If you’ve just found out that your cat is pregnant, you’re probably feeling a range of emotions.
Amongst all the excitement, you’re likely to have a lot of questions, including, ‘what should I feed my pregnant cat?’
Feeding your pregnant cat the right food is crucial for the health of both the mother and her babies.
Pregnant cats need to consume more calories, and specifically more protein, throughout the day for sustenance and fetal development.
For these reasons, pregnant cats tend to thrive on kitten food formulas, which are high in calories and protein in order to support growing kittens.
This article will list and review the 5 best foods for pregnant cats to help you care for your Queen and her litter through pregnancy and nursing. We’ve also put together a buyers guide and FAQ section to help you make the perfect choice and prepare you for the process.
We know that there’s no time to waste when it comes to providing your Queen and her litter with proper nutrition. If you’re anxious to get your hands on the best food for pregnant cats right away, take a look at our top pick:
Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Wet Cat Food
- High in easily-digestible proteins
- Contains DHA for kittens’ brain and eye development
- Optimal prebiotic, antioxidant, and Vitamin E content
- Soft mousse texture supports transition from milk to solid food in kittens
- Hydrating formula
- Can be combination-fed with dry food
1. Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Wet Cat Food
Royal Canin’s Mother & Babycat Wet Cat Food is a firm favorite amongst owners of pregnant and nursing cats.
This formula is ideal for pregnant cats and will also cater to all the nutritional needs of the kittens when they arrive.
Mother & Babycat cat food is high in easily digestible proteins from chicken and pork sources, which are essential for both mother and babies during pregnancy.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is present at high levels in this formula for optimal brain development of kittens inside the womb.
The formula also contains a combination of essential nutrients, including prebiotics, antioxidants, and Vitamin E, all of which are highly beneficial to the immune systems of Queens and kittens both before and after birth.
The soft mousse texture of this food makes for easy chewing and digestion, which is perfect for kittens transitioning from colostrum to solid food. Its wet consistency also provides rehydration.
- High in easily digestible proteins
- Contains DHA for fetal brain development
- Rich in prebiotics, antioxidants, and Vitamin E
- Mousse texture is easy to chew and digest
- Wet consistency is hydrating
- Contains grains and wheat gluten
2. Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Dry Cat Food
The Mother & Babycat Dry Cat Food from Royal Canin may have the same base formula as the wet food, but it has an individual set of advantages that make it worthy of its own spot on our list.
Like the wet formula, Royal Canin’s dry Mother & Babycat option contains DHA for maturing kittens’ brain development, as well as digestible proteins, prebiotics, antioxidants, and Vitamin E.
One of the best things about the dry formula is how well it supports the important transition from milk to solid food that newborn kittens should go through after about 1 month.
The tiny kibbles are the perfect size for kittens’ mouths and digestive systems. They’re also ideal for maintaining the health of growing teeth because their texture and nutrient concentration provide a brushing and nourishing effect.
Dry food may be preferred by pregnant and nursing cats who are already accustomed to solid nutrition. The increased caloric density of dry food is also beneficial for pregnant cats and growing kittens alike. If the kibbles are too difficult for kittens to chew in the early stages, they can be softened with water.
Royal Canin also recommends combined feeding with both the wet and dry formulas for a balance of each of their unique benefits.
- Contains DHA for fetal brain development
- High in easily-digestible proteins
- Combines prebiotics, antioxidants, and Vitamin E
- Texture and nutrient concentration promotes dental health
- High caloric density
- Softenable with water
- Can be combined with wet food
- Contains grains and wheat gluten
3. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food, Chicken Recipe
Hill’s Science Diet cat food is recommended by veterinarians worldwide, so you can trust this formula to provide the highest quality nutrition for your pregnant cat and her babies.
This dry kitten food is, like many kitten food formulas, suitable for pregnant and nursing cats.
Containing fish oil-derived DHA for brain and eye development, as well as high-quality animal proteins and essential vitamins and minerals for strong teeth and bones, this natural formula will provide kittens with all the nutrition they need inside and outside the womb.
The high protein and calorie content will also help to keep up the strength of the pregnant mother before and after the birth.
The primary roasted chicken ingredient present in this cat food is especially good for supporting and strengthening the immune systems of your pregnant cat and her kittens because of its high vitamin and mineral content.
- Recommended by veterinarians
- Roasted chicken provides protein and immune system strengthening vitamins and minerals
- Contains minerals for strong teeth and bones
- High calorie content for energy and growth
- High in fish oil DHA for brain and eye development
- Contains rice and wheat gluten
4. Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Dry & Wet Kitten Food
Purina ONE’s Healthy Kitten food is available in wet and dry consistency options for a very similar price. It’s also available in chicken or chicken and salmon flavors.
Most importantly, though, it provides high-quality nutrition for pregnant cats as well as growing kittens.
Both the wet and dry formulae contain real meat which provides a high protein content for muscle growth and cell repair. They also both contain DHA for brain and vision development in kittens.
Optimal levels of fat and calcium support healthy growth in kittens and will help your pregnant cat to put on weight and produce sufficient amounts of milk.
There are no filler ingredients in this cat food. This means that all of the ingredients included in the formula serve an important purpose. Your queen and her kittens will only be consuming ingredients and nutrients that actively contribute to their health and wellbeing.
- Available in wet or dry formulas
- Chicken or chicken and salmon flavors available
- Real, high-quality animal protein
- Contains DHA for brain and vision development
- Optimal calcium and fat levels
- No filler ingredients
- Contains corn gluten and rice flour
5. Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe
Similarly to Purina ONE’s kitten food, Instinct’s Kitten formula can be purchased in wet and dry consistencies. However, there is one significant difference between Instinct’s kitten food and its major competitors: it’s a grain-free recipe.
Grains and gluten are a good source of fiber and other essential nutrients for cats, hence why they are included in so many kitten and pregnant cat foods. They can pose problems, however, because many cats suffer from gluten intolerance.
That’s why we felt it was so important to include a grain-free food for pregnant cats on our list, and this food from Instinct is definitely one of the best (and most ethical) choices.
Instinct has formulated its kitten food with natural, raw, and minimally processed ingredients. These include real animal proteins from chicken, turkey meal, and fish meal. These natural proteins are beneficial to both your pregnant cat and her litter.
DHA from chicken eggs is included in this formula to support the brain and eye development of the kittens from inside the womb
This food also contains about 19% plant-based ingredients, including peas, which provide vegetal proteins as well as vitamins A and C.
These nutrients are necessary for fetal and newborn kitten development as well as supporting the immune systems and bodily functions of both mother and babies.
The optimal Omega 3 and 6 content combined with probiotics, antioxidants benefit the pregnant cat and her litter in terms of immunity, digestion, and skin and hair health.
Additionally, the chicken used in this food is cage-free, making this cat food one of the most cruelty-free options on the market.
- Grain and gluten-free
- Wet and dry options available
- Minimally processed
- Raw, natural ingredients
- High animal protein content
- Only cage-free chicken used
- Contains DHA from chicken eggs
- Vitamin-rich plant-based ingredients
- High in omegas, probiotics, and antioxidants
- Some cats and kittens do not enjoy the taste
There’s a lot of information to take in when choosing food for your pregnant cat, and we know this can be overwhelming.
Don’t worry, though – our buyers guide will walk you through everything you need to consider in terms of nutrition, consistency, and even flavor.
The nutritional content of cat food is always a crucial factor to pay attention to, but it’s even more important when it comes to food for your pregnant cat.
The nutrients in the food you give to your Queen need to be able to keep her in perfect health whilst also catering to the development of her litter, starting inside the womb.
This is no small task, so before purchasing any food for your pregnant cat, you need to understand the primary ingredients that make up its formula to be sure that it is suitable.
First and foremost, pregnant cats need to consume more calories and higher levels of protein than normal. This is because a queening cat will need to put on about 20 to 30% of her original body weight over the course of her pregnancy.
She will also need more energy and physical strength to cope with the strain of pregnancy on her body.
Therefore, the first thing you’ll need to ascertain when choosing food for your pregnant cat is that it’s high in both calories and protein.
Protein can be derived from many sources, but in food for pregnant cats, it’s advisable to ensure that these sources are as natural as possible. Cats are obligate carnivores, so real meat should be a priority when it comes to cat food formulae.
Real chicken is a fantastic source of animal protein for muscle development. It also contains plenty of essential vitamins and minerals to support the immune systems of your pregnant cat and her kittens during and after pregnancy.
Similarly, salmon is high in protein whilst providing optimal levels of vitamins A, B12, and B6, all of which are essential for feline health.
One crucially important ingredient you’ll find in all reputable foods for pregnant cats and kittens is DHA. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for neurological and visual development in kittens inside and outside the womb.
Other important nutrients for pregnant cats and developing kittens are calcium and fat. Fats can be absorbed from fatty acids such as omega-3 and 6 found in animal products.
Calcium, which is essential for productive lactation in cats, can be found in meat products but is also present in legume vegetables such as peas. Peas are also a great source of plant-based protein.
Please note, however, that calcium levels in a pregnant cat’s diet should be optimal, but not excessive. Too much calcium can lead to your queen developing eclampsia, which is a potentially fatal post-natal condition.
Gluten and grains are a point of contention when it comes to cat food in general. Grains are not an essential part of a cat’s carnivorous diet, but they are a good source of fiber and energy-providing carbohydrates, so many cat food brands include them in their formulae.
Unfortunately, many cats suffer from gluten intolerances which can make grain consumption detrimental to their health.
Alongside irritating skin conditions, the most common symptoms of grain allergy in cats are vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite, which is the exact opposite of what you want in a pregnant cat who should be gaining weight.
If your pregnant cat has never displayed any adverse reactions to food containing grains, continuing to feed her and her kittens grain-containing food should not be an issue.
However, if you know that your queen suffers from digestive or dermatological sensitivity, you should opt for grain-free cat food to be safe.
By prioritizing the nutrients discussed above, you’ll be ensuring optimal health for your queen and her litter.
Where possible, try to prioritize ingredients that have been naturally sourced and minimally processed to help your cat and her kittens to benefit fully from the food’s nutritional content.
Wet vs. Dry Food
Most cat food purchases will involve making a decision between a wet or dry consistency. This decision can become a little more complex where pregnancy is a factor.
Many owners swear by wet food, both in general and specifically for pregnant cats. This is because wet food is hydrating and easier to chew, which may make the transition from milk to solid food easier for kittens as they start to imitate their mother’s eating habits.
However, dry food tends to be higher in calories, which is desirable for pregnant cats who need to eat more and put on weight. Dry food can sometimes also be softened with water to minimize chewing and digestion difficulties.
If you’re really struggling to decide whether wet or dry cat food is the best choice for your queen, there’s always the option of combination feeding. Combing wet and dry cat food can help to achieve the ideal consistency balance for transitioning.
The factor of flavor is even more important in food for pregnant cats than in standard cat food.
Because a pregnant cat needs to consume more calories to support her kittens’ development and put on a significant amount of weight, it’s vital that she enjoys her food.
Now, of course, there’s no single flavor of cat food that will suit each and every cat, pregnant or not. Finding a flavor that your cat enjoys is likely to be a process of trial and error.
Luckily, however, cat foods for pregnant cats and their kittens are available in a variety of flavors, so you should be able to find one that suits your cat’s palate.
Poultry and seafood are the most widely enjoyed food flavors amongst cats, and as you can see, these flavors feature frequently throughout our list of best foods for pregnant cats.
Chicken and salmon, in particular, are firm favorites. This is actually ideal because, as we’ve already discussed, these ingredients are sources of essential nutrients for pregnant cats and growing kittens.
Just make sure, wherever possible, that the flavors in your pregnant cat’s food are derived from natural animal sources. This will ensure that the food is not only palatable for your cat but also high in the natural proteins she needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if my pregnant cat won’t eat?
If your queen loses her appetite close to her due date, this is not necessarily a cause for immediate concern. Often, pregnant cats may stop eating, or even vomit, soon before giving birth.
This may be the result of discomfort, anxiety, or just her body’s way of focusing on the imminent labor. Swollen mammary glands, restlessness, increased vocalization, and nesting behavior are all indicators that your queen’s loss of appetite is labor-related.
In this situation, the best thing you can do is keep plenty of food and lots of water available to her and keep her surroundings as comfortable, calm, and stress-free as possible.
However, if your cat is not due to give birth soon and refuses to eat for more than a day or two, you should contact your veterinarian for advice.
It could just be a reaction to stress or even the result of changing her diet too suddenly, but it’s always best to seek medical advice sooner rather than later to rule out serious complications or conditions and get your queen’s eating habits back on track.