Nourishing Newcomers: Introducing the 8 Best Kitten Foods for Your New Cat

That kittens have different nutritional needs compared to adult cats, and it’s important to provide them with specially formulated food to support their growth and development.

When selecting food for your kitten, it’s ideal to choose products that contain high-quality ingredients. One recommended dry food option is Orijen Kitten Recipe, which features responsibly-sourced, whole-prey animal and fish proteins. It also includes a crunchy freeze-dried coating, adding texture and variety to your kitten’s meals.

For wet food, Stella & Chewy’s Purrfect Paté Carnivore Cravings Kitten is recommended. This wet food option is made with high-quality protein ingredients and is free of legumes and other ingredients that you may want to avoid.

Remember to transition your kitten to new food gradually, mixing it with their current food to prevent digestive upset. Additionally, ensure that your kitten has access to fresh water at all times to stay properly hydrated.

Our top picks:

Orijen Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food

Primary Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, salmon, whole herring, chicken liver
Volume: 4 pounds
Portion Size: ¼ cup to 1 cup daily
Flavors: Kitten

Stella & Chewy’s Purrfect Paté Carnivore Cravings Kitten

Primary Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth, salmon
Volume: 2.8 or 5.2 ounces
Portion Size: 1 ¾ -2 can per 1-2 pounds (2.8-ounce cans)
Flavors: Chicken and salmon

Instinct Raw Freeze-Dried Cage-Free Chicken Recipe for Kittens

Primary Ingredient: Chicken, ground chicken bone, beef organs, cod
Volume: 9.5 ounces
Portion Size: ½ to 2 ¾ cups
Flavors: Chicken

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8 Best Kitten Foods for Your New Cat

Best Overall, Dry – Orijen Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food

Orijen’s Kitten Formula is a dry food designed specifically for kittens, providing a high-protein and high-fat diet that aligns with their natural carnivorous needs. The food contains a variety of quality animal proteins, including free-run poultry, wild-caught fish, and whole prey ingredients. The inclusion of whole prey ingredients, such as bone, organ, and muscle from protein sources, offers a wide range of essential nutrients.

The kibble is specially sized for smaller kitten mouths and features a freeze-dried raw chicken liver coating to enhance palatability. It can also be softened with water if desired, providing additional moisture. Orijen has an in-house team of nutritionists and veterinarians who ensure their foods meet the dietary requirements of kittens. The formula also meets the nutritional adequacy standards set by the AAFCO.


  • No protein meal used
  • Whole prey ingredients for a natural nutrient profile
  • Animal protein listed as the first five ingredients
  • Freeze-dried coated for added flavor


  • Contains legumes, which contribute to higher carb content

Orijen’s Kitten Formula offers several advantages, including the absence of protein meal and the use of whole prey ingredients. The high-quality animal proteins listed as the first five ingredients indicate a focus on providing optimal nutrition for kittens. The freeze-dried coating adds flavor to entice picky eaters.

However, it’s important to note that the inclusion of legumes, such as chickpeas and whole peas, increases the carbohydrate content of the food. While cats are obligate carnivores and rely primarily on protein, a higher carbohydrate content may not align with their ideal diet.

Best Overall, Wet – Stella & Chewy’s Purrfect Paté Carnivore Cravings Kitten

Stella & Chewy’s Purrfect Paté Carnivore Cravings is recommended as a good option for kitten wet food. It is available in chicken and salmon flavors and features a soft paté texture that is easy for kittens to eat and gentle on their young mouths. The quality of the food is apparent upon opening the can, and its visually appealing appearance sets it apart from other canned kitten foods.

The high-quality ingredients are a highlight, with responsibly and sustainably sourced proteins like chicken and salmon listed as the first ingredients. The inclusion of chicken broth contributes to the food’s high moisture content, helping to keep kittens hydrated. Additionally, the food is free from grains, legumes, artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors.

The Purrfect Paté can be used as a complete meal or as a food topper to enhance the taste and nutritional value of other foods. However, it’s important to note that due to the high caloric intake required by growing kittens, relying solely on this premium and relatively pricey food may become expensive. It is worth considering the cost implications of feeding this food exclusively.


  • No hormones or antibiotics
  • Smooth paté texture suitable for kitten teeth
  • High moisture content for hydration
  • Contains responsibly sourced proteins (cage-free chicken and wild-caught salmon)
  • Can be used as a topper or as a complete diet


  • Relatively expensive, especially with high feeding requirements for kittens

Best Freeze-Dried – Instinct Raw Freeze-Dried Cage-Free Chicken Recipe for Kittens

Instinct Raw Freeze-Dried Cage-Free Chicken Recipe is a protein-forward, low-carb food that offers a high percentage of protein sourced from responsibly-sourced ingredients. The food contains over 90% protein from chicken, beef organs, chicken bones, and fish. It is minimally processed and freeze-dried, providing a kibble-like texture that is easy to serve and store.

The inclusion of chicken bones in the recipe offers a natural source of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. Beef organs contribute essential vitamins and minerals to the diet. Fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples, and squash are added as healthier fillers instead of grains or soy, providing additional nutrients.

To serve this freeze-dried food, it is recommended to add warm water, which softens the nibs, improves the texture, and adds moisture to the diet. However, it’s important to note that kittens under six weeks old should not consume raw foods, as their immune and digestive systems are not yet fully developed, and it may pose a risk of illness.


  • Includes bone and organs for added nutritional benefits
  • Minimally processed freeze-dried food
  • Made without legumes
  • Contains fruits and vegetables for added nutrients


  • Not suitable for kittens under 6 weeks old

Best for Texture Transitions – Tiki Pets Cat Baby Mousse & Shreds with Chicken, Salmon, and Chicken Liver

Tiki Cats Baby Mousse and Shreds is a cat food product that offers a combination of smooth paté and shredded textures in the same can, designed to help kittens transition from smooth to solid food. Both textures are soft and easy to chew, suitable for small jaws, tiny teeth, and delicate digestive systems.

Each side of the can meets the AAFCO standards and provides specific nutrients and supplements, including taurine, DHA, and prebiotics, which are important for the kitten’s life stage. The food has a high protein, fat, and moisture content, addressing the nutritional needs of growing kittens.

The 2-in-1 food product comes in three flavors and is suitable for kittens aged four weeks and older. However, it’s worth noting that the feeding guidelines recommend a relatively high amount, approximately 1 3/4 cans per pound of body weight. This may make it expensive to feed larger kittens in the long term, and switching to a different food or the Tiki Baby Whole Foods line could be more economical after a few months.


  • Offers two types of textures in one can
  • Contains prebiotics to aid digestion
  • Comes in three flavors for variety


  • Expensive to feed larger kittens due to high feeding guidelines

Best Prescription – Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Liver & Chicken Entree Canned Cat Food

Hill’s Science Diet is a well-known brand of prescription cat food often recommended by veterinarians. They offer a kitten formula made from pork and chicken, which is suitable for kittens starting from the weaning stage until they reach one year of age. The food contains DHA sourced from fish oil, prebiotics for digestion support, and has a soft minced texture that works well as a starter solid food for growing kittens.

The product is available in two sizes, with the smaller cans being recommended for younger and lighter cats due to easier portioning. However, purchasing the larger size can be more economical. It’s worth noting that the food contains meat by-products and corn glutens, which may not be ideal ingredients for cats at any life stage. Although there are numerous high-quality commercial kitten foods available, this prescription food is also suitable for pregnant and nursing cats, making it a viable option for families with new cat moms who can utilize any leftover food for kittens.


  • Can be fed to pregnant and nursing cats
  • High moisture content
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Contains prebiotics for digestive support


  • Contains pork by-products instead of real liver
  • Minced texture may not appeal to all kittens
  • Not grain-free

Best Chicken-free – Weruva Cats in The Kitchen Kitten Lambur-Kitty

Weruva’s Kittens in the Kitchen Lambur-Kitty is a recommended option for kitten food that doesn’t contain chicken. Many kitten foods heavily rely on chicken as a protein source, but chicken allergies and sensitivities are common among cats and kittens. Weruva offers an alternative by using lamb broth and grass-fed lamb as the main ingredients in this particular kitten food. Lamb is often considered a suitable alternative protein source for cats with chicken allergies, making this food a valuable find for kittens that are picky eaters or have dietary restrictions.

One notable feature of Weruva’s kitten food is its high moisture content, which is beneficial for hydration. The food is also free of preservatives and artificial flavors, promoting a more natural and wholesome diet for kittens. Additionally, Weruva offers the Kitten Gone Wild flavor, made from wild-caught salmon and fish broth, providing another chicken-free option. It is even possible to alternate between the Lambur-Kitty and Kitten Gone Wild flavors to introduce variety to your kitten’s diet.


  • Contains grass-fed lamb as an alternative protein source
  • Free of preservatives and artificial flavors
  • High moisture content (86%)
  • Does not contain meat by-products


  • Contains tuna, which is a common allergen for cats

Best Formula – PetAg KMR Kitten Milk Replacer

Kitten formula, such as PetAg KMR Kitten Milk Replacer, is primarily used as a milk replacement for newborn and pre-weaned kittens. However, it is not necessary unless the mother cat is not lactating or a still-nursing kitten has been separated from their mother. The KMR Kitten Milk Replacer is certified by the NASC (National Animal Supplement Council) and is a favored choice among animal rescuers for kittens and other baby mammals. It can be used as a replacement for mother’s milk for cats up to six weeks old and as a supplement or mix-in for older cats, pregnant and nursing cats, or weaning kittens.

Both the powder and liquid forms of the KMR Kitten Milk Replacer are ready-to-use, but the powder form is recommended due to its longer shelf life once opened and its portability. Opened liquid formula needs refrigeration, and any unused portion should be discarded after 72 hours. For kittens with sensitive stomachs, the goat’s milk version may be a better option.

The KMR Kitten Milk Replacer is formulated to closely resemble the nutritional composition of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins found in mother’s milk. It also includes additional prebiotics, probiotics, and essential vitamins and minerals. However, it’s worth noting that the formula contains carrageenan, which is a seaweed derivative used as an emulsifier. Carrageenan has been associated with stomach upset and is considered a potential carcinogen.


  • Available in powder and liquid form
  • Suitable for newborn kittens
  • Can be used as a supplement for adult cats
  • NASC certified


  • Contains carrageenan

Best Calorie Supplement – Tiki Pets Cat Baby Thrive Chicken and Chicken Liver Supplement

When a kitten is underweight or not thriving on regular kitten food, a veterinarian may recommend increasing their fat and calorie intake. Tiki Cat Baby Thrive supplement sticks are a recommended option for this purpose. These supplement sticks are convenient to administer, as they come in single-serving squeeze packets that require no refrigeration. They are portable and can be easily carried in a purse, car, or carrier. The sticks have a savory flavor that appeals to even fussy kittens.

The non-GMO ingredients in Tiki Cat Baby Thrive supplement sticks prioritize proteins such as chicken, sunflower seed oil, dried egg, chicken liver, and chicken broth. However, it’s important to note that the product contains xanthan gum, an ingredient that some believe can cause gut irritability or food sensitivities.

The supplement sticks can be served alone or mixed in with the kitten’s regular food, but they should not entirely replace the kitten’s food. Their smooth mousse texture makes them easily lickable, which is beneficial for kittens with mouth ulcers, limited or no teeth, and those not yet eating dry food. Each 25-calorie serving has a crude content percentage of 28% fat, 8% protein, and 62% moisture.


  • High-fat content for increased calorie intake
  • Easily digestible
  • Lickable texture
  • Non-GMO ingredients


  • Contains xanthan gum, which may cause gut irritability or food sensitivities

Read Also:Gut Health Matters: Discover the Top 7 Probiotics for Cats

What to Look for in Kitten Food

What to Look for in Kitten Food

Selecting the right kitten food is crucial for their healthy growth and development. Here are some key factors to consider when looking for kitten food:

  1. Nutritional Balance: Ensure that the kitten food provides a proper balance of essential nutrients, including high-quality proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Kittens have specific dietary requirements, so look for food labeled as “complete and balanced” specifically for kittens or labeled with an AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) statement indicating it meets the nutritional standards for growth.
  2. High-Quality Protein: Kittens require a higher amount of protein compared to adult cats. Look for kitten food that lists a high-quality source of animal protein, such as chicken, turkey, or fish, as the primary ingredient. Avoid foods with excessive plant-based proteins or fillers.
  3. Essential Fatty Acids: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are vital for a kitten’s brain development and healthy skin and coat. Look for kitten food that contains sources of these fatty acids, such as fish oil or flaxseed.
  4. Digestibility: Kittens have developing digestive systems, so easily digestible ingredients are important. Look for foods that contain quality protein sources and avoid foods with excessive amounts of fillers, artificial additives, or by-products.
  5. Age-Appropriate Formulation: Choose kitten food specifically formulated for their age. There are different formulations available for very young kittens (under 4 months), growing kittens (4 to 12 months), and large breed kittens. These formulations are tailored to meet the unique nutritional needs of kittens in different growth stages.
  6. No Artificial Additives: Avoid kitten foods that contain artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners. These additives are unnecessary and can potentially be harmful to your kitten.
  7. Veterinary Recommendations: Consult with your veterinarian for personalized advice on selecting the right kitten food for your specific kitten. They can consider factors such as breed, health condition, and any special dietary needs your kitten may have.

Remember to transition your kitten’s food gradually by mixing the new food with the old food over a period of several days to prevent digestive upset. Additionally, always provide fresh water alongside their food and monitor your kitten’s weight and overall health to ensure they are thriving on their chosen diet.

How much food should a kitten eat?

The amount of food a kitten should eat varies depending on factors such as their age, weight, activity level, and the type of food being fed (wet or dry). Feeding guidelines provided on the food packaging can serve as a starting point, but it’s important to monitor your kitten’s weight and body condition and make adjustments as needed. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

  1. Follow Feeding Recommendations: Begin by following the feeding recommendations provided by the manufacturer on the kitten food packaging. These guidelines typically suggest a daily amount of food based on the kitten’s age and weight.
  2. Frequent Meals: Kittens have small stomachs and high energy needs, so they often require multiple small meals throughout the day. Provide them with several meals, typically 3 to 4 times a day, until they are around 6 months old. As they grow older, you can gradually reduce the frequency to 2 to 3 meals per day.
  3. Monitor Body Condition: Regularly assess your kitten’s body condition by observing their overall appearance and feeling their ribs. You should be able to feel their ribs with a slight layer of fat covering them. If your kitten’s ribs are easily felt without excessive fat, they are likely at a healthy weight. If they are too thin or overweight, adjust the portion sizes accordingly.
  4. Adjust for Growth: Kittens have rapid growth rates, so their nutritional needs can change quickly. As they grow, you may need to increase the amount of food provided to accommodate their increasing energy requirements. Monitor their weight and consult with your veterinarian for guidance on adjusting portion sizes.
  5. Water Availability: Ensure that fresh water is always available for your kitten. Proper hydration is essential for their overall health and digestion.
  6. Avoid Overfeeding: While it’s important to meet your kitten’s nutritional needs, avoid overfeeding, as excessive weight gain can have negative health consequences. Obesity can increase the risk of various health issues. Stick to appropriate portion sizes and avoid using food as a substitute for other forms of affection or play.

How do I switch from kitten food to adult cat food?

When transitioning your kitten from kitten food to adult cat food, it’s important to do so gradually to avoid digestive upset. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to switch from kitten food to adult cat food:

  1. Start Gradually: Begin the transition by mixing a small amount of the new adult cat food with the current kitten food. Start with a ratio of about 25% adult food to 75% kitten food.
  2. Monitor Your Kitten’s Response: Observe your kitten’s reaction to the mixed food. If they tolerate it well without any signs of digestive upset (such as diarrhea or vomiting), you can proceed with the transition.
  3. Slowly Increase Adult Food: Over the course of about 7 to 10 days, gradually increase the proportion of adult cat food while decreasing the amount of kitten food. For example, you can progress to a 50/50 mix of adult and kitten food after a few days, then 75% adult food and 25% kitten food, until eventually you are feeding 100% adult cat food.
  4. Adjust Feeding Amounts: As you increase the proportion of adult cat food, you may need to adjust the overall feeding amounts based on your cat’s weight, body condition, and the feeding guidelines provided on the adult cat food packaging. Monitor your cat’s weight and adjust portion sizes as needed to maintain a healthy body condition.
  5. Provide Plenty of Fresh Water: Ensure that fresh water is always available for your cat during the transition and afterward. Proper hydration is crucial for their overall health.
  6. Consult with Your Veterinarian: If your cat has any specific dietary needs or health concerns, it’s advisable to consult with your veterinarian before initiating the transition. They can offer personalized guidance based on your cat’s individual requirements.