One of the first decisions you’ll have to make upon acquiring a new kitten (besides picking out a great name), relates to your new pet’s food. You want your kitten to be healthy and happy for years to come, and you know that good food is vital for making this happen, but there are dozens of different products available. How can you possible sort through the various foods and pick the best wet cat food for kittens?
Fear not! We are here to help you select the best wet kitten food. Always consult with your veterinarian before switching foods, but any of the following wet foods should make a great option for your new kitten.
Analysis & Award Winners
The very best wet kitten foods available, according to our review, are detailed below. Note the similar characteristics of these foods, which help to ensure that they provide balanced nutrition for your cat. But, before making a specific choice, be sure to read about all of the foods reviewed here. This will give you the best chance of giving your new kitten a long, healthy and happy life.
Natural Balance Original Ultra is a premium kitten food made with all the ingredients you’d want in the best wet cat food for kittens, and none of the empty calories and fillers that are common in some other foods. For example, Natural Balance is made without gluten, instead relying on peas and brown rice to provide the carbohydrate content. But even more impressively, Natural Balance lists four different proteins (chicken, chicken liver, salmon and duck) among the first five ingredients.
Natural Balance also includes a number of nutritious fruits and vegetables in the recipe, including blueberries, cranberries and dried kelp. Among other things, these ingredients help to provide antioxidants and support your cat’s urinary tract function. Additionally, thanks to the inclusion of salmon and menhaden fish meal, the recipe is rich in omega fatty acids.
NUTRO Wet Food provides some of the best ingredients available to help ensure your kitten remains healthy and reaches his full potential. Chicken is the first listed ingredient in the food, but it is followed by several other delicious ingredients – including chicken broth, chicken liver and pork broth — to help ensure your cat will find the food palatable. Additionally, NUTRO is made without any grains, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
Fish meals and fish oils are featured among the ingredients, as they are a good source of omega fatty acids. One of the most important distinctions about NUTRO is the fact that it is one of the few wet kitten foods on the market that is made without carrageenan, which is an ingredient that gives some cat owners pause.
Hill’s Science Diet Minced Kitten Food is a reasonably high-quality kitten food that is available at an affordable price. While it relies on pork byproducts as the primary protein, it also features several other protein sources – including salmon, pork liver and chicken fat, among others – to ensure your cat gets the amino acids he needs to grow into a healthy adult.
While Science Diet does include carrageenan, which is a potentially undesirable ingredient, it also includes several sources of omega fatty acids, which will help to promote a healthy coat. When price is a factor, it is easy to see how Hill’s Science Diet represents one of the best wet foods for kittens.
Characteristics of Good Wet Kitten Foods
It can be confusing for kitten owners to compare the various foods available on the market, and select the best wet kitten food with any confidence. However, there are a few simple characteristics which you can look for to help separate the best from the rest.
Look for kitten foods that meet the following requirements to help ensure your kitten gets the kind of nutrition she deserves:
- Look for foods made in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia or western Europe. Foods made in these (and a few other) countries are typically held to higher quality control standards than those manufactured in other countries. This will provide some protection from the prospect of giving your kitten unsafe or tainted foods.
- Look for foods that do not contain artificial colors, flavors or additives. These types of additives add little value to a high-quality food and they may even cause problems, like food allergies. Manufacturers should make food tasty by including high-quality ingredients, not by trying to mask low-budget ingredients with cheap flavorings.
- Look for foods that list a whole protein as the first ingredient. Whole proteins – such as chicken, duck, salmon or pork – are what you are looking for when you read the first item on an ingredient list. Some wet foods may list broth or water as the first ingredient, which is acceptable, but the first non-water ingredient should be a whole protein as opposed to a meat or meal. This is not always possible, but whole proteins are certainly preferable.
- Look for foods that identify any meat meals or byproducts included in the recipe. Chicken meal, pork byproducts, fish meal and other, similar ingredients are often produced in less-than-pleasant manners, but they are full of protein and perfectly acceptable. However, they must always identify the animal from which the ingredient is made. “Meat meal,” for example, could contain animal meat from a variety of sources that would not be acceptable to most kitten owners.
- Look for foods that are rich in omega fatty acids and antioxidants. Omega fatty acids and antioxidants are helpful supplements that can help promote coat health and immune function, respectively. Most colorful fruits and vegetables (blueberries, pumpkin, cranberries and tomatoes are good examples) are rich in antioxidants, while flaxseed, salmon and fish-based products are often rich in omega fatty acids.
The Benefits of Wet Foods
While there is great variation among the various kitten food available on the market, most veterinarians agree that wet foods are generally the superior option to dry foods. The primary reason wet foods are considered superior is because of their high moisture content.
Cats are notoriously bad drinkers, who often seem to lack the instincts to consume enough water. This probably occurs because wild cats obtain most of their water from the food they eat (muscle tissue and organ meats are about two-thirds water by weight). While it is theoretically possible for your cat to remain healthy while consuming a kibble-based diet by simply drinking more water, and most cats do increase their water consumption when fed dry foods; few kittens consume enough supplemental water to make up for this discrepancy.
Cats who fail to consume enough water frequently suffer things like kidney damage, urinary tract infections and bladder stones. These are not only unpleasant problems for your cat; they are very expensive to treat and will require extensive veterinary care. The best way to help your kitten avoid water-related illnesses or conditions is by feeding him wet food.
Best of the Rest
While the best wet foods for kittens are among the listed above in this review, one additional product deserves attention. As always, compare the ingredient list with the others discussed above and try to make the best choice for your kitten.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredients is a duck-based wet food, that is made without any grains to help your kitten avoid food allergies. Additionally, it features a number of omega-fatty-acid-rich ingredients, such as salmon oil and flaxseed, to help ensure your kitten’s coat stays soft and fluffy. Peas provide the bulk of the carbohydrate content, while duck broth and duck liver help to improve the taste, so your cat will love it.
Picking a good wet kitten food is an overwhelming exercise for many new feline parents. Just take your time and compare the various ingredients included in the recipe – familiarize yourself with any that you are not familiar with and try to choose the best wet kitten food possible. Always be sure to speak with your veterinarian when trying to select a good pet food, as he or she can best educate you on your pet’s needs.