Kittens grow at an incredible rate, so they need food that provides all the nutrients required for healthy development. Kitten food contains higher levels of certain nutrients, including fat, calories, protein, and calcium; all to help your kitten grow into a strong and healthy cat. Kitten foods also often have smaller pieces of kibble and meat, so that it’s not too chunky for tiny mouths to handle. All kittens should eat dedicated kitten food. Food made for adult cats won’t check the right nutritional boxes and could make your kitten unwell in the long run.
We reviewed dozens of kitten food brands and formulas to identify the best of the best. To find the highest quality offerings, we considered a range of features including the nutritional profile of each food, the quality of ingredients, palatability, and average customer reviews.
We chose Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Natural Kitten Food as our top pick. It contains a wide range of nutrients tailored to feline development and is suited to both indoor and outdoor kittens.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Kitten Foods
|Best Overall||Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Natural Kitten Food||4.5|
|Runner Up||Diamond Naturals Kitten Chicken and Rice Formula||4.7|
|Budget Pick||CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Kitten Food||4.4|
|Best Wet Kitten Food||Tiki Cat After Dark Grain Free Wet Food||4.4|
|Best Dry Kitten Food||Natural Balance Whole Body Health Dry Kitten Formula||4.3|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Natural Kitten Food
With so many factors to consider, choosing a quality kitten food can be baffling. If you want surefire quality, you can’t go wrong with Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Natural Kitten Food. This chicken and brown rice formula lists whole chicken as its first ingredient, with chicken meal and fish meal to pack a protein-rich punch. In addition to meats and grains, it contains a range of fruits and vegetables to provide vitamins and minerals, though it’s also fortified to ensure your kitten receives all the nutrients he needs for healthy growth.
The added “Lifesource Bits” contain a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and are preserved at a lower temperature to avoid heat degradation. The high quality ingredients never contain any meat by-products, and artificial flavors and preservatives. The list price is around $28 for a seven-pound bag, but it’s often on offer for slightly less than this.
Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Natural Kitten Food Key Features:
- Contains DHA, ARA, and choline for cognitive development
- Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat
- Quality proteins for muscle growth
Our Runner Up Pick: Diamond Naturals Kitten Chicken and Rice Formula
Diamond Naturals Kitten Chicken and Rice Formula is a complete and balanced food contains all the nutrients your kitten needs to grow up strong and healthy. The recipe is made with sustainably-sourced ingredients, with the first ingredient being protein-rich, cage-free chicken.
Other nutritious ingredients your kitty can look forward to consuming include flaxseed, salmon oil, and kale. The recipe is vitamin and mineral rich, and even includes propriety probiotics to keep your kitty’s gut health optimal. You won’t find any corn, wheat, fillers, or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives added in, either!
Diamond Naturals is a family-run company based in the USA. This food is sold in a 6 pound bag, costing around $13, or a 18 pound bag for $26.
Diamond Naturals Kitten Chicken and Rice Formula Key Features:
- Sustainably-sourced ingredients
- Rich in vitamins, minerals, and probiotics
- Palatable recipe that most kittens love
Best Budget Pick: CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Kitten Food
CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Kitten Food might not be the cheapest food pound for pound, but costing $13 for a four-pound bag, it’s great for anyone who doesn’t want to spend too much on kitten food in one go. It offers reasonable value for money, anyway, considering this is a high protein food packed full of whole chicken, chicken fat, chicken meal, and fish meal.
The grain free recipe is ideal for cats with gluten or grain allergies, but it doesn’t necessarily make this food lower in carbohydrates, as it uses potatoes as a starchy filler. That said, many owners of kittens with digestive issues or sensitive stomachs have noted an improvement when eating this food, though this is only anecdotal evidence.
CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Kitten Food Key Features:
- Fortified with vitamins and minerals
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- 41% protein
Best Wet Kitten Food: Tiki Cat After Dark Grain Free Wet Food
Kittens and cats can be fussy eaters, but Tiki Cat After Dark Grain Free Wet Food goes down a treat with the majority of fussy felines. The particular recipe pictured above, Chicken & Quail Egg in Broth, features real shredded chicken as the first ingredient. It’s also packed full of highly palatable and nutrient-dense organ meats.
There are a total of six yummy flavors in Tiki Cat’s After Dark line, all of which are free of GMOs, grains, and potato. So, they shouldn’t upset the stomachs of kitties who suffer from digestive issues.
Fortified with vitamins and minerals, you can rest assured this food contains all the essential nutrients for kittens. For example, taurine will support the health of your kitten’s heart and eyes, while calcium promotes strong bones. Retailing at around $22 for a pack of 12 two-ounce cans, it isn’t the most affordable option on the market. However, customers who bought it on Amazon say it’s truly an exceptional wet cat food food kittens given its high-quality and all of the evident health benefits their kitties have reaped.
Tiki Cat After Dark Grain Free Wet Food Key Features:
- No GMOs, grains, and potato
- Organ meats
- Choice of 6 yummy flavors
Best Dry Kitten Food: Natural Balance Whole Body Health Dry Kitten Formula
We all know that protein helps build strong muscles, which is why it’s an important element in kitten food. Natural Balance Whole Body Health Dry Kitten Formula contains quality protein from a range of sources to help your kitten grown strong and healthy. The bulk of the protein in this food comes from a combination of chicken, duck meal, salmon meal, eggs, and peas, making up a minimum crude protein of 38%.
It’s not just protein that this food offers. EPA and DHA from fish and fish oil are beneficial for brain health. Taurine boosts heart health and eye health, and calcium and phosphorous support rapidly growing bones. Plus, there are plenty more vitamins and minerals added for overall health and wellbeing. A six-pound bag costs a little under $20, which we think is reasonable for a food of this caliber.
Natural Balance Whole Body Health Dry Kitten Formula Key Features:
- Free from artificial flavors and colors
- Multiple sources of fiber help maintain digestive health
- Contains antioxidants for a healthy immune system
Who Should Buy Kitten Food
Anyone who owns a kitten should buy kitten food. You might think that standard adult cat food would suffice, but kitten food is superior for growing young cats. Containing extra nutrients, it helps to support this stage of rapid growth.
Some people also feed kitten food to nursing mother cats who need extra calories while producing milk. Also, senior cats who are struggling to maintain a healthy weigh may benefit from the extra calories and fat in kitten food.
Important Features to Consider
Kitten food should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting food for your kitten:
- Nutritional profile. Kitten food should have high levels of protein (at least 35% in dry food) and fat (12 to 24% in dry food), as well as plenty of calories. The percentage of protein looks lower in wet food, but that’s simply because it contains moisture, whereas dry food has all its moisture removed. You need to feed more wet food than you would dry, which makes up the difference in nutrient levels. Calcium and phosphorous are also important nutrients in kitten food, as they strengthen growing bones.
- Wet vs. dry. Should you choose a wet kitten food or a dry kitten food? Wet foods tend to be more tempting to picky kittens (some won’t touch dry food) and it contains plenty of moisture, which helps keep your feline friend hydrated. Sure, it can be more messy to feed, but you can also use a cat food mat to keep the area clean. Dry foods are easier to keep fresh and less messy in general. However, they tend to contain more carbohydrates and fillers.
- Wet food types. Wet kitten foods come in various textures. Pâtés are popular, since they’re mostly smooth, which is great for little mouths. Flaked foods are also great for kittens, as they contain small flakes of meat in gravy or jelly. Cubes and chunks can be too large for very young kittens to handle, but should be fine for kittens of three or four months and up.
- Ingredient quality. Look for kitten foods that contain high quality ingredients, such as whole meats and named organ meats. Meat meals are fine in dry foods, as long as they’re named (as in, “turkey meal” rather than “poultry meal,” which could be anything). Avoid foods with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. The best quality foods should contain meats reared in the USA.
- Palatability. How palatable is your chosen kitten food? It could contain the most premium ingredients, but if your cat won’t touch it, it’s not worth buying. Of course, all kittens are individual, but if the majority of buyers state their kittens enjoy the food, it’s likely yours will too.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is kitten food different from regular cat food?
Kitten food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of kittens. It contains more fat, protein, and calories than adult cat foods. It also contains phosphorous and high levels of calcium for bone health. Kitten foods also often have smaller chunks or pieces to make them easier for young cats to eat.
How much food should I give my kitten?
This depends on too many factors to give generalized answer. The amount to feed varies between different brands and formulas, between wet foods and dry foods, and depending on the age and size of your cat. Check the package of your chosen food to find out how much you should feed your kitten.
How often should I feed my kitten?
Young kittens thrive on regular feedings, so it’s best to give them three meals a day up the the age of six months. From six months onward, reduce this to two meals a day.
Is it better to feed a kitten wet or dry food?
Wet food isn’t inherently better than dry food, or vice-versa. The best one to feed depends on what your kitten likes and what works best for you. For example, if convenience is a large factor, dry food is generally easier to deal with. You might need a cat food storage container, but you won’t need to refrigerate it, and it’s not particularly messy or smelly. We food, on the other hand, is best for picky kittens who turn their noses up at dry food, or for kittens who drink very little, since the moisture content will offer more hydration.