At A Glance: Best Kitten Foods Of 2022
In the comparison table below, weve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. Youll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
- One of the most protein-packed kitten foods on the market
- Ultra-soft pate texture is easy for kittens to eat
- Calorie-dense recipe to fuel growth and development
- Rich in animal-based protein from chicken, beef, and salmon
- Soft canned food offers palatable texture and hydration
- Very low carbohydrate content
- Single source of high-quality animal protein
- Rich in moisture to support your kittens hydration
- Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
- Wild Pacific salmon as the first ingredient
- Supplemented with two concentrated sources of animal protein
- Herring and salmon oils for omega fatty acids
- Features high-quality animal protein as the main ingredient
- Hydrating canned food with a strong reputation for palatability
- One of the most affordable options for kitten food
- Made primarily with animal-based protein sources
- Contains menhaden fish oil for DHA
- Highly palatable and hydrating canned food
- Made primarily from nourishing sources of animal protein
- Hydrating and highly palatable canned food
- Calorie-dense at 122 calories per 3-ounce can
- High-quality animal protein as top two ingredients
- Main source of added fat is animal-based
- Contains salmon oil as a rich source of omega-3s
Kitten Vs Adult Cat Food: Whats The Difference
Aside from kitten kibbles being smaller so those tiny kitty teeth can bite into them, food made for younger cats will also contain different nutrients.
For one, food formulated for kittens will be higher in calories. This is to keep them energized and full of life as they discover the world around them.
Kitten food will also contain more fat and protein, which is exactly what their little bodies need to grow.
Ultimately, adult cat food is designed to maintain your cats health and keep them happy and satisfied at mealtimes.
But kitten food has a much bigger purpose to ensure your young kitty gets everything he or she needs to become a fully grown, happy, healthy, adult cat.
Important Features To Consider For Best Dry Kitten Food
Everyone benefits from dry food because they dont have to worry about food spoiling in the bowl while they are gone for the day. However, bear in mind that diversity is important, and give your kitty some wet food as well.
So, to increase hunger and provide variety, sprinkle some canned kitten food on top of the kibble.
A few key characteristics should be present in the best dry kitten food. Here are some things to think about when choosing kitten food:
- The nutrient profile
Kitten diet should be high in protein , fat , and calories.
Wet food has a lower amount of protein since it contains moisture, whereas dry food has had all the moisture removed. To compensate for the difference in nutrient levels, you must feed more wet food than dry food. Calcium and phosphorus, which build growing bones, are also crucial minerals in the kitten diet.
- The quality of the ingredients.
Look for high-quality components in kitten feeds, such as whole meats and labeled organ meats. Meat meals are fine in dry foods if they are identified .
Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives should be avoided. Meats raised in the United States should be used in the highest-quality dishes.
How tasty is the cat food youve chosen? It could have the best ingredients, but if your cat wont eat it, its not worth the money.
Of course, each cat is unique, but if the majority of buyers say their kittens appreciate the food, you may be confident that yours will as well.
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How To Pick The Best Dry Cat Food
For starters, cats are inherently carnivores, which means they require a large amount of meat in their diet.
When reading nutrition labels, keep the following in mind:
This is the most crucial element, and it should be considerably more precise than meat. Chicken, turkey, lamb, and salmon are the finest options.
Dry food with specific organs, such as chicken liver or chicken heart, is also a wonderful alternative because these are high in taurine, an essential amino acid that aids in your cats growth.
Named Fat Source
Look for terms like chicken fat, sunflower oil, and other oils in your search. Dont buy anything if its not specific enough you should know exactly what oil is being used.
This fatty acid is contained in a mother cats milk and is essential for your kittens growth. It specifically aids your pets vision and brain development.
Some carbohydrates are difficult for cats to digest, and some even develop food allergies as a result. Grain-based foods, particularly corn and wheat, should be avoided. Choose foods that contain green peas, sweet potatoes, or potato starch instead.
Cats Actual Food Preferences
Cats will self-select food sources that result in a macronutrient profile in this range in studies on both indoor, commercially fed cats and feral and stray cats.
- 52-63 percent protein
- Fat content: 22-36 percent
- Carbohydrate: 2.8-12 percent .
Why Trust The Spruce
Theresa Holland is a professional writer and animal lover with extensive experience writing about cats and dogs. In addition to The Spruce, she regularly contributes to MyDomaine and Byrdie.
For this piece, Theresa interviewed Dr. Lewis Singleton, a veterinarian at Banfield Pet Hospital, to obtain more information on dry cat food. Choosing the right cat food can be a daunting task, but consulting with a veterinarian about key ingredients to look for can make the task less intimidating. To make this list, each pick’s flavor and nutrients were considered, as well as the cat’s life stage.
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We Looked For Species
We looked for foods that honor kittens nutritional needs, emphasizing meat ingredients over plants. All of the foods on the following list are rich in animal-sourced protein and keep carbohydrate content low. We looked for foods that were at least 50% protein and less than 10% carbohydrate, measured on a dry matter basis.
How Much And Often Should You Feed A Kitten
How much to feed your kitten depends on several factors, especially his size and age. Young kittens grow fast very fast. They can double or triple in weight in their first few weeks. This means that how much to feed your kitten can change all the time. They need a lot of nutrients but they have small stomachs. This means that you will need to feed your kitten three or four small meals per day for the first few weeks. If you are feeding some dry food along with canned food, you might want to leave some sitting out so your kitten can snack on it when he gets hungry. After your kitten gets a little older you can cut back to two or three meals per day and then to two meals per day for an adult cat and no free feeding. Free feeding an adult cat can lead to obesity so its not advised, but it can be helpful for kittens.
If youre looking for specific calorie amounts, the National Research Council provides some answers, Table 7: Daily Maintenance Energy Requirements for Dogs and Cats .
For example, if you have a kitten that weighs 5 pounds this means he would need about 200 kcal/day. At 10 weeks, he might need as much as 100 kcal per pound of body weight or about 250 kcal.
|Our 2022 Picks for Best Kitten Foods
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Best For Nursing Cats And Kittens: Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Mother & Babycat Dry Cat Food From $23
This cat food from Royal Canin is specifically designed for newborn kittens and pregnant or nursing cats. The easy-to-chew kibble is a nice transitional choice for weaning kittens and contains antioxidants and vitamins. John P. Loftus, Ph.D., DVM, assistant professor at the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, tells Mental Floss that he routinely recommends Royal Canin , noting, âThese are all companies that I know have many years of research behind them, veterinary nutritionists on staff, and rigorous quality control protocols. Additionally, these brands are where the bulk of our therapeutic diets lie to help treat various conditions in cats .â
Royal Canin Food For Sterilized Kittens
Once you spay or neuter your kitten, they are likely to go through hormonal changes, which can cause weight gain. This specialized dry food from Royal Canin has been developed to help your kitten stay a healthy weight.
It does this with a lower level of fats, which are adjusted from normal kitten food to promote healthy post-surgery weight. Theres also plenty of antioxidants and vitamins, as well as calcium, and phosphorus.
You can be sure that your kitten is getting all they need to develop strong bones, great digestion, and a mighty immune system. Royal Canin food for sterilized kittens is designed for kittens aged 6 to 12 months, and the chewy kibble is easy for growing teeth to bite into.
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What Is A Good Dry Cat Food That Doesnt Contain Corn
There are many corn free dry cat food out there. We have already mentioned some brand above. These are grain free dry cat food,
Here the list of corn free dry cat food,
- BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain Free
- Nulo Grain Free Dry Cat & Kitten Food
- Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Formula Dry Cat Food
- Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Adult Dry Cat Food
- Fromm FourStar Cat Food Gamebird
How Are Kittens Nutritional Needs Different From Those Of Adult Cats
Nutritionally speaking, the biggest difference between kittens and adults is the need for ultra-nutrient-dense food that will fuel early growth stages.
While all kitten foods are different, theyre generally calorie-dense with high concentrations of protein. Theyre rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin A, and certain amino acids.
If youre committed to purchasing commercially available food, read the label to determine whether or not its appropriate for kittens. If the food is labeled complete and balanced for growth and reproduction OR all life stages, its been formulated according to the AAFCOs nutrient profiles for kitten health.
Avoid diets labeled simply for adult maintenance. As the label suggests, adult cat food is intended to maintain a healthy adult weight and lacks the nutritional gusto to fuel your kittens growth spurts.
While some insist that only commercially sold foods provide the nourishment a kitten requires, this isnt exactly true.
If correctly balanced, a home-cooked diet can be an excellent choice for your growing kitten. These diets offer what a kitten needs, delivering more bioavailable protein and calorie density than almost anything youll buy in a bag or a can.
Keep in mind, though, that preparing home-cooked pet foods can be time-intensive, and it can be difficult to achieve the appropriate nutrient balance. Consult with a veterinary nutritionist if you are interested in preparing homecooked food for your kitten.
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What Does Aafco Approval Mean
Association of American Feed Control Officials is the American group responsible for controlling the way that manufacturers create cat foods.
This advisory body proposes regulations for the labeling and production of animal food, including all kinds of pet food. Memberships with AAFCO are maintained by the FDA as well as various crucial groups like the Animal Protection Institute.
AAFCO can be a helpful resource when choosing any kind of dry or wet cat food because the company helps to define terms for labeling by-products in the food, as well as defining quantity determination for labels.
There are criteria in place by the AAFCO group which also determine what a complete and balanced food can be.
Crucially, AAFCO does not have any regulatory powers, but memberships consist of various regulatory bodies who do have these powers. AAFCO is also not responsible for testing, but it does recommend protocols for testing.
Theres also no definition of human-grade protein quality with AFFCO, and theres no guideline in place to determine when food should be labeled for things like weight control or dental care.
What Is Better: Wet Or Dry Food Kitten Food
Wet food isnt necessarily superior to dry food, and vice versa. The ideal one to feed is determined by your kittens preferences as well as what works best for you.
Dry food, for example, is often easier to handle if convenience is a major consideration. Youll need a cat food storage container, but it wont need to be refrigerated, and it wont be too dirty or odorous.
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Q Should I Opt For Grain
A. “Grain-free” is a big trend in the pet food industry right now, but barring an allergy, there’s no reason why your kitten’s food needs to be 100% grain-free. Small amounts of grain can provide a good source of both carbohydrates and protein, but by no means should any grain be one of the main ingredients in your chosen kitten food.
Kitten Chow Nurture Muscle & Brain Dry Cat Food Best Value
The best kitten food for the money is the Kitten Chow Nurture dry kitten food. The food contains real, farm-raised chicken and gives the food a protein content of 40% overall, aiding in the growth of your kittens developing muscles. The included DHA fatty acids and taurine will help support your kittens vision and aid in their brain development. The food also contains vital antioxidants that will aid in immune function. Best of all, the food is free from artificial colors and flavors.
We noticed that this food has chicken by-products and corn both listed in the top three ingredients, as well as several other grains in the recipe.
This dry kitten food from Purina ONE contains real chicken as the first ingredient to help in the development of strong muscles in your kittens growth. The included DHA a nutrient found in mothers milk will aid in brain and vision development, and the recipe contains healthy vegetables like carrots and peas to further enhance this development. With four different antioxidant sources, including vitamins A and E, your kittens immune system will get the support that it needs to function properly. The recipe also has added vitamins and minerals like calcium to aid in overall health and well-being. The food is produced in the United States and contains no artificial flavors or preservatives.
- May cause nausea and vomiting
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Iams Proactive Health Kitten
This budget-friendly dry kitten food has a lot to love. Designed with kitten development in mind, this formula is protein-rich and is packed with Omega-3 and DHA to help your kittens brain development.
The first ingredient in this product is chicken, and there are no added fillers at all. That yummy chicken that creates the taste your kitten loves is also helping them build strong muscles. The inclusion of Vitamin E is wonderful for boosting your kittens immune system. Its also full of the essential amino acids all meat-eating animals need.
IAMS is a well-respected cat food manufacturer that has been around for a long time. They have spent years researching foods that are great for your pet without breaking the bank. They are so confident that your kitten will thrive on this excellent formula that they offer a 100% money-back guarantee. The quality control checks they use far exceed the standards of both the FDA and the USDA. If youre on a budget, this is a fantastic dry kitten food to try.
How Do Kittens Nutritional Needs Differ From Those Of Adult Cats
A kittens weight may double or even triple during the first few weeks of life. To support this explosive growth — as well as high activity levels — your kitten may have triple the energy needs of an adult cat.
These high energy needs make it harder for kittens to get enough calories in one meal, says Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD, nutritional consultant and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis. So most kittens want to eat at least three or four meals a day, she says. Its also a comfort thing — kittens are snackers at heart.
Kittens needs for fat, some fatty acids, and most vitamins are the same as for adult cats, Larsen says. But kittens have a higher requirement for protein, amino acids, and minerals, as well as for some vitamins. For example, kittens should get about 30% of their energy from protein.
For these reasons, most experts recommend you feed your kitten specially formulated kitten food until age 1. Although some cat foods are labeled as appropriate for kittens and cats of all life stages, these arent appropriate for your kitten unless feeding tests support the label claim.
And dont forget to provide plenty of fresh water — its a key to keeping cats of all ages healthy.
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Royal Canin Nutrition Kitten
For specialist cat food nutrition, no one beats Royal Canin. Their formulas command a premium price tag, but theyre easily the front-runners in feline nutrition. This kitten formula featuresd thin slices in in gravy, which still makes it easy to eat but offers an option other than pate for your kitten.
This food has all the same hallmarks and benefits as other Royal Canin cat foods. Its perfectly balanced, with the ideal amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to provide your growing kitten with plenty of energy. There is also the antioxidant complex for a healthy immune system that Royal Canin has perfected.
The macronutrient profile of this food is very appealing to kittens the perfect balance of calories that they will instinctively crave. This formula is an excellent wet cat food food to transition to after the Mother & Babycat formula from Royal Canin.
Chicken, chicken liver, and pork are the first three ingredients in this food. This premium kitten food is more expensive than many others on our list, but it is worth it. Wed recommend pairing it with a cheaper dry kitten food if you can to help with economy.