When most new owners first bring home their new pet, they’ve prepared for everything. They’ve picked which breed is right for them, have a home set up for their new kitten, toys, and a litter box. Often though, the kitten food is just whatever the supermarket happened to be selling. This is the most convenient, and while many owners worry about the benefits of dry, wet, or a mixture of food, they don’t put enough time into picking the healthiest food for their pets.
From mother’s milk to kitten food
Young kittens are particularly delicate; they need a healthy diet. Newly born kittens will get by on their mother’s milk for their first four weeks. It often takes up to eight weeks for a kitten to be entirely weaned off of milk. After this time they can progress fully onto a normal diet. Your choice of kitten food is really important in this stage of development as it sets your cat up for healthy adult life.
Cats don’t easily change their diet so their first food is crucial
In the first few months of their life, a kitten’s weight will triple from birth and increase a lot more when they move onto solid food. This means you really have to be careful with the kind of food you buy. A healthy diet can lay a great base for later in life. Cats often have difficulty moving from one diet to another, getting them used to junk food as a kitten will make it more difficult to feed them well later.
Starting out on the right foot… with food
Kitten owners will have experienced first hand how excitable and playful a young cat is. Along with growth spurts, their activity levels also call for a diet to sustain such increased energy. Choosing the right food for your kitten can go a long way to helping them live a healthy adult life.
What to Look for in Kitten Food?
With so many brands on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for you. When deciding on which food to buy for your cat, there are a few factors to consider. The first is its nutritional needs. A growing kitten needs food that is right for them to promote healthy growth.
Kittens need more protein
Kittens don’t have any extra need for fats or fatty acids, and a lot of their vitamin requirements are the same as an adult cat. These ingredients are often more prominent in cat food than they need to be, especially kitten food. Extra fat is used to pad out low-quality food but they should be getting their energy elsewhere. What a kitten needs a lot more of is protein. Their protein needs are considerably higher than normal cats.
More amino acids and minerals too
They also require a lot more amino acids and minerals to help with their growth. While a lot of their vitamin needs are similar to adult cats, there are some that kittens will benefit from getting more of. When selecting a kitten food, you should look for one that fulfils these needs rather than just be full of filler.
Low price or quality? You can’t have both
You also need to consider the price and convenience of feeding this food to them. While your kitten needs healthy food, it also needs to be affordable. Equally, it isn’t much use spending all day cooking a cat’s meals if you don’t have the time to do this at every meal. You have to balance these realistic concerns with your kitten’s health needs.
Some brands of kitten food will fulfil all of your cat’s needs, while others are mainly filler or fat dressed up as healthy kitten foods. For the most part, generic and off-brand types of food aren’t particularly healthy for your kitten. A known brand will bring with it some reassurance of what it actually contains. Royal Canin is mainly known for its dog food. Dog owners have long trusted their breed specific food to meet the requirements of each breed. Royal Canin brings this same approach to their cat food.
Royal Canin sells both adult and kitten food, in a few different forms. Even their kitten food comes in a few different varieties, including mother and kitten. This is particularly helpful if your cat is mothering your new kittens. Since the kittens will be accustomed to the mother’s food they should move onto their own easier. It also makes feeding time less difficult since you’re not keeping mother and kitten food separate. This food also comes in dry food and wet pouches, meaning whichever way you want to go with feeding your kitten there is a product that works for it.
Royal Canin kitten food contains around 3% fat to 11% protein. This is a really good ratio compared with most other brands. This balance will let your kitten get their energy from good sources. The wet version of this food does have some long-term health advantages over the dry, but the dry food is still plenty healthy for a kitten. Royal Canin is on the pricier side of kitten food, but this is down to high-quality ingredients. Whether you’re buying wet or dry food, buying food in bulk is often a cheaper option with this brand.
IAMS Proactive Health
IAMS Proactive Health Kitten food is the best budget kitten food available. If you’re concerned about prices but still want to give your kitten the most balanced diet possible, this one is for you. It is a specific kitten formula, so it naturally contains a lot more protein than their adult food. It also has added Omega-3 DHA, which helps with brain development for your kitten. These are important ingredients that other food producers ignore with their kitten foods.
This brand of food is specifically formulated to be similar to a kitten’s milk-based diet. It might not have a similar taste or consistency, but the nutritional content is very similar. This will help your cat’s development proceed naturally from being fed by their mother to being fed out of a packet. IAMs also includes added Vitamin E which helps to build a kitten’s immune system. This will help them build up resilience to any germs they may encounter in the early months of their life.
IAMS is a budget choice compared with others on the list, but it is still a quality choice for kitten food. There is very little missing from IAMS in comparison. Although you do have to be more careful about overfeeding your cat. With IAMS, there is also the benefit of being easily able to progress your cat onto a similar tasting adult or junior cat food. IAMS produces cat food for every age, so your kitten should have a smooth transfer over to an affordable adult cat food once they’ve grown up.
Hill’s Science Diet
Hill’s Science Diet is another kitten food at the higher end of the price scale. This one has a few things going for it that others don’t. Mainly, the recommendation of veterinarians. This brand is formulated by nutritionists and vets to make a type of food which is best suited for healthy development in kittens.
Hill’s Science kitten food contains a high level of protein from high-quality sources. This means it is easier digestible and should help keep your kitten energised. This way they can keep growing throughout their early years without relying on fatty foods. It is a very well balanced food that can also be fed to adult cats during the pregnancy and nursing stages. This makes it a better choice for gradually easing a kitten from their kitten food to regular food. This food also comes in wet and dry, with both being formulated to give kittens just what they need.
With such a scientific approach to making this food, it is hard to find much wrong with Hill’s Science except maybe the price. It is quite expensive in comparison with other foods, even when you buy in bulk. While it is healthy, not everyone will want to pay so much for their food. Other foods on this list are just as good at providing your kitten with what they need. You shouldn’t feel bad about giving your kitten a different food if Hill’s Science is overpriced for you.
Wellness Natural Pet Food
Wellness Natural Pet Food is a premium grain-free complete kitten food. A lot of kittens and cats require a grain free diet to prevent negative reactions. Possible effects of eating a grain cat food can include rashes, swelling and hair loss. If your kitten might benefit from a grain-free diet then Wellness Natural Pet Food is a great choice.
This healthy, natural food for kittens is an excellent source of high quality proteins and essential fatty acids, plus added Taurine for healthy eye and heart development. All of the wet kitten food recipes include lean meats, healthy fats, fruits and veggies with no wheat, corn or soy, and no added artificial flavors, colors, carrageenan or preservatives. Similarly, the dry food contains only premium, all natural ingredients.
As premium kitten food, Wellness Natural Pet Food is on the more expensive side but it has some health benefits that other brands don’t. It is particularly helpful if your cat requires a specific diet, so if your kitten might be better off on a grain-free food then Wellness is a great choice.
Which Kitten Food is Right for You?
An opportunity to showcase your cooking skills… to your kitten
There are a lot of brands on the market which will meet the nutritional needs of your kitten and help them grow into a healthy adult cat. However, there are also quite a few brands with cute pictures of kittens on the front that are full of nothing but filler and fat. This guide should help you find which brand of kitten food is best for you. You could also consider mixing home prepared food in with your kitten food. There is a growing movement for people to cook and prepare specifically for their pets. This isn’t feasible for most people every day. An occasional meal with this approach could be beneficial for your new kitten.
Don’t forget, kittens eat a lot more often than adult cats
Kittens need to be fed around four times a day to make sure they always have enough energy. If you’re keeping to this schedule, it is also important to make sure you’re not over or under feeding your kitten. You should generally stick to the advice given by the manufacturer of your pet food. Feeding them the measured portion of that food will ensure they get a complete nutritional diet without any overfeeding. This way they can grow into a healthy and happy adult cat.