Best Kitten Food For Healthy Baby Cats

There’s nothing better than inviting a sweet kitten into your home and heart. Their infinite energy, crazy zoomies, and adorable snuggles are unbeatable. 

You might be wondering what type of food is best for the unique nutritional needs of kittens.

Your sweet baby is completely dependent on their mother for the first few weeks of their life. As soon as those little teeth come in though, your kitten will be antsy to start using them. 

Your kitten needs a diet that’s full of the right ingredients to provide them with the energy and nutrients they need for healthy growth.

Your run-of-the-mill department store brand cat food won’t fit the bill here. 

We’ve taken a thorough look at some of the top wet and dry kitten foods on the market today.

With veterinary input, here are our top choices for the best kitten foods to keep your kitty healthy and growing strong.

Our review process is unbiased and based on extensive research. If you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a commission.

Quick-Find Best-In-Class Table

Editor’s Choice

Wellness Complete Kitten Formula

Wellness Complete Kitten Formula

  • This canned cat food provides natural and premium proteins for a balanced diet for your kitten
  • Meets nutritional needs of kittens up to 52 weeks of age
  • Contains good balance of minerals, omega fatty acids, and taurine

Best Dry Food

Farmina N&D Prime Chicken & Pomegranate Recipe

Farmina N&D Prime Chicken & Pomegranate Recipe

  • This dry kitten food provides a complete and balanced diet to meet your kitten’s nutritional needs
  • No legumes, grains, by-products, hormones, or artificial preservatives
  • Omegas and fish oil to support a healthy skin and coat

Best Budget Food

Purina Pro Plan Focus Kitten Favorites Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

Purina Pro Plan Focus Kitten Favorites

  • Real meat or fish is the first ingredient in all flavors
  • Promotes healthy eyesight development thanks to taurine 
  • Easy way to add hydration to your kitten’s diet

Kitten-Specific VS Adult Cat Nutrition Requirements 

Kittens have the highest protein requirements during their weaning stage. After this, the amount of protein they’ll need to thrive will decrease. 

How much protein should be in my kitten’s food?

Kittens need their food to consist of a minimum of 30% protein, while adults need 26% based on a dry matter basis. 

How much fat should be in kitten food?

When it comes to the fat content, aim to find foods that provide anywhere between 9-35% fat content on a dry matter basis.

This is a fairly wide range, but a number of cat foods are too extreme one way or the other.

You want enough fat content to support your kitty’s growth and well-being, yet not so much as to risk obesity.

What are the calcium, vitamin, and mineral needs of kittens?

“Kittens need a higher calcium content to help encourage healthy bone and teeth development. A young cat will need a minimum of 1% calcium based on dry water matter of their food compared to 0.6% for adult cats.  

Compared to an adult cat, kittens need high concentrations of phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and Vitamin A to ensure healthy growth. It is also recommended kitten food is supplemented with DHA and EPA to encourage healthy growth and brain development.”

Dr. Burch, Catological veterinary advisor

Catological is NOT a Veterinary site. Each cat is unique. When it comes to your cat’s care, always consult with your veterinarian and heed their advice.

Should you feed your kitten wet or dry food?

For purposes of hydration, wet kitten food is better. Kittens don’t always drink enough water to compensate for a dry kitten food diet.

That being said, kittens need to experience different protein types and textures so it’s important to offer both wet and dry cat foods.

A variety of kitten foods will help your kitten as they age, especially if they ever become unwell and need to be put onto a specific therapeutic diet.

If your adult cat has only encountered dry kibble since it was a kitten, it may be difficult to get them interested in wet cat food down the line. 

How much kitten food should you feed your kitten

Always check with your veterinarian to create the best diet plan for your growing kitten.

Cats, in general, should be fed the appropriate amount of calories based on three factors:

  1. Weight
  2. Daily Energy Requirements
  3. Resting Energy Requirements

The actual amount (how many ounces, cups, grams) you feed will also vary based on the caloric density of the cat food, and any particular issues your little furball might have.

With those factors in mind, the amount you feed your kitten should fall within the following ranges.

AgeAmount to feed
6 to 7 weeks1/4 to 1/3 cup per day
7 weeks to 5 months1/2 to 1 cup per day
6 months to 1 year2/3 to 1 1/4 cup per day

How often should you feed your Kitten

Dr. Burch recommends splitting up feedings throughout the day according to the following:

AgeNumber of Feedings
2-6 months3-4 smaller meals
Over 6 months2 meals a day

Always check with your veterinarian when developing a feeding plan.

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Kitten

Kittens are curious little creatures that will be interested in almost any human food you provide them.

Just because they want to eat the food you’re preparing for them (or for yourself) doesn’t mean that they should eat it, though. 

“I recommend avoiding raw food or freeze-dried diets due to the high risk of food-borne illness to not only your cat but to members of your household, especially ones who are immunocompromised. Kittens are at significant risk of showing clinical signs of disease when infected.”

Dr. Burch, Catological veterinary advisor

Raw food diets can contain parasites that cause diseases like toxoplasmosis and echinococcosis in your kittens. 

Avoid any boutique kitten foods and those which have not undergone feeding trials by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

The bag or can of kitten food should have a specific statement that indicates the food meets the nutritional levels established by AAFCO.

Do non-meat ingredients provide any nutritional value in kitten food?

In your hunt for the best kitten food, you might see some ingredients on the labels that you have never considered for your pet’s food.

Things like sweet potatoes, corn, and carrots are often used, but are they safe?

These foods are safe to feed your kitten, but they don’t offer much in terms of nutritional benefits.

Cats are obligate carnivores, getting all their nutrient needs met from animal flesh. They don’t derive much in terms of nutrients from plants sources.

The Best Wet Kitten Foods


Wellness Complete Kitten Formula

Wellness Complete Kitten Formula

Macronutrient Breakdown (Dry Matter Basis): 

  • Protein: 50%
  • Fat: 27%
  • Carbs: 18%

First 4 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Carrots

Caloric Content: 97 kcal per 3-ounce can

Catological Rating: 5/5

Wellness Complete is one of the best pet food brands available today.

Their diverse range of natural cat foods is chock full of the right ingredients your pets need to thrive and this kitten formula is no exception to that rule.

Here is why we rate it as the top wet kitten food and best kitten food overall.

The Positives: 

  • Protein-rich and nutrient-dense wet kitten food option.
  • Includes important organ meat.
  • 100% grain-free recipe features nutrient boosters like flax seeds and fish oils.
  • Savory sauce keeps your kitty interested in cat food and ensures hydration.

The Negatives:

  • A small number of complaints about poor or damaged packaging
Best Raw-Inspired Option

Instinct Kitten Grain-Free Pate

Instinct Kitten Grain-Free Pate Real Chicken Recipe Natural Wet Canned Cat Food

Macronutrient Breakdown (Dry Matter Basis): 

  • Protein: 55%
  • Fat: 27%
  • Carbs: 14%

First 4 Ingredients: Chicken, Beef Liver, Chicken Broth, Salmon

Caloric Content: 190 kcal per 5.5-ounce can or 103 kcal per 3-ounce can

Catological Rating: 4.6/5

Fillers in human foods are a big no-no. The same rule applies to kitten food.

That’s why this high-quality and filler-free pate from Instinct is one of our favorite options to offer your kitten.

This canned cat food formula is high in animal protein and follows Instinct’s commitment to providing top-notch raw-inspired cat food options.

The Positives: 

  • The mix of several types of proteins like chicken, salmon, and beef.
  • Your kitten will find this pates delicious loaf texture irresistible.
  • A dose of DHA in every serving for brain and eye development. 
  • Grain-free formula and absolutely no corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, or preservatives. 

The Negatives:

  • Chance of gastrointestinal upset due to the higher dry matter protein content (55%). 
Best Minced Option

Nulo Freestyle Minced Salmon & Turkey in Gravy

Nulo Freestyle Minced Salmon & Turkey in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat & Kitten Food

Macronutrient Breakdown (Dry Matter Basis): 

  • Protein: 56%
  • Fat: 17%
  • Carbs: 22%

First 4 Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Broth, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver

Caloric Content: 76 kcal per 3-ounce can

Catological Rating: 4.3/5

Not every kitten or adult cat likes the texture of wet food in pate format. This formula from Nulo offers your kitty a minced texture that’s sure to appeal to their carnivorous needs.

The long, thin, and flat crumbles of meat appeal to their senses and satisfy their need for different textures.

The Positives

  • This salmon and turkey flavor combo is sure to be irresistible.
  • Every single bite is jam-packed with animal-sourced protein. 
  • The formula has zero grains, corn, wheat, or any artificial ingredients.
  • The broth-based gravy is whisker-licking good.
  • Packed with nutrients and probiotics.

The Negatives

  • Some reports of inconsistencies in the texture of this formula.
  • Contains guar gum which most cats can tolerate quite well.
  • Chance of gastrointestinal upset due to the higher dry matter protein content (56%). 
Best Chunky Option

Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Kitten Recipe Cuts

Merrick Backcountry Kitten Recipe Cuts

Macronutrient Breakdown (Dry Matter Basis): 

  • Protein: 50%
  • Fat: 21%
  • Carbs: 11%

First 4 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Broth, Duck Broth, Chicken Liver

Caloric Content: 82 kcal per pouch

Catological Rating: 4.2/5

Merrick is a US-based pet food company that provides a lot of options for pet owners.

They have three separate cat food lines – Purrfect Bistro, Backcountry, and Limited Ingredient Diet.

We believe their Backcountry line is the superior kitten food option in not only ingredients and formula, but taste. 

The Positives

  • Protein-rich formula comes in a texture that most kittens will love.
  • Morsels are cut to just the right size to get your kitten using their new chompers.
  • No grain, wheat, or corn ingredients.
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives.
  • Merrick is based in the United States so the factory must uphold strict FDA guidelines.

The Negatives

  • On the expensive side.
Best Budget Wet Kitten Food

Purina Pro Plan Focus Kitten Favorites

Purina Pro Plan Focus Kitten Favorites Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

Macronutrient Breakdown (Dry Matter Basis):   

  • Protein: 53%
  • Fat: 23%
  • Carbs: 2%

First 4 Ingredients: Varies by flavor

Caloric Content: 101-111 kcal per 3-ounce can

Catological Rating: 3.5/5

While Purina is often considered to be a lower quality budget brand, its formula is on the higher end of the lower-cost kitten food options.

If you’re on a budget but what to give your kitten the best kickstart for his nutritional needs, there’s no harm in choosing this Purina Pro Plan wet kitten food.

The Positives: 

  • AAFCO support that the cat food formulas provide complete and balanced nutrition.
  • The package comes with either 12 or 24 three-ounce (85g) cans.
  • Three tasty flavor varieties – Chicken & Liver, Ocean Whitefish & Tuna, and Salmon & Ocean Whitefish.
  • Each flavor features real meat or fish.
  • Contains DHA omega-3 fatty acid, calcium, vitamin A and taurine.

The Negatives:

  • 2/3 of the cans are seafood-centric.
  • The Ocean Whitefish & Tuna flavor contains wheat gluten which can be an allergen.

The Best Dry Kitten Foods


Farmina N&D Prime Chicken & Pomegranate Recipe

Farmina N&D Prime Chicken & Pomegranate Recipe

Macro Macronutrient Breakdown (Dry Matter Basis):   

  • Protein:57%
  • Fat: 22%
  • Carbs: 7%

First 4 Ingredients: Boneless Chicken, Dehydrated Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Fat

Caloric Content: 412 k cal per cup

Catological Rating: 4.8/5

Farmina is one of the best cat food brands available today. Their formulas contain high-quality ingredients with a prime focus on what your kitten needs most – protein. 

The Positives: 

  • Made without any grains or artificial preservatives.
  • This grain-free formula makes this flavor very low in carbohydrates. 
  • A whopping 98% of the protein in this cat food is derived from animal sources.
  • The first two ingredients are both high-quality and natural protein.
  • Free from peas, lentils, pea protein, and other plant-based sources.

The Negatives:

  • Sweet potatoes are listed as the third most plentiful ingredient in this formula.
  • Higher price compared to other kitten food options on our list.
Runner Up

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten Formula

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food

Macronutrient Breakdown (Dry Matter Basis):   

  • Protein: 50%
  • Fat: 20%
  • Carbs: 23%

First 4 Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal

Caloric Content: 497 k cal per cup

Catological Rating: 4.5/5

There’s a reason that Wellness branded products have made an appearance twice on this list.

Their kitten food is made with high-quality animal protein and is chock full of other quality ingredients that your kitten needs to thrive. 

The Positives

  • Provides a protein and nutrient-rich diet.
  • The recipe is nutrient-dense with 55% high-quality and healthy protein.
  • Contains the omega-3 fatty acid DHA.
  • Contains ingredients like dried kelp and cranberries.
  • Cranberries provide a hefty dose of vitamins C, E, and K. 
  • Wellness’ ActiCoat probiotic coating further helps support digestion.
  • The flaxseeds provide a dose of omega-6 fatty acids for optimal coat health. 

The Negatives

  • It’s made in a facility that processes grains.

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Chantelle Fowler

Chantelle is a content writer and a life-long cat owner. She currently has four cats in her household - Dena, Belle, Odin, and Finnley. Chantelle has always had a unique connection with animals. She doesn’t know why, but cats always seem to choose her over other humans in the house (and she wouldn’t have it any other way)