Last Updated on: November 23, 2020
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 nine 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
|Best Overall||Blue Buffalo Kitty Cravings||
|Best Value||Whole Life Just One Ingredient Freeze-Dried Cat Treats||
|Premium Choice||Cat-Man-Doo Extra Large Dried Bonito Flakes||
|Meow Mix Irresistibles Soft Salmon Cat Treats||
|Hartz Delectables Bisque Lickable Kitten Treat||
9 Best Treats for Kittens – Reviews 2020
1. Blue Buffalo Kitty Cravings – Best Overall
Blue Buffalo Kitty Cravings is a holistic and natural treat that contains 23% protein. It has chicken listed as its main ingredient, and there are few other ingredients besides rice, barley, oatmeal, and peas. It takes inspiration from their natural diet and contains no corn, wheat, or soy ingredients. There are also no chemical preservatives or dyes.
We loved the ingredients in this treat, and the only thing we could complain about is that not all of our cats would eat it.
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.
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.
4. Meow Mix Irresistibles Soft Salmon Cat Treats
Meow Mix Irresistibles Soft Salmon Cat Treats is a brand of cat treats that contains 20% protein, which is a little lower than our top models but is still pretty good. It has chicken listed as its top ingredient, and it also contains salmon. These soft treats come in a handy resealable package that retains freshness.
Our cats liked Meow Mix, but it contains BHA, which is a harmful chemical preservative. It should be safe in small amounts, but you may want to look elsewhere for a permanent replacement. It also contains artificial dyes that can trigger allergies in some cats.
5. Hartz Delectables Bisque Lickable Kitten Treat
Hartz Delectables Bisque Lickable Kitten Treat provides your kitten with a tret that contains 21% protein. It has salmon listed as the top ingredient, and it also includes cod and shrimp as well as tuna meal. There is no corn, wheat, or soy in the treat that can throw off your pet’s digestive system. Portable pouches let you keep them with you at all times.
The biggest downside to Hartz Delectables is that many of our cats didn’t like it and refused to eat it.
6. 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.
7. Get Naked 701184 Kitten Health Soft Treats
Get Naked 701184 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.
8. Wellness 90033 Kittles Crunchy Natural Treats
Wellness 90033 Kittles Crunchy Natural Treats is another low-calorie treat with only two calories per serving. The scientifically designed shape of the crunchy treat helps scrub away plaque and tartar. It has all-natural ingredients like peas, potatoes, and chickpeas with salmon at the top of the list.
Unfortunately, most of our cats didn’t like Wellness 90033 and would leave the treats where we put them. Other cats would eat them for a few days before refusing.
9. PureBites 1PBC31PO Freeze-Dried Treats Cats
PureBites 1PBC31PO Freeze-Dried Treats Cats provide pet owners with a single ingredient pet treat. 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.
Let’s look at the ingredients you should look for when choosing a kitten treat 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.
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 and help to prevent several health problems, including constipation, hyperexcitability, and more. They also help promote a soft coat, and there is some evidence they help with joint pain.
Calcium is important to your kitten’s strong bones and teeth. It also helps with blood coagulation and is an electrolyte, helping send messages to the brain. A calcium deficiency usually results in a disease called rickets. Kittens require calcium for development, and nursing mothers will also require more than usual.
Taurine is an important amino acid used in plenty of bodily functions, including vision, digestion, and pregnancy. Symptoms of a taurine deficiency can take a long time to develop, so it’s best to look for foods and treats that have the 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 Cat?
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.
When it comes to choosing a brand of cat treats for your cat, we recommend something with more than 20% protein with a whole meat as the first ingredient like our pick for the best overall. Blue Buffalo Kitty Cravings contains all-natural ingredients like oatmeal, barley, and peas while leaving out the bad ingredients like BHA, artificial dyes, soy, and corn. 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 nine best treats for kittens on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured image credit: Marinka Buronka, Shutterstock
Roland has been an animal lover all his life, with cats holding a special place in his heart. He is owned by three felines: Wheely, KitzKitz, and Nugget (all rescues) who bring all the laughter and mischievousness one can expect from the feline master race. As the creator of ExcitedCats, his mission is to assist in the search for the best gear to help improve the health and wellbeing of cats everywhere.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 9 Best Treats for Kittens – Reviews 2020
- 1. Blue Buffalo Kitty Cravings – Best Overall
- 2. Whole Life Just One Ingredient Freeze-Dried Cat Treats – Best Value
- 3. Cat-Man-Doo Extra Large Dried Bonito Flakes – Premium Choice
- 4. Meow Mix Irresistibles Soft Salmon Cat Treats
- 5. Hartz Delectables Bisque Lickable Kitten Treat
- 6. Blue Buffalo Bursts Cat Treats
- 7. Get Naked 701184 Kitten Health Soft Treats
- 8. Wellness 90033 Kittles Crunchy Natural Treats
- 9. PureBites 1PBC31PO Freeze-Dried Treats Cats
- Buyer’s Guide