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11 Best Grain-Free Kitten Foods in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

a kitten eating dry food

Raising your kitten is fun but complex exercise that requires adequate knowledge. One should have a thorough understanding of how to feed the kitten and keep it healthy always. Therefore, you need to locate the best grain-free kitten food to keep it nourished.

Most kitten foods have a high content of protein to support body development. In addition, some versions have high moisture, which hydrates the body for a healthy urinary tract system. One can consider wet foods for various reasons, such as transitioning the kitten from milk to solid food.

This detailed guide contains ten suitable grain-free kitten food options you can use to keep your cat healthy.

A Quick Comparison of Our 2023 Winners

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Smalls Human Grade Cat Food Fresh Bird Recipe Smalls Human Grade Cat Food Fresh Bird Recipe
  • Doesn’t contain fillers
  • Three different textures
  • Meets nutritional requirements of all life stages
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Dry Cat Food Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Dry Cat Food
  • Rich in meat-based protein
  • No fillers or artificial additives
  • Low contents of carbohydrates
  • Third place
    ZIWI Peak Air Dry Cat Food ZIWI Peak Air Dry Cat Food
  • Rich in animal-based protein ingredients
  • Free from artificial additives, fillers, & grains
  • Palatable among all life stages
  • Solid Gold Dry Cat Food Solid Gold Dry Cat Food
  • High in protein from rich & quality sources
  • Contains omegas for healthy skin & coat
  • Slightly low carbohydrates content
  • Purina Pro Plan Wet Cat Food Purina Pro Plan Wet Cat Food
  • Tender and light texture
  • Rich in protein for enhanced bodily development
  • Suitable for both kittens & adult cats
  • The 11 Best Grain-Free Kitten Foods

    1. Smalls Human-Grade Cat Food Fresh Bird Recipe – Best Overall

    Quality: 4.9/5
    Item Form: Fresh, wet
    Life Stage: All
    Weight: 11.5 oz
    Flavor: Chicken

    When it comes to grain-free diets, you can’t get much better than Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Bird cat food. All of Smalls’ recipes are grain-free, but the Fresh Bird recipe is our favorite. It’s the best overall grain-free kitten food because it uses fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients and doesn’t contain any unnecessary fillers.

    The recipe contains various nutritious parts of a chicken, including chicken hearts and chicken liver. It also uses just a single source of meat protein, so you don’t have to worry about any allergic reactions if your cat is allergic to other types of meat.

    We like that the Fresh Bird recipe comes in three forms: smooth, ground, and shredded. So, you can have your kitten try out various textures if it’s particularly picky. This recipe also meets nutritional requirements for all life stages. So, if your kitten takes a liking to this recipe, you don’t have to worry about switching it out as it grows into adulthood.

    While Smalls cat food can be relatively expensive, it’s still worth the price, especially if you’re having a hard time finding grain-free food that’s both safe and palatable for your kitten.

    • Doesn’t contain fillers
    • Food allergy-friendly
    • Three different textures
    • Meets nutritional requirements of all life stages

    • Can be expensive

    2. Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Dry Cat Food – Best Value

    Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Dry Cat Food

    Quality: 4.5/5
    Item Form: Dry food
    Life Stage: Kitten /Adult
    Weight: 2.4 pounds
    Flavor: Chicken

    Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein is our best value grain-free cat food. It boasts of a unique recipe, with 90% of its protein coming from animal-based sources. Fresh chicken is the first ingredient, followed by pork protein isolate, gelatin, and dried egg.

    Additionally, the package includes other forms of nutrients such as moderate fiber and fat content. Cleanprotein does not have any artificial preservatives or fillers, and it’s also gluten-free.

    Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein offers tasty high protein content that optimizes body conditions for your pets and enhances their health. For example, it ensures that your cat stays full for longer periods without having to eat a lot.

    • It is rich in meat-based protein
    • It has low contents of carbohydrates
    • It does not have fillers or artificial additives
    • It is sufficient to meet your cat’s nutritional needs
    • It has a soft and light texture for convenient consumption

    • It causes sides effects on some cats like vomiting and diarrhea

    3. ZIWI Peak Air Fish & Lamb Dry Cat Food

    ZIWI Peak Air

    Quality: 4/5
    Item Form: Dry food
    Life Stage: Kitten and Adult
    Weight: 14 ounces
    Flavor: Mackerel & Lamb

    Another cat food worth considering is Ziwi Peak Air, which has a holistic formula to meet your cat’s nutritional needs. It features 96% Mackerel caught in the wild, bones, and other animal-based ingredients, that are air-fried to make it more nutritious. Since the recipe is low in carbohydrates, this meal is suitable for food-sensitive kittens.

    The food also has synthetic essential nutrients such as organic kelp and New Zealand green mussels, which have various benefits for your cat. Some of these benefits include enabling the development of strong joints, supporting digestion, and developing the heart and brain.

    Ziwi Peak Air is suitable for all life stages, whether a kitten or senior cat. This kitten meal is safe for use as it lacks artificial additives such as hormones and antibiotics or growth boosters. One can feed this calorie-dense food with an average quantity of 2 ounces daily.

    • It is rich in animal-based protein ingredients
    • It is free from artificial additives, fillers, and grains
    • Safely air-dried, making it palatable among all life stages
    • The meal is highly digestible to the kittens
    • It has a well-balanced formula for a healthy kitten

    • The lamb flavor is not favorable to some cats

    4. Solid Gold Dry Cat Food

    Solid Gold Dry Cat Food

    Quality: 4.6/5
    Item Form: Dry food
    Life Stage: Kitten and Adult
    Weight: 6 pounds
    Flavor: Chicken

    Solid Gold is another healthy grain-free option for your kittens and cats of all sizes and life stages. The package is full of natural animal ingredients with an appealing aroma and flavor to serve a picky cat. In addition, this meal has a unique formula featuring more than 20 ingredients, such as almond oil, broccoli, and cranberries, among others.

    This grain-free and low-carb cat meal have animal protein as its first ingredient, supplemented by dried eggs, ocean fish, and chicken. The role of these proteins is to enhance stamina and other bodily functions.

    As a way of improving the kitten’s digestive system, this dry food has fiber-rich peas. In addition, olive and salmon oil helps improve your cat’s overall coat and skin health.

    • It is high in protein from rich and quality sources
    • It has a slightly low carbohydrates content
    • It contains omegas for healthy skin and coat
    • It has fiber-rich peas for a healthy digestive system
    • Its primary formulation features nutritious animal-based ingredients

    • Complaints on some cats disliking its flavor reported

    5. Purina Pro Plan Nature Canned Cat Food

    Purina Pro Plan Cat Food

    Quality: 4.5/5
    Item Form: Wet, chunk
    Life Stage: Kitten
    Weight: 0.05 pounds
    Flavor: Chicken & Liver

    Getting the right food for your kitten is never easy; hence, Purina Pro Plan can be your solution if you love cat food made with a natural grain-free recipe. This food is rich in protein featuring real chicken and liver. In addition, this tasty food has DHA, which is key in the development of the brain and vision.

    The meal has balanced nutrients that support lean muscles and adequate energy needed for its daily activities. The included protein assists in making sharp reflexes and reduces signs of aging. The meal has a tender texture which is delicious for your kitten to take without any challenge.

    • It has a tender and light texture making it chewable
    • It is suitable for both kittens and adult cats
    • It is rich in protein for enhanced bodily development
    • It helps in acquiring lean muscles strength and energy
    • It is balanced nutrition for total body health

    • It comes with premium pricing

    6. Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Dry Cat Food

    Tiki Cat Born Carnivore

    Quality: 4.6/5
    Item Form: Dry food
    Life Stage: Kitten /Adult
    Weight: 5.6 pounds
    Flavor: Deboned Chicken & Egg

    Tiki Cat Born Carnivore has a highly digestible recipe with high animal protein to support your cats. Some of this animal protein in its formula are deboned chicken, dehydrated chicken, and chicken meal.

    This product also has minimal digestible-free carbohydrates and dried eggs which is an excellent source of protein. In addition, the food is baked to improve flavor and preserve nutrients for your cat’s consumption.

    The recipe is full of meat-based ingredients, high fat, and protein to promote your cat’s well-being. In addition, this cat meal has a soft and chewable texture for your older kittens to feed effortlessly.

    • It has high-quality digestible ingredients
    • It is rich in animal-based protein
    • It lacks artificial additives, fillers, and grains
    • It has a soft and chewable texture easier consumption
    • It’s well-baked to improve the flavor for a pleasurable eating experience

    • It has a slightly high carbohydrate content
    • It is a dry food featuring low moisture content

    7. Instinct Original Pate Canned Cat Food

    Instinct Wet Cat Food

    Quality: 4.3/5
    Item Form: Wet food
    Life Stage: Kitten
    Weight: 4.1 pounds
    Flavor: Lamb

    Instinct Wet cat food is the correct pick when looking for the right kitten food for fast growth. One can freeze this meal to ensure the ingredients retain their natural form. In addition, this meal is free of synthetic preservatives, which makes it safe for your kittens.

    This natural cat food consists of real meat and other food ingredients. The manufacturer sourced 95% of the total ingredients from animal protein, while the remaining percentage comes from fruits and vegetables.

    This canned cat food contains balanced nutrients to support your kitten as it grows to adulthood. In addition, it has a tasty pate texture that is delicious to any picky cat.

    • It has a great content of animal protein than other sources
    • Its formula provides reliable nutrients for healthier kitten growth
    • It has omega fatty acids and probiotics to enhance digestion
    • It is free of artificial additives and preservatives
    • It has a tasty flavor that is favorable to most kittens

    • Complaints on sharp bone chips reported

    8. Wellness Kittles Salmon & Cranberries Cat Treats

    Wellness Kittles

    Quality: 4.3/5
    Item Form: Dry food
    Life Stage: Kitten
    Weight: 0.13 pounds
    Flavor: Salmon & Cranberries

    Another suitable grain-free cat food that will improve the health of your kitten is Wellness Kittles. It’s a natural food that has meat as its key ingredients. Other contents that help complete its entire formula are vegetables and fruits to ensure your kitten remains healthy.

    The manufacturer includes cranberries in the formula, which is a healthy composition as it enhances the better performance of urinary tracks in cats. In addition, the inclusion of omega fatty acids provides the correct elements required for healthy skins and coats.

    The entire package has around 45% protein sourced from real meat, a primary nutrient for healthy kitten development. In addition, it has fats which are critical ingredients for the provision of energy to your kitten.

    • It has fats and protein to support kitten development
    • Its cranberries formula ensures a healthy urinary tract
    • It is tasty and promotes clean teeth after chewing
    • It lacks artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
    • It is both grain and filler-free

    • Some cats could experience vomiting as side effects

    9. Weruva Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Weruva Grain-Free Cat Food

    Quality: 4.4/5
    Item Form: Wet food
    Life Stage: Kitten /Adult
    Weight: 8 pounds
    Flavor: Paw Lickin’ Chicken

    Weruva Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is the right choice for picky eaters. It has natural animal proteins and comes with a chicken flavor to promote a pleasurable experience. Its content is full of moisture and a low level of carbohydrates but free of grain and fillers.

    This meal is safe for your kitten as it lacks GMOs, growth hormones, preservatives, and antibiotics. Furthermore, it has a low phosphorus and magnesium content, ensuring that your cat has a healthy urinary tract.

    The primary ingredient is skinless white meat chicken with no bones. In addition, the package has a balanced diet featuring minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants to maintain a healthy adult.

    • It has a tasty chicken flavor that is appealing to picky cats
    • It has a high protein with low carbohydrates
    • It is suitable with cats that have kidney complications
    • It has the correct element to support a healthy urinary tract
    • It lacks artificial color and preservatives

    • The can size could be confusing

    10. Wellness CORE Canned Cat Food

    Wellness CORE Canned Cat Food

    Quality: 4.5/5
    Item Form: Wet food
    Life Stage: Kitten /Adult
    Weight: 2.25 pounds
    Flavor: Chicken, Turkey & Chicken Liver

    Wellness Core Canned Cat Food has a convenient, high-quality grain-free recipe that supports your cat’s well-being. The formula includes minerals and vitamins to enhance inner wellness. In addition, this food also has a flax omega blend and fish for a healthy coat and skin.

    It also contains fruits, healthy fats, and lean meats. Wellness Core cat food is ideal for your cat because it lacks soy, preservatives, and artificial colors. In addition, this wet meal improves the cat’s hydration because increased moisture intake contributes to a healthy urinary tract.

    This grain-free product is a nutritious choice to support both kittens and healthy adults. The balanced nutrients are key in sustaining and nourishing the cat’s well-being.

    • It has suitable nutrients for lean body mass
    • The wet meal improves digestion and urinary health
    • It has an omega blend for healthier skin and coat
    • It does not have artificial additives and preservatives
    • The package serves you extensively

    • Some cats resist the flavor

    11. Royal Canin Canned Cat Food

    Royal Canin Canned Cat Food

    Quality: 4.4/5
    Item Form: Dry food
    Life Stage: Kitten
    Weight: 4.5 pounds
    Flavor: Milk

    Royal Canin is made with a formula that targets baby kittens of between one and four months. The formula contains essential vitamins and oxidants to support the immune system of your kitten. Feeding your kitten this meal will enable it to remain strong and healthy.

    Royal Canin cat food has a fluffy mousse texture. This helps your kitten to transition smoothly from liquid to solid foods.

    The meal also has highly digestible protein and prebiotics, which promote a healthy digestive system. In addition, this cat food has DHA, which is necessary for building a storage foundation to support brain development.

    • It has a soft and light texture for easy feeding
    • It is ideal for kittens and nursing cats
    • It has nutrients that promote a healthy digestive system
    • It is excellent for enhancing sound brain development
    • It supports the kitten’s immune system

    • It causes diarrhea as side effects to some kittens

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

    Many brand names come with deceptive marketing language, making the innocent consumer fall prey to low-quality products. However, you can overcome such scenarios by knowing what to look for to determine a suitable product.

    Here are things you should consider when looking for cat food to make your selection easier.

    Age of Your Cat

    The newborn kitten should feed on the mother’s kitty for about four to five weeks exclusively. After this weaning period, you can now locate the proper grain-free meal for your kitten. For example, a two-month to a year-old kitten can munch on kibble effortlessly.

    When the kitten is one year old, start the transition process of introducing it to adult food. Caution is necessary as different cats require particular criteria. For example, a kitten meal will have higher-calorie content than adult food.

    Protein Content

    Most kitten meals have meat as the fundamental source of protein, being chicken, seafood, eggs, and fish. Read the product’s label to understand the nutritional value of the package as given in percentage.

    The suitable standard should have at least 20% fats since they contain amino acids necessary for healthier tissues. Coupled with protein, your cat will have higher energy levels for faster growth.

    • Check out the Hepper NomNom Bowl if you want the latest and greatest in cat bowl technology.

    Physical Activity

    Kittens have more movements, unlike adults. Therefore, they will require more energy giving food and protein due to their high level of activity. Select the proper grain-free meal because it has high-calorie content and the correct balance of minerals, vitamins, and proteins.

    Grain-free kibble is suitable for providing the kitten with the proper nutrients to supplement the active life of your kitten. In addition, the kitten requires balanced food for healthier bones, teeth, and muscles.

    Take precaution on feeding the kitten with too many calories because they may lead to obesity or being overweight. Instead, just administer balanced proportions to prevent excessive feeding for healthy growth and not becoming overweight.


    Dry grain-free kitten food is more potent than wet-grain-free counterparts. Notably, the wet meal can remain potent and retain the nutritional value for at least two years. If unopened, a package of dry food can maintain freshness for one year. Ensure that you operate within the limits of the expiry dates.

    Avoid using over one-year-old food since manufacturing as it could be food poisoning to your cat or lead to stomach complications. A potent meal should have the necessary nutrients needed for healthy kitten growth.

    Siamese cat eating dry food from a bowl
    Image Credit: catinrocket, Shutterstock


    Avoid remaining monotonous on the type of food you give to your kitten. Instead, change your diet frequently and let the kitten experience a different flavor. The danger of retaining a single flavor for a week makes the cats selective.

    Veterinary Recommendations

    Veterinarians are experts that you should consider to get the right advice on suitable food for your kitten. The vet assesses your information on age, preferences, breed, and needs before offering you the appropriate recommendation.

    Even if you prefer homemade food, get the proper insight from your vet, who will recommend the right ingredients that consist of a healthy balanced diet.


    Different manufacturers are ever-developing new formulas to suit the needs of other kittens. Every brand will want to remain unique and keep on refining its quality over time. Ensure that you settle for the right brand that enhances consistency.

    Generic foods should be a no-go zone, and they are hard to research. Also, choose the kitten food from reputable brands since there will be a guarantee of safety.


    The information in this piece advocates for finding the correct meal for your kitten and promoting its healthy growth. Among the ten products, our best overall pick is Smalls Human-Grade Cat Food Fresh Bird recipe. The meal has high protein content featuring digestible ingredients to promote healthy living. Our best product for value is Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Dry Cat Food. It has a rich formula that includes a high content of meat-based proteins and a light texture for easy feeding. Finally, ZIWI Peak Air is another good option. The manufacturer prepared it by air drying, making it suitable for all life stages of a cat. It is also highly digestible to your kitten.

    Featured Image Credit: BestPhotoPlus, Shutterstock

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