There’s nothing worse than a pet with a sensitive stomach. Whether your ball of fur is coughing up half-digested kibble, or worse, being unable to control their bathroom functions, then you need to change their diet. Similar to most other things in life, changing diets can have a significant impact on stomach sensitivities.
We’re breaking down how to find the best cat food for sensitive stomachs right here, but first, if your cat is having severe medical problems seek the help of an experienced veterinarian. A vet may offer advice on any allergies your cat might have or guide you in choosing whether dry or wet food is best for your cat.
Unfortunately, many pet foods are deficient in fiber and opt out of fiber-rich ingredients and choosing heavy starch alternatives instead. You want to get a fiber-rich formula that has easy to digest proteins. That means that you’ll want to avoid beef or pork-based recipes and stick with chicken, duck, lamb, or fish. Fortunately for your cat, they should love these flavors!
Prebiotics are a craze among humans, but cats need them too. For optimal gut health, you’ll need to reintroduce some good bacteria to support digestion. A cat might immediately react to prebiotics as if they are a bit sluggish. But, give the prebiotics time to kick in and rejuvenate your cat’s gut health.
Always ask your vet about prebiotics and if they are a good idea for your cat’s stomach. If they believe that your pet’s sensitive stomach is due to allergies than a prebiotic may not help the situation at all. A veterinarian may also suggest the use of a probiotic. You can usually find probiotics as supplements, but not available in everyday food.
Would you be surprised to know that 10 to 15% of cats with allergies have sensitive stomachs? It’s not uncommon to see cats sneezing, coughing or wheezing as allergy season rolls through. But, if you’ve noticed consistent gastrointestinal problems, then your cat may have an allergy.
In addition to sensitive stomachs, gastrointestinal problems, and sneezing, common food allergy symptoms include hair loss and persistent scratching. But what allergies can cats have? Most animal food allergies are related to gluten or meat by-products.
Watch out for these common allergies:
- Non-rendered meat by-products
- Organ meats including liver
- Corn and cornmeal
|Dog Food||Lifestage||Price||Our Rated|
|1. Hill’s Prescription Diet||Adult||$$$||Buy From Chewy|
|2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet||Adult||$$$||Buy From Chewy|
|3. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets||Adult||$||Buy From Chewy|
|4. Natural Balance LID Limited||Adult||$$$||Buy From Chewy|
|5. Hill’s Prescription Diet||Adult||$$||Buy From Chewy|
Top 5 Cat Foods for Sensitive Stomachs
These top 5 cat foods for sensitive stomachs have many common factors, including grain-free formulas, whether they are wet or dry formulas!
1. Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Canned Cat Food[img_products4 img_number=”81168.” alt=”hills-prescription-diet-id-digestive” img_code=”V1460478783″ product_name=”https://www.chewy.com/hills-prescription-diet-id-digestive/dp/108998″ check=”Buy from Chewy”]
- Recommended by many veterinarians
- Made to support digestive health
There’s not much more than you could ask for from Hills, the maker of Science Diet now delivers with Prescription Diet to address sensitive stomach issues. The protein is easy to digest, and the high fiber helps your cats body take care of its gastrointestinal health.
The macronutrient buildup of a 5% crude protein and 1.2% fiber make it an excellent choice for any cat experiencing vomiting as they’ll get help at the front end of digestion. The food will break down easily and quickly in your cat’s stomach before it has the chance to reject the meal.
We don’t like a few things about this option. First, it’s marketed as a “chicken and vegetable stew” however you’ll find that there is one vegetable in this formula. Not to mention there is a large amount of wheat gluten and rice starch.
If you know that your cat isn’t suffering from food allergies, you should consider Hill’s Prescription Diet. It’s a fantastic option for cats that need help with breaking down food and are experiencing vomiting more than diarrhea. The broken down chunks and a chicken protein base should help the food through the initial part of digestion quickly.
However, if you’re looking for something that is grain-free, this is not right for you. The wheat gluten and rice starch can irritate common allergies found in cats.
2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Selected Protein Adult PD Gel Canned Cat Good[img_products3 img_number=”49982″ alt=”royal-canin-veterinary-diet-selected” img_code=”V1475099702″ product_name=”https://www.chewy.com/royal-canin-veterinary-diet-selected/dp/35152″ check=”Buy from Chewy”]
- 9 oz Cans
- Catered towards cats with food sensitives
Royal Canin, a well-known brand for delivering pet foods that cater to specific ailments delivers this option for cats with sensitive stomachs. Instead of just trying to adjust the gut health, Royal Canin loads up this formula with high volumes of vitamin Bs and amino acids to ensure that your cat’s skin health is in good shape too. The common connection between skin irritation and sensitive stomachs is food allergies.
While this formula was previously known as the Royal Canin Hypoallergenic Selected Protein, it still has the same base of duck. Avoiding beef and pork which are known to cause some problems in the digestive process is a good first step towards good gut health.
Although the proteins are the best part of this formula, the meat’s used are also its minor downfall. Duck is an excellent choice because it is protein-rich, has healthy fats and digests well. But, Royal Canin has opted for duck by-product and liver. These types of meats are usually over processed.
Royal Canin is addressing both the symptoms and the root cause here. They address the itchy skin problem that comes with food allergies, and the digestive issues as well. With a duck and pea based recipe they created a macronutrient build that has 9% protein, 5.3% fat, and 1.5% fiber.
If you’re looking for something more natural and less processed, this isn’t the option for you or your cat. But cats that have sensitive stomachs don’t have a lot of minimally processed options. Most raw, organic, or “natural” options use beef as a base which can further upset their stomachs.
3. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Naturals Dry Cat Food[img_products3 img_number=”89787″ alt=”purina-pro-plan-veterinary-diets-en” img_code=”V1460478783″ product_name=”https://www.chewy.com/purina-pro-plan-veterinary-diets-en/dp/117499″ check=”Buy from Chewy”]
- Dry food
Purina is the brand that everyone knows, but this food isn’t developed as a permanent solution for your cat’s digestive problems. It’s meant to address the issue and resolve it rather than stand in a long-term food choice. For many people, that’s a bit surprising because the options like Royal Canin and Hills Prescription Diet are meant to follow your cat into their senior years.
We like that Purina is looking to resolve the problem with prebiotics. Reintroducing healthy bacteria into the digestive system can help is restart and get back on track. Instead of providing a life of soft diets, easy to digest proteins, and high-fiber, you can give your cat this option for a few weeks and hopefully they will do much better with a different diet afterward.
To introduce the prebiotics in a healthy way, Purina has had to cut a few corners when it comes to some of the reasons behind sensitive stomachs. First, the introduce soy, rice, egg, potato, and yeast. These are all common allergens for cats. But, if your cat has allergies, you do need a lifelong food solution.
If you know that your cat does not have any food allergies, this might be the top pick for you. A cat struggling to maintain decent gut health might vomit or have diarrhea frequently. To curb these unpleasant reactions, you should work with a formula like this one that reintroduces healthy bacteria into their gut system.
Because they’ve used some fillers, you’ll see an increase in the crude fat content, but you’ll also see a giant boost in the fiber. With nearly double the fiber as any other food on this list, it will help control both constipation and diarrhea by finding a healthy middle ground.
4. Natural Balance LID Limited Ingredient Diets Chicken and Pumpkin Formula Wet Cat Food[img_products3 img_number=”95653″ alt=”natural-balance-lid-limited” img_code=”V1455841060″ product_name=”https://www.chewy.com/natural-balance-lid-limited/dp/123232″ check=”Buy from Chewy”]
- Chicken based
The use of shredded chicken in a broth with pumpkin is the perfect recipe to soothe an upset cat tummy. The oils in place make up some of the fat content that will help with their skin and coat health as well. But, the grain-free recipe and vitamin-rich formula make this an excellent option for any pet owner. It might be a tough choice between a few of the other options available here because of the price, but many pet owners find that it’s worth the expense.
We loved that they managed to remain grain-free and back in all the nutrients that your cat needs. Vitamin A, D, B, and taurine will help your cat’s health as well as the high-quality proteins. They’ve also avoided using any by-products or organ meats which are known to upset the digestive system.
There is slightly less fiber than some of the other options on this list, but overall, the exchange of fiber for more comfortable to digest pumpkin isn’t a bad trade-off. That’s the only thing that is a negative aspect here. Some people might question the price, but for the quality, it’s worth it!
Any cat with a sensitive stomach could benefit from switching to this formula. They’ve avoided most of the major allergens that cats came across and kept the ingredients simple. Although Natural Balance relies on a variety of supplements to get all the vitamins and nutrients that your cat needs this isn’t uncommon in the pet food world.
You can easily transfer your cat to this diet with little struggle as many cats enjoy the food, so it even wins over picky eaters.
5. Hill’s Prescription Diet D/D Skin and Food Sensitivities Dry Cat Food[img_products3 img_number=”69853″ alt=”hills-prescription-diet-dd-skinfood” img_code=”V1516297344″ product_name=”https://www.chewy.com/hills-prescription-diet-dd-skinfood/dp/54771″ check=”Buy from Chewy”]
- Venison and Green Pea formula
- Soothes itchy skin from allergies
This dry cat food caters to both cat’s that have sensitives stomachs and cats with allergies. The use of green peas as a filler that provides high-quality nutrients is becoming very popular. But, the use of venison is a downright genius. Unlike chicken, egg or beef which can cause adverse reactions both in their digestive system and with their skin, venison doesn’t seem to come with any of these problems.
We love the protein choices because the venison is both fatty and protein rich, but it also breaks down easily. The addition of fish oil is a great benefit too as it helps the immune system which can be severely affected while your cat is suffering from a sensitive stomach. A strong immune system and a protein-rich diet can get your cat back into great health.
There’s nothing to dislike with this option, and it’s excellent for your cat’s digestive health, allergen free, and affordable. But it is worth noting that cats get most of their moisture from their food, and dry food is known to lead to dehydration which can make it hard for them to digest food quickly.
If your cat is experiencing allergies to chicken or eggs, this might be your go-to option. Venison and peas are a hearty, protein-rich, and nutrient combination. Because peas are the first and second ingredient, it’s likely that the kibble will break down quickly and not lead to vomiting.
If your cat is eating dry food currently, this may be the easiest transition. Picky cats are known to dislike changes in their diet, so the venison may have them suspicious at first, but a slow transition can have them falling in love with this dry cat food.
The Clear Winner…
The clear winner here is the Natural Balance LID Limited Ingredients Diets Chicken and Pumpkin Formula Grain-Free Wet Cat Food. This cat food is a wet option that combines shreds of chicken and pumpkin in a thin broth. This will help keep your cats hydrated, as cats get most of their water through their food. Hydration is one of the common issues behind sensitive stomachs in cats.
Cat food for sensitive stomachs should provide a high-quality protein, reliable and easy to digest form of fiber and nutrients while promoting optimal gut health. The Natural Balance formula hits on all of these marks. Great for cats with grain allergies, or for those recovering from past stomach problems. This lifelong diet can follow your cat well into their senior years.