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Home > Cats > 10 Best Grain-Free Kitten Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

10 Best Grain-Free Kitten Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

kittens eating on colorful food bowl_DanyVr, ShutterstockGrain-free kitten and cat foods are the hype currently, and if your kitten has a sensitive stomach, a grain-free kitten food could help get everything under control. But while grain-free cat foods can be easy to find, finding a grain-free kitten food can be a bit more challenging.

We tracked down and created reviews of the best grain-free kitten foods out there. We also developed a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you get your kitten on the right food the first time.

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A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription
  • Custom plans for different needs
  • High in protein
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten Food Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten Food
  • Higher protein percent
  • Affordable
  • Easy on digestion
  • Third place
    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Food Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Food
  • A great mix of price and quality
  • Outstanding minimum protein percent
  • Only high-quality ingredients
  • Wellness Complete Kitten Formula Wellness Complete Kitten Formula
  • Tons of protein for a wet food
  • Great for kitten health
  • Kittens love to eat it
  • Halo Wild Salmon Kitten Food Halo Wild Salmon Kitten Food
  • Higher fiber percent
  • Great for sensitive stomachs
  • GMO-free
  • The 10 Best Grain-Free Kitten Foods

    1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription — Best Overall

    smalls human-grade fresh and freeze-dried raw cat food on a table

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    Food type Fresh
    Size 11.5-ounce packages
    Primary protein Cow
    Crude protein percent 15
    Maximum fiber percent 1

    If you are interested in getting kitten food delivered to your door, you might want to try out Smalls. Smalls is a cat food delivery service specializing in grain-free, fresh, cooked cat meals.

    When you visit Smalls’ website, you fill out a questionnaire with information about your cat’s age, build, and favorite meats. You’re then recommended a meal type—for example, “fresh plan”—based on your cat’s specific needs. Smalls caters to cats of all ages, shapes, and sizes, including kittens.

    You are offered three protein types that you can choose based on your kitten’s preferences. Along with your chosen meat, the meals are made up of a variety of vegetables, are high in protein, contain a moderate amount of fat, and are free of preservatives.

    Many users have shared positive reviews, mentioning that their cat’s coat seems shinier and that they have more energy. Others have commented that the Smalls diet was beneficial for their cats with digestive issues and helped to reduce begging behavior and cravings for treats.

    In terms of what users are less keen on, some have commented that they’ve had a negative experience with Smalls’ customer service when experiencing payment and subscription issues. Others have mentioned that although their cats liked the food, they had trouble getting the food out of the packaging.

    To sum up, Smalls is a growing cat food company that many cat parents (and cats, of course) seem to have had a positive experience with. We especially appreciate how Smalls caters to all cats, regardless of age, size, or preference.

    Pros
    • Custom plans for different needs
    • High in protein
    • Made with natural ingredients
    • Choice of proteins
    • Preservative-free
    Cons
    • Some have experienced customer service issues
    • Awkward packaging

    2. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten Food — Budget Buy

    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food

    Food type Dry
    Size 2 or 5 pounds
    Primary protein Turkey and chicken
    Crude protein percent 45
    Maximum fiber percent 3

    If you’re looking for grain-free kitten food but don’t have a ton of money to spend, Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten food might be precisely what you need. It has tons of protein and is packed with DHA omega-3 fatty acids in addition to tons of other nutrients.

    Compared to other grain-free kitten foods, Wellness CORE is incredibly easy to digest, which makes it a great choice if your cat has a sensitive stomach. However, it doesn’t have a higher fiber percentage, and it’s not a single protein source.

    Still, it is available for a great price, and when you pair that with everything else it offers, it’s not hard to see how it is a great grain-free kitten food if your budget is tight.

    Pros
    • Higher protein percent
    • Affordable
    • Salmon oil provides DHA omega-3 fatty acids
    • Easy on digestion
    Cons
    • Is not a single protein source
    • Lower fiber percent

    3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Kitten

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Chicken Kitten Food

    Food type Dry
    Size 2 or 5 pounds
    Primary protein Chicken
    Crude protein percent 40
    Maximum fiber percent 3.5

    Another excellent option is Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness Kitten recipe. It is an outstanding mix of price and quality, giving your kitten all the nutrients that they need to thrive without draining your bank account.

    It meets basic requirements and is packed full of LifeSource bits that add even more antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to help your kitten thrive. Blue only uses the highest-quality ingredients out there, and it has a Blue Wilderness Cat food that your kitten can grow into without overhauling their diet.

    The only other thing that we’d like to see from this food is a higher fiber percentage, but that’s a minor concern unless your kitten has an extremely sensitive stomach. Still, for most kittens, this is a good choice.

    Pros
    • A great mix of price and quality
    • Outstanding minimum protein percent
    • LifeSource Bits add more antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
    • Only high-quality ingredients
    • Blue offers the next level of food that they can grow into
    Cons
    • Lower fiber percent

    4. Wellness Complete Health Kitten Food

    Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Food type Wet
    Size Wet
    Primary protein Chicken
    Crude protein percent 11
    Maximum fiber percent 1

    While dry cat food is a great choice, there’s nothing wrong with choosing wet cat food as the primary source of food for your kitten. If that’s the route you’re taking, it’s hard to beat what Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula offers.

    It provides all the nutrients for your kitten to thrive, and it has tons of protein for a wet food. Just keep in mind that switching your kitten to a wet food diet has two major implications. First, it’s more expensive than dry kibble.

    Second, switching a kitten to a wet food early in life can lead to them becoming a picky eater. So, if you decide to switch them to dry food later, you might find that you can’t get your cat to cooperate. If you’re planning on switching your kitten to a wet food diet, ensure that you’re ready for a potentially permanent meal change.

    Pros
    • Tons of protein for a wet food
    • Great for kitten health
    • Kittens love to eat it
    • Tons of nutrients
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Potential to create a picky eater

    5. Halo Wild Salmon & Whitefish Grain-Free Kitten Food

    Halo Holistic Wild Salmon & Whitefish Recipe Grain-Free Kitten Dry Cat Food

    Food type Dry
    Size 3, 6, or 10 pounds
    Primary protein Salmon and whitefish
    Crude protein percent 33
    Maximum fiber percent 5

    If you have a kitten with a sensitive stomach, you can do more than just switch them to a grain-free diet. You can also choose a protein that’s easier on their stomach. That’s exactly what Halo Holistic Wild Salmon & Whitefish offers.

    But not only does it have a novel protein and a grain-free formula, but the higher fiber percent also helps out a kitten’s digestive tract. If your kitten has a sensitive stomach, there might not be a better food choice than Halo Holistic Wild Salmon & Whitefish.

    However, there are two drawbacks to this kitten food. First, its crude protein percent is significantly lower than what most kitten foods offer. Second, it’s expensive. But if it helps your kitten keep their food down, it’s a great choice.

    Pros
    • Higher fiber percent
    • Great for sensitive stomachs
    • GMO-free
    • Tons of healthy nutrients
    Cons
    • Low protein percent
    • Expensive

    6. Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Cod Cat Food

    Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Cod Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat & Kitten Food

    Food type Dry
    Size 2, 4, and 14 pounds
    Primary protein Chicken
    Crude protein percent 40
    Maximum fiber percent 4

    If you’re not too worried about how much your kitten food costs, Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Cod is an outstanding choice. It has the perfect amount of protein for your kitten and plenty of fiber, and there are tons of nutrients to help your kitten thrive.

    Nulo uses high-quality ingredients when making this cat food, which gives your cat the best of the best with every bite. However, this is a more expensive option, though you can help offset the cost by buying in bulk. It’s still going to be more expensive than many other foods, but it drops the cost per meal by quite a bit.

    Pros
    • Good protein percent
    • Decent fiber percent
    • Large size options
    • Tons of helpful nutrients
    • Only high-quality ingredients
    Cons
    • Expensive

    7. Purina Pro Plan Savor Chicken Grain-Free Kitten Food

    Purina Pro Plan Savor Classic Chicken Grain-Free Kitten Entree Canned Cat Food

    Food type Wet
    Size 3-ounce case of 24
    Primary protein Chicken
    Crude protein percent 12
    Maximum fiber percent 1.5

    Purina Pro Plan Savor Classic Chicken is an outstanding wet food option for kittens. It provides tons of helpful nutrients, and the overall crude protein content is more than enough for a kitten.

    Moreover, there’s plenty of fiber to help your kitten’s digestive tract, and it goes a long way toward helping them feel full. But what matters more is the fact that Purina doesn’t use any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in their recipe, which means better nutrition for your kitten.

    Still, it is an expensive cat food option, and it does run the risk of getting your kitten hooked on wet foods. But if you’re fine with the price and just want to give them great food, it’s ideal.

    Pros
    • Great protein percent for a wet food
    • Tons of helpful nutrients
    • Good fiber percent for a wet food
    • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
    Cons
    • Expensive

    8. Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Kitten Recipe

    Nature’s Variety Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe With Real Chicken Freeze-Dried

    Food type Dry
    Size 4.5 pounds
    Primary protein Chicken
    Crude protein percent 42.5
    Maximum fiber percent 3

    Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe is the most expensive per-meal kitten food on this list. But it uses the highest-quality ingredients out there. There are tons of protein in each serving, and the company only uses cage-free poultry.

    Additionally, there are tons of probiotics, omegas, and other nutrients that boost your kitten’s immune system, digestive health, and urinary health. While we’d prefer a slightly higher fiber content, that’s not a huge concern.

    With Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe, it comes down to the price. It’s an extremely expensive option, but it’s also great for your kitten. If you can afford it, it’s an outstanding food.

    Pros
    • Great protein percent
    • Only high-quality ingredients
    • Tons of probiotics, omegas, and other nutrients
    • Cage-free poultry only
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Low fiber percent

    9. Earthborn Monterey Medley Grain-Free Kitten Food

    Earthborn Holistic Monterey Medley Grain-Free Natural Canned Cat & Kitten Food

    Food type Wet
    Size 3-ounce case of 24 or 5.5-ounce case of 24
    Primary protein Tuna
    Crude protein percent 12
    Maximum fiber percent 1.5

    Instead of the classic chicken recipe, Earthborn opted for tuna in its Holistic Monterey Medley grain-free wet cat food. That’s easier on your kitten’s digestive tract, but not as easy as salmon or whitefish.

    Still, there’s plenty of crude protein, especially for wet cat food. While this food is a great kitten food, it’s good for adult cats too. This is both a pro and a con. While you don’t have to switch your kitten to a new food any time soon, it’s not a kitten-specific formula. It’s also expensive.

    Pros
    • Great protein percent for a wet food
    • Outstanding option for sensitive stomachs
    • Good fiber percent for a wet food
    • Both a kitten and cat food
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Not kitten specific

    10. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-free Kitten Food

    Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Healthy Kitten Recipe Dry Cat Food

    Food type Dry
    Size 4 or 7 pounds
    Primary protein Chicken
    Crude protein percent 41
    Maximum fiber percent 2.5

    The Merrick Purrfect Bistro is a dry kitten food that has high-quality ingredients. What sets this food apart from the pack, however, is the price. It’s also an affordable kitten food and has plenty of protein to help your kitten grow.

    That said, it’s not a single-protein-source kitten food. Also, the fiber percentage is among the lowest of many dry cat foods available. If your kitten doesn’t have a sensitive stomach, it’s not a huge deal, but if they do, Merrick Purrfect Bistro doesn’t do much to help.

    Pros
    • Good crude protein percent
    • Affordable option
    • Only high-quality ingredients
    • Great for your kitten’s health
    Cons
    • Is not a single protein source
    • Lower fiber percent

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    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Grain-Free Kitten Food

    If you’re confused about which grain-free kitten food is right for you even after reading the reviews, you’re not alone. We created this comprehensive buyer’s guide to walk you through everything that you need to know to get your kitten on the right food the first time.

    kitten eating treats
    Image Credit By: Anton Chebotarov, Shutterstock

    Why Would You Want Grain-Free Kitten Food?

    There’s a great deal of debate out there about grain-free cat and kitten foods, but the truth is that if your cat has a sensitive stomach, then there’s no debate: Grain-free kitten foods can help settle their stomachs.

    While it’s relatively rare for a modern cat or kitten to have a grain allergy, those do exist. If that’s the case, you certainly need a grain-free cat or kitten food.

    Switching Kitten Foods

    If you’re constantly switching your kitten’s food, then there’s a good chance that you’re not giving their stomach and digestive system time to adapt to the new food. When that happens, your kitten can have the right food but still experience digestive distress.

    Take the time to switch their food slowly, and give them a few weeks to adjust to their new food before ruling it out. These few weeks might be all it takes to get your kitten’s stomach to settle down, and you’ll be saved from trying food after food.

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    How Much Protein Does Your Kitten Need?

    While it’s fine for most cat foods to have around 30% crude protein, there’s a reason that kitten food has more. As kittens grow into full cats, they need protein to support muscle and bone growth, and they also tend to be quite active.

    This is why kitten food comes packed with extra protein. When selecting a kitten food, you want at least 40% crude protein for a dry food and at least 10% crude protein for a wet food.

    While kittens can survive off less, all that protein will give them the energy that they need to thrive daily.

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    Conclusion

    There’s a reason that Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten food is our top choice of grain-free kitten food. It’s an outstanding mix of price and quality, and there’s a good chance that it’s exactly what your kitten needs.

    If you’re looking for an even more affordable option, Wellness CORE Grain-Free can get the job done and save you money. What’s important is that you order the new food as soon as possible to get your kitten settled into their new routine.

    Our premium choice goes to Smalls for their unbeatable ingredient list, a menu that can grow and cater to your kitten’s needs at every life stage, and is, of course, grain-free!


    Featured Image Credit: DanyVr, Shutterstock

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