real meat versus canned food?

I have two 9-week-old kittens. They are currently on wet food about 5 times a day. They have dry food out all the time that they nibble on. Water is provided which they are drinking.

They are currently being weaned off Whiskas and Felix wet food (which they were fed in foster care) and onto a higher quality wet food. I am mixing some Pets at Home (UK) "Purely" food which seems better quality. It has 50% real chicken, sunflower oil, vitamin and mineral supplements and tapioca starch. That’s the list of ingredients. It seems better than other brands. There doesn’t seem to be any byproducts or ash or corn fillers.

The kittens don’t seem to enjoy this food that much (both higher and lower quality food), but they will pick at it. A couple of times I have given them some salmon steaks and frying steak (both cooked) which I’ve chopped up. They love this and lick the plate clean!

My question is, is it wrong/safe/unhealthy to feed them exclusively real meat (beef, pork, tuna etc) as opposed to high quality canned food? I know that canned food has all the vitamins and minerals, etc that a cat needs, but is real meat actually better for them since they are carnivores? I am a little worried about them having too much protein in their diet as I know this can cause kidney problems. Also, because they are so young, is real meat appropriate? I would not feed them processed meats (ham, deli meat etc). I know that canned food contains water, but they are drinking pretty well too.

I want to give my kittens a good start in life and feed them the best.
Thanks for the answers I’ve been getting. So, what about if I give them a combination of real and canned food, all mixed in together. The real meat might make the canned stuff taste better. But then again, they might just pick out the real stuff and leave the canned stuff!

A raw diet is the best thing you could possibly feed them. They are obligate carnivores and designed to digest high protein foods, so you needn’t worry about kidney problems. Meat contains water just like canned food does.

Making a nutritionally complete homemade diet isn’t easy. Research:
http://www.catinfo.org/makingcatfood.htm (MAKING CAT FOOD)
http://www.catnutrition.org/foodmaking.php (Foodmaking)
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=014 (Easy Homemade Diets for Cats and Dogs)

Raw feeding is an excellent option but should also be thoroughly researched before being attempted. There’s a lot more to it than just feeding your cat raw meat. You need a careful balance of raw muscle meat, raw organ meat, and raw meaty bones. Research:
http://www.rawfedcats.org/ (Raw Fed Cats)
http://rawfed.com/myths/cats.html (Raw Fed: What About Cats?)
http://www.rawlearning.com/ (Jane Anderson’s Raw Learning Site)
http://www.rawmeatybones.com/ (Raw Meaty Bones)
http://rawfed.com/myths/preymodel.html (Raw Prey Model Diet Vs. BARF Diet)
http://community.livejournal.com/rawdogs/profile/ (Raw Dogs Livejournal Community [not just for dogs despite the name!], excellent raw feeding information on the profile page and overall helpful community for raw feeding questions.)
http://www.rawfed.com/myths/index.html (Myths About Raw Feeding)

Darksong~