Providing your cat with the right nutrition is important, especially when they are growing and developing as kittens.

Felines are defined as a kitten between 8 and 12 weeks of age. Before 8 they are neonatal and after that they are adult cats, although it’s not a certain science as every cat develops slightly differently.

During this important stage of development, your kitten needs plenty of specific nutrition to ensure that they grow up strong and in good health. Providing the best kitten food is a great way to give your kitty the bulk of the vitamins and minerals they need. Although there is a lot of choice out there, it can be challenging knowing exactly which food to select. Branding and marketing make it so hard to know which food is the best for those bug-eyed little cuties.

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To help you choose the right kitten food for your tiny toe-beaned baby here’s our guide to finding the best kitten food available.

How To Choose The Best Kitten Food

Below we have a rundown of some of the best kitten food products available to buy. But before we show you those products, we have a helping hand to help you choose the best type of product for your kitten.

Think Carefully About The Brand You Choose

You should choose kitten food that has been properly tested. This kind of testing is different in each country. It can mean feeding trials in some countries, and testing stages in other countries. In America, the organisation that tests pet food safety is the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials).

The important thing is to check that the food is a regulated pet food in your country and that there is some scientific research behind it. Veterinary recommendations are also a good sign. This testing and accreditation ensure the food is nutritionally balanced for a kitten. Most importantly it ensures that it will not harm your kitten in any way.

Keep Counting Those Calories

Whereas older kitties require monitoring to ensure that they don’t gain weight, tiny kittens actually need to be putting on weight. They are putting out a ton of energy playing and moving about, growing and turning into adorable full-blown cats.

You can check this by looking at the kitten food to see that the calorie count is higher than adult food.

Mixing Textures & Flavors Is Important

It is important to know that there is no one best food texture for a kitten. In fact, mixing textures is a really good idea. If they try different textures of wet cat food such as jellies, gravies and chunks, as well as dried food. This will help your kitten be more flexible with food in the future.

Veterinary Monitoring Is Important

It is important that you keep your kitten monitored by a veterinary professional to ensure that the nutrition you are providing is adequate. Even if you do provide the very best food for your kitten it may be that they need a slight adjustment. Their health can be assessed by a vet who may see an issue in their overall body score. They can tell you exactly what needs to change, or do further tests if the problem is not the food.

There’s No Need To Add Vitamins & Minerals

It is important to trust that the food that you are giving your kitten is providing them with all of the vitamins and minerals that he or she needs.

There are a wide range of vitamins and minerals a kitten needs and it can actually be dangerous to try and add extra nutrients yourself unless you are a qualified expert.

The Best Kitten Foods

Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula

Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula

Vets Recommend It as One of the Best Dry Kitten Food Products

If you want to buy your kitten food from a trusted pet food band then it makes sense that Purina would be high on your list of brands to try.
The Purina one healthy kitten formula is a dried food with no fillers at all. Instead, each ingredient has been put in with the idea that it provides a vital function. DHA, for example, is a vital nutrient needed for kittens as it aids their sight and cognitive functional development.

Owners who want to feel reassured by a trusted brand will appreciate that Purina one is veterinarian recommended and even comes with its own 28-day challenge.

Why We Like It:
  • Veterinarian recommended
  • No fillers
  • Nutritionally balanced
  • Crunchy texture helps with dental health
What We Don’t Like:
  • Can go stale if it is not stored properly
  • In a higher price bracket

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Instinct Original Kitten Grain Free Food

Instinct Original Kitten Grain Free Food

A Great Choice for Ethical Owners

If you’re a kitten owner who wants to keep your pet’s food as ethical as possible then Instinct might be a good brand to try. The Instinct Original kitten food is not only grain-free but it is free from potato, corn, wheat, soy and by-product meals, artificial colors and preservatives.

Instead you can expect a high amount of protein from freeze-dried cage free chicken. It also includes veggies, fruit and various vitamins and minerals that are great for kittens.

Why We Like It:
  • No nasties
  • Ethically sourced chicken
  • Includes probiotics
  • Freeze dried raw
What We Don’t Like:
  • May contribute to particularly offensive litter contents
  • Certain ingredients may be considered fillers

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Merrick Purrfect Bistro Dry Kitten Food

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Dry Kitten Food

Free From Nasties, Full of Goodies

If you’re looking for a cute kitty food package then you’ve definitely found it in Merrick perfect bistro dry kitten food. Luckily the product has more depth than it’s pretty pink packaging alone. Kitten owners can be assured that their kitten is getting a high amount of essential proteins as a number one ingredient is chicken. In addition there are; omega fatty acid, vitamins, minerals, probiotics and antioxidants. Merrill kitten food is also free of lots of nasties, including carrageenan.

Why We Like It:
  • No nasties
  • Chicken is the number one ingredient
  • Good quality for the price bracket
  • Nutritionally balanced
What We Don’t Like:
  • Kibble is are quite hard
  • Can contribute to particularly offensive litter tray contents

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Kitten Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Kitten Food

Perfect for Kittens Who Love a Taste of the Wild Side

Blue Buffalo Wilderness is known for creating pet food that is as natural as possible and the high protein grain-free kitten food is no different.

It uses real chicken to aid in healthy muscle development and includes important nutrients like DHA and taurine.

Blue Buffalo kitten food also includes patented life source bits. These bits have been formulated by holistic veterinarians and nutritionists to aid and support a healthy immune system, growth and maintenance in kittens. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the food is also free from nasties like preservatives.

Why We Like It:
  • Meat source is free from byproducts
  • Completely nutritionally balanced
  • Real meat is the first ingredient
  • Grain free
What We Don’t Like:
  • Contributes to stinkier stools
  • May not suit lower budgets

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Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Kitten Dry Food

Hills Science Diet Indoor Kitten Dry Food

Easy to Chew and Digest Food for Tiny Kitten Mouths

If you’re looking for a dry kitten food that is easy for kittens to chew and ingest then Science indoor kitten dry food could be a good choice. The kibble is particularly small, which means that it is easy for kittens to eat and chew. Once the kibble has been eaten it’s easily digested too because it is composed of natural protein fibers.

Owners wanting to give their kitten the very best start will appreciate that the product contains DHA for healthy cognitive and sight development. Even better, there are a wide variety of flavors to choose from to help encourage picky kittens to eat.

Why We Like It:
  • Small kibble size
  • Improves digestion and litter odour
  • Complete nutritional balance
  • Easy close and open system for freshness
What We Don’t Like:
  • Can contain fillers
  • Price may not reflect quality of ingredients

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Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Kitten Dry Food

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Kitten Dry Food

Bursting With Antioxidants and Minerals

Royal Canin feline health nutrition kitten mix has a large combination of healthy ingredients to benefit your little furry friend. Antioxidants and vitamins are included to help form a strong immune system. Digestible proteins and fibres are also combined for a healthy digestive system.

Owners wanting to ensure their cat finds it as easy as possible to consume food will appreciate the shape and size of the kibble which is made to be easy for kittens to consume and chew.

Why We Like It:
  • Cable shape and size easy for kittens to chew
  • Complete nutritional balance
  • Resealable pack to maintain freshness
  • Flavour is popular with picky cats
What We Don’t Like:
  • Main protein source is meat byproduct
  • Some consider the food to be high in carbohydrates

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Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food

Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food

Real Animal Protein is Top of the Ingredient List

Trusted pet food brand Iams have created a complete nutritional food for kittens with their proactive kitten food. It contains zero fillers and no artificial preservatives. Instead real animal protein is the number one ingredient, as well as healthy vitamins and minerals all packaged together in an easy to chew and digest kibble size.

Why We Like It:
  • Flavour is palatable and attractive to picky kittens
  • Real protein is the number one ingredient
  • No fillers
  • Easy to chew and eat kibble size
What We Don’t Like:
  • Kibble size can vary from pack to pack
  • Second ingredient is corn

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Purina Fancy Feast Kitten Canned Wet Cat Food

Purina Fancy Feast Kitten Canned Wet Cat Food

The Best Canned Kitten Food for Fancy Kittens

Whether your kitten is fancy or not – and let’s face it, most cats are naturally fancy – they will probably go a little bit crazy for Purina fancy feast. It is known for being quite irresistible to cats and even the youngest of cats can’t seem to resist the delicious flavor of fancy feast.

The flavor isn’t all that’s going for fancy feast kitten food though. It has been formulated to meet the needs of kittens and contains 100% complete and balanced nutrition.

This kind of wet food is particularly great for kittens new to solids as it is very soft and smelly which tends to appeal to even the most fussy of little cats.

Why We Like It:
  • Nice and soft
  • Great for kittens transitioning from formula
  • Nutritionally balanced
  • The smell entices picky the kittens
What We Don’t Like:
  • Overall high fish content which some owners prefer to avoid
  • Consistency can vary

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Wellness Complete Health Wet Canned Kitten Food

Wellness Complete Health Wet Canned Kitten Food

The Best Kitten Food on a Budget

Wellness complete health kitten food is designed to provide kittens with a well-rounded diet full of everything they need to grow fit and healthy. Chicken is the first ingredient which is great as it helps aid in healthy muscle growth. There are also other great additions like; vitamin C rich cranberries, and carrots, which are great antioxidants and urinary health promoters. Flaxseed and omega-3 also feature for a healthy skin and coat boost.

Why We Like It:
  • Protein is the number one ingredient
  • Handy shape and flavour selection
  • Contains natural healthy additions like cranberries
  • High quality for the price bracket
What We Don’t Like:
  • Despite being listed as carrageenan free it can end up is in the final ingredients
  • The smell may be too strong for some owners

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FAQ

In case you have more questions about choosing the best kitten food for your gorgeous little pet, we’ve answered some of the top FAQ’s on the topic:

Can I feed my kitten a home-made diet?

You have to be really careful if you choose to feed your kitten at home a diet. They can be lacking in certain minerals and vitamins that can cause real issues in growing kittens. If you do choose to use a home-made diet you must ensure that it has been formulated by a qualified nutritionist. Alternatively, why not keep the canned food the primary source of nutrition and introduce lots of nutritious foods as well. You can find more information on foods to offer your kitten in their first year, here.

How can I tell that my kittens’ diet is not working for them?

The best thing to do is get regular monitoring by your vet. A kitten feeding well on their cat food should be very alert, should be gaining weight and they should have a glossy coat that is clean. If any of those things don’t seem right you should get your kitten to the vet right away.

How often should I feed my kitten?

Most kittens need feeding about 3 to 4 times a day. Kittens like to snack and they seek comfort in food which is why this kind of schedule can work well. However, you can seek specific advice from your vet in regards to what your kitten needs and how often they need feeding.

How should I feed my kittens?

Younger kittens are generally better off free-feeding until they are about six months. That means that they have constant access to food as and when they need it, or you feed them when they seem to want to feed. The only exception to this is with overweight kittens. Once the kitten reaches about six months then usually they can be fed twice a day happily.

Should I be giving my kittens treats as well as food?

Kittens are able to have treats but they shouldn’t make up more than 10% of the kitten’s entire calorie intake. It is very important that you ensure the treats are suitable for your kitten and they don’t cause any issues. Certain kitchen scraps such as garlic or onions can be toxic to kittens.

In most cases, the best thing to do is to purchase cat treats made by reputable brands.

Are protein byproducts a bad ingredient in kitchen food?

There are some differing opinions on this when it comes to pet food for cats at any age. Some vets feel that byproducts can be just as healthy for pets containing important nutrients. Other people feel that the protein source should be entirely non-byproduct. It’s worth having a read about this and seeing what you think as there’s no proven right or wrong.

Is wet or dry food better for kittens?

Most vets say a mix of high quality dry and the best wet kitten food is best for kittens, as well as lots of fresh water.

Why can’t my kitten eat adult cat food?

The nutritional needs of kitten food are designed to suit the specific needs of a cat in that age group. Adult cat food is not nutritionally balanced to suit kittens and so is unsuitable.

When can I wean my kitten onto kitten food?

Take a look at this handy video from kitten expert Hannah for more information on this.

If you are ever unsure about your kitten’s nutritional needs you should consult a vet for help. With cats at such a vulnerable age it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Your Kitten Can Grow Big And Strong With The Right Food

Using our tips and information above you should be off to a great start picking the very best food for your kitten. Remember to try out different brands and textures, always have fresh water available, and most importantly continue to seek your vet’s guidance as your kitten grows. With those huge eyes and iddy-biddy toe beans, they’re so worth the effort aren’t they?