Dec 03, 2020 Jul 27, 2022

Kittens are the epitome of cuteness, and if you've recently adopted one or two of these tiny critters, you're probably scouring the internet for information on what to feed them. If that's the case, you've landed in the right place. Kittens double or even triple their weight in a very short span of time, meaning they require a diet high in protein and fat. Choosing food formulated to provide these necessary dietary needs can feel a bit intimidating at first, and that's why we've put together a list of the best kitten foods out there.

Below we not only review our favorite kitten foods but also provide you with a guide on why certain foods are better than others and how to properly feed your newly adopted kitty.

The Fundamentals of Dry Kitten Food

Kittens have a lot of energy, and in order for them to maintain that energy they need to consume a sufficient amount of calories throughout the day. That's where dry food really comes in handy. A method called free feeding is often used to ensure a kitten's caloric intake matches their energy burning needs. Free feeding simply means a dish of dry food is left out for a kitten to snack on throughout the day.

When picking a kitten's dry food, it's important to pay close attention to the food’s nutritional value. Choosing a well-balanced dry kitten food that is high in protein and fat is crucial to a kitten's growth. The dry foods that we've reviewed below are all formulated to fit a kitten's unique nutritional demands.

Best Overall
Our Score 9.6 Out of 10
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Best Mid Range
Our Score 9.4 Out of 10
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Cheaper Choice
Our Score 9.2 Out of 10
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Our Score 9.0 Out of 10
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Our Score 9.0 Out of 10
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Our Score 8.8 Out of 10
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Our Score 8.6 Out of 10
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How to Pick the Best Dry Food for Your Kitten

Choosing a wet or dry food that is specifically made for a kitten's nutritional requirements guarantees your tiny feline friend is ingesting enough proteins, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins to grow and stay healthy.

It's beneficial for kittens to consume both wet and dry kitten food which is why we've kept our reviews of dry food separate from our reviews of wet or canned food.

Hill's Science Diet Indoor Kitten Dry Cat Food

Our Score 9.6 out of 10
Hill's Science Diet Indoor Kitten Dry Cat Food
Hill's Science Diet Indoor Kitten Dry Cat Food Check price

Hill's Science Diet Kitten Indoor Dry Cat Food provides your four-legged friend with great tasting nutrition for a long, happy life. Made with wholesome ingredients such as savory chicken, this nou...

Formulated to provide kittens with a balanced, nutritional diet, Hill's Science dry kitten food is made with DHA to help develop a kitten’s nervous system and vitamins A and E to boost their immune system. On top of that, the company doesn't use a single artificial ingredient, which is always a huge bonus.

Wellness Core Grain-Free Kitten Food

Our Score 9.4 out of 10
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food, 2 Pound Bag
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food, 2 Pound Bag Check price

Savory Food Kittens Love: Because cats naturally crave meat, each bite is packed with 55 percent high quality animal protein for an amazing flavor cats love; nutrient dense recipe helps support opt...

This protein-rich and calorie-dense food is perfect for kittens. What makes this food stand out even more is the calories mostly come from the protein and fat in the food instead of from carbohydrates. Wellness Core Grain-Free Kitten Food will give your kitten all the energy they need to bounce around your home all day and night.

IAMS Proactive Health Kitten

Our Score 9.2 out of 10
Iams ProActive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food
Iams ProActive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food Check price

Give your kitty a meal designed just for her needs with IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Healthy Kitten Dry Cat Food with Chicken Cat Kibble. This kibble is specially formulated to help your kitte...

IAMS is a trusted company in the pet food industry. Its years of food production have taught it what foods are best for kittens and that's why the first ingredient in its Proactive kitten food is chicken. Not only is this dry kitten food filled with proteins and vitamins to help boost a kitten’s immune system, but it's also a budget-friendly option.

A Guide to Feeding Your Kitten Dry Food

You should not pinch pennies when it comes to your kitten's food, especially their dry food. The ingredients that make up your cat’s kibble can either benefit their health or adversely affect it. Dry foods that use high-quality ingredients are always preferable.

What is Kibble Texture

Kittens and cats are notoriously picky eaters, and one factor that often turns them off to a food is texture. Luckily, the texture and size of kibble varies depending on the brand of food that you choose, which means you may need to try a few different dry kitten foods before you find a kibble texture and size they like.

Is Your Kitten Getting Enough Calories

Kittens are energetic, meaning they burn calories much faster than adult cats. A dry food with a high-calorie count provides your furry friend with sufficient fuel to scamper all around your house. As we mentioned earlier, free feeding your kitten will also help them consume enough calories; however, once a kitten hits six months, you should begin transitioning them away from free feeding.

Always Read the Ingredient list

Never buy dry kitten food without reading its ingredients first. Kittens require certain nutrients to aid in their development. A lack of these nutrients can hinder a kitten's growth and cause health issues as they age. Three of the most important ingredients you should look for are DHA, which is a fatty acid that benefits brain and eye development, taurine, which is an amino acid needed by kittens and adult cats, and folic acid, which is crucial to cell growth.

The best dry kitten food always uses real meat to provide protein. If the first ingredient listed isn't a real meat, put the bag back on the shelf and move on to your next choice. Artificial flavors are also a deal breaker and should never be an ingredient in your kitten's food.

Does It Taste Good

Kittens tend to reject dry food at first, which is why the tastier the kibble the better. Buying food made with real meat is the best way to ensure your kitten will enjoy their meal.

What's the Price

The price for dry kitten food varies from brand to brand. A more expensive dry food usually means better ingredients, but that doesn't mean you can't find a quality food choice for a reasonable price.

In Summary

High-quality dry kitten food is a great way to provide your pet with beneficial nutrients and calories. Finding the right food for your kitten depends on a number of factors, but the ingredients and your kitten's taste buds will probably end up making the final decision for you.

The Benefits of Wet and Canned Kitten Food

Kittens usually start eating wet kitten food at about four weeks old. Wet food especially pate textured food is best at that age, but as your kitten begins to grow, you can add a more chunky wet food to the menu while also incorporating dry kitten food to help up their calorie intake.

The nutritional differences between wet and dry kitten food may seem drastic, especially when it comes to protein, calories, and fat, but the truth is wet food contains a great deal of moisture, which is why the nutritional values differ so greatly. If your kitten is only eating wet food, you'll need to feed them four times a day to meet their nutritional needs.

How to Pick the Best Wet Food For Kittens

When it comes to wet kitten food there are a lot of products to choose from, and while that can feel a bit overwhelming, don't worry! We've got your back. Below we've recommended a handful of wet foods that meet or surpass our high-quality food standard.

Nature's Variety Instinct Original Canned

Our Score 9.0 out of 10
Instinct Original Grain Free Real Chicken Recipe Natural Wet Canned Cat Food by Nature's Variety, 3 oz. Cans (Case of 24)
Instinct Original Grain Free Real Chicken Recipe Natural Wet Canned Cat Food by Nature's Variety, 3 oz. Cans (Case of 24) Check price

GRAIN FREE CAT FOOD WITH CAGE FREE CHICKEN: Instinct Original is made with 95% chicken, turkey & chicken liver, 5% vegetables, fruits & wholesome ingredients. This is high protein cat food with res...

Made with 95% chicken, turkey, and liver, this protein-packed food is a great choice for your developing kitten. Nature's Variety makes this wet kitten food even more appealing by adding vitamins and minerals to its formula.

The only downfall of this canned kitten food is its price.

Wellness Complete Health Kitten Canned Food

Our Score 9.0 out of 10
Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food, 3-oz, case of 24
Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food, 3-oz, case of 24 Check price

Nourish your growing kitty’s nose-to-tail well-being with the protein-rich nutrition of the Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food. With chicken as the first...

With no artificial additives, Wellness Complete Health Kitten Food is just what your furry friend needs. Wellness uses all natural proteins in its pet food and its food has no corn, soy, wheat, or meat by-products in it, which makes it a great source of nutrition for your kitty.

Hill's Science Diet Wet Kitten Food

Our Score 8.8 out of 10
Hill's Science Diet Wet Cat Food, Kitten, Tender Chicken Dinner, 5.5 oz, 24-pack
Hill's Science Diet Wet Cat Food, Kitten, Tender Chicken Dinner, 5.5 oz, 24-pack Check price

High-quality protein to help your kitten build muscle
Made with purposeful, easily digestible ingredients young cats enjoy
Irresistible canned food with balanced minerals for strong bones and healt...

Hill’s Science Diet puts out a nutritionally balanced wet kitten food that comes in a variety of flavors. The food's smooth texture is great for kittens that are just transitioning to wet food. The added nutrients help support your kitten’s development and can boost your cat's immune system.

Purina Pro Plan Focus Canned Kitten Food

Our Score 8.6 out of 10
Purina Pro Plan Focus Kitten Favorites Variety Pack Canned Cat Food
Purina Pro Plan Focus Kitten Favorites Variety Pack Canned Cat Food Check price

Nurture your kitty with the Purina Pro Plan Focus Kitten Favorites Variety Pack Canned Cat Food. Specially formulated for cats up to one year old, this variety pack fills their diet with tasty choi...

Purina really outdid themselves with this wet kitten food. The first three ingredients on the label are chicken, fish, and liver, which means your kitten is getting a healthy dose of protein in each meal. The company made its kitten food even more enticing by enriching it with zinc, taurine, calcium, manganese and vitamin E to ensure your pet is getting all their required nutrients.

A Guide to Feeding Your Kitten Wet Food

Canned Kitten food is the first food your tiny fur ball can eat, which is why you should pay close attention to its ingredients. Well-made wet kitten food has a variety of nutrients and vitamins in it. If you don't know what type of wet food to buy your feline friend, the guide provided below can help you make an educated decision.

How Much Moisture is in Wet Food

Wet kitten food is packed with moisture, which is great for your kitten's hydration. Unfortunately, too much moisture can be an issue in canned food, so the next time you buy wet food make sure the moisture content is somewhere between 70% and 80%. If a can of food has more moisture than that, it is most likely lacking key nutrients.

Wet Food Texture

Wet food comes in a few different textures. There's pate, minced, chunky, shredded, and flaky. You won't know which texture your cat prefers until you put the food in front of them. If you do choose one they don't like, simply buy a different kind and try again.

Get to Know Your Kitten's Taste Buds

Once again, finding a food that your kitten likes is a game of trail and error. Most wet kitten foods are made of chicken, lamb, pork, or fish. Some foods are even made with more than one protein. If you're having a difficult time finding the right wet kitten food for your growing companion, try having a sampling party. The food your kitten gravitates towards is the one you should be buying

How Much Does Wet Kitten Food Cost

Wet kitten food is usually more expensive than dry kitten food, but that doesn't mean you should skip wet food altogether. Providing a well-balanced diet for your kitten means it’s best for them to eat wet and dry food each day. If you're looking for a budget-friendly wet kitten food, there are choices out there. However, make sure that you read the ingredients listed on the label before you give it to your kitten, and remember the food shouldn't have a moisture content higher than 80%.

What We Learned

Wet food is a vital part of a kitten's diet. Finding the food that best suits your furry companion truly depends on their preferences, and while they may want a certain texture and protein, your job is to make sure the food they're eating is filled with the nutrients they need.

How to Choose the Right Food

A well-rounded diet is key to your kitten's growth. Feeding your cat the wrong type of food in their first year can negatively affect their development and lead to health issues in the future. If you're not sure what to feed your kitten, these tips will point you in the right direction.

What's the Difference Between Kitten Food and Cat Food

A kitten cannot thrive on cat food. Adult cats don't have the same nutritional needs as kittens, which means cats and kittens shouldn't be eating the same food. While there are foods that accommodate all stages of a cat's life, it's best to stick with a food that is made strictly for kittens; otherwise, your little critter may not get all their required nutrients and vitamins.

What is the AAFCO

The Association of American Feed Control Officials rates pet food. If you want a little more help finding the best kitten food, we suggest taking a look at its website to learn even more about selecting the best food for your pet.

Always Look For High-Quality Ingredients

Nutrition wise, your kitten's first year of life is one of their most important years. During this time your kitten's brain and body are rapidly developing and a lack of high-quality ingredients can hinder that growth. Always remember your cat is a carnivore, meaning they need protein from meat not plants. If the food you're feeding them doesn't list meat as its first ingredient then you need to toss it aside and buy a food that does.

Can I Feed My Kitten Wet and Dry Food

It's highly recommended that you feed your kitten dry food and wet food. The combination of both will help your cat take in enough calories, proteins, and fats each and every day. However, if your kitten still has its baby teeth, it's best to stick to wet food until their adult teeth come in.

How to Tell You Have the Right Food

When it comes to taste and texture, your kitten will let you know if they like what you're feeding them by simply eating or not eating the food. On the other hand, when it comes to nutrition, it's your job to thoroughly read and research the ingredients found in your kitten's food. Knowing your cat's nutritional needs can also help you select the right food. If you notice your kitten lying around the house more or if their fur suddenly appears less glossy, there's a good chance you need to change their food.

How to Feed Your Kitten

As we mentioned before, free feeding is the best way to ensure your kitten is getting enough calories. If you choose not to do free feeding, you'll need to provide your kitten with several small meals throughout the day.

How often you feed your cat wet food depends on whether you are free feeding with dry food. If you aren't, your cat will need to eat four times a day. If you are free feeding, they'll need wet kitten food two or three times a day.

Our Final Conclusion

Feeding your kitten high-quality wet and dry food is the best thing you can do for their growing bodies. If you ignore their need for nutrient-rich foods, you may end up impeding their growth and development. However, if you follow the guidelines laid out in this article, you'll have no problem finding the proper food for your adorable kitty.

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