6 Best Treats for Kittens in 2024
Treats can be a fun and normal part of your kitty’s life. But it’s important to remember that not all adult cat treats are the best treats for kittens.
“Kittens are born with lean muscles and low-fat stores. Like adults, kittens require animal protein to obtain the essential amino acids their body cannot produce, such as arginine and taurine,” Dr. Chinonyerem Ukweni, pet owner, animal lover, and veterinarian working with pet accessory company Pet Parking, says. “Other dietary supplementations include calcium, phosphorus, vitamins A and B3 (niacin), Arachidonic acid, and other essential multivitamins for growth, healthy skin, bones, and organ function.”
Out Top Kitten Treat Picks
- Overall Best Treats for Kittens: Get Naked Kitten Health Soft Treats
- Best Healthy Cat Treats for Kittens: Wellness Kittles Natural Grain-Free Salmon & Cranberries Cat Treats
- Best Lickable Cat Treats for Kittens: Inaba Churu Lickable Treats
- Best Training Treats for Kittens: Blue Buffalo Baby Blue Savory Salmon Kitten Crunchies
- Best Kitten Treats for Picky Eaters: Temptations Kitten Treats
- Best Freeze-Dried Kitten Treats: The Honest Kitchen Smittens White Fish Cat Treats
Best Kitten Treats of 2024
Overall Best Treats for Kittens
Our Pick: Get Naked Kitten Health Soft Treats
Nutritious, thoughtfully formulated with vitamins and minerals, and soft for easy chewing, these Get Naked kitten treats are an all-around excellent choice for your kitten. Your furry little cutie can benefit from DHA Omega-3 for cognitive development, as well as taurine, which is an amino acid that helps with immunity and digestion. Each kitten treat comes in at 3 calories.
- All-natural and free of grains, wheat, corn, and soy
- Promote cognitive development and immunity/digestion
- Made with real chicken
- Soft texture is great for kittens
- Some customers thought they were a little large
- Higher price point
Best Healthy Cat Treats for Kittens
While technically a cat treat, Kittles reigned supreme with high ratings and endless thoughtful reviews for cats and kittens alike. They’re available in three different flavors – salmon and cranberries (as shown here), chicken and cranberries, and tuna and cranberries – which aid in urinary health and give cats the necessary protein, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids for additional health benefits. One important note: because they’re crunchy like a small biscuit, the brand does recommend moistening to make them softer for delicate kitten teeth. Each cat treat has under 2 calories per bite.
- Made with quality fruits, veggies, and real meat
- Great source of protein, antioxidants,and omega-3 fatty acids
- Promote urinary health
- Grain free and all natural
- No by-products, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Made in the USA
- Need to be softened with water before feeding to kittens
Best Lickable Cat Treats for Kittens
Our Pick: Inaba Churu Lickable Treats
The first time I heard of these treats was from a good friend and cat parent. He gave the lickable treats to his cat to acclimate them to a new environment, and the results were incredibly positive. They’re designed for you to hold in your hand as your kitten licks the contents right out of the packaging, which can be a great bonding experience for the two of you. Additionally, as a possible solution for kittens who aren’t drinking enough water, they include 91% moisture for extra hydration. Pet parent tip: Consider getting the variety pack if you’re trying these for the first time to determine which your kitten prefers. Each tube has 6 calories, and while they’re not specifically made for kittens, the brand recommends these lickable treats for kitties of all ages.
- Can be licked right out of the packaging or used as a cat food topper
- Made with quality, human-grade ingredients
- Free of grains, preservatives, artificial colors and carrageenan
- Great for hydration
- Come in a variety of savory flavors
- High price point
Best Training Treats for Kittens
We love these treats because they’re specifically made for kittens and packed with protein to help young cats with muscle development. Each oven-baked, crunchy bite features a wealth of healthy ingredients with nutritional benefits, such as salmon for protein and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as brewer’s yeast for amino acids and B vitamins. Plus, because they’re low in calories, you can feel better about giving more than just one at a time, which can be incredibly helpful during training sessions where you’re looking to reward your little cutie.
- Each bite is 1.3 calories
- Free of corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors/preservatives, and by-product meals
- Provide protein, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, and more
- Some customers said the bag was on the smaller side
Best Kitten Treats for Picky Eaters
Our Pick: Temptations Kitten Treats
Have a fickle kitten at home who’s very hesitant for anything new? Your habitual creature will instantly be curious and enticed by these Temptations treats for kittens because of their crunchy-outside, soft-inside texture. Customers rave about these kitten treats, saying that even their pickiest kittens go crazy for them. The best part? Not only are they delish (whether you choose the chicken and dairy or salmon and dairy flavor), they also have DHA Omega-3 fatty acids to help encourage healthy brain development. Just keep in mind that these do contain by-products, so if you’re looking for treats without, Temptations may not be the best option for you. Each kitten treat has under 2 calories.
- Kittens seem to love the texture, which is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside
- Contain DHA Omega-3 fatty acids
- Great price point
- Some customers mentioned that the quality of the ingredients isn’t the greatest, but they still keep these treats around for a once-in-awhile option
Best Freeze-Dried Kitten Treats
30% off orders $30+ at The Honest Kitchen with code VS30
Packed with 100% human-grade, wild-caught cod for a healthy punch of protein, these freeze-dried cat treats are not only okay for kittens to consume, they’re also an excellent choice for you little kitty. Each heart-shaped bite is gently dehydrated to keep nutrients and protein at an optimal level, and they’re free from all kinds of no-nos like artificial preservatives, fillers, and feed-grade by-products, among others. They also have 2.5 calories each.
- Only 2 ingredients: 100% human-grade, wild-caught cod and sea salt
- High in protein
- Free from artificial preservatives, feed grade by-products, fillers, GMO ingredients, corn, wheat, and soy
- Made in the USA
- Higher price point
Can Kittens Have Treats?
The short answer is yes, kittens can totally have treats, according to Dr. Ukweni. In fact, you can use treats when training your kitten. They can be used as rewards or positive stimuli. For instance, if you’re teaching a shy kitten to be friendlier to their human counterparts, treats can help get them out of their shell.
Just keep the amount of treats and their caloric intake in check. “When buying treats, nutrient analysis and ingredients should inform your purchase,” Dr. Ukweni explains. Treats shouldn’t replace a kitten’s food. Dr. Ukweni suggests 1.3 to 2 kilocalories (or kcal) per treat, which can engage your cat in lessons and satisfy cravings.
Just keep in mind the following points when shopping and feeding your kitten:
- Kitten treats come in different forms, which we’ll explore more in this article
- Kitten treats shouldn’t be given to replace actual meals; they should be used as an extra, well, treat for your furry little friend
- You should consider the nutritional value of snacks and treats given to cats regardless of their age.
- It’s important to limit consumption. There IS such a thing as too much of a good thing
How We Chose Our Top Treats
So how did we choose the best treats for kittens? The first thing we did was talk to a veterinarian to understand what factors to consider when selecting treats specifically made for kittens. We also asked pros which adult cat treats (if any) are okay for kittens, and which brands they recommend.
From there, we searched widely and looked at the following factors:
Ingredients. Like the food that you’re feeding your kitty, it’s important to know what’s actually in kitten treats. That’s why we highlighted those that were free of the bad stuff and called out when there was an ingredient that could raise a red flag.
Best cat treats for kittens. While most of the picks on our list are made specifically for kittens, we did sprinkle in adult cat treats that are okay to give kittens (with some caveats).
Ratings/reviews. Other pet parents are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to getting into the nitty-gritty of why they liked (or disliked) a certain treat, so we paid close attention to the ratings and reviews for each of our picks.
Price. We compared prices on all of our picks, calling out some great deals, as well as some higher-priced treats that we felt may be worth the extra bucks.
Kitten Treats Buyer’s Guide
Before you hit the store or click “add to cart”, there are some important things to keep in mind when shopping for kitten treats:
Check the ingredients. According to Ukweni, you should stay away from artificial coloring and preservatives. She also mentions that you don’t want fillers, like wheat, corn, and other grains. If you find human-grade, all-natural, and grain-free, it’s a winner!
Be aware of expiration dates. As always, when shopping at a brick-and-mortar store or when you receive kitten treats after purchasing online, check expiration dates. Kitten treats are not made to last forever, and they can grow mold. And if the expiration date is a far off date, you should then confirm that there aren’t preservatives (or too many preservatives).
Watch out for texture. While kittens can have some adult cat treats, it’s important to remember that harder, super-crunchy options can be too tough on baby teeth. Be sure to take note of any tougher textures that could cause issues, and if you do purchase treats on the crunchier side, you can always soften them with a little water to make them easier for your kitten to eat.
Kitten Treat FAQs
What types of treats are made for kittens?
If it’s not obvious on the packaging or if you’re not sure what cat age is considered “kitten,” Dr. Ukweni says to look for cat treats formulated for cats under 1 year old.
Can kittens have cat treats?
Yes, your kitten can have treats that are made for adult cats. Dr. Ukweni says you should keep the caloric intake in mind. “Unlike adults expending 1.4 kcal per day at rest, kittens require more resting energy (2.5 kcal per day) and micronutrients than adult cats.”
What types of cat treats should kittens not have?
Dr. Ukweni cautions against most adult treats are formulated for senior cats. “They lack essential kitten nutrients and are calorie deficient,” she explains.
More Kitten Treat Tips
Once the treats are in your home and it’s time to give them to your kitten, Dr. Ukweni cautions not to give too many to your developing cat, or at the wrong time. “Treats are best given to kittens when training, socializing, or as a reward for good behavior. It is not advisable to feed treats when cats are lounging, and no extra energy is expended,” she explains. “This will enforce poor behavior and promote food refusal.”
Dr. Ukweni also suggests giving kitten treats sparingly because of their high calorie content.
As always, no two cats (or kittens, in this case) are the same. Some kittens might be really picky and not want the treats at all, while others might be obsessed with treats and can’t get enough. It’s up to you as the cat parent to understand what they prefer (so you don’t waste your money), and how often and when to serve them to your kitten.
Lastly, it’s always good to consult with your veterinarian if you have questions on what’s best for your kitten.