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Veterinarian Recommended Cat Food Across Life Stages: Newborn, Kitten, Adult and More

by Vetic Editorial
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Choosing the right cat food is crucial for a cat’s overall health and well-being. Proper nutrition helps maintain their weight and energy levels while supporting their immune system. It can prevent health issues and promote a happy and active life.

Here is what our veterinarians have to say about kitten and cat food based on their age, breed, special care and health needs.

0 – 30 days: Kitten Milk Replacer

Ideally kittens should thrive on mother’s milk at this age. However, if you have a cat who is unwilling to feed their newborn or an orphaned kitten, you should think about cat milk replacers. 

5 grey, mackerel kittens in various positions, sitting and standing together on a pink furry rug.

There is no other food option that provides complete nutrition for kittens. 

Here are some of the milk replacers our veterinarian recommends for kittens between the ages of 0 to 4 weeks (0 to 30 days) –

  1. Venky’s Ventri Pro Kitten Feed Supplement
  2. Vetina Puppy & Kitten Milk
  3. Beaphar Lactol Kitten Milk Replacement Powder
  4. Drools Absolute Milk Replacer – For Newborn Kittens
  5. PetAg KMR Kitten Milk Replacer Liquid
  6. PetAg KMR Kitten Milk Replacer Powder

What should the best kitten milk replacer contain?

Commercial kitten milk replacers should have everything natural mother cat’s milk contains. 

When purchasing a kitten milk replacer, ensure that the formula at least has Vitamins E, K, C, B1, B2, B6 and B12, Folic acid, Nicotinamide, Calcium, Biotin, Lysine, Taurine, Colostrum, DHA, Methionine, easily digestible proteins, prebiotics and probiotics. 

Special Mention: Kitten Weaning Food

Often new cat owners are confused about the weaning stage of kittens. When kittens are with their mothers, their cat-mom takes up the responsibility of slowly switching the kitten from mother’s milk to solid food. 

two ginger kittens sitting side by side on an elevated surface outdoor. green foliage is visible in the background. one kitten is sitting flat and looking away from the camera. the kitten to the right is sitting up almost straight and looking right at the camera. both have blue eyes, but straight open ears. They seem to be older than 28 days, but younger than 40 days.

However, if you have an orphaned or adopted kitten who’s only around 4 weeks (30-days) old, you may want to introduce them slowly to kitten weaning food or regular kitten food. 

Kitten weaning food options are limited. However, you can definitely go for the ones our veterinarian recommends. 

  • Royal Canin Mother & Babycat
  • KMR® 2nd Step™ Kitten Weaning Food
  • IAMS Proactive Health Chicken Premium Mother and Kitten Cat Dry Food

For most kittens, weaning food is not required. They naturally begin accepting kitten food (dry and wet) when they are around 30 days or 4 weeks old. Weaning food is recommended for kittens who have limited digestive abilities.

However, the transition should be very gradual. Do not switch out their milk replacer completely with weaning or kitten food in a day. Speak to the veterinarian about how to introduce a kitten to solid food. 

1 – 12 months: Selecting the Right Kitten Food 

When your cat is around 30 days or a month old, they are ready for solid food. You should definitely ask the veterinarian once since each cat will have different nutritional needs depending on their breed, health and digestive capabilities. 

Dry Kitten Food vs. Wet Kitten Food

Dry kitten food contains between 6 and 10% water. Wet kitten food may contain between 70% and 85% water. That is the main difference between dry and wet kitten food available in the market. 

Kittens often find wet food variants more palatable than dry food. However, dry kitten food is much easier to digest than wet kitten food. 

Your veterinarian is more likely to recommend a mixture of dry and wet food for your kitten.

Maintenance (Regular) Kitten Food: Food Choice for All Breeds

Maintenance food includes kitten food from popular brands such as Whiskas, Drools, Royal Canin and Farmina Matisse. The ideal maintenance kitten food should have higher calories and nutrients as compared to adult cat food to satisfy the nutritional needs of a fast-growing kitten. 

The ideal kitten food has a high protein content and complete collection of nutrients (vitamins, essential amino acids, essential fats and trace minerals) necessary for the healthy growth of a kitten between the ages of 1 month to 12 months. It should also be easily digestible. 

Here are some of the best dry kitten food options recommended by veterinarians –

Maintenance (regular) kitten dry food

  1. Whiskas Kitten Dry Food (Multiple Flavour Variants Available)
  2. Me-O Kitten Ocean Fish Cat Food 
  3. Purina Friskies Kitten Discoveries
  4. Royal Canin Kitten Second Age
  5. Farmina Matisse kitten 
  6. Drools Kitten Ocean Fish 
  7. Sheba Kitten and Adult Dry Cat Food 

Maintenance (regular) kitten wet food

  1. Whiskas Kitten Chicken in Gravy
  2. Whiskas Kitten Tuna in Jelly
  3. Me-O Kitten Tuna Pouch 
  4. Royal Canin Kitten Gravy Salsa Wet Food
  5. ME-O Pouch Kitten Chicken Chunk In Gravy 
  6. Sheba Kitten Chicken Premium Loaf
  7. Applaws Kitten Chicken Breast Wet Cat Food 
  8. Applaws Kitten Tuna in Jelly Wet Cat Food 
  9. Me-o Kitten Tuna & Sardine Wet Cat Food 
  10. Bellotta Kittens Tuna Pate Wet Food
  11. Bellotta Kittens Tuna and Chicken Wet Food 
  12. Purina Felix Kitten with Chicken in Jelly Wet Cat food 
  13. Purina Felix Kitten with Tuna in Jelly Wet Cat food 

Breed Specific Kitten Food (Persian)

Persian kittens have specific nutritional needs and characteristics that influence their diet. Persian kittens have certain physical traits and health considerations including a flat face, poor dentition and a thick coat that can influence the choice of kitten food.

  1. Royal Canin Persian Kitten Cat Food 
  2. Me-O Persian Kitten Dry Cat Food 

Functional Kitten Food (Specialised Kitten Food)

Functional kitten food is especially necessary for kittens who have limited digestive abilities or frequent stomach upsets. They can also help kittens who experienced lack of enough nutrition during their early weeks. 

Two hands pouring out wet cat food into a small steel bowl as a calico cat with white paws and a white chest licks the bowl. the bowl is on a wooden table and so is the cat. the cat is on the right and the hands are on the left.

Additionally, most kittens undergo neutering or spaying before they are a year old. These kittens may require specially formulated dry food for sterilised kittens. Feeding regular kitten food to spayed or neutered kittens can result in obesity and other health issues. 

Functional Dry Kitten Food

  1. Farmina N&D Prime Cat Grain Free Chicken & Pomegranate Kitten 
  2. Arden Grange Grain Free Fresh Chicken & Potato Dry Kitten Food
  3. Royal Canin Sterilised Dry Kitten Food (Neutered/Spayed Kittens)

Functional Wet Food (Specialty Wet Food) for Kittens 

Royal Canin Kitten Instinctive Loaf Cat Wet Food

NOTE: Kittens can be picky about ingredients and flavours irrespective of the type of food. It’s always better to pick more than one flavour for your kitten so they remain acquainted with all the available flavours in the market. Introducing multiple variants to a kitten at a young age will ensure that they grow up to be adult cats with a liking for multiple types and flavours of food. 

12 months to 7 years: Adult Cat Food Choices

Once your kitten is a year old, you should think about adult cat food options. Feeding kitten food to adult cats can cause obesity due to the high nutrient content in the kitten foods. 

Dry Cat Food vs. Wet Cat Food: What’s Best for Your Adult Cat?

First things first, let’s get the wet food vs. dry food debate sorted. 

Photo of cat food. Dry cat food in a ceramic food bowl is on the left. Wet canned food is on the right in a plate. the containers are kept against a grey background.

Wet food has more water content than dry food. Wet food has a mixture of processed (fresh and frozen) meat and fish in combination with added nutrients. Dry food mainly has cooked meat/fish that’s combined with additional nutrients. Wet food undergoes a heating process to destroy pathogens, while dry food undergoes pressurised processing that makes the starches more digestible.

Dry food is fine for all cats unless they reject it. You need to control the portions if you are feeding dry food to your adult cat. 

Feed wet food to your cat if they do not drink enough water. Veterinarians often recommend wet food for cats who have diabetes, kidney problems or lower urinary tract infections – conditions that require more water intake than normal. 

If your kitty is perfectly healthy, you can go with dry food, wet food or a mix of both. 

Here are some of the best adult dry cat food recommendations by veterinarians –

Maintenance (Regular) Cat Food

Maintenance or regular cat food includes popular brands such as Whiskas, Matisse, Drools, Sheba and Royal Canin that meet the regular nutritional requirements of all adult cats (without any special healthcare needs). 

Adult Cat Food typically contains all necessary proteins, carbohydrates, fats, moisture, vitamins and minerals for the complete maintenance of a cat’s health. 

The cat food you pick for your adult cat should have 11 essential amino acids including taurine, DHA, omega-3 fatty acid, omega-6 fatty acid, 26% crude protein and Vitamins A, B(complex) E and K, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folic Acid, Biotin and Pyridoxine. 

Some of the popular cat food for adult cats recommended by veterinarians include –

Regular or maintenance dry adult cat food

  1. Whiskas Adult Mackerel Flavour 
  2. Whiskas Adult Ocean Fish 
  3. Whiskas Adult Tuna Flavour 
  4. Whiskas Adult Chicken Flavour
  5. Drools Ocean Fish Adult Cat Food
  6. Drools Tuna & Salmon Adult Cat Food
  7. Farmina Matisse Chicken & Rice Adult Cat Food 
  8. Farmina Matisse Adult Salmon and Tuna Cat Food
  9. Sheba Chicken Dry Cat Food 
  10. Sheba Salmon Dry Cat Food 
  11. Me-O Adult Mackerel Cat Food
  12. Me-O Chicken & Vegetable Adult Dry Cat Food
  13. Me-O Gourmet Dry Cat Food
  14. PURINA FRISKIES Surfin Favourites with Mackerel, Tuna & Salmon

Maintenance (regular) wet cat food

  1. Sheba Skipjack & Salmon Wet Cat Food 
  2. Sheba Fish with Dry Bonito Flake Flavour Wet Cat Food 
  3. Sheba Fish with Sasami Wet Cat Food 
  4. Sheba Maguro & Bream Wet Cat Food
  5. Royal Canin Kitten Gravy Salsa Cat Wet Food
  6. Royal Canin Intense Beauty Cat Gravy
  7. Farmina Matisse Cat Mousse Lamb Cat food 
  8. Farmina Matisse Cat Mousse Sardine Cat food 
  9. Farmina Matisse Cat Mousse Salmon Cat food
  10. Farmina Matisse Cat Mousse Chicken Cat food 
  11. Purina Felix Adult with Mackerel in Jelly Wet Cat food 
  12. Purina Felix Adult with Chicken in Jelly Wet Cat food 
  13. Schesir Tuna Whole Meat & Rice In Jelly Cat Wet Food 
  14. Schesir Tuna Whole Meat & Rice With Chicken Cat Wet Food 
  15. Schesir Chicken Flake In Jelly Cat Wet Food
  16. Bellotta Tuna with Gravy Adult Cat Food 
  17. Bellotta Tuna with Chicken in 3 Layers Tinned Cat Wet Food 
  18. Applaws Tuna Fillet and Prawn Wet Cat Food 
  19. Applaws Ocean Fish Cat Wet Cat Food 
  20. Applaws Chicken Breast Wet Cat Food 
  21. Applaws Tuna Fillet Wet Cat Food
  22. Applaws Salmon Mousse Wet Cat Food 
  23. Applaws Tender Chicken Breast with Liver in Tasty Jelly Wet Cat Food 
  24. Applaws Tuna fillet with Pacific Prawn Wet Cat Food
  25. Applaws Tuna Fillet with Whole Anchovy Wet Cat Food 

Functional Cat Food (Specialty Cat Food) For Adult Cats

Functional cat food typically includes grain-free food, food made from wild fish, free-range chicken and organic vegetables. They address particular nutritional and health needs such as reducing hairballs, promoting satiety, upholding the health of neutered cats, settling sensitive stomachs and improving skin health. 

an orange-white mother cat feeding lying on her side in a bed lined with multiple warm knit blankets and feeding her 3 kittens. the fourth kitten is climbing over her back peeping from the edge of the bed. two kittens are orange, one is white and one is orange with white patches. the bed seems to be on a grassy surface.

These are foods that cat parents can buy at their own discretion after speaking to a veterinarian. You do not need a prescription to opt for a specialty or functional cat food.

Functional Dry Cat Food for Adult Cats

  1. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Satiety Cat Food
  2. Royal Canin Fit 32 Cat Food
  3. Royal Canin Sterilised 37
  4. Royal Canin Indoor 27
  5. Royal Canin Digestive Care
  6. Royal Canin Outdoor
  7. Royal Canin Sensible 33

(Functional Premium Grain-free Cat Food)

  1. Farmina Ocean Cat Adult Herring and Orange 
  2. Farmina N&D Prime Cat Grain Free Chicken & Pomegranate Adult 
  3. Farmina N&D Prime Cat Grain Free Lamb & Blueberry Adult 
  4. Acana Pacifica Cat Food
  5. Orijen Original Cat Food
  6. Arden Grange Grain Free Chicken & Potato Cat Food

(Functional Cat Food for Hairball Control in All Breeds)

  1. Whiskas Hairball Control Adult (1+ Years) Dry Cat Food
  2. Whiskas Adult Skin & Coat Chicken & Salmon 
  3. Royal Canin Hairball Care Dry Cat Food
  4. Royal Canin Hair and Skin Dry Cat Food
  5. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Hairball Control Dry Cat Food
  6. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Urinary and Hairball Control Cat Food
  7. Hills-SP Feline Adult Hairball
  8. Lara Adult Indoor Anti-Hairball With Turkey & Chicken Dry Cat Food
  9. Dibaq Cat Food Coat Hairball Dry Cat Food
  10. Iams Cat Hairball Control Chicken

Functional (specialised) Wet Cat Food

  1. Royal Canin Cat Adult Instinctive Wet Cat Food 
  2. Royal Canin Hairball Care – Cat Wet Food
  3. Bellota Tray – Tuna with Light meat in Jelly with Hairball Control
  4. Royal Canin Cat Adult Instinctive 
  5. Royal Canin Intense Beauty Cat Gravy

Prescription Cat Food For All Cat Breeds and Ages

Prescription cat food always requires a prescription from a veterinarian. The veterinary doctor will likely recommend a prescription food after assessing your cat’s blood and biochemistry tests. 

Close-up shot of a cat eating small fish shaped dry cat food from the ground. only part of the cat's head and face are visible. the cat has a white muzzle and a striped grey pattern on the head.

For example, if your cat has compromised liver function, they will require a feline hepatic diet. If your cat is suffering from kidney disease they will need a feline renal diet. 

It is important to never stop the prescription food or change brands without consulting your veterinarian. 

Here’s a list of the most common feline prescription diets recommended by veterinarians for various conditions commonly associated with cats of any age – 

Prescription Dry Cat Food

  1. Farmina Vet Life Cat Struvite Formula Feline 
  2. Farmina Vet Life cat Hepatic Feline
  3. Farmina Vet Life Cat UltraHypo Feline
  4. Farmina Vet Life Cat Renal Feline
  5. Farmina Vet Life Cat Obesity 
  6. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal Cat Food 
  7. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Wet Cat Food
  8. Royal Canin Veterinary Gastrointestinal Cat
  9. Royal Canin Renal Feline Dry
  10. Royal Canin Urinary S/O Moderate Calorie
  11. Royal Canin URINARY S/O
  12. Royal Canin Hypoallergenic

Prescription Wet Cat Food

  1. Farmina Vet Life Cat Convalescence Wet Food
  2. Farmina Vet Life Cat Gastrointestinal Wet food
  3. Farmina Vet Life Cat Struvite Wet food 
  4. Farmina Vet Life Cat Renal Wet Food 

Breed-specific Cat Food (Persian Cat)

Persian cats have a flatter face as compared to Indie cats and their dental setting is also very different. So they need easy-to-chew food that is rich in Taurine and other nutrients that can maintain their thick fur coat.

Ideally, Persian cats need food that reduces the occurrence of furballs and maintains their skin health.  Here are some brilliant food options for Persian Cats often recommended by the vets –

  • Royal Canin Persian Adult Cat Food
  • Me-O Anti-Hairball Formula Persian Dry Cat Food
  • Maxi Persian Adult Dry Cat Food- Ocean Fish
  • Let’s Bite Active Persian Adult Dry Cat Food

Special Cat Food for Senior Cats (7+ years)

Senior cats require specially formulated diets that take care of their health and at the same time do not add empty calories. Cat food for cats over the age of 7 years is generally high in good quality protein and essential fatty acids and low in carbohydrates and calories. 

They contain all vitamins and minerals that take care of urinary, heart, digestive and joint health. They complete the dietary needs of older cats and keep them healthy for years (sometimes at least a decade) to come. 

  1. Royal Canin Indoor 7+
  2. Royal Canin Sterilised 7+
  3. Royal Canin Ageing 12+ Gravy
  4. IAMS Proactive Health Senior Adult Dry Cat Food
  5. Schesir 51% Tuna with Aloe Senior Wet Cat Food
  6. Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Indoor Dry Cat Food
  7. Hill’s Science Diet Age Defying Senior 11+ Dry Cat Food

You can choose a maintenance food depending on your cat’s age. Depending on their neutering status and digestive abilities, you can pick functional (specialised) food as well. However, NEVER pick out a prescription food without the consultation of a veterinarian. Only feed the particular prescribed food to your cat for as long as the vet recommends.

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