If you’ve just found out that your cat is pregnant or you’re planning for an upcoming pregnancy, one of the most important factors to concentrate on is making sure your feline gets the best nutrition possible, both during pregnancy and during nursing.
While your female is pregnant, she’ll need a diet that can accommodate her steadily growing weight, and she’ll likely need 50%–100% more food during this time. It’s vital that she gets not only enough to eat but also that the food she gets is high in protein and nutrient-dense.
Choosing the right food for your cat can be stressful on its own, but providing the correct nutrition for a pregnant cat is all the more so. That’s why we created this guide of seven of our favorite foods for pregnant cats, complete with in-depth reviews, to help you find the best food for your pregnant feline.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription||
||Click to Save 40%|
|Best Value||Instinct Kitten Grain-Free Wet Cat Food||
|Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Wet Cat Food||
|Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Food||
|Wellness CORE Turkey Canned Cat Food||
The 7 Best Cat Foods for Pregnant Cats
1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription — Best Overall
|First-listed ingredients:||Turkey thigh, chicken liver, green beans|
|Caloric Content:||1,415 kcal/kg|
More than ever, cats need a high-protein food when they’re pregnant that will support them through their pregnancy, labor, and lactation. We love Smalls Ground Other Bird recipe as the best overall food for pregnant cats because it has the highest protein content of any of their formulas, with a 17% minimum that’s mostly sourced from turkey thighs. Your queen will appreciate real turkey and chicken as the first ingredients, and she’ll likely find it tastier than overly processed, dry kibbles. It might even become her pregnancy craving!
We like how Smalls Ground Other Bird includes a nutritious blend of vegetables, vitamins, and minerals for a balanced diet. Each meal also contains 346 mg of taurine, an essential amino acid in cats that’s especially important for your cat to have a healthy pregnancy.
The only negative things we have to say about this food are that it’s subscription-only and a little expensive. The plans start at $1.93 per meal, which can be a bit costly, although it’s about the same price as premium wet food at the pet store. Considering Smalls is more nutritious and takes the all-natural approach, we recommend it over any wet or dry food options. We think that Smalls Ground Other Bird is a fresh, wholesome blend fit for a queen!
2. Instinct Kitten Grain-Free Pate Wet Cat Food — Best Value
|First-listed ingredients:||Chicken, beef liver, chicken broth|
|Caloric Content:||103 kcal/can|
The Instinct Grain-Free Pate canned cat food is the best cat food for pregnant cats for the money. The food is high in protein, most of which comes from whole chicken as the first ingredient and nutritious beef liver, but there’s also salmon, which is a great source of essential omega fatty acids for a luxurious coat. The food is made with a delicious pâté texture that is extra soft due to the added chicken broth that your cat will love, with natural sources of DHA and vitamins E and A. The high protein content is ideal for pregnant mothers, and the food is grain-free and contains no artificial colors or preservatives.
This food contains fish and kelp, which gives it a pungent odor that some cats may not enjoy.
3. Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Mousse Cat Food
|First-listed ingredients:||Chicken, chicken liver, pork by-products|
|Caloric Content:||133 kcal/can|
If you’re looking for a premium option for your pregnant kitty, the Royal Canin Mother and Babycat Ultra-Soft Mousse is a great choice. The food is specially crafted for pregnant and nursing mothers and weaning kittens, with a decent protein content that comes from real chicken and chicken liver. The food is packed with all the essential nutrients that your cat needs, including immune-strengthening antioxidants and prebiotics for good digestive health. Pair this canned food with the Royal Canin Mother and Babycat dry food for a healthy daily meal for your pregnant feline.
This food, unfortunately, uses a few questionable ingredients, including wheat and corn.
4. Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Dry Cat Food
|First-listed ingredients:||Chicken by-product meal, chicken fat, brewers rice|
|Caloric Content:||479 kcal/cup|
The Royal Canin Mother and Babycat dry food is formulated especially for pregnant and nursing cats and kittens and is another great food for pregnant cats overall. This food is ideal for your pregnant kitty, and she can keep eating it while nursing. The food is suitable for weaning kittens, too. The food is packed with essential nutrients, like DHA, optimum brain development, and potent antioxidants and vitamins that help encourage a strong immune system. It also contains prebiotics for good digestive health and fish oil, a natural source of omega fatty acids that will keep your cat’s coat shiny and healthy.
The main issue we have with this food is that the main protein source comes from chicken by-product meals. We’d prefer whole chicken meat and higher overall protein content, too.
5. Wellness CORE Turkey & Chicken Canned Kitten Food
|First-listed ingredients:||Turkey, chicken liver, turkey broth|
|Caloric Content:||108 kcal/can|
The Wellness CORE Natural Pate kitten food is packed with protein from turkey, chicken, chicken liver, and herring, with turkey broth to keep the pâté moist and tender. The included herring and fish oils and added flaxseeds are great natural sources of essential omega fatty acids, and the added cranberries are a potent source of antioxidants. The food also includes dried kelp, which is packed with calcium for healthy bone development, and taurine for heart health. It is also fortified with essential vitamins and minerals that your cat needs to thrive. The recipe is 100% grain-free and free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
This food is pricey and might be a bit too rich for some cats. Also, the food contains small pieces of bone, which is not ideal for kittens but is most likely fine for adults.
6. Purina ONE True Instinct Grain-Free Protein Dry Cat Food
|First-listed ingredients:||Ocean whitefish, chicken meal, pea starch|
|Caloric Content:||356 kcal/cup|
The Purina ONE True Instinct dry cat food contains ocean whitefish as the first listed ingredient, with a high protein content of 35% overall, ideal for pregnant mothers. The included omega fatty acids will help keep your cat’s coat silky and luxurious. There are four natural antioxidant sources, including vitamins E and A, to help promote a healthy immune system. The food also contains added essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium for healthy teeth and bones, with a combination of tender meaty morsels and crunchy texture for additional dental health. The food is 100% grain-free and is free from nasty filler ingredients.
This food is difficult to fault, although some customers did report that it caused nausea and vomiting in their felines.
7. ACANA First Feast High-Protein Kitten Dry Cat Food
|First-listed ingredients:||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, herring meal|
|Caloric Content:||439 kcal/cup|
The ACANA First Feast High-Protein Kitten Dry Cat Food is packed with high-quality protein from chicken, herring, turkey, eggs, and quail for a 36% protein content overall that’s ideal for pregnant kitties. The food is made up of 70% animal ingredients and free from nasty artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors. It also contains taurine for heart health, DHA and EPA for cognitive function, and whole cranberries as a great natural antioxidant source. There are also added probiotics for digestive support and natural omega fatty acids to keep your cat’s coat healthy and vibrant.
This food is difficult to fault, although does have a slightly higher fat content than we’d like, and some customers reported that the food caused vomiting and diarrhea in their cats.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Cat Food for Pregnant Cats
You’ll notice that as your cat progresses through her pregnancy, she’ll gradually begin eating more food. This will be especially apparent during the final few weeks when she’ll eat almost double the amount of food that she typically eats. Pregnant cats need extra nutrients and calories to help them stay energized while growing kittens, as pregnancy can take a real toll on their bodies. Protein is one of the most important nutrients, but there are a few other factors to look at, too.
Nutritional Needs of Pregnant Cats
Protein is the most vital nutrient for pregnant felines, and since your cat’s caloric intake will increase by up to 10% per week, so should her protein intake. This is why vets often recommend kitten food as the best choice for pregnant cats, as it usually has a comparatively high protein content. She should ideally stay on this diet until she is finished weaning, although even just switching to a high-protein diet for the last 2–3 weeks of pregnancy is sufficient.
Pregnant cats also need more calories overall, but these must be healthy, nutrient-rich calories. Steer clear from foods with loads of grains and filler ingredients, as these are empty calories that will not give your pregnant kitty the nutrition that she needs. Kitten food is typically high in healthy calories, protein, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals, making it an ideal choice for pregnant cats, too.
High-quality cat food is an important part of fostering a long and healthy life for your cat but the right cat food and water dish will promote good posture, offer whisker relief, and aid in good digestion. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite bowl since it offers all of the above and is beautifully crafted to meet modern home stylings. The wide tray design catches any food and water spills and the entire setup is dishwasher safe. Learn more about the Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl here.
At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
What to look for in food for pregnant cats
Protein is one of the most vital nutrients for pregnant cats, but not all protein is made equal. Make sure it comes from animal sources, such as chicken, turkey, or fish, and that one of these is the first listed ingredient. Kitten food is typically higher in these protein sources but also higher in overall calories.
Calcium is another vital nutrient for pregnant cats, as they need the added bone and teeth support. Pregnancy can quickly deplete minerals in your cat’s body. This is important not only for the mother but also for the growing and developing kittens.
Essential omega fatty acids are crucial, and these usually come from fish or fish oils. These are good not only for a healthy coat and skin but also for the healthy development overall of the kittens. Immune support is also important in pregnant cats, so be sure to check for immune-boosting fruits and veggies and antioxidants like blueberries or cranberries.
All these foods are great for your pregnant feline, but the Small Fresh Cat Food Ground Other Bird is our top choice overall. This food is packed with essential nutrients and vitamins and has everything that your pregnant kitty needs.
The Instinct Grain-Free Pate is the best cat food for pregnant cats for the money. The food is packed with protein, essential vitamins, and minerals, and it is grain-free and contains no artificial colors, preservatives, and by-product meals.
Pregnancy can take a great deal of energy out of your feline, so proper nutrition is vital during this period. Hopefully, our in-depth reviews have helped you find the perfect food for your expectant cat!
- Wet vs Dry Cat Food: Is One Better Than the Other? (Pros & Cons)
- 8 Best Cat Foods for Nursing Mother Cats in Canada
Featured Image Credit: Capri23auto, Pixabay