The Best Cat Food For Kittens
Cats and kittens are classed as ‘obligate carnivores’, meaning that they are strictly meat-eaters. In this article, we choose to start with complete foods for kittens since most cat parents adopt kittens, so it makes sense to address this group about the best cat foods available in the market. The easiest way to make sure your cat is getting all the nutrients they need is to feed them a good quality, complete cat food.
What is considered a kitten? A cat is considered a kitten until it’s at least 1 year old and this is why vets recommend giving your cat a specially formulated kitten food until they are past this age.
A cat’s life stages for feeding are varied depending on food manufacturer, but this is a good guide:
- Kitten: 0-12 months
- Adult cat: between 1 – 7 years of age
- Senior cat: 7+ years of age
- Geriatric cat: 11+ years of age.
Like babies, kittens go through growth spurts, as much as doubling & tripling their weight in the first few weeks of their life. These are also influenced by other factors including their age, lifestyle, and even their health will determine the food that’s best for your young cat.
“As playful as a kitten”. Just imagine how much calories your little kitty cat is expending and vets will often recommend to feed them four times per day to keep playful and grow healthy. With such a high energy expenditure, it can be tough for kittens to get in enough calories that will support normal growth.
Lets cut to the chase, kittens need food rich in fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and most importantly 30% of it calories should be from healthy animal-based proteins and this is where you need to read the labels with a keen eye. On top of that, their food needs to be easily digestible.
The Importance of Digestibility
What is digestibility?
According to Wikipedia…
Digestibility refers to the amount of food and nutrients actually absorbed by your cat.
How can you tell if a food isn’t very digestible? One factor that influences digestibility is moisture level. Higher quality, moisture-rich foods help improve the amount of food that is digested by your cat. This brings more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to the tissues throughout your cat’s body. The best way to tell is by your cat’s stool. If you see your cat’s stool is loose, often large, frequently passed, smells foul then these should be telling signs that the food is not good for her. Speak to your vet of possibly change to a know food brand.
[Dry] Best for Kittens: IAMS for Vitality Dry Kitten Food
IAMS is a brand that will be familiar to most cat owners due to their TV ads and dominates pet aisles in many supermarkets. This blend by IAMS is designed specifically for cats under one year of age and has the same nutrition as their mother’s milk. This kitten food with 91 percent of animal protein to support seven signs of healthy vitality and has considered cats with sensitive stomachs i.e. recipe is wheat-free with no fillers and no artificial colours.
Their main ingredient is chicken with omega 3 and 6 for healthy skin and coat and DHA to promote healthy brain development, antioxidants, prebiotics and beet pulp — all the things your kitten needs to grow into a strong, happy and healthy cat.
[Wet] Best for Kittens: Lily’s Kitchen Grain-Free Complete Wet Kitten Food
One brand that stood out as the best food for kittens in our research was from Lily’s kitchen. Lily’s Kitchen Grain-Free Complete Wet Canned Kitten Food has is a healthy chicken dinner that has all the taste and nutrients your kitten needs to be healthy, happy and full of enthusiasm each and every mealtime. Its ingredients contain a selection of freshly prepared chicken, pork, trout and beef to provide protein from a spectrum of sources. Compared to other kitten food brands, this formula has a higher concentration of protein and amino acids and as mentioned in the intro paragraph above protein and amino acids are important for healthy organ, bone, and muscle development. On top of these, Wellness kitten formula also offers high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA which is critical for brain and eye development which you will realise change rapidly at this stage in life.
The Best Dry Cat Foods
A little history about my pet cat Chika, she was an outdoor cat and, apart from killing sprees of the local wildlife in our Yorkshire countryside, she didn’t tend to cause many problems. As you can guess, being brought up in the countryside, my cat Chika was a great hunter and as a result, you might think she was a fussy eater but not really. The only time we thought about checking the cat food brands is when she was pregnant and again when she fell ill. Since then I have been trialing brands to find a diet that’s healthy but not too expensive.
Before I spoke to my vet about what cat food to offer my cat, I always thought that cats need a mix of dry and wet. I got educated that this is a common misconception and advised that if your cat is healthy, there is no need to offer wet food unless advised otherwise as cats like to crunch kibble.
Best Overall: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food is made with premium ingredients designed to support your cat’s overall health and has nutritional benefits that justify the price. The primary benefits are said to be healthy digestion and a shiny coat. Instead of commonly allergenic proteins from ingredients such as chicken and beef, the food is made primarily from pea and duck protein. The minimal, premium ingredient list is also designed to lower the chances of food sensitivities in your cat, while extra taurine helps maintain normal heart function and retinal structure i.e. good vision, especially for their night patrols.
All of the flavors are grain free (hypoallergenic), and provide balanced, daily nutrition that includes omega-3 and six fatty acids. Natural Balance may be a good choice for some cats who struggle to digest almost everything they’re offered.
Best Grain Free: Purina Beyond Natural
The Purina Beyond Natural pet food products have been carefully developed by leading pet nutritionists and their grain-free dry cat foods are well-rated and also to top it up they ain’t crazily priced. You can have a choice of Chicken with Cassava, Rice in Chicken and Rice in Salmon amongst other recipes.
As with most of our brands they make sure that their food is made from only the cleanest most thoughtfully sourced ingredients.
Best for Older Cats: Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Cat Food
Blue Buffalo provides high-quality foods for cats of all ages, however, their Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein complete dry cat food stands out as the best cat food for senior and older cats. In each of the flavor varieties of the grain-free Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Cat food, the food is enhanced with what Blue Buffalo calls “LifeSource Bits”. These are pieces of kibble containing concentrated antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to keep your adult cat healthy and active. The kibble also contains sweet potatoes for complex carbs, cranberries, blueberries, and carrots that contain antioxidants to support the immune system, and other essentials that aid in healthy muscles, hair, heart, eyes, and digestion.
Other Dry Cat Food Brands
Orijen Dry Cat Food
It contains the right blend of proteins, carbohydrates, and micronutrients that can help your cat maintain a lean and healthy weight. This particular recipe is made with free run chicken and turkey, wild caught fish and nest laid eggs.
Wellness Dry Cat Food
It’s intended for Adult cats as it contains essential vitamins and minerals; probiotics and prebiotics; fiber; fatty acids; and healthy proteins and carbohydrates. This recipe has optimal levels of fibre to reduce hairball formation.
The Best Wet Cat Foods
ZiwiPeak cat food products ingredients are sustainably derived from the highest quality sources. They have a huge range of different tinned flavours available to suit your cat whatever their preferred meat flavour of choice is which include; Beef, Lamb, Mackerel & Lamb, Venison, Rabbit & Lamb, etc. More than 90% of their food is animal-based from sources including meat, organ, raw bone, and regional-specific green-lipped mussels making this as close as possible to a cat’s evolutionary diet need. They naturally air-dry their products to increase the foods’ digestibility and nutritive quality. not only do they source their products locally, but they also avoid using any cheap fillers such as grains and sugars which can often stimulate allergies in pets and contain unnecessary carbohydrates.
Other Wet Cat Food Brands
Wellness CORE Signature Selects Wet Cat Food
Wellness core Signature Selects cat food tins are complete and balanced meals that naturally deliver the protein, taste, and texture your carnivore craves. The CORE range is made up of 95% meat and comes in four different mixes which are Beef & Chicken, Chicken, Chicken & Salmon or Turkey. Wellness CORE is a grain-free protein-rich blend that has plenty of water in it too to help with digestion and urinary health. Wellness also adds important minerals to each can, like taurine to support a healthy heart and muscle function, and folic acid for proper cell growth and regeneration.
Best Cat Food Comparison:
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Summary of Key things to remember when feeding your cat.
- Cats are ‘obligate carnivores’ and can’t be vegetarian: they need the essential amino acid Taurine that’s mainly found in animal-based protein like fish and meat.
- The ingredients on the packaging are listed in order of quantity, therefore, if meat is at the top of the list, it means the product contains more meat than any other ingredient.
- If the front of the packaging names one type of meat or any other food, such as rice or vegetables, the ingredients list has to state how much of it is actually in the food. Read the labels carefully for more information.
- Don’t overfeed your cat; measure the food to ensure you’re giving the correct amount.