 34 percent crude protein, it is significantly lower than some of our best kitten foods, which will be detrimental because growing kittens require a great deal of protein.
Given that it is available in five-ounce cans, Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Canned Kitten Food is reasonably priced. This recipe contains no grains, making it easier on kittens’ digestive systems. The ingredient list includes a variety of animal-based protein sources, including chicken and chicken liver. It’s not as high as we’d like, but it’s not as low as other blends we’ve seen.
This blend lacks DHA, as it contains none. It contains 0.1% taurine, which is not exceptionally high but is adequate. Unfortunately, it does not appear to have the best taste, as many cats were not interested in eating it. Despite the food’s 78 percent moisture content, picky eaters will likely turn their noses up at this dish. This could be due to the food’s apparent dryness.Check Price
The recipe for Now Fresh Grain-Free Kitten Dry Cat Food is easier to digest for kittens. It is rich in taurine and essential fatty acids for a growing kitten, but it contains very little DHA, with a combined EPA and DHA content of only 0.5%. Looking at the first five ingredients, we were surprised to find peas, potatoes, and potato flour, all of which are poor choices for cat food. Although numerous animal-based components exist, only one is among the top five. The first ingredient is deboned turkey, but you won’t find another meat-based protein until the eleventh, after canola oil and coconut oil.
This is a very costly dry cat food. In some other companies, a three-pound bag costs more than a six-pound bag for the same recipe. Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, blueberries, and pomegranate are just some of the whole-food ingredients that provide vitamins and minerals in this product. However, this food contains few animal-based proteins, which may explain why picky eaters dislike it. Now Fresh Grain-Free does not seem to provide enough value for the price.Check Price
Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Canned Kitten Food is available in three-ounce and five-and-a-half-ounce cans. Grain-free recipes should be more accessible for kittens to digest than grain-containing recipes. But this blend is missing more than just grains. This product has no wheat, soy, corn, or peas.
Instead, meat-based ingredients will be abundant. Four primary elements are derived from animals, including deboned chicken and salmon. However, you will pay a substantial premium for these ingredients, as this food is significantly more expensive than alternatives. Despite the price, it smells foul and is unappealing. Numerous cats share the same opinion, as they reject this food. The cats that ingest it frequently produce watery and pungent feces.Check Price
IAMS ProActive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food is formulated to contain the same nutrients as a mother cat’s milk. In addition to real chicken as the first ingredient, this recipe also includes probiotics, DHA, antioxidants, and DHA. These are designed to work together to provide your kitten with 100 percent complete and balanced nutrition.
This blend does not contain any artificial colors or preservatives. IAMS manufactures this kibble in the United States. With over 60 years of experience creating pet food, you can rest assured that this formulation will provide your kitten with all the nutrients they require at an affordable price.Check Price
Your kitten deserves a nutritionally balanced diet made from high-quality ingredients, but it would be even better if those ingredients were ethically sourced. Open Farm cat food meets these requirements, particularly in this recipe for wild-caught salmon.
This salmon recipe dry food is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of cats at all life stages, so it is suitable for your kitten and your adult cat. The first ingredient is wild Pacific salmon, followed by two sources of high-quality animal protein: whitefish meal and herring meal.
This formula contains abundant animal-based protein and two sources of omega-rich animal fats: herring oil and salmon oil. We would prefer to see one of these listed before the primary added fat, coconut oil, but we are pleased to see them nonetheless.
The primary disadvantage of this formula is its high plant-based content. The dry matter carbohydrate content is slightly above 34%, which is above average for dry cat food. In addition, this recipe lacks the high moisture content that your kitten requires.Check Price
How do kitten’s nutritional needs differ from adults?
Regarding nutrition, the most significant difference between kittens and adults is the need for highly nutrient-dense food to fuel early growth. While all kitten foods are unique, they are typically high in calories and protein. They contain abundant calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin A, and specific amino acids.
If you must purchase commercially available food, read the label to determine if it is suitable for kittens. If the title reads complete and balanced for growth and reproduction OR all life stages, the food has been formulated following the AAFCO’s nutrient profiles for kitten health. Avoid diets labeled as simply “maintenance” for adults. According to the label, adult cat food is intended to maintain a healthy adult weight and does not contain enough nutrients to fuel your kitten’s growth spurts.
Some claim that only commercially available foods can provide the nutrition a kitten needs, but this is not entirely accurate. A homemade diet can be an excellent option for a growing kitten if adequately proportioned. These diets satisfy a kitten’s nutritional requirements, delivering more bioavailable protein and calorie density than almost anything you can purchase in a bag or a can.
Keep in mind, however, that preparing homemade pet foods can be time-consuming, and nutrient balance can be challenging to achieve. If you are interested in preparing homemade food for your kitten, you should consult with a veterinary nutritionist.
A diet rich in nutrients is essential during kittenhood
A nutritionally complete diet is essential during the first year of a child’s life. You are laying the foundation for a lifetime of good health during these months. A nutritionally deficient or unbalanced diet could put your kitten at risk for serious health issues.
This is illustrated in an article on Mercola Healthy Pets with the story of a 5-month-old Sphynx kitten fed raw chicken exclusively for the first several months of his life. This unbalanced diet caused the kitten to develop lameness and eye problems. When the kitten was adopted, he suffered from osteopenia, a condition caused by insufficient bone mineral density. Insufficient taurine in one of his eyes caused central retinal degeneration and lesions.
Four months of inadequate nutrition may not have had a noticeable effect on an adult cat, but for a growing kitten, every meal is essential.
Best Kitten Food Should Contain an Abundance of High-Quality Protein Derived from Real Chicken, Turkey, Rabbit, Or Other Animal Sources. As obligate carnivores, cats of all ages have a high protein requirement. Kittens are more sensitive to the quantity and quality of this protein than middle-aged adults. According to the AAFCO’s nutrient profiles, adult cats require at least 6.5 grams of protein per 100 calories, whereas kittens require at least 7.5 grams. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, “growing kittens are more sensitive than adult cats to dietary protein quality and amino acid balance.”
How to Choose the Finest Cat Food
Purchasing food for your kitten appears to be a simple task at first glance. However, as soon as you examine all the options, you realize it’s a bit more complicated than you initially believed. Don’t worry; we are here to assist you. In this brief buyer’s guide, we’ll cover the information you need to make a more informed decision about the best kitten cat food, so you can be confident that you and your kitten have made the right choice.
Comparing Feline Diets
It’s easy to get lost when reading the labels on packages of kitten food. There are numerous items listed, and many of them make little sense. Ingredients have lengthy names, making it difficult to determine which nutrients your kittens require. Therefore, how exactly are we to compare two cat foods?
We’ve discovered that it’s not necessary to consider every element listed on the package. Instead, focusing on a few critical aspects of each kitten’s food will be much simpler to narrow down your options. Let’s examine each criterion that should be weighed when selecting the best cat food for kittens.
Compared to Dry Food
The first choice you’ll need to make is whether you’ll primarily use wet or dry food. Wet cat food is significantly more expensive but contains fewer carbohydrates and provides additional moisture to keep your cat hydrated. Dry kibble is a substantially more cost-effective option, and it can still provide your cat with excellent nutrition, although it will always contain more carbohydrates than wet food. However, you are not limited to just one. You can always feed your cat a combination of dry kibble and wet cat food, so long as they continue to eat both!
The ingredients list of any kitten food can reveal a great deal about the nutritional value and quality of the food. The first ingredient on the list is the primary ingredient, which is in the highest concentration, while the last ingredient contributes the least to the overall recipe.
Cats are obligate carnivores that obtain all necessary nutrients from eating animals. For this reason, you should prioritize ingredients derived from animals, such as chicken, pork, chicken liver, duck, salmon, fish meal, chicken by-products, and any ingredients that sound similar. Deboned chicken and salmon are considered higher-quality ingredients than fish meals and chicken by-products.
You do not want to see a long list of carbohydrates at the top of the ingredient list. However, you will find them listed further down, as fruits and vegetables typically contribute vitamins and minerals to the best recipes, whereas cheaper blends typically rely on vitamin supplements.
Nutritional Content and Essential Nutrients
After reviewing the list of ingredients, you should examine the nutrition label to determine the amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and other nutrients in the blend. Protein is of utmost importance for growing kittens, so foods with a higher protein content are typically regarded as superior. In addition, you must assess the presence of essential nutrients such as taurine, DHA, and omega fatty acids.
Price is the final factor to consider. When comparing the cost of two different kitten foods, it is essential to consider the volume of each. For example, if two foods are identically priced but one is a five-pound bag and the other is a seven-pound bag, the seven-pound bag offers a superior price-per-pound ratio, making it the better value if the components and quality are identical.
Additionally, you should know how much food is contained in a bag or can and how to portion it. If the kitten food is not pre-portioned, you must be careful not to overfeed or underfeed your pet.
Aim to feed your kitten between a quarter and a half cup of food at a time. Try pre-portioning your cat’s food to know precisely how much to give at a time.
How to Modify Your Kitty’s Diet
Bringing a kitten home is an exciting experience, but you must consider your pet’s future health and nutritional requirements. Introducing him to a healthy diet can increase his chances of living a long and happy life.
Add a small amount of the new kitten food to his current diet, then gradually increase the amount daily. During 5 to 10 days, gradually increase the ratio of new to old food each day. This gradual transition can prevent stomach issues caused by dietary changes. If your kitten develops loose stools, slow the growth down. Bring your kitten to a veterinarian if you observe diarrhea, vomiting, or appetite loss. This could be a result of the new diet. Once your kitten has tasted the higher quality food, he may sniff through the kibble to find the tasty morsels. You can switch your entire diet to higher-quality food at that time.
As a cat owner, you are undoubtedly familiar with the dilemma of choosing the right food for your furry friend. There are many different types of food on the market, and it can be hard to know which is best. This article has compiled some of our favorite kitten foods and explained why they are so popular among pet owners. We hope this list will help you make an informed decision about feeding your cat and that it will lead you to select the perfect diet for your feline friend.