The best cat foods for sensitive stomach will be carefully formulated to reduce any of the negative reactions a cat may experience when eating traditional cat food. If you’ve noticed your cat has been vomiting, dealing with bouts of constipation, or their appetite has decreased, then switching to a different pet food, one that’s lower in protein and fat, can have a major positive impact on their overall health.
If you’re nervous about making the switch to a new pet food and don’t know what ingredients to look for or how to choose cat foods for sensitive stomach that will work for your cat, then this buyer’s guide will walk you through exactly what to look for in a formula that’s gentle on the stomach and one that won’t cause an allergic response.
During my search for the best cat food, my eight year old senior tried out several different brands, preferring products that contained all natural ingredients and rich protein sources. I’ve included each product that earned top marks for both flavor and nutrient content, in addition to a formula that checked all the boxes in terms of quality and ingredients. Below, I’ve put together a comparison chart that includes each cat food, how it rated, and the high quality ingredients.
Cat Food for Sensitive Stomach Comparison Chart
Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomach-Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Natural Adult Dry Cat Food
Many veterinarians recommend a bland diet of chicken and rice for cats who are prone to digestive upset. Blue Buffalo has taken it a step further, creating this well-balanced diet that contains both real chicken and rice. The formula is designed to help aid in digestion, promoting weight maintenance and strong muscles. This formula also contains Blue Buffalo’s patented Lifesource Bits. Lifesource Bits consist of a precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which promotes immune health. For digestive health, the formula also contains essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and probiotics.
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- High quality animal protein source
- Highly digestible kibble
- Promotes a healthy digestive system
- May cause vomiting in some cats
This product is a great option if you’re searching for a limited ingredient diet that offers balanced nutrition. This formula was created by animal nutritionists and veterinarians and includes many essential nutrients that can help soothe an upset stomach and prevent digestive issues in the future.
Best Choice for Skin and Coat Health-Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food Sensitive Stomach & Skin
This cat food for sensitive stomachs provides an excellent source of prebiotic fiber, which will provide fuel for good gut bacteria, supporting a healthy digestive system. This formula is highly digestible and provides the nutrients your pet’s body needs for skin and coat health. Made with all natural ingredients, this formula is gentle on your pet’s stomach and can help to eliminate vomiting, regurgitation, and diarrhea.
- High quality protein source
- Easily digestible
- Good choice for moderately high protein diets
- Contains essential nutrients
- High in carbs
This cat food contains all natural ingredients and contains vitamin E, which is not only great for skin and coat health, but it can also prevent issues with hairballs as well. The nutrients in this product are specifically designed to eliminate chronic conditions linked to poor nutrition or a diet that’s too high in fat and protein. Offering complete nutrition, this formula by Hill’s Science Diet is designed to nourish an adult’s skin and provides all of the nutrients a cat needs in order to thrive.
Best Wet Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs-Royal Canin Digest Sensitive Stomach Wet Cat Food
This canned cat food by Royal Canin contains chicken as the main protein source. This highly digestible protein helps a cat’s body to easily absorb nutrients. The special formula is also designed to aid in digestion One of the biggest signs of digestive upset is foul strong smelling feces. This highly digestible formula is designed to reduce the smell of your cat’s stool by balancing intestinal tract flora. The food can also help your cat to maintain a healthy weight, thanks to the high quality protein and balanced nutrition.
- Contains essential fatty acids
- High quality animal protein source
- Can prevent future episodes of vomiting and diarrhea
- Grain free
Perfect for cats with sensitive stomachs, if your cat isn’t a fan of kibble, or their old cat food is causing digestive problems, then turn to a canned cat food made by a manufacturer that has a reputation for using only quality ingredients.
This wet cat food contains the perfect blend of vitamins and minerals that are designed to promote health and wellness. This is a high protein formula that’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Your cat will also love the taste, thanks to the rich tender slices of real chicken. If your cat is prone to dehydration and constipation, they will also benefit from the food’s high moisture level.
Best Dry Formula-Blue Buffalo True Solutions Blissful Belly Natural Digestive Care Adult Dry Cat Food
Blissful Belly is an easily digestible new food from Blue Buffalo. If your cat has a sensitive stomach and experiences frequent episodes of vomiting and diarrhea, then this is one of the best formulas you can give them. Why? This food not only contains all natural ingredients, but it also includes limited ingredients, making this food a good choice for felines with food sensitivities. This grain free formula includes prebiotics, which work to fuel healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. The kibble is rich in protein, antioxidants, and does not contain preservatives, artificial flavors, soy, wheat, or corn. This product is formulated with essential fatty acids, fiber, fruit and vegetables, and other whole ingredients that are gentle on the digestive system.
- Short ingredient list
- Promotes immune system health
- Low fat chicken recipe
- Perfect for cats with food sensitivities
- Only available with chicken protein
Considered one of the healthiest protein pet foods for cats with severe stomach problems, the kibble is easily digestible, promotes immune system health, and is the best dry cat food for older felines who are no longer able to digest the higher protein and fat content that’s commonly found in competing products. This chicken recipe contains all the important ingredients you want in a kibble that offers complete nutrition for both adult and senior felines.
Best Cat Food to Prevent Regurgitation-Royal Canin Digestive Care Dry Cat Food
This dry food by Royal Canin has been specifically formulated for cats with sensitive stomachs. The kibble is designed to promote immune system health and digestive health. The manufacturer claims that after a period of ten days, this kibble can cut stool production by as much as 42%, which is a big deal if you have a kitty that has chronic diarrhea or loose stools. This kibble can also be mixed with canned cat foods, for seniors who are prone to dehydration or constipation.
The ring shape of the kibble helps by encouraging felines to slow down when they eat. This will also have a positive effect on digestion, since vomiting and regurgitation after eating can be a direct result of your kitty eating too quickly.
- Will make cats eat slower
- Highly digestible formula
- Can be mixed with canned cat food
- Contains fatty acids
- Contains chicken meal
This dry food by Royal Canin is designed for cats that are known to eat too quickly, resulting in digestive upset, vomiting, and regurgitation. The ring-shaped kibble, combined with the highly digestible proteins and the addition of dietary fibers and prebiotics will prevent an upset stomach, vomiting, and instead promotes proper nutrient absorption and a complete diet for cats with a history of stomach sensitivity.
Best Grain-Free Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs-Halo Natural Wet Cat Food, Sensitive Stomach Recipe
Unlike competing canned cat food manufacturers who create cat food for sensitive stomachs, this formula by Halo contains whole protein sources, not animal by-products. It also contains non-GMO fruits and veggies, in a highly digestible formula that doesn’t contain preservatives or any artificial ingredients. This food is also grain free and contains premium ingredients designed for sensitive stomachs. The high moisture content will also prevent constipation and dehydration in seniors. If you have a kitty that’s a picky eater, their taste buds will love this all-natural formula that contains real fish.
- Does not contain animal byproducts
- Gentle on the stomach
- Short ingredient list
- High quality animal protein
- Includes non-GMO fruits and veggies
- Strong odor
If your kitty often regurgitates after eating, vomits, or has diarrhea, then you need a food that’s specifically designed to eliminate ingredients that trigger this response. Many competing brands are loaded with carbs, fat, and low-quality protein sources. This cat food for sensitive stomachs includes highly digestible ingredients that are gentle on a cat’s stomach. Because the formula is so gentle on the stomach and can prevent vomiting and diarrhea, your cat’s body will be able to absorb all the essential vitamins and minerals they need to thrive.
Best Novel Protein Blend Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs-Iams Proactive Health Sensitive Stomach Adult Cat Food
Cats with sensitive stomachs tend to avoid eating if they begin to experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, or vomiting shortly after eating. Cats are smart and will associate their pain and discomfort with cat litter if they’ve experienced discomfort when using their litter box, or they’ll associate it with what they’ve eaten. This is why a cat with a sensitive stomach will often eliminate outside of the litter box. To prevent a cat from inappropriately eliminating outside of their litter box in the future, and to soothe an upset stomach, people need to look for a product that contains ingredients that will be gentle on a feline’s stomach.
In most cases, animal protein can be to blame for sensitive stomachs and GI upset. If your kitty is refusing to touch their food and you’ve noticed that they can no longer tolerate a standard pet food, then this formula by Iams may be just what your kitty needs. This kibble includes foods for sensitive stomachs and features turkey as the main protein source. Turkey is much gentler on the stomach than chicken or beef. It’s also much lower in fat. Designed to help maintain strong muscles and loaded with ingredients that can support digestive health, this kibble is perfect for cats of all ages and sizes.
- Contains turkey as the main animal protein
- Includes omega 3 fatty acids
- Low in fat
- Easy to digest
- Includes prebiotics
- Large kibble may be difficult for some seniors to chew
This kibble contains foods for sensitive stomachs such as omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. Cat owners will appreciate the gentle formula that’s designed to soothe an irritated digestive tract, while ensuring a kitty gets the vitamins and nutrients they need. The inclusion of fatty acids will also nourish the skin, promoting a shiny coat. Additionally, the unique blend of fiber, including beet pulp and prebiotics, will aid in nutrient absorption, preventing vitamin deficiency and weight loss in cats with sensitive stomachs.
Best Sensitive Stomach Formula for Indoor Cats-Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor and Sensitive Digestion Dry Cat Food
This chicken dry cat food for sensitive stomachs contains real chicken and brown rice, plus vitamins and minerals, with other added nutrients that can soothe an upset stomach and prevent digestive issues in the future. The kibble is easily digestible and contains no soy, wheat, or corn. The formula also includes essential antioxidants for immune system health and is high in omega 6 fatty acids for coat and skin health.
- Easy to digest
- Offers complete nutrition
- Contains real chicken
- Dry food is small and easy to chew
- May cause softer stool
Nutro is a well-known dry cat food manufacturer that creates healthy blends that contain all natural ingredients and added nutrients that can aid in digestion. Their latest formula contains all the nutrients your pet needs to digest their food, while the inclusion of essential nutrients will boost immune health, digestive health, and coat and skin health. This hearty kibble is one of the best foods for cats of all ages.
Best Choice for Coat and Skin Health-Lucy Pet Formulas for Life – Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Cat Food
Sensitive stomach cat food often contains low fat ingredients, which can help prevent upset stomachs in the future. The only problem is that cats often find that these formulas lack in flavor. But this kibble by Lucy offers a new take on low-fat cat food for sensitive stomachs. In fact, the ingredients for sensitive stomachs in this kibble includes real salmon, quinoa, and pumpkin. The inclusion of pumpkin can help to bulk up loose stool, or it can work wonders for pets who commonly suffer from constipation. The quinoa is a great addition, especially for pets with a grain allergy. The kibble is designed for cats of every breed and size and includes all the important nutrients that cat owners are looking for in a well-balanced diet.
- Contains real Alaskan salmon
- A good choice for cats with a grain allergy
- Loaded with flavor
- Contains amino acids
- Very strong odor
This formula contains advanced prebiotic balanced fiber that will create an optimal environment in the gut, allowing the body to efficiently absorb nutrients. The formula’s number one ingredient is Alaskan salmon, followed by chickpeas, quinoa, and pumpkin. Low in fat and loaded with flavor, this is one kibble that contains all the right foods for sensitive stomachs, without sacrificing flavor.
Best Budget-Friendly Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs-Purina Pro Plan Grain Free Wet Cat Food Pate, Sensitive Skin & Stomach
If you’re looking for the best cat foods for sensitive stomachs, and a wet food that’s affordable, then you’ll love this formula by Purina. Chicken is the first ingredient listed on the label, which means the formula contains a high quantity of real chicken. It also includes the essential amino acid taurine, for heart and vision health, and other important nutrients that support a healthy immune system and weight. This wet food offers 100% balanced nutrition and features a delicate texture that can make it easier to chew, so it’s a great choice for seniors or cats with dental problems.
- Free from soy, wheat, and corn
- Chicken listed as the first ingredient
- Supports a healthy weight
- Includes taurine
- Food consistency is very thick
If you’re looking for an affordable cat food that offers complete nutrition, then this product by Purina delivers.
This grain-free wet food by Purina contains all the nutrients cat owners are looking for including quality protein, added vitamins, amino acids, and other important nutrients. It also features a soft texture that most cats will find appealing, especially older cats who have trouble chewing dry food.
Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomach Buyer’s Guide
As a cat owner, you know the importance of choosing a product that your felines will find appealing, but certain ingredients can trigger digestive upset in some cats. When you’re doing your research, checking out product labels for each type of sensitive stomach cat food you come across, you’ll want to be careful about the types of proteins it contains, in addition to how much fat and carbs there are per serving. If you have a cat with allergies, then you’ll need to be extra careful concerning which formulas you try. With seniors, a low protein diet is often the best option since a higher protein formula can be very hard on their kidneys.
I’ve put together some great information that shows you exactly how to skim through a product’s ingredients list so you can quickly narrow down your choices and find a product that will work well for your pet and offer the type of flavor they’re sure to love.
Symptoms of Food Allergies in Cats
Allergies can be very tricky to treat, since you’re not sure what ingredient is causing an allergic reaction. In some cases, it can be grains, in others, protein is to blame.
Food allergies often present themselves in the form of skin issues, chronic scratching, and cats that are constantly grooming. If a cat is having an allergic reaction to their pet food, they may groom themselves so much that they break the skin, creating sores called hot spots.
Symptoms of Food Intolerance in Cats
Food intolerance is not the same thing as a food allergy. If your cat is struggling with food intolerance, they may have chronic diarrhea, upset stomach, constipation, bloody stool from defecating so much, a lack of appetite, bloating, or vomiting. Older cats are prone to developing a food intolerance because many pet foods contain too much fat, which can upset their stomachs, or the formula is too high in protein, which is very hard on their kidneys.
How Food Intolerance is Diagnosed in Cats
A food intolerance can be more difficult to diagnose, since it cannot be tested for like a food allergy. In most cases, a veterinarian will place a cat on a food trial for two to three months. During a food trial, the cat must not be given any treats or table scraps. If any of their past symptoms clear up when they’re on a food trial, then an allergy may be to blame. The diet will consist of a type of protein a cat has never had before, such as venison or rabbit. Once the trial is complete, the vet will place the cat on their old pet food. If symptoms appear again, it’s safe to say that their pet food was the culprit.
In other cases, the vet will require the owner to make a very simple homemade pet food during the trial that consists of one to two ingredients, with a new ingredient added each week. It often begins with some ground venison and rice for a week or two, with a new ingredient, such as oats or a new protein added. During this time, it’s the owner’s job to note how their cat responds to the diet, such as episodes of vomiting, skin rashes, or diarrhea. If any symptoms appear after adding a new ingredient, the ingredient will be removed from their diet.
A vet may determine that the cause of stomach upset is due to a diet that’s too high in fat or protein, in which case, they will recommend a low fat, and/or a low protein diet. This is a common issue with seniors, which is why most products that are designed for seniors have a lower calorie content, lower fat, and lower protein.
Choose a High-Quality Cat Food
Fillers, additives, and preservatives can also cause stomach upset. Only use a formula that contains all natural ingredients such as oats, whole grains, veggies, novel proteins, and the right balance of vitamins and minerals.
Try a New Protein
Cats are used to foods that contain chicken, certain types of fish, or beef. Your cat may have a chicken intolerance or allergy, so try a new formula that contains a different type of protein and steer clear of chicken and beef. Foods that contain salmon, herring, venison, or rabbit, are all great options.
Turkey is also a great alternative and tends to be easier on the stomach.
Low-Fat Food Options
Older cats don’t have the same type of high protein needs that a younger cat does, and they don’t require the same high calorie diet. If you have a cat over the age of seven who is not very active, then they may benefit from a diet that’s low in fat. A low fat diet is also gentler on the stomach and will not cause vomiting, regurgitation, or diarrhea like some types of high fat diets can.
When I mentioned food allergies earlier, I briefly touched on grains. While it’s more common for a pet to develop food allergies to a protein source, some cats can also develop a grain allergy. Some pet owners have found it helpful to switch to a grain-free pet food. This type of diet closely mimics what a cat would eat in nature by ditching the corn filler that’s found in most commercial pet foods, as well as any other grain-based ingredients. While grains aren’t terrible for pets, they should be given in moderation, and definitely should not be the main ingredients in cat food. A cat didn’t survive on corn in the wild, so why should their diet at home contain such high portions? In many cases, corn is added as a filler.
Gradually Switch to a Sensitive Stomach Diet
If you’ve decided your pet’s high protein, high fat, high carb diet is the culprit behind their digestive issues, then you need to gradually switch from their standard pet food to one that’s formulated for sensitive stomachs. Making the switch immediately will only lead to more stomach issues. The process should be gradual. Begin by reducing their regular kibble by ten percent and adding ten percent of the new food. You’ll do this slowly, reducing their old food by ten percent, and increasing the percentage of their new food, every two to three days or as tolerated. This process can take a week or two, but it’s definitely worth it and will not be a shock to your pet’s digestive system.
What Foods to Avoid Feeding a Cat with a Sensitive Stomach
Once you’ve pinpointed the foods or ingredients in your cat’s diet that’re causing problems, then you’ll need to carefully read pet food labels to make sure you avoid these offending ingredients. Some felines can’t stomach cat foods with specific ingredients, such as wheat, soy, corn, chicken, or beef. By keeping a food diary of what ingredients seem to cause digestive problems, you can prevent episodes of diarrhea or vomiting in the future. Always refer to this list when you’re researching which formulas are right for your cat.
A cat may not be able to tolerate pet food formulas that contain chicken, but some are so sensitive that it may be a single additive or coloring that can cause all sorts of skin and digestive issues.
Look for Low Protein Cat Food for Seniors
If your cat is over the age of seven, they are considered a senior. Seniors can have trouble eating cat food that’s too high in protein. Cats normally follow a high protein diet, but as they age, their body is not able to process protein as efficiently. Higher protein can also be hard on the kidneys. Additionally, older cats are not as active as young adults and don’t have the same type of high protein needs. Cat foods designed for seniors with sensitive stomachs will have a lower protein content.
Follow a Bland Diet to Rule Out Certain Ingredients
When a cat has this level of sensitivity, they will definitely benefit from a bland trial diet, which often consists of a grain and a protein. This can help pet owners determine if their intolerance is due to a common food or ingredients that are added during the manufacturing process. Of course, if you have serious concerns about your pet’s health and their diet, speak with your vet. Your cat’s vet can help you discover the cause of your cat’s health problems and give you advice on how to proceed.
Find Limited Ingredient Cat Food
In terms of choosing a new commercial pet food, dog owners have it much easier since limited ingredient dog food works to eliminate all the unnecessary ingredients. Cat food manufacturers have wizened up and have begun to produce these sensitive stomach limited ingredient formulas, but they’re still not as common or as readily available as limited ingredient formulas for dogs.
Stop Giving Your Cat Treats
During this time, while you’re transitioning your pet to a new food, avoid giving treats. You may need to stop giving your cat treats indefinitely, especially if they’re older and have stomach issues due to treats that are too high in fat or protein. Just a handful of these rich treats can upset their stomach. Treats should never make up more than ten percent of a cat’s diet. Going overboard with treats, especially with an older cat, can cause a whole host of problems including diarrhea and vomiting.
How to Treat Upset Stomach in Cats
If you’ve been struggling with finding foods that your cat can tolerate, without vomiting or diarrhea, there are some things you can do, in addition to switching their pet food to a formula that’s specifically designed for cats with sensitive stomachs.
- Cats have a tendency to eat large portions of food quickly, which can upset their stomachs. Many people free feed their cats, allowing them to graze all day long. While this may be perfectly fine for some cats, others need to be given their food in smaller portions, a few times a day. This is especially true for cats who often experience diarrhea, regurgitating, or vomiting after eating.
- Keep a close eye on your pet’s eating habits. As you make the transition from their old pet food to a sensitive stomach formula, you should also make the change to smaller portions.
- Hairballs can also be a big problem and one that can cause vomiting and constipation, if not addressed. If you have a long-haired cat that suffers from chronic hairballs, the best thing you can do, aside from switching to the best cat food that’s specially formulated to help reduce hairballs, is brush your cat daily. Some cats love being brushed, and others will make a run for it as soon as they see their brush. But brushing out a cat with a long coat is key to minimizing hairballs, which, in turn, can help to reduce episodes of stomach upset, diarrhea, bloating, and constipation. Long haired cats and seniors tend to be more susceptible to hairballs compared to cats with short coats.
- If your cat eats dry cat food, then dehydration can also be part of the problem. Make sure you have a few bowls of fresh water left out and change the water daily. Cats can be very fickle about their water. The water dish should not be placed in a high traffic area or near their food or litter box.
Frequently Asked Questions
What to Feed Cats with Digestive Problems?
If your cat begins experiencing digestive problems out of nowhere, it may require a trip to the vet. Until you see the vet, change their diet to a bland one and prepare white rice mixed with a little boiled chicken. Avoid giving them their regular pet food or any treats until they see their vet.
How Do you Know if Your Cat has a Sensitive Stomach?
Cats can get an upset stomach for many reasons, whether they’ve been playing in the yard and eaten something they shouldn’t have, their pet food is too high in fat or protein, they have a long coat and are prone to hairballs, or another type of underlying conditions such as liver failure or diabetes. Visiting the vet will help you pinpoint the cause and make the appropriate changes to their diet so you can find the best cat food for your furry friend.
Is Wet or Dry Cat Food Easier to Digest?
No, but it does offer some health benefits that kibble doesn’t. It contains high levels of moisture, so your cat can get a large percentage of their hydration from their food. If your cat is prone to dehydration, then switching to a wet pet food can be a good solution and one that promotes bowel regularity as well.
What Causes Digestive Problems in Cats?
Traditional kibble is often too high in carbs, fat, or protein, which can cause digestive upset. Cat foods for sensitive stomachs will often feature a low protein, low fat, and low carb diet, which is much gentler on an older cat’s digestive tract. Other causes of digestive upset can be due to your feline eating toxic plants or foreign objects, hairballs, or an underlying health condition such as hyperthyroidism.
The best cat foods for sensitive stomachs will have a lower protein content, should be free from additives and fillers, and should contain a novel protein. Cats that have longer coats may require a sensitive stomach formula that can help to prevent hairballs in the future, while seniors with stomach issues should be placed on a formula that’s specifically designed to meet their nutritional needs. This guide and the products I’ve included here can help you find the best cat food that will work well for your feline, one that will not trigger an allergic reaction or adverse reaction, or include foods that can cause stomach upset. With a little time and patience, you can find the best cat food for your pet, one that comes loaded with important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are gentle and designed to help your cat thrive.