Just like people, cats can develop sensitivities to certain ingredients in their food, giving them an upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, or a number of other symptoms. If your cat has a sensitive stomach, you will already know that picking out your cat’s diet is one of the hardest parts of the battle. Thankfully, there is a vast assortment of cat food options for cats with sensitive stomachs, in a variety of food types, flavors, and ingredients..
Signs Your Cat May Need Sensitive Stomach Cat Food
Cats who have a sensitive stomach or ongoing digestion issues can have any number or variety of symptoms. Some of the most common are
- constipation, or
- changes in their stool
- changes in appetite,
- unexplained weight loss,
- increased thirst,
- poor coat condition, and
- irritated or itchy skin.
If these issues develop suddenly, they are likely the result of an infection, the onset of an intestinal condition, a change of diet, or stress. When these symptoms are ongoing, they most likely result from food allergies, food intolerance, weak immune system or a sensitive stomach. These health problems might be best diagnosed by visiting a vet before any further action, especially if the digestion issues seem really serious.
What to Look for in Cat Food for a Sensitive Stomach?
For cat food to be suitable for cats with a sensitive stomach, they should have certain characteristics and meet specific criteria. Best cat food for sensitive stomachs is made up of whole, natural ingredients, without a lot of by-products, and with no artificial additives, or fillers. It should be nutritionally complete and balanced, with plenty of health supplements like vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, and probiotics. Additionally, they should contain healthy fats and highly digestible carbohydrates.
Most sensitive stomach cat foods focus on a single animal protein source, and many rely on less-common meats like rabbit, duck, or venison since those are unlikely to upset your cat’s stomach. These categories of animal protein are also known as novel protein cat foods and are often fed to cats with food allergies. Just shows how cat owners must also consider animal protein source when buying the food for their kitty with stomach issues. This can be easily checked on the ingredient list.
Best Cat Food for a Sensitive Stomach
The best cat food will be one that meets the above criteria and is enjoyed by your cat. Unfortunately, finding the best diet for any pet can be difficult since it typically requires trial and error until you get it right. Maybe your cat prefers foods with a specific flavor, like salmon or duck. Or perhaps, your cat will only dry cat food, or wet food, or a mixture of both. Maybe your cat eats too quickly and needs a diet that forces them to eat slower. All of these scenarios will require some thought and a test run before you’ll know if it is the right food for you. Remember that if the food meets the characteristics listed in the above paragraph, and is suitable for your cat, it is the best food for your cat’s sensitive stomach.
Oftentimes, we have a specific question or circumstance we need advice or answers to solve. Two of the most common signs of a sensitive stomach in a cat are vomiting and diarrhea. These worrisome issues can be caused by the same things, or different things, just dependent on the cat.
Best Cat Food for Vomiting
The best cat food for vomiting caused by a sensitive stomach will have high-quality, whole ingredients which are easy to digest and correctly proportioned according to your’s cat’s needs.
Best Cat Food for Diarrhea
Likewise, the best cat food for diarrhea caused by a sensitive stomach will meet all the criteria listed in what to look for in cat foods for a sensitive stomach.
Diet aside, both vomiting and diarrhea can be potentially avoided by plenty of hydration, regular brushing to prevent hairballs, and slow eating of appropriately portioned meals. If these conditions are still persistent, your cat should be taken to their veterinarian.
Cat Food for Kittens and Senior Cats with Sensitive Stomachs
Another circumstance that may require a more specific diet is age. Many people get a new kitten who has a sensitive stomach and they aren’t sure where to start. Kittens, who will already be adjusting from milk to solid foods, require a different diet than adult cats to fuel their growing bodies. The best cat food for kittens with a sensitive stomach will have limited ingredients, be soft, and highly nutritious. Senior cats also require a specialized diet that is similar to kitten food, but not the exact same.
Like kittens, senior cats may need a higher level of calories, lower protein levels, and since older cats are likely to have dental issues, the food should be soft.
Sensitive Stomach Cat Food Reviews
Halo Quail & Garden Greens Recipe Grain-Free Sensitive Stomach Canned Cat Food
This cat food is made with whole meat products like quail, chicken, and chicken liver and greens like parsley, barley grass, and dandelions. Its lack of artificial ingredients, as well as grains, peas, and non-GMO produce, make the food highly digestible.
- 10.50% crude protein
- 7.50% crude fat
- 1.25% crude fiber
- 2.25% ash
- 0.12% taurine
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food
This dry cat food is primarily made up of whole chicken and brewers rice, but it also includes chicken fat, chicken meal, and egg products. These wholesome ingredients create a balanced diet designed to meet your cat’s needs while being gentle on your cat’s stomach.
- 29.0% crude protein
- 17.0% crude fat
- 3.0% crude fiber
- 10.0% moisture
- 500 IU/kg Vitamin E
- 85 mg/kg Vitamin C
- 3.0% Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Purina Cat Chow Sensitive Stomach Gentle Dry Cat Food
This food features tons of protein thanks to its turkey, turkey and chicken by-product meal, and soybean content. Formulated to be easily digestible for sensitive stomachs, this food even has all 25 essential vitamins and minerals.
- 34.0% crude protein
- 11.0% crude fat
- 5.0% crude fiber
- 12.0% moisture
- 1.2% Linoleic Acid
Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe with Real Turkey Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food
This limited-ingredient diet can be a great way of eliminating unnecessary filler ingredients in favor of healthy ones like turkey, peas, and tapioca. The recipe focuses on one animal protein and one vegetable, keeping mealtime simple and creating a great meal for cats with food or stomach sensitivities.
- 35.5% crude protein
- 16.5% crude fat
- 4.0% crude fiber
- 9.0% moisture
- 100 IU/kg Vitamin E
- 85 mg/kg Vitamin C
- 0.6% Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- 2.5% Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Purina Pro Plan High Protein Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Cat Food, Lamb & Rice Formula
This cat food features high-quality ingredients like lamb, chicken meal, soybean protein isolate, and fish meal to provide more protein than other cat foods. Highly digestible ingredients like rice and oatmeal help make the food easy to digest, while amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics support both the digestive and immune systems.
- 40.0% crude protein
- 18.0% crude fat
- 2.5% crude fiber
- 12.0% moisture
- 1.6% Linoleic Acid
- 250 mg/kg Zinc
- 10,000 IU/kg Vitamin A
- 200 IU/kg Vitamin E
- 0.15% Taurine
- 2.3% Omega-6 Fatty Acids
- 600 million CFU/Ib Bacillus Coagulans
Other Ways to Prevent Your Cat’s Upset Stomach
Because a sensitive stomach can be caused by a number of different things, there are things other than changes in diet that can help your cat.
Eating too quickly can easily upset a cat’s stomach and even cause them to vomit shortly after eating. Forcing your cat to slow down, and fully chew their food will help prevent an upset stomach or regurgitation.
Cats frequently groom themselves, accidentally ingesting large amounts of their hair. This can create a sizable hairball in your cat’s stomach, which can affect the way they digest their food and cause irritation in their stomach. The hairball can be prevented or alleviated by brushing your cat regularly to remove as much loose hair as possible. Find best cat food to prevent hairballs in our list.
Additionally, if you are concerned about your cat having an upset stomach, you should pay attention to what they are eating. Many cats eat table scraps and a variety of cat treats but did you know they can cause an upset stomach. Even table scraps which are not necessarily dangerous for cats to eat can be fatty, irritating, or not ideal for your cat’s digestive system. Eliminating table scraps and treats like this can help prevent issues related to a sensitive stomach.
How Parasites Can Give Your Cat an Upset Stomach
Parasites are a common issue with having pets, and animals that spend time outside are especially prone to getting them. Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and stomach worms are all parasites that inhabit some part of a cat’s digestive system. Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite in cats and stomach worms attack the stomach directly. These parasites can cause a lot of the same symptoms as a sensitive stomach, like vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation, as well as cause a sensitive stomach outright.
Remedies for Your Cat’s Upset Stomach
Once it is clear that your cat’s stomach is upset, you may feel like the damage is done. But, there are a couple of different things you can do to help alleviate their discomfort and even help your pet go back to normal faster.
One of the first things suggested for a cat in digestive distress is fasting. Although it may feel wrong and unnatural to not feed your cat their normal meals, it can actually help settle their stomach. Plus, some cats may continue to eat despite an upset stomach, further irritating their digestive system.
After a brief period of fasting, your cat may benefit greatly from a few bland meals. Plain boiled chicken and cooked scrambled eggs are both popular options that are easy to digest and intended to be gentle on the stomach. If your cat is willing to eat it, canned 100% organic pumpkin is another great option.
Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs FAQ
Although both wet and dry foods can be suitable for a cat with a sensitive stomach, wet food may be the better option for a couple of reasons. Firstly, wet cat foods are full of moisture and are more similar to the natural diet of a cat than kibble. Secondly, dehydration can further exacerbate a sensitive or upset stomach, and wet foods can help provide hydration, whereas dry foods cannot.
Although there is no conclusive evidence that grains are bad for cats in general, they may not be the best choice for a cat with a sensitive stomach. Grains are a good source of fiber, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Some grains can be difficult to digest while others are very easy for a cat’s stomach to handle. Ultimately, it will come down to your cat’s preferences and what they are able to handle.
Each senior cat will have their own unique needs which should be tailored to through their diet and care. As a rule, senior cat food is lower in protein, with a delicately balanced calorie intake. This food will help give them plenty of energy for their day-to-day activities without overloading them on calories leading them to obesity.
Ultimately, yes! Cats with a sensitive stomach are able to have treats so long as they will not upset the cat’s stomach. Oftentimes, if you find a food or brand that your pet enjoys and does well with, treats from the same line will be a good choice. Remember that treats should be given sparingly, not to exceed 10% of the cat’s daily calories.
Despite what most people think, adult cats are lactose intolerant. After weaning, many cats, like humans, lose the ability to digest lactose, one of the primary ingredients in milk. Additionally, a cat’s stomach is not intended to digest cow’s milk and may become even more irritated as a result. An occasional small dish of buttermilk may be okay for your cat since a higher milk fat content contains less lactose, but some cats will not be able to drink milk at all.