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15 Best Cat Foods For Kittens

It's a thrill to bring your adorable and tiny new kitten home!

When it comes to caring for your new friend, one of the most important decisions you'll have to make is what to feed them.

If you want your kitten to grow up strong and healthy, you must provide the best nutrition possible. The good news is that when it comes to kitten food, there are plenty of options available!

The sheer number of options available can be overwhelming, so if you're having trouble deciding which one is best for your kitten, you've come to the right place.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) looked at the most popular options on the market and chose our top %product_count% best cat foods for kittens to include in our detailed reviews.

We considered ingredients, cost, and user feedback, all with the goal of assisting you in selecting the best option for your furry friend.


Purina Kitten Chow Nurture Dry Kitten Food — Overall Winner

If you’re looking for the best overall food for your kitten, the Purina Kitten Chow Nurture Dry Food is an excellent choice.

This dry food contains the four nutritional building blocks required by all kittens to thrive: It contains DHA for proper vision and brain development, as well as the essential nutrients found in mother’s milk, and is fortified with antioxidants to help your kitten develop a strong immune system.

This also contains the 25 vitamins and minerals that all kittens require to thrive. The appealing and palatable flavor encourages your kitten to develop a healthy appetite, ensuring that they receive adequate nutrition.

It contains no artificial flavors or colors, so you can rest assured that your kitten is receiving only the best. Overall, we believe this is the best kitten food of the year.


  • Excellent value for money
  • There are four bag sizes available.
  • Protein content is 40%.
  • Kittens receive complete nutrition.
  • Made in America


  • This product contains chicken by-product meal.


ProActive Health by Iams Best Value for Kitten Dry Food

If you’re looking for the best kitten food for the money, we recommend Iams ProActive Health Kitten Dry Food.

This dry food is specially formulated to include everything your kitten needs to grow up strong and healthy, as well as being an affordable option.

It contains DHA-rich fish oils, which are necessary for brain and vision development. It also contains taurine, which all cats require in their diets.

As an added bonus, the shape of this kibble is designed to scrape tartar and plaque from your kitten’s teeth as they eat, reducing the possibility of gum disease.

This dry kibble also has real chicken as the first ingredient, but its protein content is lower than our best overall choice, which is why it didn’t take first place. Aside from that, it’s a fantastic option.


  • Excellent value for money
  • There are three bag sizes to choose from.
  • The kibble shape cleans the kittens’ teeth.
  • Protein content is 33%.
  • The first ingredient is real chicken.


  • This product contains chicken by-product meal.
  • Contains eggs, which can cause allergic reactions.


Premium Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Grain-Free Dry Food

We highly recommend the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Grain-Free Dry Food if you’re looking for a premium dry food for your kitten who deserves nothing but the best.

While a grain-free diet is not suitable for all kittens, some do thrive without grains, so consider whether this is the best option for your kitten.

This contains real deboned chicken as the first ingredient, as well as healthy fruits and vegetables such as carrots, alfalfa, blueberries, and cranberries.

This kibble, like all Blue Buffalo dry food, contains LifeSource bits, which are high in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to help your kitten develop a strong immune system.

The only reason this didn’t make the top two is that it’s only available in small bag sizes, which means you’ll have to reorder it frequently if you have more than one kitten.

It’s also more expensive, putting it out of reach for those on a tight budget.


  • Grain-free
  • Protein content is 40%.
  • The first ingredient is chicken.
  • There are no meat byproducts.


  • It contains peas, which can cause allergies.
  • Only small bag sizes are available.


Dry Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula

Purine ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Food nourishes your kitten from head to tail with a blend of ingredients that begins with real chicken and is supplemented with carrots, peas, grains, and all the vitamins and minerals your kitten requires.

This includes DHA, a nutrient found in breast milk that is essential for brain and eye development. This crunchy kibble is also intended to help keep your kitten’s teeth clean by scraping off built-up plaque as he eats.

One thing to keep in mind about this food is that it contains chicken by-product meal, which some kitten owners prefer not to feed to their kittens. In addition to liver flavoring and caramel coloring, the ingredients list includes


  • Protein content is 40%.
  • There are three bag sizes available.
  • The first ingredient is real chicken.


  • This product contains chicken by-product meal.
  • Colorants and flavorings are present.


Wet Kitten Food Royal Canin Feline Health

The Royal Canin Feline Health Wet Kitten Food is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a wet food to keep your kitten healthy and nourished.

The small meat slices are easy for your kitten to chew and digest, and they are surrounded by a tasty gravy that will keep your kitten hydrated all day.

This canned kitten food contains real chicken and chicken liver, but it also contains by-products of chicken, which some kitten owners prefer to avoid.

If this is the only food you intend to feed your kitten, keep in mind that a 4-month-old kitten will require three cans per day, which can result in a lot of waste — even more if you have multiple growing kittens to feed!


  • Protein content is 11%.
  • There are three case sizes available.
  • Real chicken is used.


  • Small can sizes generate a lot of waste.
  • Guar gum is present.
  • Chicken by-products are present.


Earthborn Holistic Natural Grain-Free Canned Kitten Food

The Earthborn Holistic Grain-Free Natural Canned Kitten Food is made with high-quality ingredients, including fish broth, skipjack tuna, and mackerel.

Because it is grain-free, it is suitable for kittens with sensitive stomachs. The tasty gravy also helps your kitten stay hydrated.

While this wet canned food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of kittens, it is also suitable for adult cats.

This is great if you have multiple cats of varying ages, but it also means that it lacks DHA, which is present in many kitten-specific foods.

While this is a good choice for slightly older kittens, we may avoid feeding it to kittens younger than 6 months.


  • There are two can sizes available.
  • Protein content is 12%.
  • Keeps your kitten hydrated.


  • Expensive
  • Some kittens dislike the flavor.
  • Not designed specifically for kittens


Blue Buffalo Healthy Development Dry Food for Kittens

Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Dry Food is designed specifically for kittens and contains everything your kitten requires.

It contains fish oil, which is a natural source of DHA and ARA, both of which are found in mother’s milk and aid in the transition of your kitten to solid food.

This product, like all Blue Buffalo dry foods, contains antioxidant-rich LifeSource bits. This has more fat than our best overall choice, with 20% versus 12%.

While this may be beneficial for very active kittens, other kittens may become overweight if their rations are not carefully monitored.


  • Protein content is 36%.
  • DHA and ARA are included.


  • Expensive
  • Contains eggs, which can cause allergic reactions.
  • High in fat, which may be unsuitable for some kittens


Grain-Free Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Canned Food

The Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free Canned Food is loaded with nutrients that will help your kitten’s skin, coat, digestive system, and immunity.

The first ingredient is chicken, which is supplemented with tasty fruits and vegetables as well as chicken liver.

Because the richness of this canned food may be too much for some kittens, introduce it gradually and watch for signs of digestive upset.

This kitten food is currently only available in small 3-ounce cans. Some kittens will consume up to three cans of this food per day, resulting in a large amount of waste that must be recycled or disposed of.


  • Protein content is 11%.
  • The first ingredient is chicken.


  • Guar gum, xanthan gum, and cassia gum are present.
  • Small cans generate a lot of waste.
  • Too wealthy for some kittens


Science Diet by Hill’s Dry Kitten Food for Indoors

The Science Diet of Hill Indoor Kitten Dry Food starts with real chicken and is blended with other healthy ingredients like flaxseeds, fish oil, apples, cranberries, peas, and broccoli.

This combination gently supports the digestive system of your kitten, keeping them healthy and happy.

This dry kibble is designed specifically for indoor kittens and contains probiotics, DHA, antioxidants, and all the vitamins and minerals your kitten requires.

This dry food does contain rice, wheat, oats, and pearl barley, so if your kitten is sensitive to grain or gluten, you should avoid it.


  • Made in America
  • Contains 33.5% protein


  • Flavoring is present.
  • It contains eggs, which can cause allergic reactions.
  • Outdoor kittens are not advised.
  • Expensive


Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe Dry Food by Instinct

The Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe by Instinct If you want to feed your kitten a grain-free kibble inspired by a raw diet, Dry Food is a good option.

This kibble contains 81% animal ingredients and 42% protein for a diet that closely matches your kitten’s wild ancestors but is easy and convenient for us owners!

The first ingredient in this kibble is cage-free chicken, which is blended with vegetables, fruits, natural probiotics, and all of your kitten’s vitamins and minerals.

This kibble contains meat meal from turkey, fish, and lamb, as well as real meat, but no meat by-products.


  • Excellent value for money
  • Protein content is 42%.


  • Meat meals are included.
  • Strong odor
  • Some kittens dislike the taste.
  • There is only one bag size available.

Buyer's Guide: How to Choose the Best Kitten Food

There are many things to consider before bringing your adorable kitten home, but while the type of bed they sleep in will not necessarily affect their growth and development, choosing the right kind of food can make a big difference in their health and overall wellbeing.

But how do you know which food will be best for your kitten? We’ve compiled a list of important points to remember.

You may be tempted to feed your new kitten the same food as your adult cat, but this is not a good idea. Kitten food contains more fat, protein, and calories than adult cat food.

Because of the higher protein and fat content, as well as the additional vitamins and nutrients, kitten food is usually more expensive than cat food.

However, because your kitten can transition to adult food after a year, it makes sense to buy the best kitten food you can afford.

The AAFCO has approved it

The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) specifies the nutrient profiles that must be present in kitten food in order to meet their nutritional needs.

A kitten food that meets these standards will have the following statement on the label: “Formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for growth and reproduction.” This means that kitten food can be fed to kittens up to one year old, as well as pregnant or lactating mother cats.

While some cat foods are suitable for “all life stages,” this is useful if you have multiple cats and don’t want to feed them different brands. However, keep in mind that these foods will lack the additional nutrients needed by kittens.

What Do Kittens Require?

Brain and vision development

The brain and eyes of your kitten undergo rapid growth while they’re young. To aid in this development, their mothers’ milk contains the fatty acids DHA and ARA.

Kitten foods are frequently fortified with choline, DHA, and ARA to help your kitten transition to solid food while also ensuring that their cognitive and retinal functions continue to develop.

Because fish oils are high in DHA and ARA, they are frequently used in kitten food.

Growing and playing energy

Kitten food should be high in protein to help your kitten build lean muscle. It also contains carbohydrates, which help to fuel your kitten and maintain their energy levels.

Look for high-quality protein sources, such as real meat. A protein percentage of around 30-40% is ideal.


This amino acid is essential for all cats and aids in the proper functioning of their hearts and eyes.

A strong immune system

Kittens’ immune systems are still developing as they are weaned onto solid food, so they are more susceptible to illness than an adult cat.

Many kitten foods are fortified with antioxidants and probiotics to aid in the development of your kitten’s immune system.

Skin and coat health

As your kitten grows, they need omega-3 and -6 fatty acids to help them develop healthy skin and a shiny coat.

Food, wet or dry?

Whether you feed wet food, dry kibble, or a combination of the two will be determined in part by your personal preferences and those of your kitten!

Dry food is inexpensive and simple to store, and it can be left out for your kitten to eat throughout the day. It’s simple to leave a bowl of dry food out for your kitten while you’re at work or out shopping.

Carbohydrates are frequently added to help bind the kibble ingredients together during the manufacturing process, so it is typically higher in carbohydrates than wet food.

Wet food is tasty, keeps your kitten hydrated, and contains a lot of protein. It costs more than dry food and spoils if left out for more than a couple of hours.

Kitten food is frequently sold in small 3-ounce cans, but given that a kitten on a wet food-only diet can consume up to three of these cans per day, you’ll quickly discover that they generate a lot of waste.

Feeding a combination of wet and dry food is the best of both worlds. Wet food can make up your kitten’s main “meals,” and dry food can be left out for them to snack on in between.

Given that kittens expend a lot of energy just being kittens, it may be a good idea to keep dry food available at all times.

Making the switch to your kitten’s new diet

Don’t be tempted to switch your kitten’s food right away once you’ve decided on one.

Kittens’ digestive systems are delicate, so abruptly switching to a different food formulation can cause havoc and upset stomach. When this happens, it is up to us owners to clean up the poop and vomit!

Instead, gradually introduce new food to your kitten over the course of a week. This is how we would approach it:

  • Days 1 and 2: 75% old food, 25% new food, well mixed
  • Days 3 and 4: 50% of each food, thoroughly mixed
  • Day 5 and 6: 25% old food, 75% new food
  • Day 7: All-new food

If your kitten has an upset stomach during the transition week, stop feeding the new food and try again in a couple of days, once they’ve returned to normal. If it happens again, you should seek advice from your veterinarian.


Purina Kitten Chow Nurture Dry Food is our pick for the best kitten food overall. With 40% protein, this kibble contains everything a growing kitten requires to thrive.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) discovered that the Iams ProActive Health Kitten Dry Food provides the best balance of quality ingredients and affordability.

As an added bonus, the shape of this kibble keeps your kitten’s teeth clean!

We hope that our reviews of the best cat foods for kittens have made it easier for you to sort through all of the options and select the best kitten food.

You can be confident that any of our recommendations for what to feed your new kitten will help them grow up strong and healthy.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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