When choosing a treat for your kitten, you probably want something a little healthier than something you might give an adult cat, and a kitten may also be more open to trying new foods. However, it can be difficult to choose healthy food from dozens of brands, and you may not even know where to begin.
We’ve chosen seven different healthy treats for kittens to review for you so you can learn a little more about the differences between brands. We’ll tell you if we liked the ingredients and if our kitten liked the taste. We’ve also included short buyers guide where we discuss what you should look for while you shop.
Join us while we discuss protein, omega fats, harmful ingredients, and more to help you feel confident about your next purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||PureBites Freeze-Dried Treats Cats||
|Best Value||Whole Life Just One Ingredient Freeze-Dried Cat Treats||
|Premium Choice||Cat-Man-Doo Extra Large Dried Bonito Flakes||
|Blue Buffalo Bursts Cat Treats||
|Get Naked Kitten Health Soft Treats for Kittens||
7 Best Treats for Kittens
1. PureBites Freeze-Dried Treats Cats
PureBites Freeze-Dried Treats Cats provide pet owners with a single ingredient pet treat, making it our top choice for best treats for kittens. This brand features chicken, but there are other flavors, including salmon, that you can experiment with to see what your pet lies best. There are only two calories per treat, so you can feel good about feeding them to your pet.
The downside is that they’re crumbly, and often, more than half the bag is just powder. Otherwise, the pieces are often too large for a cat and much better when given to a dog. Out cats would toss the pieces around the room and hunt them for a while before leaving them uneaten.
- Chicken is the sole ingredient
- Two calories per treat
- Freeze-dried to lock in nutrients
- Very crumbly
- Pieces are too large for a cat
2. Whole Life Just One Ingredient Freeze-Dried Cat Treats – Best Value
Whole Life Just One Ingredient Freeze-Dried Cat Treats is our pick for the best treats for kittens for the money. It contains only one ingredient. 100% freeze-dried chicken. It’s freeze-dried to maintain freshness and helps to retain important nutrients. There are no chemical preservatives, and it’s naturally low in fat but is very high in protein at 80%, providing your puppy with plenty of fuel for energy and building strong muscle.
The downside to Whole Life is that the freeze-dried pieces crumble into a powder if you try to break them up, and they are quite large. Our cats like to throw them around and chase them, but they won’t always eat them.
To conclude, this is our best value pick for best cat treats for kittens.
- 80% protein
- Chicken single ingredient
- Freeze-dried to retain nutrients
- Naturally low in fat
- No chemical preservatives
- Crumbles into powder
- Large pieces
3. Cat-Man-Doo Extra Large Dried Bonito Flakes – Premium Choice
Cat-Man-Doo Extra Large Dried Bonito Flakes is our premium choice kitten treat and is another single ingredient food. The ingredient contained in this food is bonito, a type of Japanese fish. This food is packed with protein at 76% and includes a high taurine level, which is a helpful nutrient for cats. There are no chemical preservatives and very few calories, so you can feel good about treating your cat.
The downside to Cat-Man-Doo is that it’s very smelly, and the smell will transfer to your hands. Some cats go crazy for this food, and if you have any smell on you, the cats will be relentless.
- Single-ingredient bonito
- 76% protein
- No preservatives
- Low calories
- Very thin
4. Blue Buffalo Bursts Cat Treats
Blue Buffalo Bursts Cat Treats feature salmon as the top ingredient, but it also contains shrimp and cod to bring protein levels up to 21%. It contains helpful taurine as well as omega fats. Cats love the crunchy outside, and the soft center and portable pouches make it much easier to transport them around.
The downside to Blue Buffalo Bursts is that several of our cats didn’t like it, so there is a chance yours won’t as well. We also found many broken pieces in the bag, and it was somewhat dusty.
- Salmon top ingredient
- Contains shrimp and cod
- Contains taurine
- Crunch on the outside, creamy on the inside
- 21% protein
- Some cats don’t like them
- Many broken pieces in the bag
5. Get Naked Kitten Health Soft Treats for Kittens
Get Naked Kitten Health Soft Treats are fortified with omega fats to help you get get a shiny, healthy coat. It also provides taurine and contains just three calories per treat. There is no corn, wheat, or soy to worry about, and it features chicken as the main ingredient.
The primary downside to Get Naked 701184 is that the protein level is only about 18%, and that’s pretty low for cats. Several brands on this list provide more protein, and some of our cats wouldn’t eat them.
- Fortified with omega fats
- Added taurine
- Three calories per treat
- No wheat, corn, or soy
- Chicken top ingredient
- 18% protein
- Some cats won’t eat them
6. Vital Essentials Minnows Freeze-Dried Cat Treats
Vital Essentials Vital Minnows Freeze-dried Cat Treats is a single ingredient treat that provides your kitten with 60% protein. It’s freeze-dried process guarantees to preserve all the nutrients that are normally lost in over-cooked dry treats. This product is made with only fresh, whole single-sourced minnows so there is no corn, wheat, or soy in the treat that can throw off your pet’s digestive system. A perfect healthy snack for your kitten without any harmful ingredients.
The biggest downside to Vital Essentials Vital Minnows Freeze-dried Cat Treats is that cats who don’t like fish could refuse to eat it.
- 60% protein
- Freeze-dried to preserve all the nutrients
- Made out of a single source protein
- No corn, wheat, or soy
- No added hormones, antibiotics, fillers or flavorings
- Some cats don’t like it
7. Tiki Cat Stix Tuna Grain-Free Cat Treats
Tiki Cat Stix Tuna Grain-Free Cat Treats is another great option treat. It has animal protein ingredients based on tuna and eggs. Containing 88% moisture based on tuna broth, this flavored broth helps your kitten get adequate hydration. This product is great as a treat or as a meal topper its natural tuna and chicken flavors are irresistible heaven for picky eaters. The presentation is perfect for traveling, with convenient packs of individually-wrapped single servings. The formula is grain-free and smooth texture, loved by kittens.
Unfortunately, the total protein content is of this treat is only 9%, which is why it comes last on our list.
- Great flavor and smooth texture
- Tuna broth helps achieve good hydration levels
- Grain-free formula
- Individually packed treats
- Only 9% protein
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Kitten Treats
Let’s look at the ingredients you should look for when choosing the best kitten treats and some that you should avoid.
Cats are carnivorous animals, and as such, they require a lot of animal protein to stay healthy. While treats are only a snack, we recommend looking for brands that contain more than 35% protein when possible to help make sure your kitten is getting the proper nutrition early in life. Also, it is very important to seek good quality animal-based protein derived from whole meat instead of meat meals or plant-based protein.
Whole meat is an ingredient like chicken, turkey, or salmon without any other terms like byproduct attached to it. We recommend searching for brands that contain whole meat, preferably as the top ingredient. This type of protein most accurately simulates a cat’s diet, and many times, it’s what they like best. We’ve tried to point out which brands have whole meat as its top ingredient in our reviews.
Meat byproduct is also called meat meal and is a dried and ground meat with a long shelf life. Companies use this ingredient to boost protein levels, and it’s not harmful to cats, especially if it’s not the number one ingredient.
Fat is an important part of a cat’s diet, and some fats, like omega fats, have long-lasting effects on health. Most experts recommend a diet with 18 to 35% fat. If your cat gets a lot of fat in their dinner, you may want to cut back on the fats in treats. Too many fats can lead to obesity, heart disease, and a long list of other health problems.
Omega fats are important to your pet’s health. They play an important role in the brain development of kittens and they have an antioxidant effect that helps to main organ functionality, preventing several health problems, including constipation, hyperexcitability, and more. They also help promote a soft and healthy coat, and there is some evidence they help with joint pain.
Calcium is very important for the development and growth of your kitten’s bones and teeth. It also helps with blood coagulation and has an important role in the nervous system functions. A calcium deficiency usually results in a disease called rickets, where kittens’ bones grow deformed and weak. Kittens require calcium for development, and nursing mothers will require
Taurine is an important amino acid used in plenty of bodily functions, including vision, digestion, and pregnancy. In cats, taurine is an essential nutrient that must be obtained by ingesting a meat-based carnivorous diet. Symptoms of a taurine deficiency can take a long time to develop, so it’s best to look for foods and treats that have taurine fortification.
Ingredients to Avoid
Cats and dogs have much more sensitive digestive systems than humans do, and there are several ingredients you should avoid when purchasing a kitten treat, including chemical preservatives, artificial dyes, and corn.
- Chemical Preservatives
The main chemicals used in pet food that you want to avoid are tert-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Of the three, we have seen BHA much more often than the others. Many experts believe both BHA and BHT can cause cancer in pets.
- Artificial Dyes
Artificial dyes can also be dangerous to your pet—specifically, Yellow 5 and 6, Red 40, and Blue 2. These dyes can create a hypersensitivity reaction that resembles an allergic reaction. Another coloring used in food is the caramel color, which can also cause cancer.
- Corn and Soy
Corn and soy are not part of your cat’s natural diet, and they can throw off their digestive system causing diarrhea, constipation, and stomach cramps. Many cats like corn, and you can find it in many foods and treats, but it’s just empty calories. Corn and soy are also two of the most genetically modified plants.
Hard vs Soft
There are all types of treats out there that we haven’t had time to mention. Some are soft or even liquid, while others are a hard kibble. While softer treats are fine if your kitten likes them, or if they have problems with their teeth, we recommend mixing in as many hard treats as possible because the crunchy treats will scrape away tartar and plaque, which can lead to dental disease.
How Do I Feed Treats to My Kitten?
Most experts recommend following the 10% rule, which says that no more than 10% of your cat’s calories should come from treats or table food. We realize that we’re asking you to do some complicated math, so you might want to ask your vet or keep the number of treats low.
All cats are different, and if you have ever had more than three, you know they rarely all agree on a favorite food or treat. You will often need to try several different brands to find one, your kitten will eat, and if you have more than one cat, you may need more than one brand. However, we tried to mention if more of our cats agreed than usual in our review.
Try Veggies or Fruit
A better alternative to a commercial cat treat is fruits and vegetables. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that are safe for your pet to eat that they might enjoy just as much, including apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, carrots, broccoli, green beans, and more. Just make sure all harder vegetables are cooked until soft and cut up into tiny pieces. If you didn’t need to cook them, make sure you wash them well.
DIY Kitten Treats
You can also try out these DIY kitten treats we learned from CDKitchen.
- 1 cup whole-grain bread crumbs
- ½ cup canned mackerel
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ tsp brewers yeast
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees
- Lightly grease a cookie sheet
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients to form a workable dough
- Roll into ¼ tsp. dough balls
- Place on cookie sheet one inch apart
- Bake for eight minutes
- Let cool
- Refrigerate in a sealed container
When it comes to choosing a brand of cat treats for your kitten, we recommend something with more than 20% protein with whole meat as the first ingredient like our pick for the best overall is PureBites Freeze-Dried Treats Cats a healthy single ingredient, low calorie and healthy treat that provide a wooping 74% protein. Another smart choice is our best value. Whole Life Just One Ingredient Freeze-Dried Cat Treats contains just one ingredient, freeze-dried chicken. It contains 80% protein and no harmful chemicals or preservatives. Most of our cats liked it, and those that didn’t would spend quite a bit of time playing with it before leaving it be.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over these reviews, and they have helped you find a suitable cat treat that you are comfortable giving to your pet. If you intend to shop further, our buyer’s guide should be able to help you sort through the vast assortment of options available. If you have found it informative, please share these seven best cat treats for kittens on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: Marinka Buronka, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
- 7 Best Treats for Kittens
- 1. PureBites Freeze-Dried Treats Cats
- 2. Whole Life Just One Ingredient Freeze-Dried Cat Treats – Best Value
- 3. Cat-Man-Doo Extra Large Dried Bonito Flakes – Premium Choice
- 4. Blue Buffalo Bursts Cat Treats
- 5. Get Naked Kitten Health Soft Treats for Kittens
- 6. Vital Essentials Minnows Freeze-Dried Cat Treats
- 7. Tiki Cat Stix Tuna Grain-Free Cat Treats
- Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Kitten Treats
- How Do I Feed Treats to My Kitten?