Hypoallergenic cat food can help alleviate many issues with cat’s digestion and intolerance of common cat food products. Cat parents sometimes complain about their cat’s sensitive stomach, and vomiting. This is never a good sign.
Some of the causes for frequent vomiting are food allergies. Hypoallergenic cat food for cats with food allergies or skin allergies is probably the best available option these days. Read on to learn all about hypoallergenic cat food, why it helps cats with allergies, and what its benefits are.
Best Hypoallergenic Cat Foods – Our Top 5
Read our top hypoallergenic cat food reviews below.
What is Cat Food Allergy?
Food allergy refers to an abnormal immune-mediated adverse reaction to a specific antigen within the food. In simple words, it is an allergic reaction that the immune system causes to a certain protein present in food. the mechanism that causes food allergies to develop is yet unknown. It is also unclear why some cats develop it while other don’t.
What is Hypoallergenic Cat Food?
Hypoallergenic diets for cats are composed of hydrolyzed proteins. In this kind of a diet, animaproteins are broken down into extremely small pieces. When your cat consumes hypoallergenic food, its body doesn’t recognize the protein, and the food gets digested without upsetting the stomach. Hydrolyzed protein diets are less allergenic, which is why these are called hypoallergenic diets. Hypoallergenic cat food does not contain beef, dairy, poultry, or wheat. It is free of colorings, soya, and artificial preservatives as well.
What Are Hypoallergenic Cat Treats?
If offering your feline cat treats is a significant part of its training, but it has a sensitive stomach, you can opt for hypoallergenic cat treats. These are good if your cat suffers from cat food allergies. These are carefully formulated treats, which are ideal for cats of all ages who experience food allergies. Hypoallergenic cat treats are delicious and light on their stomachs.
However, when selecting cat treats for cats with sensitive stomachs, consider things like the cat’s individual intolerances, specific ingredients, texture, and flavor.
Benefits of Food For Cats With Allergies
Hypoallergenic cat food is an ideal meal option for cats with a delicate digestive system, sensitive skin, runny eyes, and itchy feet or ears. These are all signs that your pet could be suffering from a food allergy.
These are specially created diets in which the finest quality ingredients are used. Moreover, hypoallergenic diets are free of colorings and chemical preservatives. That’s why it is a healthier option for your cat in the long term.
Hypoallergenic diets are the best food for cats with allergies as these are produced without contaminating allergens, which usually upset your feline’s sensitive tummy. These foods are created using hydrolyzed proteins. Hydrolyzed proteins are broken down to such an extent that the body doesn’t realize it when the cat eats it. Hence, your cat’s sensitive stomach can process the food normally.
How to Select Cat Food For Allergies?
It is crucial to select an allergy-free cat food carefully. Here are some factors to consider while purchasing hypoallergenic cat food for cats with food allergies.
Most cat allergies are linked with common animal protein sources. High protein cat foods can thus be problematic sometimes. That’s why it is critical to find hypoallergenic food with a neutral protein source. Such as you can opt for cod, salmon, whitefish, and duck. You may also switch to a novel protein source that your pet hasn’t tried before.
Make sure to start with feeding your feline hypoallergenic food that contains minimal ingredients. All hypoallergenic foods aren’t limited-ingredient foods. Therefore, you must always check the label and make sure that the food is free of common allergens like beef, poultry, fish, dairy products, or grains, and has a limited number of ingredients. A limited-ingredients diet is beneficial if you aren’t sure what allergy is triggering a reaction.
Dry vs. Wet Hypoallergenic Cat Food
You will find hypoallergenic cat foods in both wet and dry options. Dry cat foods, typically, are a cost-effective option in comparison to wet foods. However, sometimes, your feline may find wet food a lot tastier. This is especially true for fussy or selective eaters. Wet food is a better option if your cat’s water availability is limited because it allows it to consume more liquids, which will aid the digestion process.
Moreover, most cats with food intolerances or allergies are old and may have various other health issues. For such cats, dry cat food in hard kibble form will be tough on their teeth, and they will find it hard to swallow.
Similarly, some cats may not find wet, canned food too appealing because of it’s texture. When this is the case, dry food might be a better alternative. Therefore, when buying hypoallergenic cat food, you must think about your cat as an individual with individual taste and preferences. It would be best if you coul incorporate both types of food.
Often you can find really good cat food also in forms of broths which are super nutritious and low in any fillers. Especially if you buy human grade cat food made in the USA, you can only expect the best for your cat.
Most Common Food Allergies in Cats:
Beef, fish, poultry, and dairy products are common foods that trigger allergies among cats. There may be other allergens that are impacting your feline’s health. To diagnose the right cause of the allergy, always consult your veterinarian.
What Causes Common Cat Food Allergies?
Cats may develop food allergies at any time throughout their life. Research reveals that genetic predisposition plays a fundamental role in triggering food allergies. Additionally, allergies may be linked with atopy, which refers to inhalant allergies. Some cats are allergic to both environmental allergens and food ingredients.
A change in your cat’s regular diet doesn’t need to contribute to food allergy development. Around 70% of pets develop allergies because of food ingredients they have been consuming for a long time, even more than two years. It takes several exposures to a particular food or ingredient to produce an allergic reaction. You may find it surprising, but grains can also trigger food allergies. And many cats are allergic to certain animal proteins.
Food Allergies in Cats Symptoms
If your cat has a food allergy, it will start having some specific symptoms. These include:
- Skin problems like itchy or pruritic skin particularly around face, paws, or ears
- Digestive issues such as chronic diarrhea or vomiting
- Hair loss (Is different from shedding – find best cat food for shedding here)
- Skin inflammation
- Runny or red eyes
- Coughing, or sneezing
- Foul skin odor
- Papules or red bumps
- Self-inflicted trauma mainly caused by recurrently occurring itching
- Severe scaling
- Ear infection
Sometimes bad skin and coat problems will be caused by allergies, while in other it will only be a matter of nutrition. This and other ambiguities when it comes to determining the underlying conditions are best resolved by visiting a vet. In case bad nutrition is affecting skin and coat health – we have prepared a list of cat foods for healthy fur.
Cat Food for Itchy Skin – Is Hypoallergenic Diet Suitable?
Cats with food allergies often experience year-round chronic itching and skin inflammation that particularly affects the ears, face, groin, belly, armpit, and paws/legs of the feline. The itchiness is so severe that they often overgroom themselves. This can result in abrasion or wounds. Some cats may experience hair loss. Also, affected cats often develop recurrent ears and skin infections.
The first thing you need to do if you feel that your cat is allergic to something is visiting your veterinarian. The vet will run a series of complex tests to discover which carbohydrate or protein makes your feline sick. After appropriate testing and screening, the vet will diagnose a suitable mode of treatment.
If you want to treat the allergy through diet, a hypoallergenic diet for cats with food allergies or limited-ingredients cat foods may be beneficial. Since these foods don’t contain many ingredients, so the risk of allergy is minimal. The hypoallergenic diet is highly digestible and formulated after considering the dietary needs of allergy-prone feline. Though no food can be completely allergy-free cat food as cats have varying nutritional needs. But, hypoallergenic food oftenworks for cats with chronic skin allergies .
Food allergies in cats treatment
If the current diet is not suiting your cat, try something different. In this regard, hypoallergenic, single protein cat food can be a good way to start. However, always consult a vet before adding anything new in your pet’s daily diet or switching to a whole new dietary regimen.
A less complicated method of treating food allergies in cats is to feed them something they haven’t eaten before. For instance, if your cat’s regular diet involves a lot of fish or chicken, try feeding it fish-free cat food or poultry free cat food or other type of limited ingredient cat food. If you notice that the symptoms have cleared up, then this means something in its previous food regimen was causing the allergic reaction.
What is novel protein cat food?
Novel protein cat food contains unique or novel ingredients. These ingredients aren’t commonly a part of pet food or pet diet, such as duck or pork are novel proteins and sweet potato is a novel carbohydrate.
Novel protein diet is different from conventional cat food because it contains a less common and less-mainstream source of protein. Usually, best cat foods contain beef or chicken as the primary protein source. These are mainstream proteins, and continuous exposure to similar protein sources can trigger allergic reactions in some cats. On the other hand, novel protein diets contain proteins from unusual sources such as rabbit, kangaroo, bison, or elk. Since the pet hasn’t been introduced to these sources of protein previously, it is highly unlikely that they would experience an allergic reaction.
The idea behind introducing novel protein cat food in your feline’s diet is to allow them to eat food they haven’t tried before. As mentioned above, most cats develop food allergies from ingredients they have been consuming for a long time.
For sensitive pets, novel ingredients prove very useful since the cat hasn’t encountered them before. If the cat is exposed to chicken or beef a lot, feeding your cat something rare like a rabbit would be beneficial.
Top Ten Best Cat Food for Allergies
1. Feline Natural Hypoallergenic Canned Cat Food
This cat food has a high protein content, which is great for your cats that thrive on proteins. It has no artificial additives, along with being free of gelling agents. The only thing it contains is fresh and pure New Zealand water. Even if you have a picky cat, Feline Natural Hypoallergenic will eliminate all your worries due to the natural meat taste. The meat is from grass-fed cattle, cage-free chicken, and real fish from New Zealand. It is low in carbs while being rich in fat plus proteins giving your cat the nutrition it requires. The best part it follows all of the AAFCO guidelines.
Chicken, Lamb Heart, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Liver, Lamb Blood, Flaxseed Flakes, New Zealand Green Mussel
- Protein: 54.0%
- Fat: 28.5%
- Fiber: 1.7%
- Calcium: 6.4%
- Phosphorus 5.71%
- Vitamin E: 450 IU/kg
- Taurine: 0.93%
2. Purina O.N.E. Sensitive Systems Adult Dry Cat Food
This product has been the vets’ number one recommendation for cats that have sensitive skin or stomachs. The formula has been devised to counter such allergies. It is made up of a hundred percent natural turkey as the primary ingredient. The high protein content is great to keep your cat healthy and playful. Your furry friends with sensitive stomachs will have no issue digesting this meal. It is rich in Omega-6 fatty acids that promote a healthy, luscious coat. Moreover, the crunchy kibble aids in getting rid of the plaque on the teeth. No more throwing up and no more itchy skin.
Turkey, brewers rice, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, turkey by-product meal
- Protein: 38.0%
- Fat: 14.5%
- Fiber: 4.41%
- Calcium: 1.12%
- Phosphorus 1.01%
- Vitamin E: 450 IU/kg
- Taurine: 0.163%
3. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Cat Food
Natural balance L.I.D Limited Ingredients Dry Cat Food is made up of a single protein source, reducing the exposure to different types of ingredients to your cat. It is grain-free cat food. Hence it is low on carbs and high in proteins. Duck is the main and primary source of high protein for your cats fulfilling your cat’s dietary needs. It helps build stronger muscles and maintain a lean body. The Omega fatty acids present in the meal also allow the fur to be healthy and shiny. The grain-free feature is best for your sensitive stomached cats. It is formulated to maintain healthy digestion.
Green Peas, Duck, Duck Meal, Pea Protein
- Protein: 33.0%
- Fat: 13.2%
- Fiber: 4.4%
- Taurine: 0.18%
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 2.52%
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 1.12%
4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Dry Cat Food
Vets have recommended the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet because it has been hydrolyzed. In addition to that, it contains light proteins that are gentle with the digestive system. It is one of the best hypoallergenic cat food brands to feed your sensitive cats. It is rich in proteins to maintains a lean, muscular body. Moreover, it has plenty of omega-three fatty acids that give your feline’s coat a shine like never before. This product also consists of strong B vitamins to provide essential nutrients. The chelated minerals maximize the digestive absorption. It is great for maintaining a healthy problem-free digestive tract.
Brewers rice, hydrolyzed soy protein, chicken fat, powdered cellulose
- Protein: 25.8%
- Fat: 19.7%
- Fiber: 6.2%
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 0.486%
- Eicosapentaenoic + Docosahexaenoic acid (EPA + DHA): 0.21%
5. Instinct L.I.D. Grain-Free Rabbit Canned Food
This product has been made specifically for cats with sensitive stomachs as it is grain-free. It contains only one protein and one vegetable. It is also dairy-free and B.P.A. free. It is one hundred percent natural without any artificial additives or flavoring. It has been made from a farm-raised rabbit, tending to cats with food allergies. The kibble is covered in freeze-dried raw for better taste. It is made from natural ingredients; hence it is minimally processed. It is also produced in the U.S.A., which means that it is made from the finest ingredients. It has the best rating compared to Blue Buffalo, Purina One, and Hills Science Diet.
Rabbit Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Rabbit
- Protein: 38.5%
- Fat: 20.8%
- Fiber: 6.05%
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 0.77%
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 3.74%
6. Hill’s Prescription Diet Skin/Food Sensitivities Dry Cat Food
Hill’s prescription diet has been specially made to tend to your feline’s sensitive stomachs and skims. This formula has been formulated through nutritionists and veterinarians’ help to give your cat the ideal diet. The best feature about this meal is that it is fully hydrolyzed proteins that come from only one type of animal. There is also only one carbohydrate source. Moreover, the diet develops a healthy skin barrier preventing any further infections or itchy skin. To allow a healthier digestive contractile system, the natural fiber in the meal softens the stool. This hydrolyzed protein diet for cats is the best for them.
Brewers Rice, Hydrolyzed Chicken Liver, Rice Protein Concentrate
- Protein: 34.5%
- Fat: 15.2 %
- Carbohydrate: 40.7%
- Crude Fiber: 3.2%
- Phosphorous: 0.63%
- Taurine: 0.36%
- Total Omega-3 FA: 0.41%
- Total Omega-6 FA: 3.96%
7. Blue Buffalo Basics L.I.D. Indoor Cat Food Duck and Potato Recipe
The main ingredients in this recipe for your feline are Duck and Potatoes. Duck is the first ingredient and the primary protein source. These ingredients are extremely gentle on cat’s digestive systems, so if your cats have sensitive stomachs, this meal should be on your list. It contains a high level of proteins plus natural fiber to promote a healthier lifestyle and digestion. The only protein source duck meat, so no dairy, no other meat source, no extra carbohydrates ease digestion. It is made with a hundred percent natural ingredients, so no artificial additives make the meal so much better.
Deboned Duck, Duck Meal, Pea Protein, Peas, Tapioca Starch, Potatoes
- Protein: 33%
- Fat: 14.0% Min
- Fiber: 6.6% Max
- Taurine: 0.15% Min
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: 0.75% Min
- Omega 6 Fatty Acids: 2.0% Min
8. Merrick L.I.D. Grain-Free Real Chicken Dry Cat Food
Merrick L.I.D. Grain-Free Real Chicken Dry Cat Food is food for cats with allergies and is a great option if your cats have allergies causing stomach or skin issues. It has a single ingredient formula that gets all the protein from animal meat such as Turkey, Chicken, salmon, and duck. It is a wet formula that allows easy feeding and promotes better digestion. Potato free is great for sensitive stomachs, has less to no carbs, and has high protein content for building muscles. It is manufactured in the U.S.A., ensuring that all fine products have been used from all over the world.
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Chicken Fat
- Protein: 37.3%
- Fat: 15.4%
- Fiber: 4.4%
- Phosphorus: 0.88%
- Taurine: 0.22%
- Omega-6 fatty acid: 3.00%
- Omega-3 fatty acid: 0.30%
9. Blue Buffalo Basics L.I.D. Fish and Potato Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food
This meal is the perfect choice for you if you have a sensitive cat with many allergies and you are looking for food that fulfills your cat’s nutritional needs. First of all, the Blue Buffalo L.I.D indoor recipe is completely grain-free; hence, it doesn’t have any ingredients that would trigger allergies. It has many tasty flavors that are all grain-free, leaving your cat purring for more. Furthermore, it holds plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids that will better your feline’s coat. As many cats have allergies to poultry, and this cat food is without chicken, whitefish being the main protein source diminishes that issue.
Deboned Whitefish, Menhaden Fish Meal, Pea Protein, Potatoes, Peas
- Crude Protein 33.0%
- Crude Fat: 15.4%
- Crude Fiber 6.6%
- Taurine: 0.165%
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: 1.1%
- Omega 6 Fatty Acids: 2.0%
10. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Hydrolyzed Formula Dry Cat Food
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diet consists of hydrolyzed proteins which prevents your cats from allergic reactions. It is a highly digestible meal containing chicken liver, various oils and rice to provide a nutritious diet. The feed is formulated to be gentle on your sensitive felines while being tasty so your cats gobble it up without throwing up. Many omega-3,6 fatty acids help your kitty to grow a healthier, shinier coat. The high protein and carbohydrate content also maintains a more healthy glucose level in the blood. It also prevents the formation of unhealthy crystals such as struvite and calcium oxalate crystals.
Rice Starch, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein Isolate, Chicken Liver, Tricalcium Phosphate
- Protein: 37.7%
- Fat: 9.9%
- Fiber: 4.4%
- Ash: 8%
- Calcium: 1%
- Phosphorus: 0.8%
Best Hypoallergenic Cat Foods FAQ
Consulting your vet is the best way forward. Your vet will run a series of tests, and after examining the results, a carefully monitored diet will be devised. You will have to cooperate with the vet and keep tweaking the diet plan to determine what suits your cat’s sensitive stomach and what doesn’t.
Particular symptoms indicate your cat might be suffering from a food allergy. Some common symptoms include frequent vomiting, diarrhea, skin infection, inflammation or itchiness, wheezing/coughing, and infection around ears or feet.
Cat food allergies are generally the result of the immune system reacting to a particular protein or proteins, which it regards as a threat. The immune response triggers flu-like symptoms.
Food that doesn’t contain soy, grains, or artificial flavors/preservatives is ideal for cats with allergies. It is also possible that the cat is allergic to non-meat or plant-based proteins, which can cause malabsorption, inflammation, and nutritional deficiencies. Natural food sources are least likely to cause allergies in cats.
A hydrolyzed protein diet for cats includes protein strands broken down into smaller chains. Sometimes these strands are present as single amino acids. The peptide bonds responsible for holding the amino acids together are broken using enzymes. In partially hydrolyzed proteins, the amino acids are cut into very small segments, whereas in fully hydrolyzed proteins, the segments are completely separated.