Best kitten food 2024 for healthy kitty nutrition and growth

kitten eating
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Best kitten food 2024: Jump Menu

A black and white kitten eating in the back yard

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The list in brief ↴

1. Best overall: Royal Canin Kitten
2. Best runner-up: Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula
3. Best on a budget: IAMS Proactive Health
4. Best for sensitive stomachs: Royal Canin Feline Gastrointestinal Kitten
5. Best wet food: Wellness Complete Health Kitten Pâté
6. Best raw food: Nature’s Variety Instinct Original Kitten
7. Best gourmet food: Applaws Tuna Wet Kitten Food
8. Best natural food: Nutro Wholesome Essentials Kitten
9. Best variety pack: Purina Pro Plan Kitten Favorites
10. Best for protein: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten
11. Best vet-recommended food: Hill's Science Diet Dry
12. Best grain-free food: Purina Beyond Simply Natural How to chooseHow we testedNutrients
Wet vs dry

Choosing the best kitten food for your cat plays a key part in your pet’s development and supports their bodies as they go through this stage of rapid growth. Not only is food important for physical development, but if your kitten doesn’t get the right nutrition it could also impact their behavior.

Because they’re changing so much, kittens need different nutrients compared to our adult feline friends and that’s why it’s advised to wait a while before you start your pet on the best cat food. If you’re unsure of where to start when it comes to choosing the right option for your cat, you’re not alone — which is where this guide will come in helpful.

We’ve selected the kitten food products below based on the quality of ingredients and nutritional value because cats of this age need extra protein to support their development. We then got expert vet Dr. Diana Hasler to weigh in on each product to show you which ones stand out in this area.

You'll also find a handy section at the end of this guide where Dr. Joanna Woodnutt gives her thoughts on some frequently asked questions from pet parents, including whether or not kittens can eat both wet and dry food. Read on to find out everything you need to know, or if you’re looking ahead, check out the best dry cat food to see what to move on to next.

The quick list

The best kitten food we recommend in 2024

Why you can trust PetsRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The best kitten food overall

1. Royal Canin Kitten

Best overall kitten food


Item Form: Wet (Gravy)
Protein: 11% min
Fat: 3% min
Moisture: 80% max

Reasons to buy

Thin slices make it easy for young kittens to eat
Excellent protein, fat, and carbohydrate ratio
Antioxidants boost immune system
Good for sensitive stomachs

Reasons to avoid

High price point for a staple diet
Gravy can be messy

Royal Canin is a hugely respected cat food brand, earning praise from owners and veterinarians alike for its specialist formulas. It may be a little pricier per can than others on this list, but we think it's a price worth paying — as you can rest assured your kitty will be getting all the nutrition it needs to grow and go about its day.

One of the best things about Royal Canin’s Kitten food is its quality nutritional content. It has a great ratio of proteins to fat and carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients.

Meaning? In just one pouch this product delivers everything a growing kitten needs. So really, unless you’ve found yourself a fussy little fluff ball who craves a bit more variety, Royal Canin can easily be your kittens-only food. Though it’s useful to note that Royal Canin’s dry kitten food is formulated to complement the wet stuff so you can add a bit of crunch to your little one’s diet.

The meat comes in gravy (which, as we flagged, can be a bit messy), and it's deliberately cut small and thin to make it easier on tiny mouths transitioning to solid food.

Of course, we do have to return to that price point. A kitten will need to be going through three or four of these pouches a day to get everything they need. That might mean it’s a little much for some people to keep as a staple diet. It is worth noting that Royal Canin is often prescribed for kittens with digestive issues though.

So, as long as you manage it properly, Royal Canin Kitten food could work well as part of a regular rotation.

"This food is made up of the ideal ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to support your kitten as they grow and become more active. It also contains antioxidants to support their developing immune system. The thin slices help kittens transition from milk to more solid foods. Royal Canin also produces dry and loaf formulations." - Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS.

The Best kitten food runner up

2. Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Kitten Food

Best kitten food runner up


Item form: Dry
Protein: 40%
Fat: 18%
Moisture: 12%

Reasons to buy

High in protein
Real chicken as the first ingredient
Rich in DHA for vision and brain development
Free from preservatives and artificial flavors

Reasons to avoid

Contains chicken by-products

There is a lot to love about Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Kitten Food.

For starters, the food contains real chicken as the first ingredient and clocks in with 40% protein to fuel muscle growth — a key factor for any growing kitty.

This formula also comes jam-packed with Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — which is an Omega-3 fatty acid — for healthy brain and vision development as well as the vitamins and minerals your little one needs for a strong immune system, bucket loads of energy and a shiny coat. This product also ticks off the Omega 6 fatty acids and essential vitamins and minerals.

Plus, according to the brand, this formula has been scientifically proven to strengthen your kitten's natural defenses and digestive functions as it contains lactobacillus, which is a probiotic.

Vet-recommended, this kibble is highly digestible, making it great for sensitive stomachs, and it's made without artificial flavors and preservatives. So you can have peace of mind knowing you're putting no nasties on their plate.

It's worth pointing out that chicken by-products are used in this kibble, so if that's an issue for you, check out Applaws Tuna Wet Kitten Food which is made from fish.

"This diet has a high protein content to support your kitten’s muscles as they grow, and it lists real chicken as its first ingredient. It contains DHA, which is an omega-3 fatty acid found in their mother’s milk that supports the development of vision and the brain." -Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS

The best budget kitten food

3. IAMS Proactive Health

Best budget kitten food


Item Form: Dry
Protein: 31% min
Fat: 21% min
Moisture: 10% max

Reasons to buy

Strong nutritional profile
Omega-3 DHA promotes brain development
Natural fiber and prebiotics
Taurine promotes strong vision

Reasons to avoid

Contains animal by-products

Affordability is IAMS' whole thing. They’ve got a reputation for putting together solid, nutritionally strong pet food at a price that won’t put a strain on your wallet. And IAMS' Proactive Health offering is no different.

The nutrition profile here is strong, with taurine to help develop your kitten’s vision, natural fibers and prebiotics for digestion, omega-3 DHA for promoting brain development and Vitamin E for boosting immune systems.

Kittens seem to be big fans of IAMS Proactive Health’s taste but some pet owners might take issue with how the product is made. With the inclusion of animal by-products some people may have ethical concerns.

This food isn’t grain-free, and while a small amount grain as part of a well-rounded diet shouldn’t be problem, it’s worth baring in mind for cat parents.

It’s also worth noting that while this product does claim to be free of fillers (foods that bulk up a product while adding little nutritional value), corn grain and whole grain sorghum are ingredients that many consider to be fillers.

Of course, that doesn’t take away from the fact that IAMS is a very popular and well-trusted brand.

If those issues don’t affect you, then in IAMS Proactive Health you have a well-rounded, nutritious dry kitten food at a very reasonable price.

"This food contains real chicken as its first ingredient. It includes a unique fiber blend of prebiotics and beet pulp to support your kitten’s digestive system. It also has vitamin E to support their immune system, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat." - Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS

The best kitten food for sensitive stomachs

4. Royal Canin Feline Gastrointestinal Kitten Dry Cat Food

Best for sensitive stomachs


Item Form: Dry
Protein: 33% min
Fat: 22% min
Moisture: 8% max

Reasons to buy

Designed for cats with very sensitive stomachs
Smaller portions provide high nutritional value
Contains fatty acids to soothe digestion

Reasons to avoid

Need vet consultation to buy

Is your kitten recovering from surgery? Does it have regular stomach upsets and chronic diarrhea? Would you consider your little kitty to have a sensitive stomach? Or are they struggling to make the switch from milk to food?

If you answered yes to any (or all) of the above, Royal Canin Feline Gastrointestinal Kitten Dry Cat Food could be the answer you've been looking for.

It's specifically designed to ensure your furball gets all the nutrition it needs, even if it is only able to eat smaller portions. It is also available as a soft mousse product – although the dry formula is designed for you to be able to add water to it for an extra hit of hydration.

Note that because it is very high in fat and protein you need to get veterinary advice before you can buy this product — so when Royal Canin says vet recommended, they mean it!

That's because this food is specifically designed for kitties that can't eat much, and contains adapted levels of nutrients, including protein and calcium to help support healthy digestion – which means a healthy cat would find it too much.

If your vet agrees to prescribe it, users have called it a godsend. The formula includes fish oil to provide Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, to help soothe the gastrointestinal tract, while its formula of digestible proteins and prebiotics support digestion and optimal stool quality. This combination allows it to act quickly, relieving your kitty's digestion issues in a matter of days.

The downside is that it is very expensive. But if your kitty is finding normal foods difficult to eat and process, this is a very sensible investment to stop their suffering fast.

"Kittens’ developing digestive systems predispose them to dietary sensitivities, so this food is made up of highly digestible ingredients to allow them to effectively absorb nutrients. It also contains prebiotics to help establish a balanced microbiome within the gastrointestinal tract, as well as antioxidants to support kittens’ developing immune systems. This diet should be fed under the supervision of a veterinarian." - Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS

The best wet kitten food

5. Wellness Complete Health Kitten Pâté

Best wet kitten food


Item form: Wet
Protein: 11%
Fat: 6%
Moisture: 78%

Reasons to buy

DHA for brain development
High quality ingredients
Gentle on the digestive tract

Reasons to avoid

Picky eaters may turn their nose up at it

Wellness Complete Health Kitten Pâté has been specially formulated to meet the extra energy needs of kittens, coming packed full of the perfect ratio of calories, fat and protein to fuel their busy days of growing, playing and sleeping.

This highly digestible recipe is supported by additional prebiotics with plenty of minerals for healthy teeth and bones.

For example, DHA and Taurine support brain development and eye health and there's an abundance of protein to fuel muscle growth — which every growing kitty will need.

But there's more. We love the natural ingredient list for this wet food which features chicken as the first ingredient.

It's also packed with carrots and flaxseeds for fiber and cranberries for a powerful hit of antioxidants that will work hard to keep the urinary tract healthy. What more could you (and your kitten) want from each dish?

Free from grains, carrageenan, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, this wholesome and natural formula ticks all the boxes.

It's why we've named it the best wet kitten food.

"The wet formulation of this food keeps kittens hydrated, while the ingredients provide enough calories, fat, and protein to keep up with an energetic, growing kitten. It includes DHA in its recipe to support brain development, as well as antioxidants to support the immune system. It comes in two flavors for kittens—chicken and whitefish & tuna." - Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS

The best raw kitten food

6. Nature’s Variety Instinct Original Kitten

Best raw kitten food


Item Form: Dry
Protein: 42.5% min
Fat: 22.5% min
Moisture: 9% max

Reasons to buy

100% natural ingredients
Made without grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meats, artificial colors, or preservatives
Made with cage-free chickens

Reasons to avoid

Not enough moisture for kittens

It’s sometimes difficult to know what’s actually in the foods we feed our four-legged friends. So foods that make it easy for us are always welcome, which is where Nature’s Variety steps up to the plate. The brand's commitment to raw ingredients makes their Instinct Original Kitten dry kibble super easy to understand.

The Instinct range from Nature’s Variety is committed to 100% natural ingredients, although it might be easier to demonstrate the Original Kitten line's commitment to nutrition by first telling you what’s not in it. This dry kibble is grain free and contains no soy, wheat, corn, potato, by-product meals, artificial preservatives, or colors.

That said, 81% of this kibble comes from real animal ingredients and oils, which puts its protein content at a whopping 42.5% and fat at 22%. That’s exactly what a calorie-hungry kitten needs. The food includes taurine, DHA, and probiotics for promoting everything from healthy brain and vision development to nice soft fur.

The remaining 19% of the product is made up from vegetables, fruits, and what Instinct calls ‘other wholesome ingredients', and while some have criticized the product for including ingredients like carrots, deeming them unnecessary, the kibble's nutritional profile is very strong.

Given this food’s raw and natural ideology, we think we’d be remiss in not mentioning that Instinct have had to issue recalls on their food twice for potential salmonella. The last of these came in 2015 after a confirmed FDA test, though we have no reason to believe this is likely to happen again.

As with most dry cat foods, Instinct Original Kitten isn’t going to give your kitten all the water it needs so you may want to think about pairing this with a wet food rather than as your kitten’s sole diet.

"This diet contains cage-free chicken as its first ingredient, and it is complete and balanced according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines for kitten food. Before making the decision to feed your kitten raw, it is important to note that raw diets can harbor bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter, which can cause gut infections in your kitten and any humans who touch them, handle their food, or clean their litter box." - Dr Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS

The best gourmet kitten food

7. Applaws Tuna Wet Kitten Food

Best gourmet kitten food


Item Form: Wet (broth)
Protein: 13.5% min
Fat: 2% min
Moisture: 82.4% max

Reasons to buy

Quality ingredients, including dolphin-friendly tuna
High in protein
No artificial additives

Reasons to avoid

Not nutritionally complete

You could be forgiven for being skeptical when a brand claims to supply everything your kitten needs – most of them are doing that, after all.

Refreshingly, Applaws isn’t one of them. We all need a good dose of protein in our diets. And kittens are the same. Therefore, its whole brand ethos is centered around crafting fresh tasty meals that are made to be part of a well-rounded diet, rather than a staple of it.

Applaws’ whole brand is centered around using simple ingredients that haven't been tampered with, using human-grade meat with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Indeed, very little of anything is added. For example, the Applaws Kitten Tuna Fillet in Broth had just three ingredients; tuna fillet, fish broth, and rice. This way, you're left in no doubt as to exactly what you're getting.

While this is all great, like we said previously, this isn't a staple, so you shouldn't be providing it in every meal.

It simply doesn't provide everything your kitten should be consuming as part of a balanced diet, so this high-protein tin should be treated as a gourmet treat rather than something to be included with absolutely every meal.

Moreover, this additional treat doesn't come cheap, and you'll find that the cost mounts up with every 24 cans you buy – quite a lot more than is normally the case with many other brands, in fact.

Regardless, what you're getting for this is a protein-rich gourmet experience for your kitten, and there's nothing wrong with treating them once in a while. As long as you only dish these out once a day at most, you'll get plenty of longevity out of it, and your mini cats will definitely thank you for it.

"This wet food contains tuna, which is not only delicious, but also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids to promote healthy skin, coat, and joints as your kitten grows. Because this is a complementary food, it should not be your kitten’s primary food—instead, it can be fed as a special treat alongside a complete kitten diet." - Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS.

We all need tasty protein-packed meals — and your kitten is no different. This tin scores top marks from us, but just note: rather than being a source of kitten food to rely on, three times a day every day, think of it more like a treat.

The best natural kitten food

8. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Kitten Dry Cat Food

Best natural kitten food


Item form: Dry
Protein: 36%
Fat: 19%
Moisture: 10%

Reasons to buy

Quality ingredients and balanced formula
Extensive range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
Free from common allergens 

Reasons to avoid

High carb content
Higher cost

If you're looking for a clean and natural formula that uses high-quality ingredients, then this real food kibble from Nutro is well worth parting some dollars for.

While the 5lb bag is more expensive than many other brands, this is definitely a case of 'you get what you pay for'.

With real chicken as the number one ingredient and source of protein and nourishing brown rice as a filling carbohydrate, this kibble has everything your new kitten needs to thrive.

You'll find an extensive list of included vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, plus plenty of omega-3 fatty acids for growth and development and calcium for strong bones and joints.

We love the addition of beet pulp too, which provides a good hit of fiber and will help keep your kitten's digestive system running smoothly.

The limited ingredient list means there's little chance of this kibble causing any kind of allergic reaction in your kitten.

It's free from corn, wheat, and soy, as well as all artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, which is really great to see.

Overall, this is a complete, nutritious, and balanced formula that's getting rave reviews from both pet parents and their young feline furkids.

If your budget can stretch to the extra cost, we think this one is definitely a worthy contender for a place in your shopping cart.

"This kitten food contains real chicken as its first ingredient, and it does not have any unwanted chicken by-products. It also provides omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to support your kitten’s growth, development, and immune system. It is formulated with calcium to support growing kittens’ bones and joints." - Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS.

This product is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. There are also omega-3 fatty acids and calcium for strong bones and joints. Honestly? It's full of all the good stuff, which is just what kittens need as they grow, learn and play!

The best variety pack of kitten food

9. Purina Pro Plan Kitten Favorites

Best variety kitten food


Item Form: Wet (Pate)
Protein: 12-13% min
Fat: 5-6% min
Moisture: 76.5% max

Reasons to buy

Made with real poultry and fish
3 meaty flavors
DHA for brain and vision development

Reasons to avoid

Larger meat chunks

Many kitten food brands these days tend to stick to one or two products that they identify as the best things you should be feeding your little meow machine.

This is a great approach that allows a consumer to know, pretty much, exactly what they’re getting – but for the little ones, it can get a bit samey.

Purina’s Prop Plan Kitten Favorites variety pack has 3 flavors to choose from. Variety is the spice of life after all.

The three flavors, Chicken & Liver, Ocean Whitefish & Tuna, and Salmon & Oceanfish are made with real poultry and fish as the number one ingredient.

They add taurine for eyesight and DHA for brain development, as well as a blend of vitamins and nutrients to develop a healthy immune system.

There is a slight difference in protein and fat between the chicken and fish flavors – with the Chicken & Liver having slightly less protein and slightly more fat – but all within what works for healthy kitten growth.

However, some people have had trouble with larger meat chunks in the pate, meaning their kittens struggle or give up.

Of course, not all kittens have a problem with larger chunks, but if yours do, this might be one to wait until they’re a little bigger.

Lastly we’ll point out the perennial problem with variety packs: you may end up with a flavor your kitten doesn’t like.

This will happen to us all at some point but sometimes kittens don’t react well to the unfamiliar, so either try introducing the flavor again slowly with another or find yourself a fellow cat parent to swap foods with.

Either way, the benefit of a variety pack is that you wont be wasting the whole case.

"This variety pack contains three different chicken or fish flavors of wet food for owners who want to provide their kitten an assortment of foods. All three flavors provide complete and balanced nutrition for growing kittens, and they have formulas that are both easily digestible and tasty." - Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS.

If your kitten tends to get bored of their food easily, or you want to try and find a new favorite, a variety pack can be a great way to solve these issues. With three flavors to jump between, you can keep meal times interesting.

The best kitten food for protein

10. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Chicken Recipe

Best for protein


Item Form: Dry
Protein: 40% min
Fat: 20% min
Moisture: 9% max

Reasons to buy

Full of natural ingredients
Very high in protein and vitamins
Supports healthy oxidative balance

Reasons to avoid

Larger chunks than average

Blue Wilderness claims to provide kittens with the finest of food, using real chicken as its first ingredient and promising not to use any poultry by-product.

This dry food is also free from soy, wheat and corn and there are no artificial flavors or preservatives. It's as healthy a food as they come, making use of a host of natural ingredients.

At the very least, you can be sure your kitten will get an abundance of protein to support their muscle development and energy.

The food also contains fish oil which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and DHA so your kitten will not only retain a healthy coat but benefit from improved cognitive function too.

Vitamins A and C along with potassium and fiber are provided by the inclusion of blueberries. Potatoes boost the vitamin C and potassium levels while also providing vitamin B, iron and magnesium.

Pumpkin is added because it's rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A, and zinc, while spinach is thrown into the mix along with apples for carotenoids, quercetin and dietary fiber.

What's more, the blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are not exposed to huge amounts of heat, which means most of the fresh nutrients are retained.

"This diet has a high protein content compared to many other kitten foods, with a minimum crude protein level of 40%. It contains real chicken as its first ingredient, without the addition of unwanted poultry by-products. It is also rich in antioxidants to support your kitten’s immune system as they grow." -Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS.

Created to help kittens grow by boosting their immune system, ensuring a healthy heart and eyes and giving them lots of energy to play. It comes highly recommended too!

The best vet-recommended kitten food

11. Hill's Science Diet Dry Kitten Food

Best vet-recommended kitten food


Item form: Dry
Protein: 37.8%
Fat: 23.5%
Moisture: 6.5%

Reasons to buy

Supports healthy brain development
High-quality protein for building lean muscle
Balanced minerals for strong bones and teeth

Reasons to avoid

Very small kibble

Give your kitty the best start in life with this vet-recommended kibble from Hill's Science.

With DHA from fish oil to support healthy brain and eye development and plenty of minerals to give your kitten strong bones and teeth, Hill's Science Diet Dry Kitten Food is a high-quality formula that ticks all the boxes.

Your little one will love the rich chicken taste and you'll have peace of mind knowing that you're feeding them only the best natural ingredients.

There's plenty of protein to support muscle growth and it's rich in fiber to help the digestive system function properly.

But the long list of positives doesn't stop there. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables on the list with broccoli, apples, carrots, and green peas featuring heavily, plus a good hit of cranberries to help keep your fur baby's urinary tract healthy.

While the kibble itself is on the small size, overall this is a delicious and nutritious formula that will help your kitten grow up to be big and strong.

"This food contains high-quality protein for growing cats, with chicken as its first ingredient. It includes DHA from fish oil to support the development of the brain and eyes. Hill’s is a trusted brand among veterinarians because they hire veterinary nutritionists as part of their team to oversee the development of their products." - Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS

The best grain-free kitten food

12. Purina Beyond Simply Natural Kitten Food

Best grain-free kitten food


Item form: Dry
Protein: 38%
Fat: 17%
Moisture: 12%

Reasons to buy

High in protein
Farm-raised, steroid-free chicken
No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
Gentle on the stomach

Reasons to avoid

Not to every kitten's taste
Not so budget friendly

High in protein and with 15-plus nutrients which are found in a mother's milk, this grain-free formula from Purina will nurture your growing kitten's body and ensure they get everything they need to grow up big and strong — just what any pet parent would want!

We know all kittens are unique and grow at different paces and Purina understands that. This is why this kibble has been crafted to help your furry friend transition from milk to solids without upsetting their stomach. The kibble is easy to digest and gentle on the stomach, thanks to the inclusion of gentle oatmeal and soothing pumpkin.

Talking of ingredients, this dish has real farm-raised, steroid-free chicken listed as the first ingredient.

This kibble also features natural probiotics and prebiotic fiber to support digestive health and plenty of DHA from fish oil to support healthy brain development.

It comes in 3 lb., 5 lb., and 12 lb. bags and contains no corn, soy or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

This is why it wins our features in our best kitten food guide as the best grain-free alternative. If you're looking for a grain-free option for your kitten, Purina is a brand with a reputation to trust.

How to choose the best kitten food

Hasler says, when choosing the best kitten food, there are several things you need to think about.

Firstly, nutrition. You want to make sure you’re hitting the right protein-to-fat ratio, and getting enough of both. For dry food you want to be hitting more than 30% in protein content and 15-20% in fat. For wet foods, you ideally want between 10-15% for protein and around 3-6% for fat.

You may want to be more aware of foods with high grain content, while the debate rages about exactly how bad grains are for cats, they can be an indicator that a food is full of filler or high in difficult-to-digest carbohydrates, rather than all the more preferable ingredients for a kittens development.

When it comes to intolerances and allergies, it’s actually fish, chicken beef and dairy products that are the most common in felines. So while you should expect to see a little bit of a digestive reaction to any new food, if it goes on too long you may want to investigate further.

Ideally, you’ll pick out a mix of dry and wet woods. While dry food can be more cost-effective and easier to manage, it won’t provide the moisture your cat needs to stay hydrated. If you’re going dry only, make sure your house is full of water sources for your cat to find, though they’ll need to be refreshed daily.

Lastly, the best kitten foods will recommend a transition period when switching. This will avoid most cases of digestive distress which, if prolonged, can be dangerous to kittens. Take a week, and slowly introduce the new food alongside the old to allow their systems to get used to it. Of course, if your kitten seems to be experiencing problems, or you’re worried that they may have a food sensitivity or other health problem, consult your vet.

How we tested the best kitten foods

What nutrients are important for kittens?

According to Woodnutt, feeding a complete diet that has been balanced for growth is essential for kittens. While they need all the same nutrients as an older cat, they need them in different proportions.

“They need high protein and calories in order to get enough nutrients to grow, as their little stomachs can’t take large volumes of food. They also need the proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio for healthy bone growth”, Woodnutt explains, “As with all cats, bioavailable taurine is also essential, as, without it, kittens can quickly get heart failure.”

Can kittens eat dry or wet food?

“Kittens can eat either wet or dry food, and it’s a good idea to get them used to both from a young age. Very young kittens that are just weaning will usually prefer a wet food, and the pate types are usually easier for them to eat,” says Woodnutt.

Anything else to look out?

Woodnutt emphasizes that it’s really important that your kitten food is complete and balanced for growth – it should say so on the pack.

“While lots of brands will conform to the AAFCO/FEDIAF guidelines to enable them to call themselves ‘complete and balanced’, it’s worth looking for a large, reputable brand,” adding that, “Smaller, ‘boutique’ brands may not have access to the nutritionists, testing facilities, and buying power of the larger brands, making imbalances and nutrient deficiencies more likely.”

Expert opinion in this guide is provided by:
Dr Diana Hasler
Expert opinion in this guide is provided by:
Dr. Diana Hasler BVM&S MRCVS

Dr. Diana Hasler graduated with distinction from the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in 2018. She has experience working as a small animal veterinarian in general practice, where she has treated many dogs, cats, rabbits, and rodents.

Dr Joanna Woodnutt BVM BVS BVMedSci MRCVS
Dr Joanna Woodnutt MRCVS

Dr Joanna Woodnutt qualified as a veterinarian from the University of Nottingham where she then went on to practice companion animal medicine in the Midlands. She really took to the consulting side of things and helping clients with medical problems such as dermatology, behaviour and nutrition - anything that involved helping clients understand their pets better.

Geraint Evans

Geraint is a freelance writer and editor with 10 years of experience; starting with comedy and football, these days he tends to specialise in words about business and technology. His three young cats - Tora, Uru and Dyfi - occasionally allow him to get on with some work.