Hey Kitty, Kitty – How to Choose the Best Kitten Food for Your New Pet

Cats are notoriously lazy, baking out in the sun all day. Not so your kitten. It is a little ball of energy, bouncing around, stopping only for a snooze, or to fill up. Because of their high energy levels and high growth rates, your kitten needs a load of calories, but these must be provided from protein and fat sources and not from carbohydrates. A kitten’s energy needs are up to three times that of an adult cat. This is why you must provide your kitten with the best kitten food.

A growing kitten uses almost half of its calorie intake to fuel the growth of his organs and tissues. The rest of the calories will be needed to feed their need to play.

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Cats Are Carnivores

best kitten food wet

Cats must eat meat. They are carnivores and are biologically designed to eat only meat. Because of this, they are not able to create their amino acids and proteins the way that omnivores and herbivores do.

Cats have the shortest digestive systems in any mammal. This is because a diet of raw meat is easy to digest and doesn't require the bacteria that ferment plant matter in the guts of plant-eating animals. Cats do not have the metabolic capabilities of many other animals. Cats are so dependent on proteins that their bodies will feed off their own tissue if they are deprived of it.

If your kitten is to grow and develop properly, he will need a protein-rich diet to produce the enzymes and hormones that are required for the growing animal.

Proteins can be harvested from both plant and animal matter. Proteins from plants typically do not contain all the amino acids that a cat requires. If you do buy cat food that contains plant-based proteins, then you should ensure that you supplement your kitten's diet with some animal protein to ensure that your cat has balanced diet fit for his digestive system and energy needs.

Considerations When Purchasing Kitten Food

best kitten food brand

To ensure that you are feeding your cat a calorie-rich diet that contains the animal protein that he requires, read the label. The first five ingredients are the most important. The very first ingredient should be an animal protein that is clearly identifiable. Don’t purchase cat-food with vaguely identified elements.

Your kitten requires a diet rich in fat. It helps to support his active lifestyle. It boosts his immune system and helps him to develop healthy skin, joints, fur, muscles, and joints.

As we all know animal proteins are expensive, if you were to feed your kitten meat at every meal, it would get pricey. This is why the animal feed producers tend to add plant protein to their formulations, to keep the prices down so that you will keep on buying their food. They know the nutritional requirements of the animals for whom they make the feed, but they have to balance this with cost requirements of the cat owners.

No cat food manufacturer discloses the amount of carbohydrate that they include in their product. Don’t buy kitten food that lists animal digest as an ingredient as it contains unnamed animal parts and may be low quality.

Dry or Wet Which Is Best?

best kitten food reviews

Wet pet food is pet food in a can. Cat food in a tin contains a significant proportion of water, and therefore the nutrient level is reduced, and you have to feed your cat a whole lot more of it to obtain the same level of nutrition. Wet food does, however, keep them hydrated, so it is a necessary part of your kitten’s diet.

Canned kitten food also tends to contain a lot more animal protein than the dry equivalent. This is because the dry food needs starch to give it substance so that the manufacturers can extrude it through the machines that make them.

Very young kittens have little teeth, and they may have difficulty chewing their way through dry food, so it is probably better to introduce dry food once their adult teeth start to come through at about three to four months of age. It is a good idea to give your kitten a variety of foods when he is little so that he can learn to appreciate a variety of foods at a young age. Research has shown that cats will choose the required mix of macronutrients if given a choice (1).

Dry food costs less and is easier to free feed your kitten as it doesn’t require refrigeration. This also means that it is easier to store. Dry kitten food usually contains smaller kibbles than cat food which makes it easier for the small animal to eat.

How Do You Know if Your Kitten Is Thriving on the Diet That You Are Feeding Him?

It is easy to see when your kitten is thriving

  • He is gaining weight
  • He is alert
  • He has a healthy glossy coat
  • He has bright eyes
  • He is energetic and has no health problems

The Primary Differences Between Kitten and Cat Foods

Your kitten has different nutritional requirements for an adult cat. Kittens require macronutrients that can help them to build up tissues

best kitten food for kittens
  • A kitten needs more protein than an adult cat
  • Growing kittens require a higher ratio of calcium to phosphorous
  • Kittens require up to three times more calories than cats
  • Kittens require more fatty and amino acids than adult cats
  • Kittens need higher levels of vitamin A

The American Association of Feed Control Officials AAFCO has approved some brands of kitten food. If your chosen brand that has this seal it indicates that the kitten food meets or exceeds the nutritional requirements of your kitten.

Foods That You Should Never Give Your Kitten

There are a few foods that you should never give your kitten (2)

  • Chocolate is bad for most pets including cats and kittens. The stimulants in the chocolate can lead to heart failure and seizures. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to give to animals.
  • Alcohol is processed through the liver. Giving your kitten alcohol can damage his liver and cause brain damage.
  • Raw meat, poultry, fish or eggs – can contain Salmonella poisoning that could make your pet ill
  • Garlic and onions – felines cannot digest garlic or onions. Onions could lead to anemia in a kitten
  • Dairy products – it seems counter-intuitive as most of us think of cats drinking milk but many are lactose intolerant and dairy products could make your kitten very uncomfortable and could cause vomiting and diarrhea

Review of the Best Kitten Foods

#1. Purina One Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Kitten Food

Best: Kitten Dry Food

Purina One Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Kitten Food - Best Kitten Dry Food

Quality

Price

Our rating

Purina is a well-known brand and is inexpensive. The main ingredient in this dry kitten food is chicken. It is filled with natural ingredients and contains no fillers or artificial flavors or ingredients. Purina manufactures specialist cat foods for every stage in your cat’s life. The kibbles include real chicken, vegetables, and grains.

It has DHA just like mother's milk for cognitive development and excellent eyesight. Omega 6 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals ensure that he has a healthy skin and glossy coat. Vitamins E and A will ensure that your kitten develops a robust immune system so that he can fight off disease.

On the downside, if your kitten uses a litter box, you may find that it is a bit more stinky when he eats Purina. Veterinarians recommend this product

Pros

  • All-natural ingredients
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    Recommended by vets
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    Inexpensive
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    Contains all the required nutrients

Cons

  • Caused stinky poop

#2. Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food

Best: Dry Kitten Food Grain Free

Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food - Best Dry Kitten Food Grain Free

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Price

Our rating

This grain-free product is made from chicken and chicken meal. It does not contain any meat by-products, artificial preservatives or flavors nor does it include any filler materials. This product is specially designed to nourish a growing kitten. The added antioxidants, vitamins and minerals will help your fur baby to develop a healthy immune system so that he can live a long and healthy life, free of disease.

It contains DHA, a nutrient found in mother’s milk. Rich in Omega 3, it supports the development of the brain in young animals. This and the omega six fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat.

Fiber and probiotics ensure that your kitchen has a healthy digestive system. The product also contains calcium, phosphorous and proteins for the development of strong muscles and bones. The kibbles are small, so kittens will find it easy to eat. On the downside, while some cats love the flavor, it may not appeal to a picky eater. Wellness kitten food contains only natural products. It is made in the USA. 

Pros

  • Grain free
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    All-natural ingredients
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    Has all the nutrients required by a growing kitten
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    Small kibbles make it easy for kittens to eat.

Cons

  • Not all kittens loved the flavor

#3. Meow Mix Dry Cat Food

Best: Kitten Food for Weight Gain

Meow Mix Dry Cat Food - Best Kitten Food for Weight Gain

Quality

Price

Our rating

Meow Kitten Nibbles have been specially designed to support the high-calorie requirements of your growing kitten. It offers a fully balanced nutritional system that includes DHA the omega three rich fatty acid present in mother's milk. This element helps to build healthy brain tissue.

When your kitten starts to eat solids at three to four weeks, the nibbles can be slightly moistened and left out for them to enjoy. As they get older, the kittens will eat either dry or moistened kibbles. Cats love the flavour, but it does contain a fair amount of carbohydrate so if your kitty is prone to weight gain this may not be the product for her.

It is an inexpensive product that many have used to feed raccoons, and feral cats as the animals love the flavor. The product is made in the USA.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
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    Covers all the nutritional requirements that growing kittens require

Cons

  • Contains a fair amount of carbohydrates

#4. Hill's Science Diet Dry Kitten Food

Best: Healthy Kitten Food

Hill's Science Diet Dry Kitten Food - Best Healthy Kitten Food

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Our rating

Developed with the input of more than 220 veterinarians, this dry kitten food has been specially produced to feed developing kittens and pregnant or nursing cats. It includes DHA, an ingredient found in mother's milk which helps with the development of the brain and eyes in growing animals.

It also contains vitamins., minerals, amino acids and antioxidants for a healthy immune system. This product contains only natural ingredients with no artificial flavors, preservatives or color. Hill's Science is the number one kitten food that vets choose for their growing kittens.

Funds from your purchases are used to feed over one hundred thousand homeless pets a day. 

Pros

  • Developed with the input of 220 vets
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    Contains all the nutrients that growing kittens require
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    All-natural ingredients

Cons

  • Kibble size is inconsistent

#5. Blue Buffalo Blue Healthy Gourmet Wet Cat Food

Best: Kitten Canned Food

Blue Buffalo Blue Healthy Gourmet Wet Cat Food - Top Kitten Canned Food

Quality

Price

Our rating

A treat for your kitten, this product comes in a pack of 24 3-ounce cans of protein-rich chicken combined with vegetables and fruit. It is free of chicken by-products, corn, wheat or soy. It also contains no artificial colorant, flavours, and preservatives as the manufacturer takes pride in using only natural products.

The high protein will help your kitten to grow strong muscles and organs. The product contains DHA a necessary nutrient from mother’s milk which will help your kitten to develop healthy brain tissue. Vitamins, calcium and phosphorous ensure that your kitten grows strong teeth and bones. It's a little expensive, but this is a real kitten treat

Pros

  • Contains all the nutritional requirements for a growing kitten
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    Includes all-natural products
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    Keeps Kitty hydrated

Cons

  • Must be refrigerated after opening
  • Expensive

The Best Healthiest Kitten Food

Our choice of the best and healthiest kitten food came down to Purina. It has all the nutrients that a growing kitten needs and it is one of the least expensive kitten feeds on the market. The product is made from all-natural ingredients, and vets recommend it.


Purina

Wellness

Meow

Hills

Blue Buffalo

Dry or wet

Dry

Dry

Dry

Dry

Wet

Designed for the unique needs of kittens

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Recommended by vets

Yes



Yes


Best feature

Best Kitten Dry Food

Best Dry Kitten Food Grain Free

Best Kitten Food for Weight Gain

Best Healthy Kitten Food

Best Kitten Canned Food

My review

5 / 5

4.5 / 5

4.5 / 5

4.5 / 5

4.5 / 5

Make Sure That Your Kitten Has All the Nutrition He Needs

Your little feline is full of energy and is growing fast. He needs the best start in life if he is to develop into a healthy adult cat. Make sure that you cover all his nutritional needs by ensuring that you check the ingredients and give him a mix of foods so that he doesn't turn into a picky eater later on. The best kitten foods will help him to grow healthy bones and muscles, a shiny coat and bright eyes and will ensure that he has all the energy that he needs.

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Ruby Smith PetSoFun.com

Hey there, I’m Ruby Smith, founder of Pet So Fun, and I’m here to provide you with useful information about your precious pet. All pets deserve the best care, don’t they? But not all pet owners have access to the right products and tips for their pets. And the central core of my work here is to change that.

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