How to feed and choose the best food for kittens?

Do you have a kitten that just arrived home? Then, you probably have many questions about the most suitable diet you can offer your pet. Sometimes, choosing the best food for small kittens can be a real challenge. Having genuine reviews to guide us is appreciated.

While it’s true there are a multitude of cat food brands, not all of them have the same qualities and nutritional properties. Moreover, there are many other characteristics about your kitty’s food that you need to keep in mind, and we are going to tell you everything so you can offer them a healthy and long life.

What you should know before buying cat food

Before buying cat food for kittens, you should be interested in their nutritional needs. This can vary, for example, according to their age, as an adult cat doesn’t require the same as a baby in full growth and development. Similarly, the needs of pregnant or lactating cats, sterilized cats, older cats, or those suffering from chronic diseases will be different.

Once you take these characteristics into account, you should look at the recommended foods for each particular case. If you also need food for sterilized adult cats you can follow our buying guide.

Importance of nutritional labels

Every cat food brand offers a label with the nutritional value of the food. Knowing how to interpret them is crucial to determine if you are facing a quality food or not. You need to look at the “composition” section, where you’ll see all the ingredients it contains, listed from highest to lowest quantity, although sometimes they don’t indicate the percentage or are not very specific, as the law does not require them to.

The following aspects will help you choose the best food for kittens:

  1. Look at the first ingredient. A good food for kitten always starts by indicating the different percentages of fresh and dehydrated meat it contains. If, on the contrary, it lists “chicken meal” or some type of cereal, be clear that it is a very low-quality food that will not provide your pet with the essential nutrients for their health.
  2. Proteins. This should be the main ingredient, and not only the amount is important but also its origin, it must come from fresh and dehydrated meats to be of quality. Even in medium-high range foods, you can find hydrolyzed proteins to reduce the risk of intolerances and facilitate digestion.
  3. Avoid animal by-products or derivatives. These are the offal such as beaks, feet, eyes
 and should never exceed in percentage to the meat, as happens with low-quality cat foods.
  4. Cereals or derivatives. The most suitable food you can give your kitten is a grain-free food. Those that contain a high amount are synonymous with poor quality.
  5. Fats. They make the food tastier for your kitty, although it’s important to ensure they are not saturated or very caloric.
  6. Fiber. Its contribution favors intestinal transit as well as the elimination of hairballs.
  7. Others. The presence of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids are essential for the health of the skin, to protect and strengthen bones, teeth, and joints, etc.
  8. Ash, phosphorus, and calcium. The higher the percentage of these, the worse the food, as well as high amounts of preservatives, colorants, and artificial flavorings.

How to choose a quality dry cat food?

When choosing the best food for kittens, you should not only be guided by the price. Not all quality foods are very expensive, although one that is too cheap is unlikely to offer quality ingredients.

An excellent product offers a high content of meat, fish, fish oil, and fats, and does not carry grains or animal by-products.

A good cat food also stands out for its digestive properties and energy contribution which, together with the above, ensures the animal is satisfied without the need to eat excessively, waste less, and does not have diarrhea. These are important details that influence the monthly cost of food and litter.

On the other hand, an organic food for kittens is an ideal choice that also guarantees its ingredients are of natural origin and come from organic livestock and cultivation.

Finally, let’s go back to the composition label, be suspicious when it does not offer enough information. A quality food manufacturer has no qualms about showing openly and in detail everything their product contains.

How to know if my kitten’s food is really good?

The above points are important for buying good cat food although each particular case is different. Not all cats react the same, so the best thing is to observe your kitten.

A healthy cat has silky, shiny fur without dermatitis, in the case of hairless kittens like the Sphynx breed, their skin has a healthy appearance with good color. Another sign is their feces, which should be compact.

If not, the food may be of low quality or not sitting well with your kitten. Simply replace it with another, and remember to do so gradually so the change is not abrupt.

Fundamental aspects of feline nutrition

To truly understand our animal, it is essential to know the ancestral origins of the species.

The current domestic cat descends from the African wildcat, which inhabited desert places where it was difficult to find water, and the only way to hydrate was through the prey they hunted and by eating grass. Exactly, the intake of catnip is a very ancient custom that today still benefits the health of our kittens.

While the way of feeding has changed, it is still essential to provide good hydration to avoid renal dysfunctions that the species often suffer, not only by offering them water but through a balanced diet based on quality dry cat food and wet food.

The combination of both foods is ideal because dry food has a longer durability and takes care of the dental health and hygiene of the kitten, and the wet food provides the necessary hydration.

Giving the best food to your kitten from the first month, once they start weaning off their mother’s milk, will allow them to grow and develop properly and have a long, disease-free life.

What is the best food for kittens?

We analyzed 12 brands of food for small cats to select the best based on their ingredients and nutrient composition. We know there is a wide variety of food for kitten cats and this can be overwhelming when choosing the best, so we provide you with a comparison of food brands with their most outstanding properties and the pros and cons they may have, making it easier for you to decide. With the convenience that you can buy them on Amazon with just 1 click and free shipping.

1. Buffalo for Kittens, Natural Chicken Recipe, Blue Wilderness

Blue Wilderness is a product with good reviews for its high quality and focus on Buffalo’s natural nutrition. It stands out for being a protein-rich food, inspired by the diet of lynxes, with real chicken as the first ingredient. It also includes beneficial ingredients like salmon oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids and DHA for cognitive development and skin and coat health, potatoes for digestible carbohydrates, taurine for eye and heart health, and flaxseed as a source of fiber and omega 3.

  • High protein content for muscle development
  • Includes DHA and omega-3 fatty acids for cognitive development and coat health
  • No chicken by-products, corn, wheat, or soy
  • Free of artificial flavors and preservatives
  • Formulated to meet the nutritional needs of kittens according to AAFCO nutrient profiles
  • Does not contain traditional grains

Disadvantages

  • May be more expensive compared to other brands
  • Some kittens may be sensitive or allergic to the ingredients
See on Amazon (5lbs/2,27kg – Price not available)

2. Nature’s Variety Instinct Kitten Chicken

“Instinct Original Grain-Free with Real Chicken for Kittens” recipe is a nutritionally rich and balanced option for growing kittens. This food is notable for its first ingredient: cage-free chicken, providing a high-quality protein source essential for muscle development and overall health of your kitten. The formula contains 81% animal ingredients and nutritious oils, complemented by 19% vegetables, fruits, and other healthy ingredients, ensuring a balanced and grain-free diet.

Key ingredients include chicken, turkey meal, menhaden fish meal (rich in omega fatty acids), peas, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), and egg product, providing a wide range of essential nutrients. Additionally, the recipe is enriched with DHA from chicken eggs for brain and vision development, natural live probiotics for digestive health, and a balance of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. Each kibble piece is also coated with freeze-dried chicken for added flavor and nutrition.

This food is made in the USA and does not contain grains, potatoes, corn, wheat, soy, meat by-products, colors, or artificial preservatives, making it an excellent choice for pet owners looking to avoid these ingredients in their kittens’ diet. The recipe has been formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for growth​​​​.

  • High protein content, especially cage-free chicken
  • Does not contain grains
  • Contains 81% animal ingredients and nutritious oils, and 19% vegetables and fruits
  • Contains live probiotics, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants

Disadvantages

  • As with other foods, may not be to the liking of some kittens
See on Amazon (4,5lbs/2kg – Price not available)

3. Acana First Feast with Free-run chicken

“ACANA First Feast High-Protein Kitten Dry Cat Food” is specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of growing kittens, using high-quality ingredients. This product offers a combination of chicken and herring as the main sources of protein, complemented with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and probiotics to support healthy digestion and overall kitten development.

  • Premium ingredients
  • Significant improvement in coat, energy levels, and overall well-being of kittens
  • Absence of grains and artificial additives
  • Formulated for kittens in full growth requiring higher nutrition

Disadvantages

  • Higher price than other alternatives
  • Stronger odor than other foods.
  • Although in a healthy proportion, contains oat grain.
See on Amazon (4lbs/1,81kg – No products found.)

Other mid-range foods

Foods that, although made with quality ingredients, include components like cereals, which are not part of the natural diet of cats. It is a resource to reduce production costs. Although various studies suggest that grain can be easily digestible in the right proportion, felines are naturally carnivorous animals.

4. Cat food IAMS Healthy Kitten with chicken

IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Kitten food is designed to support healthy development in kittens during their first year. This dry food has chicken as the first ingredient, providing a rich source of protein that aids in the growth and development of a strong, healthy, adult cat. It is also enriched with nutrients similar to those in mother’s milk, plus vitamin E, to bolster the young kittens’ immune defenses. It contains omega-3 DHA for brain development, as well as prebiotics and beet pulp to support kitten’s digestive health. Made in the USA with high-quality ingredients, it does not contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

It also contains a small proportion of cereals like whole corn and sorghum.

  • Made in the USA with high-quality ingredients
  • Brain and visual development thanks to omega-3 DHA
  • Natural fibers and prebiotics to promote healthy digestion

Disadvantages

  • Contains corn and sorghum.
  • Size of the kibbles. Although designed for kittens, some may find them hard to chew.
  • Price a bit higher than other alternatives.
See on Amazon (16lbs/7,26kg – Price not available) See on Amazon (7lbs/3,18kg – Price not available)

5. Cat food Purina Pro Plan Kitten Chicken and Rice

“Purina Pro Plan Kitten Chicken and Rice” recipe combines high-quality ingredients like chicken and rice, along with probiotics and a high protein content, specifically designed for kittens. This food aims to support healthy development and digestive and immune health in kittens.

Advantages

  • Chicken as the first ingredient.
  • Fortified with live probiotics.
  • High protein content.
  • Formulated for brain and visual development
  • Does not contain artificial colorants, flavorings, or preservatives

Disadvantages

  • Contains chicken by-products and corn gluten
  • Includes soy, a potential allergen li>
  • Uses preserved beef fat
  • Contains wheat, not ideal for grain-free diets

See on Amazon (7lbs/3,18kg – Price not available) See on Amazon (16lbs/7,26kg – No products found.)

6. Hills Kitten with chicken

Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Chicken Recipe is known for its formula specifically designed for kittens and cats in stages of gestation or lactation. This food focuses on high-quality ingredients, with chicken as the main source of protein to promote muscle growth and overall well-being. It includes grains like brown rice and pearled barley, providing essential carbohydrates and fiber for energy and digestive health.

The ingredients also feature a nutritionally enhanced profile with omega fatty acids from sources like fish oil and flaxseed, essential for healthy skin and coat, as well as antioxidants and amino acids to support a strong immune system and healthy development. The composition is rounded out with a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other key nutrients, ensuring balanced and complete nutrition in accordance with AAFCO standards for growth​​.

It is manufactured in the USA with quality ingredients from around the world.

  • Quality of ingredients, with chicken as the main ingredient.
  • Complete nutrition, according to AAFCO procedures.
  • Contains DHA from fish oil for brain and visual development, and a blend of antioxidants for a healthy immune system.

Disadvantages

  • Contains wheat gluten and whole grains.
  • Price higher than other alternatives.
See on Amazon (15,5lbs/7,03kg – No products found.) See on Amazon (7lbs/3,18kg – No products found.)

7. Diamond naturals Kitten Chicken and Rice

Diamond Naturals Kitten Real Meat Recipe is a dry food for kittens formulated with cage-free chicken as the first ingredient, designed to meet the nutritional needs of growing kittens. This product promises a balanced diet rich in proteins, without the use of corn, wheat, soy, or artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, reflecting the brand’s commitment to natural pet nutrition.

Advantages

  • High-quality ingredients
  • Absence of corn, wheat, and soy
  • Many owners report visible improvements in the health and well-being of their kittens after switching to this food

Disadvantages

  • Some kittens may take time to adapt to the taste
  • May be more expensive than other brands on the market
  • The kibbles may be somewhat large
  • Contains ground white rice
See on Amazon (6lbs/2,72kgkg – No products found.)

Considerations before buying

You may be surprised and did not expect to see Royal or Hill’s among these cat foods. Without intending to belittle any brand, we only warn of their composition for those who decide to buy it, to know what food they are giving their kitten.

Our humble advice is that if you have acquired a pet, always offer them the best cat food, a balanced, healthy, and suitable diet for their characteristics that keeps them strong and vital. Forget about the price and do not try to save 10USD a month because your cat’s life is worth much more than that. A dog, a cat, or any pet, is not a toy but a responsibility.

We hope our guide on cat nutrition and our detailed report to choose the best food for kittens will be very useful to you. Whenever you have doubts, you can open the article and look for the information you need.

Arsenio Coto
Arsenio Coto
Growth specialist, feline rookie. I write to learn and provide answers to the hundreds of questions I've had since Noa đŸ± became a part of my life.

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