The Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs‌

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My cat Zoe loves food, but not all cat food is good for her. Things were pretty messy and smelly in our house until I improved the quality of what I was feeding my poor tabby and took out some ingredients that just weren’t right for her. If you’re trying to find the best cat food for a sensitive stomach, take heart! We’ve included some tips on finding better nutrition and a list of easy-to-digest foods to get you started.

Visit your vet first to make sure there are no underlying health issues causing loose stools or vomiting. Next, take a look at the ingredient label on your cat’s current food. If the food seems to have a little bit of everything, or if some of the ingredients seem vague (“meat” rather than “chicken” or “fish”), it may be a sign that you need to improve quality. But what exactly should you pay attention to?

The Cornell Feline Health Center covers the basics of feline nutrition and outlines some ways to serve healthy food to your cat. Cats are “obligatory carnivores” (they need animal protein) and, according to Cornell, should eat foods that consist primarily of animal protein and high-quality animal fat. You also need more than a dozen other nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids), including taurine.

Signs your cat has a sensitive stomach

It’s normal for a cat to spit up hairballs from time to time, it’s simply a result of accidentally swallowing the fur while grooming. However, if your cat vomits after eating or has frequent diarrhea, this could indicate a discrepancy between her stomach and the food she is eating.

Cat lies on a pillow in the sun

Steve Johnson/Unsplash

Here are some of the signs of a sensitive stomach in cats:

  • Vomit
  • diarrhea, constipation or changes in stool
  • Increased thirst
  • unexplained weight loss
  • bad condition of the coat
  • itching or other skin problems.

If your cat is exhibiting any of these symptoms, consider whether the problem is acute or chronic. Acute digestive problems seem to appear out of nowhere, while chronic problems develop slowly. In the case of acute indigestion, the problems can be due to a change in diet, infections, intestinal disorders or even stress. Chronic digestive problems are more likely to be caused by food allergies or a sensitive stomach. At this point, you may want to consider foods that are specifically formulated to relieve digestive issues.

What to look for in cat food for a sensitive stomach?

If your cat is suffering from digestive problems, the first thing you should do is speak to your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can rule out any underlying health or behavioral problems and advise you on treatment options. If it turns out that your cat’s problems are food-related, the next step is to switch to a more stomach-friendly cat food.

Here’s what you should expect in cat food for a sensitive stomach:

  • Healthy and natural ingredients.
  • High-quality animal protein (ideally from a single source)
  • Healthy fats (including omega fatty acids)
  • easily digestible carbohydrates
  • Nutritionally complete and balanced
  • Beneficial supplements (such as probiotics and prebiotics)
  • No artificial additives, fillers or by-products

Most cat foods for sensitive stomachs are based on a single source of animal protein. Some rely on something called a new protein, a less common meat (like rabbit or venison) that is unlikely to be involved in your cat’s stomach problems. Feeding your cat a single protein food over a period of time will help you determine which proteins your cat can (and cannot) enjoy.

The best cat food for a sensitive stomach

In addition to a balanced diet, digestibility is the most important property of cat food for sensitive stomachs. Look for recipes that include beneficial supplements like prebiotic fiber and probiotics to help ensure healthy and regular digestion.

Read on for our top tips on the best cat food for a sensitive stomach.

Blue Buffalo Sensitive Belly cat food

Specially designed for cats with sensitive stomachs, this dry food contains highly digestible ingredients including fresh chicken, whole grain carbohydrates and probiotic supplements.

Shop at Chewy’s Petco Shop Buy from Amazon

Ziwi Peak Mackerel and Lamb Recipe (Canned)

If your cat prefers wet food, this high-protein recipe features grass-fed New Zealand mackerel and lamb. It is packed with omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.

Buy chewable Buy from Amazon

Merrick LID cat food for sensitive stomachs

Made with a limited number of ingredients to reduce the risk of stomach upset, this formula includes real chicken and grain-free carbohydrates (chickpeas, peas, and alfalfa flour) for a balanced diet.

Shop at Chewy’s Petco Shop Buy from Amazon

Instinct LID recipe rabbit food for cats

Made with a single, less common source of animal protein (one your cat has likely never seen before), a vegetable, and a limited amount of other ingredients, this rabbit recipe is easy to digest and packed with healthy nutrients.

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Chicken Halo Chicken Liver Cat Food Recipe

This holistic, natural recipe includes whole meat ingredients, non-GMO vegetables, and a variety of other healthy elements to ensure a complete, balanced, and highly digestible diet.

Shop at Chewy’s Petco Shop Buy from Amazon

FirstMate Fish Meal LID cat food for sensitive stomachs

With 95% protein from Pacific Ocean fishmeal and antioxidant-rich blueberries, this high-protein, limited-ingredient food is an excellent choice for cats with sensitive stomachs.

Buy chewable

I and Love and You cat food

This nutrient-dense, ingredient-reduced diet based on salmon and sweet potatoes is free of poultry and grains. Contains prebiotics and probiotics to aid in digestion.

Buy chewable

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Complete care recipe for the sensitive stomach

This grain-free cat food may be just what you need to calm your sensitive cat’s upset stomach. With boneless chicken as a key ingredient, this dry food also keeps your cat’s metabolism and digestive system going by providing high levels of pre- and probiotics.

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Blue Buffalo Alligator Recipe

If your cat has severe food allergies and requires a prescription diet, this recipe is made with a new protein source, alligator, and is specially formulated to minimize negative reactions. This variety is also available as wet food.

Buy chewable Buy at Amazon Buy at Walmart

Halo Holistic Seafood Blend cat food for sensitive stomachs

Another holistic recipe from Halo, this seafood cat food is specially formulated for cats with sensitive stomachs. It’s high in quality protein (white fish and salmon are whole, no fishmeal in sight) and easy to digest.

Shop at Chewy’s Petco Shop Buy from Amazon

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet

This salmon-based formula is made with no grains, potatoes, or artificial fillers and contains limited ingredients and a high protein content. It is also enriched with lots of fiber for healthy digestion.

Buy at Petco Buy at Chewy Buy at Amazon

More information on feeding your cat

Finding the best food for your cat and getting her to accept it isn’t always easy on you or your wallet. We’ve also compiled a list of quality cat food that won’t break the bank. Learn about the 10 healthiest cat food options on a budget.

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