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Which kitten food is best?

Getting a kitten is an exciting time filled with many challenges and decisions. One of the most important decisions you will make is what food you’ll feed your new pet. Ensuring your kitten gets the proper nutrition is vital to their development and overall health. There are many kitten foods out there to choose from, and it can be difficult to know which is best. A kitten food that has quality ingredients, enriching vitamins and minerals and is AAFCO approved will keep your kitten thriving. The Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food has all the nutrition your kitten needs and a taste they’ll love. 

What to know before you buy kitten food

What is the difference between kitten and cat food?

Kittens have different nutritional needs than adult cats, and the composition of kitten food should reflect this. Because kittens are growing, they require three times more carbohydrates than cats. They also need a higher percentage of protein and twice as much vitamin A as adult cats. Kittens require more fatty acids, amino acids and a greater calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.

Dry kitten food

Your kitten can do well on either dry or wet food. Dry food is usually much cheaper than wet food. It is a good choice if you plan on open feeding your kitten because it won’t spoil as quickly. Dry food also is easy to store and doesn’t require any kind of refrigeration after opening. According to PetMD, when free feeding your cat dry food, it is important to pay attention to how much your cat is eating. With dry food, it is harder to tell if your kitten is over or under eating. 

Wet kitten food

Wet kitten food contains more moisture than dry and can help keep your kitten hydrated. It is easier for younger kittens to chew, and they often find it tastier than dry food. It also has more meat and fewer carbs than dry food. However, wet food is less convenient to serve, more expensive and you must refrigerate any leftovers after opening. 

What to look for in quality kitten food

Quality ingredients

When choosing your kitten’s food, look for one that has quality ingredients. Meat and other ingredients sourced from North America can be an indicator of high quality. Your kitten is a carnivore, so make sure the main ingredient in their food is meat. Look for whole meat or meat meal and avoid animal byproducts. 

Vitamins and minerals

Check that your kitten’s food meets all of their nutritional needs, including the vitamins and minerals essential to their growth. Most kitten foods already contain these nutrients, and according to PetMD, unless your vet directs you otherwise, you should avoid giving your kitten any additional vitamins supplements. 

AAFCO approval

The American Association of Feed Control Officials evaluates and approve certain brands of kitten food. If this seal is present on a bag of food, it means that food will meet or exceed your kitten’s nutritional requirements. For the most confidence in your food selection, look for food that has been approved through an AAFCO feeding trial rather than just from the food’s nutrition profile.

How much you can expect to spend on kitten food

Expect to spend $1-$4 per pound on dry kitten food. Buying larger bags will often get you a better deal. Wet kitten food can cost $6-$10 per pound.

Kitten food FAQ

How do you know if your kitten is doing well on their food?

A. An active, healthy kitten is a good indication that their food is allowing them to thrive. Look for bright eyes, a shiny coat and normal bowel movements. Your kitten should also be playful and growing steadily.

Can I “free feed” my kitten?

A. According to PetMD, if your kitten eats dry food, then free feeding them is fine. This allows your kitten access to food whenever they want it. However, wet food does not last as long as dry food, so you should not leave it out all day for your pet to munch on. 

What’s the best kitten food to buy?

Top kitten food

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food

What you need to know: Specifically made for kittens, this food will support your pet’s development. 

What you’ll love: Your kitten will find this food tasty, and as they get older they can switch to the adult version. It has no artificial colors or preservatives. The food will support your pet’s digestion, healthy eye and brain development. 

What you should consider: Some pet owners have reported that the oily texture causes their kittens to vomit. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Chewy and PetSmart 

Top kitten food for the money

Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Food

Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Food 

What you need to know: This affordable food will boost your kitten’s immune system and give them a shiny coat. 

What you’ll love: A great quality for such a low price, this food contains no fillers. The food has prebiotics and natural fiber to promote good digestion, taurine to support vision and heart health and omega-3 DHA for brain health. 

What you should consider: Some buyers have reported receiving adult-sized kibble in their bag instead of the smaller kitten-sized kibble.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Chewy and PetSmart 

Worth checking out

Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Natural Kitten Dry Food

Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Natural Kitten Dry Food

What you need to know: This high-quality kitten food provides excellent nutrition for your pet. 

What you’ll love: This food can improve your kitten’s coat and breath. It contains all-natural ingredients with meat as the first ingredient and has no meat by-products or fillers. Vitamins and minerals enhance this food to support your kitten’s development. 

What you should consider: The price of this food is high, and some pet owners reported that their kitten did not like the taste. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Chewy and PetSmart


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Morgan Freeman writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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