Is your cat’s food making her bloated? Gassy or sick? Is she spitting or coughing it back up, or suffering from indigestion? Our kitties can be fussy at times, but it can be particularly stressful for owners when they react poorly to their food. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best cat food for sensitive stomachs, and how you can help control symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and tummy upset by carefully considering your kitty’s diet.Read on for our facts on the best sensitive stomach cat food, brands you can trust, and our reviews of gentle yet nutritious dinners for your feline friend.
Quick Review: Top-3 Sensitive Stomachs Cat Foods
Picking the Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs in
You’ve de-wormed and vaccinated your cat. Had a vet check for parasites, cut out dairy—basically done everything you can think of — yet she’s still got an upset tummy. Should you be worried?
Well, the symptoms of a sensitive stomach will vary between cats, but they generally include either vomiting or diarrhea. Sometimes, a particularly unlucky kitty will have both.
Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomach Vomiting
First, there’s a difference between simple food regurgitation (generally infrequent, throat-based food coming back up) and vomiting (more violent sickness that starts in the gut). The first is not a huge cause for concern, but the second may be related to a sensitive stomach.
If your cat is definitely vomiting and not coughing up furballs, have her checked out by a vet. They may suggest a sensitive stomach food to prevent these symptoms in the future, one which:
- Contains healthy digestive fiber (e.g. whole grains or digestible carbohydrates like pumpkin);
- Has been fortified with feline-specific probiotics (often called FOS probiotics); and/or
- Uses a limited number of ingredients to decrease the likelihood of food sensitivities.
- High quality animal protein, ideally from a single source so you can monitor sensitivities to protein
- Healthy fats such as omega fatty acids
- No or at least limited fillers and unnecessary additives
How do you know if your cat has a sensitive stomach?
While cats are known to cough up the occasional hairball, it’s not normal to see any frequent or abrupt changes in your cat’s digestive habits. If your cat is consuming a quality diet and has no difficulties digesting this diet due to sensitivities, they shouldn’t experience any gastrointestinal upset or changes in their physical appearance.
If your cat has a sensitive stomach, you may see some of the following symptoms:
- Frequent vomiting
- Regurgitating soon after eating
- Changes in stool
- Weight loss
- Skin irritation or dry skin
- Dull coat
If your cat is displaying any of the symptoms above, make sure to visit your veterinarian to discuss the possibility of any stomach sensitivity or other chronic problems that could cause these symptoms. There are other conditions that can mimic these signs such as intestinal parasites, food allergies, stress, intestinal disease, and more. Since gastrointestinal upset can range when it comes to a cause, we recommend seeing your veterinarian before switching your cat’s diet as a curative plan.
Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomach Diarrhea
It’s also not uncommon for cats to suffer from runny, loose stools when they experience intestinal upset. This can be very unhappy for owners and kitties alike, so it’s best to ensure that your cat’s food isn’t triggering these symptoms. If your cat’s diarrhea is unpleasant, but not serious (no pain, discomfort, lethargy, vomiting, or blood), it may simply be a case of switching to better food.
As with the best cat food for sensitive stomach vomiting, you’ll need a formula which contains plenty of fiber. In our reviews, we’ll look at some of the best cat food for sensitive stomach diarrhea.
What Should My Cat’s Food Contain?
Special formulas like sensitive stomach recipes may serve a unique purpose, but they also need to ensure all your cat’s nutritional needs are met. When it comes to sensitive stomach cat food, that means providing your kitty with sufficient protein, fat, essential minerals, and key vitamins. On top of this, there are various ingredients that best avoided due to their poor nutritional value. Unless your vet recommends a certain food, it’s best to steer clear of foods that include:
- Animal by-product meals – These are highly-processed waste ingredients from meat manufacturing procedures, and are inferior to whole meats and ‘ordinary’ meat meals. Most often, you will find poultry by-product meals in poor-quality cat foods;
- Synthetic preservatives, colors, or flavors – It’s always best to limit the number of artificial chemicals in your cat’s diet. If she already has a sensitive stomach, this becomes even more critical in preventing negative reactions; and
- Lactose-containing ingredients – Many things can trigger allergies in cats: beef, egg, grains, and so forth. Dairy, however, deserves a mention simply because cats are naturally drawn to the smell and taste of milk. Despite the classic image of cats lapping up milk, it’s a common cause of feline flatulence, diarrhea, and bloating.
- Multiple sources of protein – Since cats can be experiencing sensitivities to certain proteins, it can be challenging to know what is actually upsetting their stomach when there are multiple proteins involved.
Don’t have time to research different brands? We’ve done it for you in this next section, where we outline which manufacturers make the best cat food for sensitive stomachs.
Brands Making The Best Sensitive Stomach Cat Food
Reputable brands are the safest bet when it comes to your cat’s food. Keeping your beloved kitty healthy means choosing a manufacturer which has earned itself a name for quality, safety, and careful formulas. Here are some brands creating the best cat food for sensitive stomachs:
- Halo – Halo’s formulas include non-GMO veggies, whole meats, and they don’t ever use rendered animal meals—which can sometimes spark unpleasant symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Their recipes are slightly expensive, but premium food for cats;
- Blue Buffalo – Famously healthy, holistic, and balanced, Blue Buffalo cat foods always use whole meat as their headlining ingredient. They also use wholesome ingredients and never include any by-products that could set off a cat’s sensitive stomach;
- Blue Basics – A special line of Blue Buffalo recipes, the Basics range never uses any dairy, egg, or gluten. These limited ingredient (LID) formulas are ideal if your cat’s sensitive stomach comes down to food intolerances;
- Instinct – Known for the raw, freeze-dried ‘bits’ that go into their kibble for extra flavor, Instinct crafts a special LID recipe that is easily digestible and cuts out the soy, beef, and chicken;
- Hill’s – Developed by vets, Hill’s specialize in prescription diets for cat with restrictions. They create some of the best sensitive skin cat food if your kitty needs a professionally designed formula; and
- Ziwi – If succulent venison and top-notch meats are all that your cat will eat, you’ll find it with Ziwi. Their expertly sourced ingredients are nothing short of excellent – and their LID formulas are ideal if your cat has a sensitive stomach.
- Merrick – Merrick has been one of the most well known pet food brands for over 25 years, and uses their experience to create a diet with a cat’s sensitive stomach in mind.
Different cats have distinct tastes — some will adore a crunchy kibble, while others turn their noses up at anything but the smoothest pate. In our reviews below, we’ve covered a little bit of both. Read on to discover our top choices of the best cat food for sensitive stomachs!
Best Dry Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs: Reviews
- Halo Natural Dry Cat Food, Sensitive Stomach Seafood Medley
- Uses real whitefish, not rendered fish meals;
- Includes non-GMO veggies for fiber;
- Nutrient-rich with supplements and fruits;
- Features whole grains like pearled barley for easier digestion; and
- Gives your kitty 32% protein!
- Slightly pricier than a few other kitty kibbles, this is Halo recipe is formulated with top-notch ingredients only!
- Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Natural Adult Dry Cat Food
- Uses Omega-rich ingredients such as egg, fish oil, and chicken fat to encourage a more beautiful, radiant coat;
- Contains chelated minerals for maximum absorption of that healthy goodness!
- It’s free from all rendered chicken meals and poultry by-products;
- Includes grains for higher fiber – a good addition for cats with sensitive stomachs; and
- There are feline-specific prebiotics in this recipe, which increases nutrient intake and encourages better digestion.
- None – Blue Buffalo consistently produces excellent cat food, and this is some of the best cat food for sensitive stomachs.
- Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult, Sensitive Stomach & Skin
- Contains natural ingredients like whole salmon and chicken fat;
- Includes prebiotic (FOS) fibers to enhance your kitty’s digestion
- Uses Vitamin E and fatty Omega acids to improve your cat’s coat condition;
- Doesn’t contain any chicken by-product meal; and
- It’s a hit with both kitty owners and vets.
- Contains potatoes, which cats do not naturally require.
- Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Recipe Natural Cat Food
- Features only one main meat – fish, and one veggie – peas;
- Provides a healthy, delicious protein punch, with none of the potentially upsetting grains;
- It’s tailor-made for cats with food allergies and sensitivities, with a simple formula that leaves out the most common allergens;
- That means no beef, egg, dairy, corn, or soy; and
- Offers balanced, holistic, and natural nutrition for all your grown cat’s needs.
- Just be aware that ‘one meat’ here refers to fish – there is, in fact, both salmon and cod in here.
Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomach Vomiting
- Hill’s Prescription Diet I/D Digestive Care Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food
- Formulated to encourage regular digestion;
- Uses prebiotics to facilitate intestinal breakdown and keep a healthy gut environment;
- Includes Omega-3 and -6 acids that promote a more beautiful, manageable coat;
- Features antioxidants, allowing for greater immune system health; and
- Also contains a proprietary blend of urinary ingredients that prevent the build-up of calcium and struvite minerals in the urinary system.
- Includes filler ingredients such as brewer’s rice, corn gluten meal, and whole corn; and
- It uses egg and chicken, which some cats can’t safely digest.
Best Wet Cat food for Sensitive Stomachs: Reviews
- Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Chicken
- Limited ingredients
- Only one protein source, deboned chicken
- Easily digestible carbohydrates
- Grain free
- This specific diet contains chicken, but they do have a limited ingredient diet that offers fish instead of chicken.
- Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Indoor Grain Free Turkey & Potato Wet Cat Food
- Doesn’t include any chicken, chicken by-products, or poultry by-product meals that might trigger reactions like vomiting or diarrhea;
- Naturally flavored with hearty turkey broth;
- Rich in Omega fats (3 and 6) that promote a glossy, sleek coat;
- Entirely grain-free, this is a safe choice for gluten-free kitties; and
- It’s fortified with all the essential nutrients required by your feline friend!
- None – if your cat doesn’t enjoy turkey, this wet food comes in duck and fish flavors.
- Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Recipe
- Includes softly-digestible chickpeas to boost protein and provide fiber;
- Kelp also offers fiber, along with vitamins to keep your cat healthy;
- There’s no chicken, dairy, beef, fish, egg, or grains in this formula;
- It is supplemented with minerals for better immune system functioning; and
- Doesn’t include any by-products, fillers, or artificial chemicals.
- Doesn’t have added probiotics for easier digestion – but we don’t feel that takes anything away from this all-natural recipe.
What do you feed a cat with a sensitive stomach?
A cat with a sensitive stomach will require a diet that has limited ingredients, wholesome ingredients, and a limited amount of ingredients that are known to cause sensitivity or allergies. To make this a bit more clear, we’ll list some qualities you should look for in a diet for a cat with a sensitive stomach:
- Natural ingredients
- Quality animal protein, ideally just one source of protein
- Easily digestible carbohydrates
- Probiotics for digestive health
- No unnecessary additives or artificial ingredients
If you’re unsure if a diet fits the mold of a quality sensitive diet, your veterinarian can help you determine if it’s a sufficient diet.
Why is my cat eating grass then throwing it straight back up!?
For first-time kitty owners, it can be very odd to see your cat or kitten eating grass. After all, they are carnivores, and they often seem to bring it all back up a few moments later – very strange!
Luckily, vets and animal specialists are pretty certain there’s nothing wrong with this behavior, and no scientific research suggests it either. Your cat is not capable of breaking down plant material like grass, so it may be doing this seemingly crazy routine on purpose. While we don’t 100% know for sure, experts think that cats are trying to remove all inedible food from their gut, and this vomiting helps it do so conveniently. This could include bones, loose fur, and other things it has taken in during the day. As long as your cat isn’t chowing down on grass that’s chemically treated, it will generally be fine – don’t worry!
Can my cat eat my dog’s food?
It is not advisable to let your cat eat your dog’s kibble. For a start, the bigger kibble size of large-breed dog food is a choking hazard, and it is dangerous to let your cat ingest it. Second, even if you buy small-sized doggy kibble, your kitty needs certain nutrients – e.g. arginine and taurine – that even the best dog food for small breeds cannot provide. Your puppy or dog’s food also contains far too little protein for your carnivorous cat, and as two distinct species, they have totally different digestive systems. Keep the puppy food for your pooch, and the kitty kibble for your cat!