The Best Kitten Food

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.

Top Pick
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Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Natural Kitten Food

Made with quality natural ingredients and no by-products, this is a top notch food for your developing kitten.

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$27.99 USD

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.

The 5 Top-Rated Kitten Foods

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallBlue Buffalo Healthy Growth Natural Kitten Food4.5
Runner UpWellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Wet Kitten Food4.0
Budget PickCRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Kitten Food4.4
Best Wet Kitten FoodBlue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Natural Kitten Pate4.3
Best Dry Kitten FoodNatural Balance Whole Body Health Dry Kitten Formula4.3

*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: Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Wet Kitten Food

Runner Up
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Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Wet Kitten Food

This tasty wet food is perfect for finicky kittens.

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$30.96 USD

If your kitten prefers wet food to dry, our runner up, Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Wet Kitten Food, might be a better choice. This complete and balanced food contains all the nutrients your kitten needs to grow up strong and healthy. While we don’t necessarily rate grain free kitten foods over grain-containing foods, it is true that cats, as obligate carnivores, thrive on foods containing plenty of meats and few carbohydrates. This food fits this bill, containing chicken and chicken liver as the top two ingredients, with no grains or starchy ingredients, such as potato.

Wellness Complete Kitten food is made in North America from only high quality ingredients, with no by-products and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It has a pâté consistency, which means it’s fairly smooth, without large chunks, which is ideal for small mouths to handle. This food is sold as a case of 24 three-ounce cans, costing around $30.

Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Wet Kitten Food Key Features:

  • Added taurine promotes a heart and eye health
  • Low in magnesium to avoid urinary tracts issues
  • Palatable recipe that most kittens love

Best Budget Pick: CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Kitten Food

Best for Budget
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CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Kitten Food

Surprisingly affordable per bag and rich in protein to help kitten growth.

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$13.99 USD

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: Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Natural Kitten Pâté

Best Wet Kitten Food
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Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Natural Kitten Pâté

An exceptional wet food the the vast majority of kittens adore.

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$23.43 USD

Kittens and cats can be fussy eaters, but Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Natural Kitten Pâté goes down a treat with the majority of fussy felines. Packed full of whole chicken, chicken liver, and egg, it has plenty of protein for a growing kitten. Carbohydrates come from brown rice and sweet potatoes, while chicken broth a fish oils keep the whole lot moist. The pâté consistency is easy even for young kittens to wolf down.

Fortified with vitamins and minerals, you can rest assured this food contains all the essential nutrients for kittens. The added taurine is important for the health of your kittens heart and eyes, while calcium promotes strong bones. Retailing at around $25 for a pack of 24 three-ounce cans, it provides reasonable value, quality considered.

Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Natural Kitten Pâté Key Features:

  • No corn, wheat, or soy
  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • Palatable flavor

Best Dry Kitten Food: Natural Balance Whole Body Health Dry Kitten Formula

Best Dry Kitten Food
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Natural Balance Whole Body Health Dry Kitten Formula

The high quality protein content makes this a great choice for kittens.

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$18.78 USD

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.

Top Pick
Buy Now
Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Natural Kitten Food

Made with quality natural ingredients and no by-products, this is a top notch food for your developing kitten.

buy now
$27.99 USD

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.

Other Kitten Food We Reviewed

Top Pick
Buy Now
Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Natural Kitten Food

Made with quality natural ingredients and no by-products, this is a top notch food for your developing kitten.

buy now
$27.99 USD

We looked at 20 other kitten foods. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best kitten foods list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your feline friend. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Wet Kitten Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Kitten Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Kitten Food

This kitten food variety pack contains four cans of salmon pâté, four cans of chicken pâté, and four cans of flaked chicken and trout in gravy.

Key Features:

  • Three varieties for kittens who like a change
  • All three types are grain free
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

Cost: $25 for 12 three-ounce cans

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free

This high protein grain free salmon pâté is the same one included in the variety pack above.

Key Features:

  • Contains whole salmon and chicken
  • No meat by-products
  • Smooth texture great for small kittens

Cost: $29 for 24 cans

Blue Freedom Kitten Indoor Grain Free Pate

Blue Freedom Kitten Indoor Grain Free Pate

Designed with the needs of indoor kittens in mind, this is a great option for growing house cats.

Key Features:

  • Contains DHA for brain development
  • Smooth pâté consistency
  • Grain free

Cost: $30 for 24 three-ounce cans

Instinct Original Kitten Grain Free Recipe Natural Cat Food

Instinct Original Kitten Grain Free Recipe Natural Cat Food

If you’re looking for a protein-rich wet food, without fillers like grains and potatoes, this is a fantastic choice.

Key Features:

  • Free from artificial additives
  • Pâté formula is easy for kittens to eat
  • Contains DHA from brain health

Cost: $35 for 24 three-ounce cans

Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Wet Kitten Food

Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Wet Kitten Food

These morsels in gravy are ideal for kittens who prefer a chunkier food.

Key Features:

  • Contains deboned chicken and duck
  • Convenient single-serving pouches
  • Grain free recipe

Cost: $35 for 24 three-ounce pouches

Natural Balance Ultra Chicken, Salmon & Duck Canned Kitten Food

Natural Balance Ultra Chicken, Salmon & Duck Canned Kitten Food

A kitten food designed fro whole body health, supporting muscle development and a strong immune system.

Key Features:

  • Chicken, duck, and salmon recipe
  • Gluten free
  • Pâté consistency

Cost: $30 for 24 three-ounce cans

Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Canned Wet Cat Food

Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Canned Wet Cat Food

This food is designed to be suitable for both kittens and adult cats, which is great if you have both at home and find it hard to stop them from eating each other’s food.

Key Feature:

  • Variety pack with beef and rainbow trout, chicken and duck, and turkey and halibut
  • Shredded pieces in gravy
  • High protein, low carb

Cost: $18 for 12 three-ounce cans

Tiki Cat Grill Grain-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Wet Food

Tiki Cat Grill Grain-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Wet Food

Another food that’s designed to meet the nutritional needs of both kittens and adult cats. The high moisture content is great for kittens who don’t drink much water.

Key Features:

  • Contains whole mackerel and sardines in broth
  • Low carbohydrates
  • Grain free

Cost: $13 for 8 six-ounce cans

Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Wet Kitten Food

Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Wet Kitten Food

If you like our runner up pick, but want some variety, this is the turkey and chicken liver recipe of the same range.

Key Features:

  • Smooth pâté consistency
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • High protein content

Cost: $20 for 12 three-ounce cans

Dry Kitten Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Kitten Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Natural Kitten Food

A quality dry food containing whole, deboned chicken, chicken meal, and fish meal, with antioxidant-, vitamin, and mineral-rich LifeSource Bits.

Key Features:

  • Grain free formula
  • Contains DHA for brain and eye development
  • Promotes immune health

Cost: $20 for five pounds

Blue Freedom Grain Free Natural Indoor Kitten Dry Food

Blue Freedom Grain Free Natural Indoor Kitten Dry Food

A dry food specifically designed to the needs of indoor kittens, who may be slightly less active than kittens free to roam.

Key Features:

  • Made with DHA and ARA fatty acids
  • Chicken, peas, and potato recipe
  • Contains LifeSource Bits

Cost: $20 for five pounds

Fromm Kitten Gold Dry Cat Food

Fromm Kitten Gold Dry Cat Food

This high end kitten food comes at a premium price, but we can’t fault the ingredients.

Key Features:

  • High protein content
  • Probiotics for digestive health
  • Also suited to nursing mothers

Cost: $28 for 2.5 pounds

Halo Wild Salmon & Whitefish Recipe Kitten Food

Halo Wild Salmon & Whitefish Recipe Kitten Food

About as ethical as cat food gets, only made with meat that hasn’t been factory farmed and with non-GMO vegetables.

Key Features:

  • Contains whole meat only, no meal or by-products
  • Free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives
  • Made with premium protein for muscle development

Cost: $28 for six pounds

Holistic Select Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food Adult & Kitten Recipe

Holistic Select Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food Adult & Kitten Recipe

While it’s not just for kittens, this food claims to be suited to both adult cats and kittens.

Key Features:

  • Single source protein is great for muscle development
  • Contains probiotics and prebiotics for gut health
  • Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat

Cost: $35 for 11.5 pounds

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Healthy Kitten Recipe

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Healthy Kitten Recipe

The combined protein and fat content of 74% is purrfectly suited to growing kittens.

Key Features:

  • Contains whole chicken
  • Grain free
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

Cost: $16 for seven pounds

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Kitten Food

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Dry Kitten Food

A wholesome choice made with farm-raised chicken and brown rice. All ingredients are totally GMO-free.

Key Features:

  • DHA boosts healthy brain development
  • High protein content
  • Taurine promotes heart and eye health

Cost: $20 for six pounds

Solid Gold Touch of Heaven Chicken & Sweet Potato Kitten Food

Solid Gold Touch of Heaven Chicken & Sweet Potato Kitten Food

This holistic kitten food is designed with your feline friend’s whole-body health in mind.

Key Features:

  • Grain free formula
  • Natural DHA and EPA promote growth and brain health
  • Tiny kibble piece ideal for little mouths

Cost: $15 for six pounds

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Dry Kitten Food

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Dry Kitten Food

With 45% protein, this dry food is one of the highest protein foods on the market, which is great for helping kittens grow into strong cats.

Key Features:

  • Chicken and egg recipe
  • DHA, Omega 6, and Omega 3 boost healthy development
  • Grain free

Cost: $19 for 2.8 pounds

Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Recipe Dry Kitten Food

Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Recipe Dry Kitten Food

This quality kitten food comes with a surprisingly reasonable price tag, especially if you buy it in large bags.

Key Features:

  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Made in the USA
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor cats

Cost: $25 for 10 pounds

Wysong Optimal Nurture Kitten Formula

Wysong Optimal Nurture Kitten Formula

A high-end kitten food made with whole chicken; chicken, fish, and turkey meal, plus an impressive range of fruits and vegetables.

Key Features:

  • Contains a whopping 52% protein
  • Low carbohydrates
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

Cost: $18 for five pounds

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