Unfortunately, many cat owners believe that all cat food is created equal which is why people often fail to check a pet food’s ingredients. Surprisingly, many leading products contain low quality ingredients that can cause digestive upset. If your feline is experiencing digestive issues it can be due to a problem with her diet. The best cat food for sensitive stomachs will contain gentle ingredients that prevent vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, and more. If you’ve never purchased this type of special pet food before, then finding the right one for your cat can be a challenge, especially since there are literally dozens of different types of cat food on the market to choose from.
I’ve put together this buyer’s guide to help fellow cat owners find the perfect cat food based on their specific pet’s age, weight, and nutritional needs. I’ve also tested out several of the leading brands and found four products that are as gentle as a manufacturer claims, products that include whole ingredients, and food that’s not loaded with fillers and additives.
Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that lists each pet food that made it into my top four list and helpful information including ingredients, nutritional information, and how each pet food rated.
Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs Comparison Chart
Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Dry Cat Food
Blue Buffalo has created the perfect formula for cats with sensitive stomachs. Their chicken and brown rice formula contains fruit, veggies, whole grains, and real chicken. The sensitive stomach formula includes prebiotics that are designed to support a cat’s digestive health, while boosting nutrient absorption. The formula also contains 6 and 3 fatty acids, which promote a healthy skin and coat. The Life Source bits are a perfect blend of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that have been carefully selected by an animal nutritionist and a holistic vet. This food does not contain preservatives, artificial flavors, soy, wheat, corn, or byproducts.
- Chicken is the main protein source
- Includes 6 and 3 fatty acids
- Created by a holistic vet and animal nutritionist
- May cause bad breath
This natural cat food is designed to enhance nutrient absorption and is free from harmful ingredients that can have a negative impact on digestion. This gentle formula will boost the well-being and health of your cat by introducing prebiotics, which will restore a healthy gut flora, minimizing digestive upset.
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food Sensitive Stomach & Skin
This formula by Hill’s Science Diet includes prebiotics, designed to fuel healthy gut bacteria and support microbiome. The addition of omega 6 fatty acids and vitamin E will nourish a cat’s skin and coat. The formula itself is highly digestible, designed for optimal nutrient absorption. The easy to digest ingredients in this formula will process the nutrients quickly, preventing stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Chicken is the main protein source in this formula, followed by rice. Both of these main ingredients are very gentle on the stomach. This food is also free from preservatives, fillers, added flavors, and byproducts.
- Includes prebiotics
- Main source of protein is chicken
- Loaded with vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids for skin and coat health
- Easy to digest
This formula is gentle on the stomach and includes nutrients that will aid in digestion, while boosting coat and skin health. The addition of prebiotics will fuel healthy gut flora, which will help cats who have yeast overgrowth in their digestive tract. With real chicken and rice added, this formula offers a flavor all cats will love, with none of the ingredients that can lead to digestive upset.
Halo Natural Dry Cat Food, Sensitive Stomach
This sensitive stomach formula includes real sources of seafood such as whitefish, salmon, and other types of novel proteins that are gentle on the stomach. The formula is highly digestible and includes bioavailable nutrients. It also includes a variety of added vitamins including B vitamins that will promote a healthy coat and a boost in natural energy. This dry pet food contains only whole ingredients that are proven gentle on the digestive tract, with a formula that’s highly digestible and designed to eliminate diarrhea and vomiting after eating.
- Includes novel proteins
- Added vitamins
- Not preservatives
- Highly digestible
- Does not include prebiotics
This food features a flavor all cats will love and includes many novel proteins that are designed to eliminate digestive upset and skin irritation and inflammation that can be caused by common proteins such as beef and chicken. This formula contains only natural, whole ingredients, which will have a major positive impact on both gut health and digestion.
Lucy Pet Formulas for Life
This food has been carefully formulated for sensitive stomachs and promotes digestive health and gut health. The main protein in this formula is wild caught Alaskan salmon. The high content of omega 3 fatty acids will boost both coat and skin health. This formula is safe to give cats of all ages and sizes, just feed your pet following the weight chart and feeding recommendations on the package.
- Promotes skin and coat health
- Grain-free formula
- High in omega 3 fatty acids
- Designed for cats of all ages
- Can cause excessive flatulence
This formula contains salmon, pumpkin, and quinoa. The grain-free formula also makes this food a great choice for cats with skin issues and cat food allergies. The whole ingredients including chickpeas, quinoa, salmon, kelp, and pumpkin will aid in digestion and can help promote gut health and bowel regularity. The price may be a little steep, however, this all natural formula is perfect for cats who frequently experience vomiting, diarrhea, skin issues, and weight loss due to poor nutrient absorption.
Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs Buyer’s Guide
It’s totally normal for a feline to occasionally cough up a hairball. This is a consequence of the grooming process. However, if your cat is often found regurgitating food that’s undigested, vomiting bile, or experiencing diarrhea frequently, this could be due to their pet food.
Signs that your cat has a sensitive stomach include:
- Changes in stool
- Weight loss
- Poor coat health
- Skin issues
If your cat is currently struggling with any of these symptoms, you should consider whether these changes are chronic or acute. Digestive issues that are acute can come on suddenly. Chronic digestive issues can develop over time. If your cat is experiencing acute digestive issues, then it can be caused by stress, intestinal disease, infection, or changes in diet. Problems that are chronic are usually due to sensitive stomach issues or a food allergy.
As I mentioned above, it’s important that you speak with your vet before you make the switch to a new pet food since digestive upset can be an indicator of a more serious condition. Your vet can run some tests and rule out any underlying health issues. They can also offer some advice in terms of the type of pet food you should make the switch to, should they determine a sensitive stomach is to blame.
When you’re shopping for a new sensitive stomach pet food, you should look for the following:
- Natural, whole ingredients
- Healthy fats
- Well-balanced nutrition
- Digestible carbs
- High-quality protein
- No by-products, fillers, or additives
How Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs Can Help
Cat food that’s designed for sensitive stomachs has been designed to minimize the risks of negative reactions. There will also be a reduced risk of vomiting and indigestion. Most of these products will not contain byproducts for the main protein source. Byproducts aren’t necessarily bad for your feline; however they are low quality sources of protein and can sometimes cause digestive upset.
Many of the leading brands will avoid using grain-based ingredients such as corn. While grains may or may not upset your cat’s stomach further, they’re not a required part of their diet. In some cases, the inclusion of carbs and grains can lead to irritation in the digestive tract.
If you think grains may be the reason behind your cat’s digestive issues, you may need to make the switch to wet food or a grain-free formula.
Ingredients to Avoid
The types of ingredients you’ll want to avoid will ultimately depend on your individual cat and their sensitivities. Some cats are more sensitive to grain than others, or certain types of protein. Some cats may even have trouble digesting a certain additive or coloring. As I mentioned earlier, any type of sensitivity or negative response to food should be brought up with your vet.
In most cases, you’ll want to avoid foods that aren’t necessary to their diet, such as grains and carbs. Carbs are not harmful, but they’re not a natural part of a cat’s diet.
Vomiting After Eating: Prevention
Rushed eating, combined with a sensitive stomach, can lead to diarrhea and vomiting after eating. To prevent this, keep a close eye on your pet and their eating habits. As you make the switch to food that’s designed for sensitive stomachs, you’ll want to use smaller portions.
If you’ve never monitored your cat’s portion size in the past, now is the time to start. Smaller portions and switching to a pet food designed for sensitive stomachs will help point to the root cause of vomiting and diarrhea and may solve this problem entirely.
If your cat is dealing with chronic hairballs, even after the switch to sensitive stomach pet food, then a sensitive stomach may not be the root cause of vomiting. To reduce hairball frequency, try brushing your cat daily and search for foods that specialize in preventing them.
When you’re starting a new pet food, it’s important to gradually make the switch. Food should never be swapped out instantly. There must be a transition phase. Many vets recommend making the transition slowly, for a period of one week. During this transition period, you’ll mix twenty percent of the new food with eighty percent of the old food, slowly increasing the new food and decreasing the old food, each day.
Other Treatment Options for Sensitive Stomachs
Not knowing what is causing your cat to vomit or have frequent episodes of diarrhea can be very frustrating for pet owners. While professional vet guidance is essential, there are some other things you can try, until you’re able to get an appointment.
Make sure your pet is drinking enough water. Cats that mainly eat wet pet food are usually well hydrated. However, encouraging your pet to drink more water will be very beneficial.
Cat owners that feed their pets dry food will need to focus more on their pet’s drinking habits.
If your cat doesn’t seem very interested in their wet pet food then use a cat water fountain. A fountain can attract cats with the sound of fresh flowing water. They also help to keep the water fresh and oxygenated for up to seven days.
Cut Back on Treats
If you offer your cat treats daily, then try decreasing the amount you offer each day in order to rule them out as the cause of stomach issues. Even if you make the switch to a new cat food for sensitive stomachs, if you’re still offering a lot of rich treats they can cause stomach upset.
Treats should not make up more than ten percent of a pet’s daily calorie intake. Make sure you’re not overloading your pet with treats.
Certain environmental factors can cause an upset stomach and increase stress. If your cat is constantly fighting with other cats in the neighborhood or hiding from the kids or the family dog, then they may feel unsafe and scared eating if the food is placed outdoors or in an open space.
Place water and food in an area that’s quiet and undisturbed. This will help your cat to relax and eat in peace.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do You Feed Cats with Digestive Problems?
Make the switch to a bland diet such as rice and chicken, for three to five days. This can help soothe your cat’s stomach, in the event they have simply eaten something they were not supposed to or are suffering from some type of stomach bug.
Why is my cat Throwing up Undigested Food?
There are many reasons why a cat will vomit or regurgitate. A cat that eats too quickly can regurgitate, which will trigger the stomach’s stretch reflex. If the food has been totally digested, then this is considered vomiting and can be due to a wide range of issues such as poor diet, stress, or an underlying health issue.
How can I Help my Cat’s Digestion?
Vets recommend feeding a cat food that’s highly digestible, in order to prevent irritation to the stomach lining. Foods that are high in insoluble and soluble fibers, combined with moderate levels of fat can help to support proper digestive functions.
Is it Normal for a cat to Throw up Every day?
No. If your pet is vomiting daily, then it can indicate they have come into contact with a toxic substance, there may be an underlying medical condition you are not aware of, or they may have hairballs. If your cat has been vomiting for more than two days, contact your vet for further guidance.
The best cat food for sensitive stomachs will help restore your pet’s gut health, can eliminate episodes of vomiting and diarrhea and will prevent episodes in the future. The pet foods and the buyer’s guide I’ve put together can help you find the perfect pet food for your feline, one that will soothe their stomachs, consists of whole ingredients, and food that can also prevent hairballs, excessive shedding, skin issues, and more.