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10 Best Cat Foods for Nursing Mother Cats in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

red cat eat wet food from a bright bowl

If you’re a cat owner and have a pregnant feline, you may be wondering what the best cat food is for nursing mother cats. If you find yourself in this boat, don’t worry! We’re here to help.

It’s an exciting time when your feline is expecting, but you don’t want to lose sight of the importance of providing the best nutrition possible for both the mother cat and her babies. Surprisingly, a mother cat loses on average 40% of her weight after giving birth and during lactation. Because of this, veterinarians recommend feeding both mother and kittens high-quality, high-protein, and calorie-rich kitten food.

In this article, you’ll find our reviews of the top 10 best cat food for nursing mothers on the market today so that your mother cat and kittens can receive the maximum nutrition during this precious and delicate time.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food
  • High calories
  • Rich in protein
  • Real chicken is first ingredient
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Ultra-Soft Mousse in Sauce Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Ultra-Soft Mousse in Sauce
  • Highly digestible
  • Has DHA for brain development
  • Contains 81% moisture for hydration
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • High in calories and protein
  • No GMOs, corn, wheat, or soy
  • No by-products or preservatives
  • Best for Kittens
    Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • High-quality protein
  • Includes taurine and fatty acids
  • Deboned chicken is the first ingredient
  • Halo Holistic Wild Salmon & Whitefish Recipe Grain-Free Halo Holistic Wild Salmon & Whitefish Recipe Grain-Free
  • Salmon is the first ingredient
  • Made from MSC-certified fish
  • Suitable for kittens with sensitive stomachs
  • The 10 Best Cat Food For Nursing Mother Cats – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food – Best Overall

    Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food

    Calorie content: 462 kcal/cup
    Crude protein: 45%
    Wet or dry: Dry
    Flavor: Chicken

    Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Cat food is rich in protein, high in calories, and contains the nourishment your nursing cat mother needs for her young. Veterinary recommended, this food is chock-full of vitamins and minerals, and real chicken stands out as the first ingredient. It has 45% protein, which makes it perfect for the increased protein intake recommended for nursing mother cats. It comes in three bag sizes: 3.5, 7, and 16-pound bags, all at a great value. No fillers add to the nutritional value of this food, and it’s also available in wet food.

    It does contain chicken by-products, corn gluten, and peas, so it may not be suitable for those kitties with certain food allergies.

    With the high-calorie content, high protein, real chicken, and three different bag sizes, we feel this food is the best overall cat food for nursing mothers.

    Pros
    • Real chicken is first ingredient
    • Rich in protein
    • High calories
    Cons
    • Contains chicken by-products
    • Contain peas
    • Contains corn gluten

    2. Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Ultra-Soft Mousse in Sauce Wet Cat Food for New Kittens and Nursing or Pregnant Mother Cats – Best Value

    Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Ultra-Soft Mousse in Sauce Wet Cat Food for New Kittens and Nursing or Pregnant Mother Cats

    Calorie content: 133 kcal/5.1-ounce can
    Crude protein: 9%
    Wet or dry: Wet
    Flavor: Chicken

    Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Ultra-Soft Mousse in Sauce is specially formulated for pregnant and nursing mother cats and kittens. The formula contains 81% moisture for optimal hydration and DHA for healthy brain development for the new kitten kiddos. The highly digestible prebiotics and proteins benefit both cat mothers and babies, and the pate texture helps the little ones eat comfortably. It helps with digestion and gets the kittens off to a great start. This food comes in a dry formula, also.

    It does contain pork by-products and wheat gluten, so be aware if your felines suffer from any food allergies. The cans can be a little flimsy, so they may bend or become misshapen.

    You can choose between a 3-ounce pack of 6, a 3-ounce pack of 12, a 3-ounce case of 24, or a 5.1-ounce case of 24, which makes it a great value. Mother and baby kittens love it, and with the variety of order options, this food comes in as the best cat food for nursing mother cats for the money.

    Pros
    • Contains 81% moisture for hydration
    • Highly digestible
    • Has DHA for brain development
    Cons
    • Contains pork by-products
    • Contains wheat gluten
    • Flimsy cans

    3. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Kitten Dry Cat Food – Premium Choice

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Kitten Dry Cat Food

    Calorie content: 439 kcal/cup
    Crude protein: 36%
    Wet or dry: Dry
    Flavor: Chicken

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Kitten Dry Cat Food is perfect if you’re looking for a pure formulated cat food. While high in calories and proteins, it has no GMOs, corn, wheat, or soy, and no by-products or preservatives. It contains high-quality protein (real chicken) and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids to support growth and development. It also includes calcium to round off the nutrients for strong bones and joints.

    Some cats and kittens don’t like the food, and some consumers state that the pellets are too hard. It also contains peas, so it may not be suitable if your mother cat has a pea allergy.

    Most cats and kittens love this food, and it’s easily digestible.  You also have the choice between a 3-pound or 5-pound bag and a 5-pound bag bundle of two.

    Pros
    • No by-products or preservatives
    • No GMOs, corn, wheat, or soy
    • High in calories and protein
    Cons
    • Contains peas
    • Pellets may be too hard for some cats
    • Some cats don’t like the taste

    4. Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food – Best for Kittens

    Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food

    Calorie content: 439 kcal/cup
    Crude protein: 36%
    Wet or dry: Dry
    Flavor: Deboned chicken

    By now, we’ve established that a nursing mother cat needs kitten food for both herself and her kittens, and Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food weighs in for the best actual kitten food. Deboned chicken is the first ingredient in this high-quality protein kitten food and features garden vegetables, whole grains, such as oatmeal, barley, brown rice, and fruit. It provides essential fatty acids for brain and eye development, such as arachidonic acid (ARA) and DHA. The formula also includes taurine, which is an amino acid responsible for eye and heart health.

    It can be a little pricey, but with the price comes the fantastic ingredients that get your kittens off to a terrific start. It also contains peas, so avoid it if the mother cat has a pea allergy. We should note that some consumers state their kittens don’t like it.

    It comes in 3, 5, or 7-pound bags or a 7-pound bag bundle of two.

    Pros
    • Deboned chicken is the first ingredient
    • High-quality protein
    • Includes taurine and fatty acids
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Contains peas
    • Some kittens won’t eat it

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

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

    Calorie content: 426 kcal/cup
    Crude protein: 33%
    Wet or dry: Dry
    Flavor: Salmon

    Halo Holistic Wild Salmon & Whitefish Recipe Grain-Free Kitten Dry Cat Food gives your nursing mother cat and kittens a flavor other than chicken. Salmon is the first ingredient, followed by white fish. It has no GMO, no fillers, no artificial ingredients, and no preservatives. This food is full of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and it also helps kittens with sensitive stomachs. This cat food is made in the U.S.A. from quality ingredients and MSC-certified fish.

    It comes in 3, 6, or 10-pound bags but can be on the pricey side. Some kittens don’t like the taste, either.

    Pros
    • Salmon is the first ingredient
    • Made from MSC-certified fish
    • Suitable for kittens with sensitive stomachs
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Some cats won’t eat it

    6. Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Kitten Dry Cat Food

    Hill's Science Diet Indoor Kitten Dry Cat Food

    Calorie content: 544 kcal/cup
    Crude protein: 5%
    Wet or dry: Dry
    Flavor: Chicken

    Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Kitten Dry Cat Food is specially formulated for nursing mother cats and kittens. Made in the U.S.A., this food is made from quality ingredients with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. It’s complete and balanced to promote a healthy digestive system and contains essential antioxidants and vitamins. The added fish oil provides natural DHA for healthy brain and eye development, and the high calorie and protein content will give the nursing mother the strength she needs. Hill’s Science is the number one vet- recommended cat food.

    The formula has wheat and corn gluten but offers a 100% money-back guarantee. It comes in either a 3.5 or 7-pound bag and can be a little pricey.

    Pros
    • Vet recommended
    • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
    Cons
    • Contains wheat and corn gluten
    • Available in only 2 bag sizes

    7. Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food

    Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food

    Calorie content: 483 kcal/cup
    Crude protein: 33%
    Wet or dry: Dry
    Flavor: Real chicken

    Iams is a popular brand of pet food and has been around since 1946. Iams is known for producing high-quality, protein-based products and formulating recipes that target specific needs and activity levels. Real chicken is the first ingredient in this formulated dry kitten food designed for nursing mothers and kittens, followed by omega-3, prebiotics, DHA, and vitamin E. It’s 100% balanced and complete and omits any artificial preservatives. This cat food comes in a 3.5, 7, or 16-pound bag for a reasonable price.

    Some cat owners state their cats won’t eat this food.

    Pros
    • Contains real chicken
    • High protein and calorie content
    • Comes in 3 bag sizes
    Cons
    • Some cats won’t eat this food

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

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

    Calorie content: 121 kcal/5.5-ounce can, 66 kcal/3-ounce can
    Crude protein: 12%
    Wet or dry: Wet
    Flavor: Fish broth

    This food provides another alternative to chicken. Fish broth is the first ingredient that offers plenty of hydration, followed by skipjack tuna, mackerel, and potatoes. Most cats love fish, so this could be a good option if you have a feline nursing mother who loves the taste. The shredded food texture is gluten, grain, and pea-free and aids in digestion for sensitive stomachs. This holistic formula is packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals for a guaranteed nutritional value for your nursing mother cat and her kittens.

    If your cats don’t like fish, this food is not recommended because the fishy smell can be a little potent.

    Pros
    • Gives plenty of hydration
    • Gluten, grain, and pea free
    Cons
    • Food can have a strong fish smell

    9. Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Calorie content: 97 kcal/can
    Crude protein: 11%
    Wet or dry: Wet
    Flavor: Chicken

    This high-quality food is packed with protein from chicken and contains no corn, wheat, or soy, and is pea-free for kitties with food allergies. It comes in a case of 24, 3-ounce cans at a great price. It’s loaded with antioxidants, such as cranberries, vitamins, and minerals, and has flaxseed and fish oil for omegas. Made in the U.S.A., this food is free from artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. The specialized formula promotes healthy skin and coat, strong teeth and gums, is highly digestible, and provides taurine for growth and development. Each can contains 78% moisture to keep mother cat and kiddos well hydrated.

    Some cats may not like the pate consistency, and some consumers state the food has a potent smell.

    Pros
    • No artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors
    • 78% moisture in each can
    • Chicken is first ingredient
    Cons
    • Some cats don’t like the consistency
    • May have a potent smell

    10. Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Organic Kitten Recipe Canned Cat Food

    Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Organic Kitten Recipe Canned Cat Food

    Calorie content: 207 kcal/can
    Crude protein: 9%
    Wet or dry: Wet
    Flavor: Organic chicken

    If you’re looking for an organic option, this food could be of interest. It is on the pricey side, but with the price, you get all organic ingredients. It is USDA-certified and contains organic cranberries, flaxseed, dried egg, and coconut flour. It’s free from corn, wheat, and soy, as well as pesticides and antibiotics. Truly organic, this food provides your mother cat and kitten with DHA and omega-3 fatty acids for optimal nutrition and hydration.

    A downside is this food is occasionally out of stock, so you need to check back often for availability, and the cans may bend easily.

    Pros
    • All organic ingredients
    • USDA-certified
    • Expensive
    Cons
    • Cans may bend easily
    • May be out of stock

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    Buyer’s Guide

    Now that we’ve discussed the top 10 reviews of the best cat food for nursing mother cats, you’re probably still left with some questions. Let’s take a deeper look and investigate some important things to consider when searching for cat food for the nursing mother cat.

    Wet and dry pet food made of natural ingredients
    Image Credit: Yuriy Golub, Shutterstock

    Wet vs. Dry

    You’ve noticed by now that you have the option between wet canned food and dry kibble. The biggest difference here is that dry food can sit out for longer periods of time. Wet food, however, will spoil quickly and is not a food you can leave out throughout the day. Wet food also offers more water, as most cans contain a high amount of moisture. Wet food also has fewer calories than dry kibble, making this an important factor because the mother cat needs an increase in calorie intake during this time. Dry kibble contains more carbohydrates, but the nutritional value is usually greater. If your mother cat likes wet food, you can always add in dry kibble to boost the taste.

    Ingredients

    The ingredients are always listed from the first to the last, meaning the first ingredient is dominant in the formula. For example, if real chicken is listed first and rosemary extract last, it contains mainly chicken and very little rosemary extract. Cats are carnivores, so it’s important to make sure the food you pick is high in animal-based proteins, such as chicken, chicken liver, turkey, pork, or salmon.

    Should I Avoid By-Products?

    This is a question many cat owners have, so let’s dive in. By-products in pet food are ground-up carcasses that may include feet, necks, bones, and intestines. According to experts, by-products contain vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and copper, which may not be present in real chicken. The short answer is, no, you don’t have to avoid by-products because they do hold nutritional value. When in doubt, check with your vet.

    Cost

    If you’re on a budget, the cost is a big factor. Luckily there are plenty of options that have optimal nutrition and won’t break your pocketbook. Wet food is a little more expensive than dry kibble, and dry kibble offers more choices of bag sizes.

    Nutritional Content

    As we’ve mentioned, the mother cat will need more calories and protein during this time, so aim for high-calorie and high-protein food. If your mother cat has any food allergies, make sure the food doesn’t contain anything harmful. Also, make sure the food has omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. When in doubt, check with your veterinarian.

    cat eating cooked chicken
    Image credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

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    Conclusion

    For the overall best cat food for nursing mothers, we recommend Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food for its high calorie and protein content, real chicken, and three bag size choices. Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Ultra-Soft Mousse in Sauce Wet Cat Food for New Kittens and Nursing or Pregnant Mother Cats is our pick for the best value with its variety of purchase options, nutrition, and prebiotics.

    We hope you’ve enjoyed our top 10 reviews of the best cat food for nursing mother cats. Now go and enjoy the precious moment with mother cat and babies!


    Featured Image Credit: Elizabett, Shutterstock

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