10 Best Kitten Foods 2020 — Reviews & Top Picks

Last Updated on: November 18, 2020

Kitten Tongue Out_shutterstock_Inna Astakhova

Bringing your adorable and tiny new kitten home is incredibly exciting! One of the most important decisions that you’ll need to make when it comes to caring for your new friend is what to feed them. Providing the best nutrition is vital if you want your kitten to grow up strong and healthy.

The good news is that when it comes to kitten food, there are plenty of options out there to choose from! The sheer amount of choice can feel a little overwhelming, though, so if you’re struggling to decide which one is going to be the right choice for your kitten, then you’re in the right place.

We reviewed the most popular options available on the market and selected our top 10 kitten foods to include in our detailed reviews. We looked at factors like ingredients, cost, and user feedback, all with the goal of helping you choose the best option for your furry friend.


A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Purina Kitten Chow Nurture Purina Kitten Chow Nurture
  • Good value for money
  • Available in four bag sizes
  • Contains 40% protein
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Iams ProActive Health Iams ProActive Health
  • Great value for money
  • Choose from three bag sizes
  • Contains 33% protein
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Blue Buffalo Wilderness
  • Grain-free
  • Contains 40% protein
  • No meat by-products
  • Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula
  • Contains 40% protein
  • Available in three bag sizes
  • Real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Royal Canin Feline Health Royal Canin Feline Health
  • Contains 11% protein
  • Available in three case sizes
  • Contains real chicken
  • The 10 Best Kitten Foods — Reviews 2020

    1. Purina Kitten Chow Nurture Dry Food — Best Overall

    Purina Kitten Chow Nurture

    If you’re looking for the best overall food for your kitten, you can’t go wrong with the Purina Kitten Chow Nurture Dry Food. This dry food contains the four nutritional building blocks that all kittens need to thrive: It’s high in protein, contains DHA for correct vision and brain development, includes the essential nutrients that are also found in mother’s milk, and is fortified with antioxidants to help your kitten develop a strong immune system.

    This is also fortified with the 25 vitamins and minerals that all kittens need to thrive. The appealing and palatable flavor encourages your kitten to develop a healthy appetite, so you know they’re getting all the nutrition that they need. It doesn’t contain any artificial flavors or colors, so you can rest easy knowing that your kitten is getting only the best.

    Pros
    • Good value for money
    • Available in four bag sizes
    • Contains 40% protein
    • Provides complete nutrition for kittens
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    Cons
    • Contains chicken by-product meal

    2. Iams ProActive Health Kitten Dry Food — Best Value

    Iams ProActive Health Kitten

    If you’re on the hunt for the best kitten food for the money, then we highly recommend the Iams ProActive Health Kitten Dry Food. As well as being an affordable option, this dry food is specially formulated to include everything that your kitten needs to grow up strong and healthy. It includes fish oils that are rich in DHA, essential for healthy brain and vision development. It also includes taurine, which all cats need in their diets.

    As a bonus, the shape of this kibble is designed to help scrape tartar and plaque from your kitten’s teeth as they eat, helping reduce the possibility of them developing gum disease. This dry kibble also includes real chicken as the first ingredient, although its protein content is lower than our best overall choice, which is why this missed out on the top spot. Other than that, it’s a great choice.

    Pros
    • Great value for money
    • Choose from three bag sizes
    • Kibble shape cleans kittens teeth
    • Contains 33% protein
    • Includes real chicken as the first ingredient
    Cons
    • Contains chicken by-product meal
    • Contains eggs, which can trigger allergies

    3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Grain-Free Dry Food — Premium Choice

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten

    If you’re looking for a premium dry food for your kitten that deserves only the best, then we highly recommend the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Grain-Free Dry Food. While a grain-free diet doesn’t suit all kittens, some do thrive without grains, so it’s worth considering if this is the best option for your kitten. Containing real deboned chicken as the first ingredient, this is also packed full of healthy fruits and vegetables, like carrots, alfalfa, blueberries, and cranberries.

    As with all Blue Buffalo dry food, this kibble contains LifeSource bits, packed full of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to help your kitten develop a robust immune system. The only reason this missed out on the top two spots is that it’s only available in small bag sizes, which can mean frequent reordering if you have more than one kitten. It’s also more expensive, which puts it out of reach of those on a budget.

    Pros
    • Grain-free
    • Contains 40% protein
    • Chicken as the first ingredient
    • No meat by-products
    Cons
    • Contains peas, which can trigger allergies
    • Only available in small bag sizes

    4. Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Food

    Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula

    Purine ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Food keeps your kitten nourished from nose to tail, thanks to its blend of ingredients that start with real chicken and are supplemented with carrots, peas, grains, and all the vitamins and minerals that your kitten needs. This includes DHA, the essential nutrient found in mother’s milk that is vital for brain and eye development.

    This crunchy kibble is also designed to help keep your kitten’s teeth clean, by scraping off built-up plaque as your kitten eats. A couple of things to be aware of with this food is that it does use chicken by-product meal, which some kitten owners prefer not to feed their kittens. The ingredients list also includes liver flavoring and caramel coloring.

    Pros
    • Contains 40% protein
    • Available in three bag sizes
    • Contains real chicken as the first ingredient
    Cons
    • Contains chicken by-product meal
    • Contains colorings and flavorings

    5. Royal Canin Feline Health Wet Kitten Food

    Royal Canin Feline Health Wet

    If you’re looking for a wet food to keep your kitten healthy and nourished, then the Royal Canin Feline Health Wet Kitten Food is an excellent choice. The small slices of meat are easy for your kitten to chew and digest and are surrounded by a tasty gravy designed to help keep your kitten hydrated all day long.

    This canned kitten food does contain real chicken, as well as chicken liver, but it also contains chicken by-products, which some kitten owners prefer to avoid. If this is the only food you’re going to feed your kitten, then be aware that a 4-month old kitten will need three cans a day, and this can create a great deal of waste — more if you have multiple growing kittens to feed!

    Pros
    • Contains 11% protein
    • Available in three case sizes
    • Contains real chicken
    Cons
    • Small can size creates a great deal of waste
    • Contains guar gum
    • Contains chicken by-products

    6. Earthborn Holistic Grain-Free Natural Canned Kitten Food

    Earthborn Holistic Monterey Medley

    The Earthborn Holistic Grain-Free Natural Canned Kitten Food is packed full of high-quality ingredients, with fish broth, skipjack tuna, and mackerel as the first three ingredients. It’s grain-free, so it can suit kittens with sensitive tummies. The palatable gravy also helps keep your kitten well hydrated.

    While this wet canned food is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of kittens, it’s also designed for adult cats as well. This is great if you have multiple cats of different ages, but it does also mean that it doesn’t have DHA, which many of the specific foods designed for kittens will include. So while this is a good choice for slightly older kittens, we might choose not to feed it to kittens younger than 6 months or so.

    Pros
    • Available in two can sizes
    • Contains 12% protein
    • Helps keep your kitten hydrated
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Some kittens don’t like the taste
    • Not formulated specifically for kittens

    7. Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Dry Food

    Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten

    Formulated specifically for kittens, the Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Dry Food contains absolutely everything your kitten needs. It’s enriched with fish oil, which is a great natural source of DHA and ARA, both of which are found in mother’s milk and help transition your kitten onto solid food. As with all Blue Buffalo dry foods, this contains antioxidant-enriched LifeSource bits.

    This is higher in fat than our best overall choice, containing 20% compared to 12%. While that might be a good thing for very active kittens, you might find other kittens becoming overweight if you don’t carefully monitor their rations.

    Pros
    • Contains 36% protein
    • Includes DHA and ARA
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Contains eggs, which can trigger allergies
    • High in fat, which may not suit some kittens

    8. Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free Canned Food

    Wellness Complete Health Kitten

    The Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free Canned Food is packed full of goodness designed to support the health of your kitten’s skin, coat, digestive system, and immunity. Containing chicken as the first ingredient, this is supplemented with tasty fruits and vegetables, as well as chicken liver. The richness of this canned food can be too much for some kittens, so it’s best to introduce it gradually and monitor for signs of digestive upset.

    At this time, this kitten food is only available in small, 3-ounce cans. Some kittens will eat up to three cans of this food per day, which creates a large amount of waste to be recycled or disposed of.

    Pros
    • Contains 11% protein
    • Chicken as the first ingredient
    Cons
    • Contains guar gum, xanthan gum, and cassia gum
    • Small cans create a large amount of waste
    • Too rich for some kittens

    9. Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Kitten Dry Food

    Hill's Science Diet Indoor Kitten

    The Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Kitten Dry Food contains real chicken as the first ingredient, which is blended with other wholesome ingredients, including flaxseeds, fish oil, apples, cranberries, peas, and broccoli. This combination gently supports your kitten’s digestive system, keeping them healthy and happy.

    Formulated specifically for indoor kittens, this dry kibble contains probiotics, DHA, antioxidants, and all the vitamins and minerals that your kitten requires. This dry food does contain rice, wheat, oats, and pearl barley, so if your kitten has sensitivities to grain or gluten, then you might want to give this one a miss.

    Pros
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    • Contains 33.5% protein
    Cons
    • Contains flavoring
    • Contains eggs, which can cause allergies
    • Not recommended for outdoor kittens
    • Expensive

    10. Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe Dry Food

    Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free

    The Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe Dry Food is a good option if you want to feed your kitten a grain-free kibble that’s inspired by a raw diet. With 42% protein, this kibble contains 81% animal ingredients for a diet that closely matches your kitten’s wild ancestors but is easy and hassle-free for us owners!

    The first ingredient in this kibble is cage-free chicken, blended with vegetables, fruits, natural probiotics, and all the vitamins and minerals that your kitten needs. As well as real meat, this kibble does contain meat meal from turkey, fish, and lamb, but it doesn’t contain any meat by-products.

    Pros
    • Good value for money
    • Contains 42% protein
    Cons
    • Contains meat meals
    • Smells strong
    • Some kittens don’t like the flavor
    • Only available in one bag size

    Buyer’s Guide

    There are many things to think about when you’re getting ready to bring your adorable kitten home, but while the kind of bed they sleep in won’t necessarily affect their growth and development, choosing the right kind of food can make a big difference to their health and overall wellbeing.

    But how do you know which sort of food is going to suit your kitten best? We’ve rounded up important things to bear in mind.

    You might be tempted to feed your new kitten the same food that you feed your adult cat, but that’s not a good idea. Kitten food is higher in fat, protein, and calories than food for adult cats.

    Kitten foods are usually more expensive than cat food, because of the higher protein and fat content, as well as the additional vitamins and nutrients. But as your kitten can transition to an adult food when they reach 1 year of age, it makes sense to buy the best kitten food that you can afford.

    Approved by the AAFCO

    The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) specify the nutrient profiles that a kitten food has to contain in order to meet their nutritional requirements.

    A kitten food that meets these requirements will clearly state on the label: “Formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for growth and reproduction.” This means a kitten food is suitable for feeding to kittens up to 1 year of age, as well as pregnant or lactating mother cats.

    Some cat foods are suitable for “all life stages,” and while this is useful if you have multiple cats and don’t want to feed them separate brands, bear in mind that these foods won’t contain the additional nutrients required by kittens.

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    What do Kittens Need?

    Brain and eye development

    The brain and eyes of your kitten undergo rapid growth while they’re young. The milk from their mothers contains fatty acids DHA and ARA to help this development. Kitten foods are often enriched with choline, DHA, and ARA to help transition your kitten onto solid food, while also ensuring that their cognitive and retinal functions continue to develop. The fatty acids from fish oils are often used within kitten food, as they’re rich in DHA and ARA.

    Energy for growing and playing

    Kitten food needs to contain plenty of protein to help your kitten build lean muscle. It also contains carbohydrates to help fuel your kitten and keep their energy levels up. Look for high-quality protein, such as that from real meat. Ideally, you want a protein percentage of around 30-40%.

    Taurine

    This is an essential amino acid for all cats and helps their heart and eyes function correctly.

    Healthy immune system

    The immune system of kittens is still developing as they’re weaned onto solid food, so they can be more at risk of catching illnesses than an adult cat. Many kitten foods are enriched with antioxidants and probiotics to help your kitten build a strong immune system.

    Kitten Eating_shutterstock_MaraZe
    Image Credit: MaraZe, shutterstock

    Healthy skin and coat

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

    Wet or dry food?

    Whether you decide to feed wet food, dry kibble, or a combination of both will depend partly on your personal preferences and those of your kitten!

    Dry food is cost-effective and easy to store and can be left out for your kitten to graze on throughout the day. If you’re away at work or have to pop out to the store, then it’s easy to leave a bowl of dry food out for your kitten. It’s usually higher in carbohydrates than wet food, as carbohydrates are often added to help bind the kibble ingredients together during the manufacturing process.

    Wet food is palatable, helps keep your kitten hydrated, and contains high levels of protein. It’s more expensive than dry food and spoils if you leave it out for more than a couple of hours. Kitten food often comes in small 3-ounce cans, but given that a kitten on a wet food-only diet can eat up to three of these cans a day, you’ll soon find that they create a large amount of waste.

    The best of both worlds is to feed a combination of both wet and dry food. 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 use up a great deal of energy simply running around being kittens, it can be a good option to leave dry food out for them at all times.

    Transitioning to your kitten’s new diet

    Once you’ve decided on a new food for your kitten, don’t be tempted to switch them over right away. Kittens have delicate digestive systems, so switching directly to a different food formulation can cause havoc and leave them with an upset tummy. It’s us owners who have to clean up the poop and vomit when that happens!

    Instead, slowly transition your kitten onto their new food over the course of a week. This is how we would go about it:

    • Days 1 & 2: 75% old food, with 25% new food well mixed in
    • Days 3 & 4: 50% of each food, well mixed
    • Days 5 & 6: 25% old food, with 75% new food
    • Day 7: 100% new food

    If at any point during the changeover week, you notice that your kitten has an upset tummy, stop feeding the new food and try again in a couple of days, once they’ve settled back to normal. If it happens again, it could be worth speaking to your veterinarian for advice.

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    Conclusion

    As the best overall kitten food, we recommend the Purina Kitten Chow Nurture Dry Food. With 40% protein, this kibble contains absolutely everything that a growing kitten needs to thrive.

    In terms of best value, we found that the Iams ProActive Health Kitten Dry Food provides the best balance between quality ingredients and affordability. As a bonus, the shape of this kibble also keeps your kitten’s teeth squeaky clean!

    We hope that our reviews have made it easier for you to navigate all the choices out there. When it comes to deciding what to feed your new kitten, you can be confident that any of our recommendations will help them grow up strong and healthy.


    Featured Image Credit By: Inna Astakhova, shutterstock