What is the Best Kitten Food in Australia? [2020]

Last Updated 5 MAR 2020

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Carla Paszkowski, BVSc (Hons)

No doubt you want the best for your bouncy new kitten, and that includes their nutrition. With so many wet and dry diets on the market, how can you be sure your precious fluffball is getting the best?

Not all kitten diets are created equal, and there is a wealth of conflicting information out there on the grand old internet. Is raw food best for kittens? Should you feed a meat-only diet? How long should you feed a kitten food for? Which kitten food is made in Australia? When it comes to nutrition for our furry friends, there are a lot of questions and it definitely pays to do your research.

We've discussed factors below, included our top picks for each factor, and a comparison table of the best kitten food on the Australian market.

Skip to a Section:

1. Ingredients and Quality

Winners: Best Kitten Food Based on Ingredients

2. Science, Research and Targeted Benefits of your chosen food

Winners: Best Kitten Food Based on Targeted Benefits

3. Palatability

Winners: Most palatable kitten food

4. Country of Manufacture

Winners: Top Australian Made Kitten Food

5. Complete Comparison table

6. Our vet team's top recommendations

7. Further reading

1. Ingredients and Quality

When comparing different varieties of kitten food, many pet owners start by looking at the ingredients list. Be aware that the ingredients listing alone doesn't provide sufficient information to determine the overall quality of a cat food, as other factors such as nutrient balance, quality assurance, digestibility are also important. However, that said, the ingredients panel can certainly give you some hints as to the quality.

Lower quality pet foods may use vague ingredient terms such as 'meat' (instead of 'chicken') or 'cereals' (instead of 'corn'), which means the manufacturer can change the ingredients batch by batch depending on what is cheapest at the time. Cheaper, lower quality pet food may also add artificial colours, flavours and gelling agents to give their foods a more appealing look or texture. Rest assured, cats don't mind what colour their food is - in fact, they can't even see colours! So these extra ingredients are included to please your eyes only, and are entirely unecessary.

To compare, higher quality kitten foods will list specific ingredient terms and will not change the recipe between batche. In addition, they may contain extra beneficial ingredients to support your cat's overall health and wellbeing, such as antioxidants or fish oil for skin and coat health.

Feline Natural

Feline Natural is made with over 90% animal protein, including free range lamb and sustainably sourced fish. Marked for 'all lifestages', it is balanced for growing kittens and made in New Zealand alongside Massey University research.

Ziwi Peak

Ziwi is made from premium quality, New Zealand animal protein and contains whole prey ingredients, including beneficial microflora. With novel proteins such as rabbit and mackerel, it is marked for 'all lifestages' and therefore balanced for growing kittens.

Black Hawk

Each Black Hawk recipe is proudly made in Australia from high quality proteins, vegetables and fruits with no unnecessary filler ingredients. Based on the 'Real Food Movement', Black Hawk also provides a wide range of flavours to keep fussy kittens interested.

Vetalogica Biologically Appropriate

Vetalogica produces 2 ranges - Biologically Appropriate and Vetalogica Originals. All varieties are high in meat, grain free, and highly palatable. They are also made in Australia from local products.

2. Science, Research, and Quality Assurance

Quality can also be assessed by the the brand's manufacturing process, research practices, and overall reputation. It's all well and good to have natural ingredients, but a manufacturer should also ensure recipes based on scientific research, gold standard hygeine, as well as a consistent balance of nutrients including fat, energy, vitamins and minerals appropriate for growing kittens. The more regular tests a manufacturer completes to assure the quality of its food, the better.

In terms of research, Hills Science Diet and Advance take the cake for industry-leading pet nutrition. Over the past century, Hills has completed dozens of studies in the U.S.A. to help establish nutritional guidelines and therapeutic diets to help manage health conditions. Meanwhile Advance, in conjunction with The Waltham Institute in the United Kingdom, has also made breakthrough discoveries and perfected nutritional guidelines for both cats and dogs.

What about Quality Assurance to ensure consistency? While most pet food factories in Australia complete daily quality assurance tests to ensure pet food is free from contaminants and balanced nutritionally, typically the 'larger' reputable companies, such as Mars Petcare, have the most stringent quality assurance processes.

Hills Science Diet

Hill's Science Diet produces a wide range of wet and dry food for kittens. It is made in the USA, recommended by more vets worldwide than any other brand, and supported heavily by industry-leading science.

Royal Canin

Royal Canin is one of our most popular brands, and known for being highly palatable. Royal Canin produces wet food, dry food, and even a mother/kitten formula which can be fed to kittens and their mother as they nurse.

Pro Plan

Pro Plan produces targeted, scientifically formulated wet food for cats. With a focus on specific lifestages, their wet food is highly palatable and available in a number of flavours.

Advance

Advance produces highly palatable kitten food based on scientific research from the WALTHAM institute in the U.K. Advance wet food is produced in top quality Mars Petcare manufacturing facilities in Australia.

3. Palatability

When searching for a kitten food, palatability is undoubtedly one of the most important features to consider. Cats can be notoriously fussy, and nobody wants to waste time or money on food that won't get eaten. Plus, kittens need to eat regularly to maintain their quick metabolism, rapid growth rate, and constant blood sugar levels. If they miss even one meal due to a disliking of the flavour, they risk becoming hypoglycaemic.

Why are some kittens so fussy? The truth is, rather than being 'fussy', some kittens may simply be bored with a lack of variety. Eating the same food every day is an unnatural concept for cats, who are naturally inclined to hunt a different prey each day. This means that if your cat seems a little fussy, it may help to rotate between different flavours (particularly between different meat proteins) to see if it sparks their interest. However, care needs to be taken when rotating diets with kittens, as they can experience loose stools with sudden diet changes. A slow and gentle introduction to a rotation diet is best.

So, what is the most palatable kitten food? Based on customer reviews, we've listed our top 4 varieties most often reviewed for being readily accepted and highly palatable. However, it's important to note that all cats have different flavour preferences, and what works for another kitten might not work for your kitten.

Royal Canin

Royal Canin is one of our most popular brands, and known for being highly palatable. Both the dry and wet food is great for tempting fussy eaters.

Feline Natural

With a high meat content and 'whole prey' ingredients including organs and tripe, Feline Natural is widely reviewed as a real cat pleaser. This tripe topper (pictured) is extra smelly and kittens LOVE it.

Ivory Coat

Ivory Coat is grain-free, natural, high in protein, and widely reviewed as being highly palatable among kittens.

Orijen

Orijen is high in meat content and made with free range chicken and turkey. It is widely reviewed as being readily accepted by fussy kittens.

4. Country of Manufacture

Image: @sakeandshiro_theburmese

Most kitten owners consider the place of manufacture as an important factor, and actively look for an Australian-made kitten food over one made overseas. Buying locally can have major benefits.

Why buy Australian Made cat food? Considering recent pet food recalls due to deficiencies or contaminated food, one can never be too careful. When seeking an Australian-made food, it is comforting to know you're buying food from trusted, 'first world' Australian facilities (with nationally controlled manufacturing factories, quality assurance, and OH+S standards). There is also a financial benefit: buying locally avoids unecessary import costs. This all adds up to a better good quality pet food for a much fairer price. Plus, buying locally produced pet food ultimately helps support our economy!

Below we've listed which pet foods are Made in Australia:

MADE IN AUSTRALIA:

MADE OVERSEAS:

Advance

Advance kitten food is produced in Australia (Albury/Wodonga and Bathurst) in state-of-the-art MARS Pet Food facilities. Their food is all based on world-leading research.

Ivory Coat

Ivory Coat is made in Australia from local ingredients. It is highly palatable and complete and balanced for fast-growing, active kittens.

Black Hawk

Each Black Hawk recipe is proudly made in Australia from high quality proteins, vegetables and fruits with no unnecessary filler ingredients.

Vetalogica

Vetalogica's varieties are high in meat, grain free, and made in Australia from local products.

A Complete Comparison of Kitten Food

We've collated our top kitten food below. To see current prices, simply click on the product.

Kitten Food Key callouts First 5 Ingredients (of pictured formula) Varieties Available

Advance

Australian made, highly palatable, premium recipes based on gold standard WALTHAM Institute research. Chicken, Maize Gluten, Rice, Maize, Chicken Fat Dry Food, Wet Pouches and Trays

Black Hawk

Natural Australian-made dry and wet food for cats. Chicken, Peas, Chicken Broth, Plasma Protein, Egg Powder Dry Food and Wet Pouches

Dine

Australian made, affordable, palatable kitten food perfect for tempting fussy eaters. Meat including Chicken, Beef, Lamb and Pork; Fish including Salmon and Tuna; Cheese Wet trays

Feline Natural

Natural, grain-free, high meat canned food, complete and balanced for all life stages. Beef Heart, Hoki, Beef, Beef Kidney, Beef Liver Freeze dried raw kibble and wet cans

Hills Science Diet

Delivers a wide range high quality wet and dry food, perfectly balanced according to industry-leading science. Chicken, Brown Rice, Wheat Gluten, Chicken Fat, Egg Product Dry Food, Wet Cans and Pouches

Ivory Coat

Natural, grain free, highly palatable and made in Australia. Chicken Meal, Tapioca, Peas, Chicken Fat, Ground Flaxseed Dry Food

Pro Plan

Premium quality, highly digestible dry and wet food, with recipes based on science. Chicken (dehydrated chicken, chicken); corn protein; whole grain wheat; animal fat; wheat protein Dry Food, Wet Pouches and Cans

Royal Canin

A tasty array of kitten diets scientifically formulated to be complete and balanced. Dehydrated poultry protein, rice, vegetable protein isolate*, animal fats, maize Dry Food, Wet Pouches and Cans

Ziwi Peak

Natural, limited ingredient cat food made in New Zealand with novel proteins and 'whole prey' ingredients. Rabbit Meat, Lamb Broth, Lamb Liver*, Lamb, Lamb Lung Freeze-dried Kibble, Wet Cans

Dr Teagan

Royal Canin Kitten Varieties

"I really like the Royal Canin range of kitten food. This premium kitten food contains highly digestible nutrients to help support healthy bone and muscle development. It includes an exclusive combination of nutrients to maintain optimal digestive health and stool quality, as well as antioxidants and prebiotics to support your kitten's natural immune defences. "

Dr Carla

Feline Natural Wet Cans

"While I like different brands for different reasons, I have always been impressed with the Feline Natural line of cat food, which is balanced for all lifestages. Feline Natural provides different protein sources such as mackerel, beef, and lamb - which is usually quite hard to find for kitten food. I recommend including this in a rotation with other top quality kitten diets."

Dr Elise

Hills Science Diet Kitten Food

"Hills Science Diet is my go-to for kitten food. This premium line of food is scientifically formulated to meet the requirements of your kitten's growing needs. The wet food is available in cans or handy pouches, and different flavours afford plenty of variety for fussy cats."

Dr Antonella

Advance Kitten Food

"I routinely recommend Advance for kittens. It is highly palatable, and made in Australia from premium ingredients. With recipes based on research from the WALTHAM Institute, and a strong veterinary influence, you know you're getting the best in terms of balanced nutrients!"

For more tips on caring for your new kitten, including tips on worming, desexing, and microchipping, see our helpful video:

Further Reading

New kitten guide

Premium pet food: Is it worth it?

How To Keep Indoor Cats Entertained

What Is The Best Cat Litter?

Risks and Benefits to Raw Feeding

Shop All Kitten Food