From the moment your kitten is born it is important to provide him with a high quality, balanced diet. You can expect your little furry friend to gain around two pounds in the first 10 weeks, so choosing the best kitten food early on is a crucial step during this period of rapid growth.
Usually kittens won’t start in on a strictly solid food diet until about 6 weeks, so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with both wet and dry kitten food.
Then main problem most new kitten owners face when shopping for food is the overwhelming amount of choices. The good news is that I have a lot of experience when it comes to kitten nutrition and have painstakingly scoured the internet for the best options for your kitty.
If you want a quick answer, here are my top picks of kitten foods that will turn your new kitten into a strong and healthy cat.
Best Dry Kitten Food
Best Wet Kitten Food
After researching and reviewing a metric ton of different kitten foods, I present to you the cream of the crop. Since this article is a bit long, I’ve broken it up for you so you can easily jump around to find exactly what information you’re looking for.
Dry Food Quick Look
Wet/ Canned Food Quick Look
Dry Kitten Food
Most cat owners rely on dry kitten food because it’s easier to store, can be left out all day, and is much cheaper than wet food. Also, depending on the brand, dry kibble can be useful when it comes to tooth development – though this is not a substitute for dental care.
Dry food is used mainly for ‘free feeding,’ which just means leaving the food out all day for the cat to nibble on as they see fit. If left alone, some cats have been known to eat up to 20 meals per day! This can be a good or bad thing – we’ll get to that later.
Usually dry food isn’t introduced into a kitten’s diet until around 7 months when he has all his adult teeth. Most veterinarians will recommend using it alongside wet food for a well rounded diet. Since dry food typically contains more carbohydrates than wet food, a dry food only diet has the potential to cause health problems. This is because kibble uses grains like rice and cornmeal when it’s processed – not ideal for your carnivorous feline.
Dry foods will generally vary in caloric density and nutritional value, so it’s very important to read the label. The packaging label will also show you the correct feeding portions based on the age of your kitten, so don’t skip this step.
Top 4 Best Dry Kitten Food Reviews
Kittens grow at a rapid rate. This means that they need a special diet formulated to support that rapid growth rate. The best kitten food is the ones contains high levels of protein and fats. However, we must also consider the carbohydrates, minerals and vitamin content.
Now that you have a bit of an overview as to your new kitten’s dietary needs, let’s dig in to the details.
Combining product reviews, personal experience and rigorous online studies, we’ve put together a list of the best kitten dry foods on the market.
This impressive grain- free recipe was an easy choice as my number one choice of dry kitten food overall.
With cage-free chickens as the first ingredient, this Instinct Original provides your kitten with the high protein diet it needs to support the rapid growth your kitten undergoes. Not only that, the ethical use of cage- free chickens tells me that this brand actually cares about the well-being of all animals and not just cats.
81% of the recipe is real, high- quality animal products and oils. The remaining 19% contains vegetables, fruits, and wholesome ingredients – tailored nutrition for your lovable fur ball.
I like this product so much not just because of what it contains, but also because of what it doesn’t. There’s no grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, artificial colors or preservatives whatsoever. All those cheap fillers are thrown out in exchange for all- natural ingredients.
It also includes natural probiotics, Omega fatty acids and antioxidants that promote digestive health, healthy skin, soft fur, and immune health.
On top of all that… kittens can’t seem to get enough of the taste! The mixture of salmon, lamb, turkey, apples, carrots and cranberries apparently can’t be matched. If your have a young kitten under a year old, this is the best dry kitten food you can get your hands on.
Protein: 42.5% (min) | Fat: 22.5% (min) | Fiber: 3.0% (max) | Moisture: 9.0% (max)
Caloric Content: 4,456 kcal/kg or 557 kcal/cupIngredients
Chicken, Turkey Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Egg Product, Chicken Meal, White Fish Meal (Pacific Whiting, Pacific Sole, Pacific Rockfish), Tapioca, Natural Flavor, Lamb Meal, Dried Tomato Pomace, Carrots, Apples, Cranberries, Montmorillonite Clay, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Taurine, Freeze Dried Chicken, Freeze Dried Chicken Liver, Pumpkinseeds, Freeze Dried Chicken Heart, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.
IAMs ProActive Healthy Kitten food nourishes early development for the first formative year of your precious feline’s life. Coming highly recommended by veterinarians everywhere, its 100% balanced and complete kitten nutrition can almost rival a mother’s milk.
With a unique fiber blend featuring beet pulp and prebiotics, this dry food will support you kitten’s ability to absorb the vital nutrients and minerals it contains. The strong dose of Vitamin E will help maintain a healthy and strong immune system, while the real chicken works it’s magic on supporting and growing strong muscles.
It contains added vitamins and minerals essential for kittens and nursing mothers and a strong amino acid profile that all carnivorous animals need to thrive. The optimal Omega 6:3 ratio will keep your kitty walking tall with a soft and shining coat.
IAMs is a reputable brand and has spent years in research and development to produce a cost- effective formula that doesn’t sacrifice quality for price. If you don’t believe me, the FDA and USDA’s quality control checks speak for themselves.
Even if you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with this recipe.
Protein: 33% (min) | Fat: 21% (min) | Fiber: 3.0% (max) | Moisture: 10% (max)
Caloric Content: 4,043 kcal/kg or 512 kcal/cupIngredients
Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Corn Grits, Corn Gluten Meal, Dried Beet Pulp, Salmon, Powdered Cellulose, Natural Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Caramel Color, Potassium Chloride, Brewers Dried Yeast, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Fructooligosaccharides, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (source of vitamin B2), Inositol, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine, Minerals (Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide), L-Carnitine, Rosemary Extract
Hill’s Science Diet recipe is carefully formulated by an impressive collection of food scientists, vets, and Ph.D. level nutritionists. You’ll be hard pressed to find a brand that’s more recommended on the higher levels of animal nutrition.
For a healthy immune system, this formula contains a blend of antioxidants and vitamins that aid in the development of a strong and healthy immune system. You’ll also find easily digestible, high- quality animal proteins that will play a crucial role in building lean muscle in this food.
Additionally, the natural DHA from fish oil will support healthy brain and eye development while the balanced vitamins and minerals support strong bones and teeth.
This recipe is so nutrient- dense it’s not only recommended for kittens under a year old – it’s recommended for pregnant and nursing cats as well. If you can squeeze this one into your budget then you won’t have to give your kitten’s long- term health a second thought.
Protein: 37.8% (min) | Fat: 23.5% (min) | Fiber: .8% (max) | Moisture: N/A
Caloric Content: 4,152 kcal/kg or 565 kcal/cupIngredients
Chicken, Brown Rice, Wheat Gluten, Chicken Fat, Egg Product, Whole Grain Oats, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Chicken Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Lactic Acid, Calcium Sulfate, L-Lysine, Fish Oil, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Taurine, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Iodized Salt, Dicalcium Phosphate, Oat Fiber, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Magnesium Oxide, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.
Blue Buffalo has long been a pillar in the pet food industry, maintaining a stellar reputation even after all these years. Expect no less from this dry chicken recipe for kittens.
You won’t find any grains, glutens, soy, corn, wheat or by-products in this recipe; all- natural ingredients only. The protein- rich chicken and fish contribute to stronger muscles and the prebiotic fibers support nutrient absorption and healthy digestion.
The company’s exclusive LifeSource Bits formula- an exclusive blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals- is formulated by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support the immune system and overall well- being of your kitten.
Taurine is essential to vision and heart health, so of course it’s included in this recipe. Alongside the DHA omega-3 fatty acids are potent probiatics steadily maintaining healthy digestion and happy tummies.
Every kitten I’ve met loves the taste of this stuff. With the cornucopia of nutrients and the price, you really can’t go wrong.
Protein: 40% (min) | Fat: 20% (min) | Fiber: 3.5% (max) | Moisture: 9.0% (max)
Caloric Content: 3,954 kcal/kg or 457 kcal/cupIngredients
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch, Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Peas, Dried Egg Product, Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Fish Oil (source of DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid and ARA-Arachidonic Acid), Pea Fiber, Calcium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Potassium sulfate, DL-Methionine, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Salt, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Taurine, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Potassium Chloride, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Vegetable Juice for color, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Oil of Rosemary.
Dry Kitten Food: Buyer’s Guide
The majority of cat owners prefer dry food for their little bundle of fur. This is because their are several advantages of dry cat food compared to wet.
The main advantage is convenience. It’s easy to transport, can stay out for several days at a time without going bad or stinking up the place, and allows your cat the leisure of grazing throughout the day. It’s also much cheaper than wet food.
Let’s review the different characteristics of dry cat food and what you should consider when purchasing it.
Since kittens are much more active than full grown cats, calorie- dense food is essential in the first weeks of the kittens’ life.
When they are young, the more food they eat the better. Kittens have TONS of energy and will burn off the calories relatively easily. But as your kitten grows into adulthood monitoring their food intake is important. Your cat will become more lethargic and overfeeding will need to weight gain which is not good for your cat’s health.
The first thing you should check before buying a new brand of cat food is the list of ingredients. There are certain nutrients and vitamins that are essential for healthy growth.
Firstly. your dry kitten food should be free of preservatives and artificial flavoring or coloring. This goes for all cat food. Look for Vitamin C and Vitamin E to promote a healthy immune system and positive mental development.
Amino acids such a Taurine are crucial for your kitten’s eye, heart and brain development – if the food you’re looking at lacks Taurine then move on to the next one.
Protein is extremely important as well, so make sure your kitten’s dry food uses real meat. We recommend a minimum of 30%-40% protein.
You won’t have to worry about moisture as much if you’ve decided to go the wet food route, but if your cat is eating primarily dry food then moisture is important.
Make sure you’re serving enough water along with the food. If your kitten or cat isn’t showing interest in drinking water, then looking into a cat water fountain is the next step.
It make take some trial and error to figure out what your cat likes. Don’t worry – this is normal! Some cats are more picky than others. Again, don’t rely on artificial preservatives or flavoring. Your kitten is a carnivore so as long as real meat is the #1 ingredient their taste buds should be satisfied.
Generally speaking, dry cat foods are cheaper than wet food. There is a wide variety of each so there are a lot of different choices and price points.
Balancing the calories, nutrients, moisture and taste to match your budget can be challenging, but it’s worth the effort!
Using our dry kitten food buyer’s guide you will be on the right track in no time.
Top 4 Best Wet/ Canned Kitten Food Reviews
Now that we’ve reviewed the different aspects of dry food, let’s dive into the best kitten wet food.
Wet kitten food (also referred to as canned kitten food) is excellent for very young kittens who are struggling with kibble. It’s usually used alongside dry food as the main course and goes a long way in hydrating as well as filling up your kitten.
Since cats typically only drink a small amount of water throughout the day, they rely on food as a major source of their daily water intake. This means that you should treat wet food as the cornerstone of your kitten’s diet. Extra moisture promotes bladder, kidney and urinary tract health.
Wet food comes in different forms and textures and is very nutrient- rich and palatable, making it perfect for young kittens. It’s also usually much higher in animal fats and proteins (which your kitten needs a lot of) and is contains less carbohydrates (which your kitten can do without).
Carbohydrates aren’t exactly bad, but they’re certainly not a diet requirement for cats.
With all that being said, let’s review my top picks for the best wet cat foods available today.
Coming in at our number #1 overall wet kitten food is Wellness’s chicken pate. You’ll be happy to hear that Wellness uses all- natural ingredients and tasty chicken as the first ingredient for maximum protein benefit. Their grain- free, nutrient- dense recipe is packed with essential omegas such as fish oil and flaxseeds to support your kitten’s growth spurts and healthy skin and coat.
In addition to having a pleasing texture, this particular recipe features antioxidants and taurine as well as vitamins and minerals – everything your kitten needs to grow up healthy and strong!
Wellness kitten and cat wet foods are carefully engineered to support 5 signs of kitty wellness. Healthy tummies, bright eyes, lustrous skin and coat, strong teeth and gums, and plenty of energy and immune health.
Protein: 11% (min) | Fat: 6% (min) | Fiber: 1.0% (max) | Moisture: 78.0% (max)
Caloric Content: 1,142 kcal/kg or 97 kcal/cupIngredients
Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Carrots, Natural Flavor, Cranberries, Guar Gum, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Menhaden Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Choline Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.
This delicious Royal Canin recipe is specifically designed for the needs of very young kittens (under 4 months old) who are transitioning from their mother’s milk to solid food. It’s also more than suitable for queen cats who are pregnant or nursing.
A kitten’s immune system is very fragile and needs tender nurturing. With the extensive complex of vitamins and antioxidants found here, your kitten will have all he needs to stay healthy and grow strong.
The impressive macronutrient profile, digestible proteins and prebiotics promote healthy digestive system development for your new kitten. The careful balance of carbs, fats and proteins make one of the best choices on the market.
Between the real chicken flavor and fluffy mousse texture your kitten will be forever grateful for this tasty meal.
Protein: 9.0% (min) | Fat: 4.0% (min) | Fiber: 1.9% (max) | Moisture: 81.0% (max)
Caloric Content: 919 kcal ME/kg or 78 kcal ME/canIngredients
Water sufficient for processing, chicken liver, chicken, chicken by-products, pork by-products, wheat gluten, powdered cellulose, modified corn starch, pork plasma, natural flavors, vegetable oil, brewers rice flour, fish oil, hydrolyzed yeast, calcium carbonate, carrageenan, sodium tripolyphosphate, guar gum, potassium phosphate, taurine, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), niacin supplement, biotin, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], choline chloride, potassium chloride, trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, calcium iodate], marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), magnesium oxide, carotene.
Number 3 on my list of wet kitten food is Nature’s Instinct Original Kitten Food. I particularly love the fact that this one has raw- inspired, all- natural ingredients.
The high animal protein, grain-free recipe features fruits, vegetables and real cage free chicken as the #1 ingredient. It’s made 100% natural with no fillers and provides balanced nutrition and natural DHA for eye and brain development.
The mixture of salmon, beef and real chicken provides not only healthy exposure to proteins but a delicious pate texture tailored to the liking of young kittens. Not only that, it’s made without grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, carrageenan or artificial colors and preservatives.
What’s not to love?
Protein: 12.0% (min) | Fat: 6.0% (min) | Fiber: 1.0% (max) | Moisture: 78.0% (max)
Caloric Content: 1,1216 kcal/kg, 190 kcal/5.5 oz can, 103 kcal/3 oz canIngredients
New Formulation: Chicken, Beef Liver, Chicken Broth, Salmon (Source of DHA), Eggs, Montmorillonite Clay, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3, Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley
Last but certainly not least is Royal Canin’s Feline Kitten Food. When it comes to top of the line kitten chow Royal Canin is second to none. This particular recipe is specifically designed to give your kitten all the nutrition and energy he needs to play on his cat tree for hours.
Normally, kitten food is served as pate so that a kitten’s undeveloped teeth and tiny mouth don’t get in the way of a delicious meal. Not this time. This formula is served as thin slices in gravy to enhance your kitty’s dining experience. If you’re trying to transition from wet to solid food, this is the perfect recipe to take that next step to adulthood.
A scrumptious balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, this is not only an excellent source of calories but also supports the immune system, bone growth and developing muscles.
This kitten food is definitely on the premium end of pricing, but you get what you pay for. Mix in some cheaper dry food to help balance your kitten’s diet AND your budget!
Protein: 11.0% (min) | Fat: 3.0% (min) | Fiber: 1.6% (max) | Moisture: 80.0% (max)
Caloric Content: 915 kcal/kg, 78 kcal/3 oz canIngredients
Water Sufficient For Processing, Chicken By-Products, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Pork Liver, Wheat Gluten, Pork Plasma, Gelatin, Egg Product, Modified Corn Starch, Brewers Rice Flour, Natural Flavors, Powdered Cellulose, Fish Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Guar Gum, Taurine, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Vitamins [DL-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Source Of Vitamin E), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Niacin Supplement, Biotin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement], Hydrolyzed Yeast, Choline Chloride, Trace Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate], Magnesium Oxide, Marigold Extract (Tagetes Erecta L.), Carotene.
Wet/ Canned Kitten Food: Buyer’s Guide
Now that you know where to get the best wet kitten food (canned food), you’ll need to know how to evaluate the characteristics of wet food to match the needs of your kitten.
This will take some time and bit a guess work. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for canned food.
Wet food is more filling than dry food and less calorically dense. Caloric needs for kittens vary, but according to the Animal Medical Center of Chicago, kittens weighing 4 pounds usually need at least 275 calories per day – about the same as an 11 pound adult cat. As previously mentioned, this can be explained by the higher levels of activity in kittens compared to adults.
Some manufacturers display the calorie count on the nutrition label, others do not. If there is no information regarding calories per serving then you can reach out to the manufacturer via email or their customer service line.
Pate is the most common texture when it comes to kitten food. Since kittens have tiny mouths and teeth, pate is the favorite because it doesn’t contain big chunks that can be hard to chew and swallow.
As your kitten matures, you can start introducing some different textures so they can practice chewing. Cubed, flaked and shredded textures are just a few options to choose from.
While wet kitten food contains a lot of moisture (75-85%), it is not as nutrient- rich as dry food. As a result, veterinarians usually recommend 3-4 cans per day to support the needs of a growing kitten.
Water is obviously very important for your kitten’s health, but eating exclusively wet food could mean your kitten isn’t getting enough protein and fat.
If you decide to add dry food to your kitty’s menu you can feel safe dropping down to just 2 cans of wet food per day instead of 3-4.
We said it before and we’ll say it again… no artificial flavoring! As with human food, most of the time the better it tastes the less healthy it is. You don’t want your little furball getting accustomed to the kitty equivalent of a Big Mac!
Getting your kitten used to eating healthy, well- balanced food is key to their long- term health. Chicken, pork, lamb, fish are all favorites of your carnivorous feline, so try to mostly stick to those flavors.
One of the biggest reasons people stick to dry foods is because of the price tag of canned kitten food. Feeding your cat exclusively wet food might break the bank, but it’s not necessary.
On the other hand, the more expensive canned food will normally have fewer carbs and better quality protein sources, so keep that in mind. Either way, most veterinarians and manufacturers agree that a mix of both wet and dry is the best route to take.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s cover some common questions new kitten and cat owners usually have.
When should kittens start eating wet food?
Kittens should begin to transition from their mother’s milk to solid food between 4-8 weeks. Wet food should always come before dry as it is easy to swallow and digest.
How often should kittens be fed?
Between 3-5 times per day. This can vary based on the ratio of canned to wet food in the diet, so consult your veterinarian for specific advice.
Is it possible to overfeed a kitten?
Absolutely. Just because kittens need to consume the same amount of calories as adult cats to grow doesn’t mean they can eat endlessly. Limit the amount of dry food you leave out and talk to your veterinarian if you notice bloating or digestive problems.
Should I leave dry food out for my kitten?
Yes, but as stated in the last answer it shouldn’t be more than they need. At around 6 months you’ll want to transition to meal eating to avoid weight gain.
Choosing The Best Kitten Food
Proper nutrition is possibly the most important aspect of caring for your beloved kitten. Your tiny bundle of energy’s nutritional needs may vary from other cats, especially if he has any health problems. If that’s the case, have a discussion with your veterinarian to see what will suit him best.
If a kitty comes into your care with an already high- quality diet, it’s probably best to continue on with that food – at least until he adjusts to his new environment. Sudden dietary changes can cause some unneeded stress and/ or gastrointestinal problems, which neither of you want to deal with.
If your kitten’s diet is not up to snuff (too much artificial flavoring, for example), it’s up to you to figure out what’s best. We’ve designed this guide to help you do just that.
How to Change Your Kitten’s Diet
Transitioning your kitten from a poor diet to high quality food needs to be done slowly as to not upset their digestive system.
Start by adding a small amount of the new kitten food into the existing food. Slowly increase the amount of new food each day over the course of 6 to 12 days. If you find your kitten nosing through the kibble to get to the good stuff, you can feel confidant making the full switch to your chosen high- quality food.
If you notice soft stool then you need to slow the transition down. Any diarrhea, vomiting or loss of appetite may or may not be caused by the new diet. Bring your kitten to the vet right away if you see any of these changes.
If your kitty does start making messes during the transition, you might want to consider getting yourself a better litter box. Check out our reviews of the best automatic litter boxes of the year for help with that.
Cat Food vs. Kitten Food
Manufacturers develop food tailored to kittens for a reason. Kittens grow very quickly and therefore have different dietary needs than adult cats.
A kitten needs extra vitamins, minerals, fats and protein for proper growth and development. Vitamins and minerals develop strong teeth and bones, protein develops muscle and tissue, and the extra calories are needed for all that extra energy.
Adult cat food won’t exactly be harmful to your kitten, but the nutrients he’s missing out on will negatively affect his long- term growth. Some cat food is actually made for kittens as well, so make sure you read the AAFCO label to find out.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials is a voluntary membership association that defines and regulates pet food and animal feed. They are the American authority for pet food ratings and can be trusted for any nutritional questions you may have. You can visit their website to find out more.
Wet Food or Dry Food? Or Both?
For the first few months you will most likely only be able to feed your kitten wet food. It won’t be until their adult teeth fully come in that they’ll be able to munch on dry kibble.
When first introducing your furry friend to his new home, it’s best to give him a variety of textures and flavors to sample – both canned and dry. This servers two purposes – the first purpose being it will ensure you don’t raise a picky eater. The second purpose is just in case your cat develops any health issues such as diabetes or kidney disease, he’ll already be accustomed to the treatment plan that may include certain kinds of wet food.
Dry cat food usually contains a lot of carbohydrates that will lead to an overweight cat – not good. A strictly dry food diet can also lead to kidney and urinary tract health issues, which we obviously want to avoid.
Many vets out there will actually tell you to avoid dry food altogether because of all the potential drawbacks. Unfortunately, canned food is quite expensive and most of us cannot afford it.
As long as your kitten’s teeth are fully grown in, a combination of dry and wet food will work just fine.
Am I Using the Right Food?
Even if you buy the top- reviewed kitten food on the market, it may not be suitable for your particular kitten. There is no one-size-fits-all solution here. You’ll need to practice patience and trial and error to determine whether or not the food you picked is right for your kitten.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to see if your tireless research paid off and if your kitten is flourishing:
Has he been steadily gaining weight? Are his eyes bright? Is his coat glossy and clean?
Does your kitten look healthy? Is he alert? Active? Playful?
If the answer to all the above is yes, then congratulations! Keep doing what you’re doing, your kitten is very happy and healthy.
Portions, Timing and Feeding Guidelines
Most domestic cats prefer to eat small meals and graze throughout the day and night, especially when it comes to dry food. Left to their own devices, some cats will eat from as many as 12-20 meals per day! When they’re not laying in bed, of course.
Kittens are a little bit different, and their eating habits should be monitored more closely. They need to eat often to fuel their constant growth, but their tiny tummy’s only have so much room. When your kitten is around 8 weeks old you’ll want to make sure he eats 3-5 meals a day to keep his strength up. At 6 months you can drop to 2 meals a day.
‘Free feeding’ is acceptable when your kitty is still on training wheels, but you should consider a meal schedule at around 6 months. Free feeding adult cats usually leads to bad eating habits and possibly obesity.
Don’t forget about water! Even if you’re using canned food, keeping you kitten hydrated with fresh water is very important.
It’s important to keep in mind that when it comes to diet and nutrition, each kitten will have its own unique needs and behaviors. Just like with cat litter, it may take some time to adjust and figure out what works. It’s up to you to find out what works best for your growing cat’s health and well-being.
If it hasn’t happened already, your kitten will grow to be your best friend and bring you a lot of joy. I know that choosing high- quality food that is compatible with your kitten is difficult, but the companionship and love he brings into your life is certainly worth the trouble.
I hope this guide has helped you find the best possible wet or dry kitten food for your beloved feline furball!