How To Tell If You Have The Right Food
No matter how much research you do into the quality of a kitten food, you wont know if its a winner until you put it infront of your kitten. There are a few things worth keeping an eye on that will help determine if your kitten is thriving on their food:
- How does your kitten behave? Does he or she seem healthy and alert? Playful? Active? These are all indications that your kitten is getting the right nutrients.
- How is your kitten looking? Do you see bright eyes? A clean and glossy coat? Has your kitten been gaining weight steadily? Does he or she seem healthy overall?
If the answer to all of those questions was yes, your kitten food is probably doing its job. On the other hand, if you said no to even one of those questions, it may be time to shop around for a new food. Your kittens veterinarian is an invaluable resource for choosing the best food.
Best For Sensitive Stomachs: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Kitten Ultra Soft Mousse In Sauce Canned Cat Food
Ingredients: Water sufficient for processing, chicken liver, chicken, chicken by-products, pork by-products, natural flavors, powdered cellulose, wheat gluten | Calories: 137 kcal/can | Protein: 10% min.
Added beneficial ingredients for gastrointestinal tract health
Formulated by veterinary nutritionists
Double or triple the price of many other wet kitten foods
Only available in one flavor
Requires veterinary authorization to purchase
Some kittens are especially sensitive to food and while each may have a different reason for that sensitivity, there are some ingredients that can help. Fiber, prebiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, beta glucans, marigold extract, and other ingredients in Royal Canins Gastrointestinal Veterinary Diet for kittens can be beneficial for kittens with tummies that are prone to problems. This ultra soft mousse is easy for weaning kittens to chew, and while youll need veterinary approval to purchase these cans, its especially nice to know that it was formulated by veterinary nutritionists. This formula is also very high in calories, which means one can will last your kitten longer since they doesnt need to eat as much of it.
How To Choose High Quality Kitten Food
Okay so now you know why it is so important to get the best food option specifically formulated for kittens.
Right! But that still leaves a TON of choices. How do you know which type is the best kitten food? Well, does best kitten foods even exist?
Well, some of those points about how kittens are different than adults are good clues to start with.
First, lets talk about nutrition and good ingredients!
- Important Nutritional Ingredients in the Healthiest Kitten Food Brands
While both adolescent and adult felines need many of the same nutrients, kittens definitely need some of them in much larger quantities. Fats, protein, and fatty acids will be especially important for your little ones healthy development.
Nutrients that should be included in the best food for kittens will include:
- 30% more protein than adult formulas
- Omega fatty acids from DHA
- Essential amino acids
- Calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and iron
- Vitamin E and A
- Higher moisture content
The best kitten foods will focus on the protein and fat content. Dry kitten foods should contain about 35% protein and anywhere from 12%-24% fat. Canned kitten food will have slightly different percentages because it is diluted with water, but protein and fat should be predominant nutrients.
This is why a pet food formula will include other ingredients besides just a meat source. Even all natural ingredients kitten chow without grains will have additional ingredients.
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Can You Overfeed A Kitten
It is possible to overfeed a kitten, and doing so can lead to serious issues like diarrhea, gas, bloating, constipation, and vomiting. The good news is that most kitties will stop eating once she’s had enough food.
To encourage her to eat, be sure to give her 3 to 4 small meals throughout the day and select high quality food that tastes good and is free of anything that could trigger an allergy or upset her stomach.
Natures Variety Instinct Original Canned
This premium kitten food features lots of high-quality protein to get your kitten off to a great start in life. Theres a mix of chicken, salmon, liver, and beef that exposes your little kitty to a variety of proteins early on. This great variety of ingredient can help reduce the chance of food sensitivities in the future.
Strangely, one of the things we love about this product is the things that arent included. Youll find no grain, potato, soy, wheat, corn, artificial colors, or preservatives. All that leaves is highly natural ingredients that your kitten will love. The pate texture is very popular for kittens because it is easy to chew for their small mouths.
With plenty of natural DHA, this wet kitten food is great for eye and brain development. Salmon, one of the top ingredients, is a great source of both the DHA and protein. Youll also find plenty of vitamins present, along with fruits and vegetables such as pumpkin, blueberries, cranberries, tomatoes, cabbage, kale, parsley, and artichokes.
Priding themselves on producing excellent raw food, the Natures Variety brand has endeared itself to cat owners worldwide. Were not surprised.
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How Long Can Moist Food Stay In Your Dogs Bowl
Unlike dry kibble, you cant leave wet food in a dogs bowl for long. Wet food can carry disease-causing bacteria that can be activated by sitting in the open at room temperature for very long. You can leave the food in your dogs bowl for only a maximum of four hours after that, it needs to be put in the trash.
Older Cat Foodbuying Guide
We have to observe our cat before buying older cat food. Few things you should consider when choosing a quality senior cat food:
- Understanding Ages
- Colors, Flavors and Preservatives
First of all, a sick cat needs medications. If you found your cat is sick, then go quickly to visit a doctor.
Choose food wisely for your cats needs. See how it reacts to new food. Protein is essential for a senior cat to maintain muscle strength. Diabetes is common in older cats and this can be controlled with a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet.
Other chronic health conditions, including kidney disease, may require your cat to have a lower protein diet. low-carbohydrate diet is best for seniors with diabetes.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are useful for maintaining joint health in senior cats and will help to keep cats mobile and pain-free. Antioxidants help the immune system to stay healthy and help to fend off the effects of aging.
The senior cat needs high calorie cat food. Actually, senior cats need around 50 calories per kilogram of their weight every day if they live indoors.
However, if they go out a lot, they may need a bit more. Obesity is a common problem in older cats so you need to keep an eye on their weight.
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What Are Aafco Standards
Since its establishment in 1906, the nonprofit Association of American Feed Control Officials has set nutritional guidelines for pet food in the United States. AAFCO is not a regulatory agency, but the regulatory FDA is an AAFCO member with a non-voting advisory role. AAFCO does not test, approve, or certify pet food brands. Instead, it defines the ingredient, labeling, and testing standards that establish whether a pet food is nutritionally complete for animals at different life stages.
A cat food that meets AAFCO’s minimum standards is considered complete and balanced at one of two life stages: growth and reproduction, which includes kittens and pregnant or lactating females, or adult maintenance, which is intended for cats over a year of age.
To meet the minimum AAFCO standard, an adult cat food must contain at least 26% protein, 9% fat, and essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Food for kittens up to a year of age and pregnant or lactating adults must have a minimum of 30% protein, 9% fat, and higher levels of vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorus than adult maintenance foods.
Royal Canin Aging 12+ Wet Cat Food
This is moist cat food for seniors. High protein is provided from pork and chicken with high water content. It is meaty junk in gravy. A soft slice of meat is good for sensitive gums and teeth.
It also has glucosamine, chondroitin, fatty acids to help weak joints. Reduced phosphorus keeps kidneys fit.
- Supplements specifically for older cats
- High-quality meat and fish protein sources
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Why You Should Trust Us
To write this guide, we started by identifying kittens core nutritional needs, reviewing over 159 different cat food brands, reading customer reviews, speaking with market insiders, and testing foods hands-on.
We also consulted 7 veterinarians to get their professional opinion on what makes a great cat food.
Our Veterinary Advisors
At the top of that list is Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Turkey & Chicken Liver Pâté. This canned food has everything your kitten needs without excessive carbs, colors, and other additives. It receives positive customer reviews and comes from a trusted company.
Keep reading to learn more about your kittens nutritional requirements and how we chose the best kitten foods on the market.
Best For Weaning Kittens: Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Canned Wet Cat Food
Ingredients: Water sufficient for processing, chicken, chicken liver, pork by-products, wheat gluten, powdered cellulose, modified corn starch | Calories: 133 kcal/can | Protein: 9% min.
Come in different can and case sizes
Higher calories per can
Contains corn, wheat, yeast, and rice ingredients that may not be suitable for all kittens
Usually over $1.50/can
Kittens who are weaning are new to the experience of chewing their food, so youll want to offer something that doesnt take much effort. Royal Canins Mother & Babycat formula is a mousse that is super soft and designed specifically for weaning kittens. Royal Canin has a long history of making high-quality pet foods, and this wet food is also well-accepted by tiny kittens. Since the only other experience they have with food is sucking milk from their mother or a bottle, kittens can be messy eaters when they start eating something else.
Because of this, Dr. Blackburn recommends feeding weaning kittens in a large, easily cleaned area and offering the canned food on a very large, shallow plate/flat surface. “They tend to be messy eaters and explore foods by walking in them and grooming said food off their paws, etc, she says.
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How Much Wet Food Should A Kitten Get
A kitten aged 2 to 3 months should eat about 1/3 to 3/4 cup of wet food per feeding and should be fed around 3 to 4 times per day.
She needs smaller, more frequent meals because her belly is smaller and her digestive system can’t process all the nutrients she needs in just a couple larger meals.
Kitties aged 3 to 6 months can eat around 2/3 of wet food per pound of body weight per day. Again, spread this out to about 3 to 4 meals. If you are adding dry food to your kitty’s diet in addition to wet food, feed her twice per day instead.
Once a kitty reaches 6 months old, her feeding schedule can be cut down to twice per day. At this stage, she can eat around 1/2 of a 3 ounce can of wet food per pound of body weight per day.
Talk to your vet if you have specific questions about how much to feed your kitten and when.
Kitten Food Vs Cat Food
Many new kitten owners are confused about the differences between kitten and cat food, and why you cannot just feed your kitten the same food that youve been feeding your cat. The reason is simple: Kittens have different nutritional needs than adult cats, and they require ultra-nutrient-dense food to aid in their rapid growth and development. For example, protein content is vital in any feline foods, but kittens in particular need as much as they can get.
Remember that you are building a foundation of health for your kitten, and the first year of their development is crucial for a lifetime of good health and an illness-free life. While homemade foods and all-stage commercial foods are great, the best way to ensure that your kittens are getting all that they need nutritionally is to give them a specially made kitten food.
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Start Him Off On The Right Paw
You just adopted a kitten , and youre looking to feed him the best kitten food you can find .
With literally hundreds of options to choose from, its not exactly easy to settle on just one.
Thats why we reached out to three veterinarians to discover the best vet-recommended kitten food, so you can find an option that both you and your kitten will love.
Hills Science Diet Dry Food For Kittens
The Science Diet Kitten Dry Cat food from Hills features high-quality chicken as the first listed ingredient, with a 33% crude protein content overall. The food contains fish oil, which is a natural source of DHA and will help aid in your kittens brain and eye development, and a potent antioxidant and vitamin blend for optimal immune support. It is made in the U.S.A. and is suitable for both kittens and pregnant and nursing cats, and it is free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
This food contains rice, wheat, oats, and barley, which are all filler ingredients and of little nutritional value for kittens. The protein content is also low compared to some other foods listed here.
This dry kitten food from Merrick has deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal as the first three listed ingredients, with a crude protein content of 41% overall, 74% of which is animal-based. The kibble is grain-free and contains healthy alternatives like peas, sweet potatoes, and organic alfalfa. The food is packed with immune-supporting antioxidants, essential omega fatty acids for healthy coat and skin, and taurine for added heart and eye health. This kibble is also free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
Several customers report that this food gave their kittens gas and bloating and caused some kittens to vomit. Many also reported their kittens would not eat it.
- May cause gas and bloating
- Some kittens will not eat it
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Dry Vs Wet Kitten Food For Kittens
We touched on this a bit above in our kitten vs. cat section, but it does well to discuss a bit more thoroughly here.
Especially if your kitten is very young, you will need to start out with wet first, especially if you got her when she was still only 4-8 weeks old. This is partially due to her tiny teeth and mouth. But good canned kitten food has other benefits as well.
In general, wet feline food tends to be purer and less processed. This is naturally a healthier option. Wet will also help keep her hydrated. This is an extremely important benefit, as not all cats are good drinkers.
As your baby gets older, you can begin introducing dry pet food, and transition her fully if you choose. Admittedly, though, wet pet food is the most ideal and usually the best food choice. However, it is more expensive and less convenient, so many make the switch to dry foods.
As long as you keep in mind what we talked about regarding nutrition and kitten vs. adult food above, you can find plenty of dry kibble that will serve your kitty well.
If you are looking for some quick ways to identify healthy choices, an easy thing to keep an eye out for is the AAFCO on the label. If the label states that it at least meets the requirements, or better yet, that it offers complete and balanced nutrition based on AAFCO trials, you are in pretty good shape.
Finally, an important note to make here the other key thing you need to provide to ensure a happy and healthy kittie-cat is plenty of fresh water.
What Should I Feed My Kitten In Terms Of Food
- There are really too many variables to provide a broad answer. The amount to feed varies depending on the brand and formula, the kind of food , and the age and size of your cat.
- To figure out how much to feed your kitten, look at the package of the food youve chosen.
- Kittens should be fed free-choice between the ages of 8 weeks and 6 months.
- Its preferable to introduce cats to both canned and dry meals since this has been demonstrated to increase food acceptance later in lifeespecially if a medical necessity is present.
- Young kittens thrive on consistent feedings, so feed them three times a day until they reach the age of six months. Reduce this to two meals per day after six months.
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Hills Science Diet Kitten
- Best kitten food for sensitive stomachs Item Form: Dry | Protein: 33 percent min | Fat: 19 percent min | Moisture: 8 percent max High-quality proteins Vet recommended DHA from fish oil supports brain developmentHills Science Diet Kitten Dry Cat Food has high-quality chicken as the first listed ingredient and a crude protein content of 33 percent overall.
- Fish oil, a natural source of DHA that aids in your kittens brain and eye development, is included in the meal, as well as a robust antioxidant and vitamin combination for optimal immune support.
- Its created in the United States and is free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, making it ideal for kittens, pregnant, and nursing cats.
- Rice, wheat, oats, and barley are all filler foods with minimal nutritional benefit for kittens in this food.
- In comparison to some of the other items on this list, the protein content is also modest.
- Potent antioxidant and vitamin blend
- Suitable for kittens and nursing cats
- Free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives
- Contains grains and filler ingredients
- Comparatively low protein content