10 Best Cat Foods for Nursing Mother Cats in the UK – 2023 Reviews & Top Picks
When it comes to finding the perfect diet for your cat, it can feel like there’s more pressure when it’s for a nursing mother cat. Not only will the diet you choose need to support her needs, but it will also need to provide a nutritionally solid foundation for her kittens, so they have the best possible start in life.
Nursing mothers require up to 2–2.5 times as many calories per day as a healthy cat who isn’t nursing. They also need more fat and protein each day to support milk production. To make this decision easier and more convenient, we’ve put together reviews of some of the biggest and best names out there, so you don’t have to.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Orijen Cat and Kitten Food||
|Best Value||IAMS for Vitality Kitten Food||
|Premium Choice||Purina Pro Plan Live Clear Dry Kitten Food||
|Best for Kittens||Royal Canin Kitten Food||
|Vet's Choice||Royal Canin Mother and Babycat Dry Kitten Food||
The 10 Best Cat Foods for Nursing Mother Cats in the UK
1. Orijen Cat and Kitten Food – Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Fresh chicken, raw turkey, raw whole herring, fresh chicken giblets (liver, heart), raw hake, raw turkey liver, fresh eggs|
Orijen Cat and Kitten Food is a premium dry cat food option for cats and kittens and is our pick for the best overall cat food for nursing mother cats. With more than 80% of its ingredients composed of fish or meat, and the remainder being veggies and fruit, it is perfect for the nursing mother.
The meat ingredients are fresh or air-dried. There are no vague or unrecognizable ingredients, and they haven’t been treated with preservatives. The majority of the 40% protein comes from species-appropriate meat sources.
This is an expensive option for pet parents but worth the money. It also has a low carbohydrate content compared to other dry food options, which is a plus as felines aren’t equipped to handle high-carb diets.
- High protein content
- No artificial ingredients
- Made primarily from animal sources
- Low in carbs
2. IAMS for Vitality Kitten Food – Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Dried chicken & turkey 43% (chicken 26%), maize, pork fat, fresh chicken (4.1%), rice|
There’s nothing fancy about IAMS for Vitality Kitten Food, but it’s reliable, reasonably priced, and offers a nutritionally balanced diet that you can trust, which is why it’s our pick for best cat food for nursing mother cats for the money. This formula is packed with flavor and 91% animal protein (out of the total protein).
IAMS is widely available, and if you run out suddenly, you know you can visit almost any supermarket or pet store and pick up another bag. It’s affordable and comes in different-sized bags, meeting the increased consumption of a nursing mother cat.
Fish meal is included in the list of ingredients which is a vague description. We would prefer to know the source of the fish. Some pet parents had noted that their cats had diarrhea when they first tried this food.
- Quality protein choices
- Reliable brand
- Widely available
- Vague ingredient
- Caused some cats diarrhea
3. Purina Pro Plan Live Clear Dry Kitten Food – Premium Choice
|Main ingredients:||Turkey, rice, dried turkey protein, soya protein powder, pea protein|
Purina Pro Plan Live Clear Kitten Food contains turkey as its primary ingredient. However, it only accounts for 16% of the ingredients. We would prefer it made up more, but it is followed by dried turkey protein, and in total, the formula consists of 40% turkey. Some pet parents have described it as very tasty, but it is also a particularly expensive option in comparison to some of our other choices.
It contains vitamins C and E and chicory root, which promotes a good immune system and good gut health. This formula is also an allergy-reducing food and promises to reduce allergens by as much as 47% in as little as 3 weeks.
- 40% protein
- Reduces allergens
- Primary ingredient is lean turkey
- Only 16% turkey
- Very expensive
4. Royal Canin Kitten Food – Best for Kittens
|Main ingredients:||Dehydrated poultry protein, rice, wheat gluten, animal fat, maize flour|
Royal Canin Kitten Food is highly digestible and specifically tailored to satisfy rising energy levels through its protein, minerals, and vitamins. That is why it’s our choice for the best cat food for kittens. While this is a review for nursing mothers, Royal Canin can support both mother and baby. It contains 36% protein, and the primary ingredient is poultry protein, which promotes bone and muscle development. This formula also contains nutrients like vitamins C and E, which support your cat’s natural immune system.
This is an expensive option. Also, the bags are not resealable, and you will have to find a way to seal your bag yourself or invest in a resealable bag to keep the food fresh. As always, we would prefer clarity on the ingredient “poultry” as this is rather vague, but dehydrated meat is a strong protein choice.
- Primary ingredient is a meat protein
- Protein is highly digestible
- Packed with vitamins and minerals
- Bags are not resealable
5. Royal Canin Mother and Babycat Dry Kitten Food – Vet’s Choice
|Main ingredients:||Chicken by-product meal, chicken fat, brewers rice, corn, wheat gluten|
Royal Canin Mother and Babycat Food is the perfect choice for supporting nursing mother cats. The protein, calories, and fat are all at high enough levels to support her energy requirements when nursing. The protein choices are highly digestible, and added probiotics further support digestive health.
This formula includes DHA to build a strong foundation for a kitten’s start in the womb by promoting healthy brain development, so not only will this food support mother, but it also will support the babies when they’re ready to eat solids.
This brand has been known to be on the expensive side, but many pet parents are willing to pay the prices for the trusted brand.
- Highly digestible protein
- Probiotics for digestive health
- Supports mother and baby
6. Purina One Kitten Dry Cat Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken (17%), dried poultry protein, wholegrain wheat (14%), pork fat, wheat gluten|
Purina One Kitten is specifically designed for kittens between 1–12 months of age and pregnant or lactating cats. It is developed by Purina pets and nutritionists to ensure it meets the nutritional needs of your cat. It contains Purina Bifensis, which is a unique blend of vitamins and minerals that has been designed to improve feline health. It has chicken as its main ingredient and chicory root to promote good gut health.
Purina One is quite expensive, and while we like that chicken is the first ingredient on the list, it only accounts for 17% of the ingredients. The ingredient “dried poultry protein” is also quite vague, and we would prefer to know which bird this ingredient comes from. Overall, this formula would really benefit from having a higher meat content.
- Primary ingredient is chicken
- Vitamins and minerals to improve health
- Not impressed with all ingredients
7. Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Dry Food
|Main ingredients:||Chicken, brown rice, wheat gluten, chicken fat, egg product|
Hill’s Science diet uses high-quality ingredients that are tasty and highly digestible and is often recommended by vets. It has a high-calorie count, which is excellent for nursing mother cats. Hill’s is free from artificial flavors and ingredients and has a vitamin and antioxidant blend that promises to support a healthy immune system.
It’s a costly option that puts some pet parents off, as you don’t get as much food for your money. This might not be as expensive in the long run if you’re feeding a kitten alone, but the price will add up if you’re sustaining a nursing mother.
- High-calorie count
- Tasty and highly digestible
- Free from artificial flavors and ingredients
- Very Expensive
8. animonda Carny Kitten Wet Cat Food
|Main ingredients:||38% Beef (lung, meat, heart, kidney, udder), 32% chicken (meat, liver, stomach)|
German-made animonda Carny kitten food is made up of both muscle and organ meat and focuses on the carnivorous side of a cat’s diet. It has an almost simplistic ingredient list in comparison to some of our other examples. It uses only high-quality, fresh meat ingredients, and its formulas don’t have any artificial additives, grains, or sugar.
As this is wet food, the moisture level is 81%, which is ideal for nursing mums. It’s a little more difficult to get information about the calories in animonda’s food, but we just used a calorie counter to calculate what was in this meal! On the website, you can also fill out a form and have the feeding recommendation calculated for you, which is a handy extra. It is also an expensive option, so keep this in mind when making your decision.
- High-quality ingredients used
- No artificial nasties
- High moisture level
- Option for personal feeding recommendation on website
- Have to calculate calories yourself
9. Applaws Natural Wet Kitten Food
|Main ingredients:||Tuna, rice, rice flour, fish broth|
Applaws Natural Wet Kitten food has the simplest ingredient list of our 10 reviews, and tuna is the main ingredient. There are no hidden nasty additions; what you see is very much what you get with this food. Applaws is a premium wet kitten food that contains 46% tuna and is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
It is expensive, but it is meant as a complementary wet food that should be served with other food to meet your cat’s nutritional requirements. It’s an excellent option as a treat or for a cat that is a little fussy regarding her food. It also consists of approximately 82% moisture, which is an excellent addition to a nursing mother’s diet.
- Simple ingredient list
- Can be used alongside other food/biscuits
- Contains 46% tuna
- Lower in protein and fat than other examples
10. Felix As Good As It Looks Kitten Pouches
|Main ingredients:||Meat and animal derivatives* (20%, of which beef 4%), vegetable protein extract, fish and fish derivatives, derivatives of vegetable origin|
Felix As Good As It Looks is a mixture of flavors: beef, tuna, chicken, and salmon. It comes in chunks which are 50% meat and covered in jelly. It contains high levels of moisture, which will help keep your nursing cat hydrated. The food is affordable and also made by Purina, which is a trusted brand.
However, the ingredients list is quite vague. The primary ingredients are listed as “meat and animal derivatives” and “fish and fish derivatives,” so it isn’t exactly clear what is in the recipe. This may put some pet parents off, and we would prefer more clarity on the ingredients.
- Mixture of tasty meats
- Made by Purina
- Vague Ingredients
Buyer’s Guide: Finding the Best Cat Foods for Nursing Mother Cats
When it comes to finding the perfect food for your nursing mother cat, you will need to consider a couple of things. Nursing demands energy and a solid nutritional foundation for her to be successful. So, not only do you have to take into account the health of the kittens, but also the mother herself.
Why Do We Feed Nursing Cats Kitten Food?
Nursing mother cats need food that will provide her with much more energy than she’s needed in the past, as well as vitamins and minerals that her regular diet cannot support. Kitten formula is higher in fat, protein, and calories than adult cat food to meet the energy requirements of a growing and developing kitten. It’s also fortified with essential fatty acids. Therefore, kitten food also meets the needs of a nursing mother cat. You’ll even see on many of the cat foods that we’ve listed requirements for pregnant and nursing mothers.
What Are You Looking For?
Understanding what to search for on the cat food label is a good starting point. The ingredients are crucial, as are protein, fat, and calorie contents. Brands will try and dazzle you with promises and flashy words, all promising the best. But what actually matters?
The order of the ingredients is, arguably, as important as the ingredients themselves. Unless it’s a specialized diet, the protein should always be listed first. You’re looking for a named protein source. Anonymous, vague proteins aren’t as good. Muscle meat is excellent, as is organ meat, which you might find second on the list. For example, chicken hearts or liver are excellent sources of taurine.
Look out for named fat sources, such as “chicken fat.” In premium foods, you might also see oils listed, like sunflower oil. Fat is essential for cats; they are highly concentrated and digestible energy sources. If your nursing mother cat has high fat levels in her diet, she’ll have plenty of energy to sustain herself and her milk production. A denser energy source like carbohydrates requires more energy and time to digest, and she’ll get less benefit from them, so low-carb diets are a plus.
Anything Else You Should Be Aware Of
If a diet has a low-calorie density, it might be difficult for a nursing mother cat to eat enough to support herself. So, a formula with a high-calorie density is preferable because this gives her a solid source to draw energy from to support her and her kittens.
Natural fiber and probiotic sources are also something you should be on the lookout for as they support digestive health. Good gut health is crucial for a nursing mother because what’s the point in all these fantastic energy sources if she’s having trouble digesting them?
Stress, precisely as it can with humans, can hit the immune system hard. And keeping a litter of kittens alive and healthy can be very stressful. Antioxidants promote a healthy immune system that will support your mother cat and be passed to the kittens as their bodies adjust to the outside world. In cat food, you see antioxidants in the form of beta-carotene and vitamin E. They can also be found in superfoods like blueberries, cranberries, and kale.
Our best overall cat food for nursing mothers is Orijen Cat and Kitten Food. With more than 80% of its ingredients being meat or fish based, and the rest coming from fruit and veggies, it’s a premium choice. Our pick for the best value is IAMS For Vitality Kitten Food which is reliable, reasonably priced, and offers a nutritionally balanced diet you can rely on. The premium choice is Purina Pro Plan Live Clear Dry Kitten Food. The formula is made up of 40% protein and contains vitamins C and E for good gut health and immune system.
Our pick for the best cat food for kittens is Royal Canin Kitten Food, which is highly digestible and specifically tailored to the nutritional needs of your cat. Lastly, our vet’s choice is Royal Canin Mother and Babycat Dry Kitten Food, which has protein, fats, and plenty of calories to support the nutritional needs of your nursing mother.
There are several brands, diets, and promises out there, and it’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed with your choices. So, we hope these reviews have given you a good starting place in your search for the best food for your nursing mother cat and her kittens!
Featured Image Credit: Rashid Valitov, Shutterstock