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Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomach - Top 5 Picks and Buying Guide

By Debbie Short     Last Updated June 4, 2019

Our Top Picks for the Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomach

What is Sensitive Stomach in Cats?

Cat eating sensitive stomach cat food

Cats can have problems with their stomachs that includes sensitivities to certain food or additives in the food. It can cause them to get sick after they eat, experience discomfort, or stop eating because they don't want to feel sick. Common causes of a sensitive stomach in cats include but are not limited to:

  • Allergies - Cats can have food allergies just like humans can, and eating the foods that cause the allergic reaction can cause sensitivities. It can cause itching, a dull coat, vomiting, gas, bloating, and pain.
  • Diet Changes - Younger cats can have sensitive stomach due to the fact that they're still developing, and diet changes can cause an upset stomach for a few weeks. This is why you're supposed to gradually transition your cat from one food to the next over the course of a week.
  • Feeding Behavior - As your cat gets outside and hunts like cats naturally do, they can eat a lot of things that can upset their stomachs. This can make them more sensitive to the food they eat, and you can find it difficult to feed them something that won't cause them to throw up.
  • Hairball - If cats tend to eat a lot of hair from grooming, it can actually shift how their system digests food. This can result in more throwing up because it's easier for the cat's system to get rid of the hairball this way rather than passing it.

Symptoms of Stomach Sensitivities in Cats

Fortunately, there are several symptoms that you can look for that will give you a clue to whether or not your cat may have food sensitivities. Basically, if you notice something off with the way your cat starts to eat and you've done something to their food recently, it could be a sensitivity. Common symptoms include:

  • Appetite changes
  • Bloating or gas
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dull or dry coat
  • Vomiting or regurgitation
  • Increased or decreased thirst
  • Weight loss

 

Ingredients to Avoid in Foods for Cats with Sensitivities

If you think that your cat has a food sensitivity, there are several things that you can do to try and narrow down what is the root cause of your cat's sensitivities. These things include:

Additives

Additives include things to make your cat's food last longer than it should, and that enhance the color so you buy it. Your cat's system can't break down these additives, and it can cause constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, gas, and more if they eat a commercial food full of artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Beef

Beef is an extremely popular protein source in both cat and dog foods, but some cats have problems digesting beef, and it upsets their stomachs. If you think beef or red meat is the cause of your cat's digestive sensitivities, you can switch out the protein source to chicken, turkey, or fish and see if it improves.

Dairy

Dairy products contain lactose, and your cat's system isn't designed to absorb or break down lactose without having problems. You can switch to a dairy-free cat food and monitor your cat's digestive health. If this is the problem, you should see their symptoms clear up.

Fat Trimmings

If a lot of fat trimmings make their way into your cat's digestive system, they have to produce more bile in order for their digestive system to break it down. This can result in your cat vomiting. If they can't produce enough bile, the fat trimmings turn into diarrhea.

Grains

Glutens and grains are common filler ingredients that manufacturers use to bulk up the cat food formula. However, they also take a longer time to break down than they get in your cat's system when they eat it. Giving your cat a food rich in grains can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Feeding a Cat with a Sensitive Stomach

There are several things that you can to do help successfully feed your cat with a sensitive stomach. While you should talk to a veterinarian if you have concerns, a few of the following tips may help soothe your cat's digestive system. They include:

  • Fewer Treats - Double check your cat's treats if you're feeding them a sensitive stomach diet because the richer content in the treats can cause stomach upset. You should never feed your cat more than 10-percent of their daily diet in treats.
  • Hydrate - Even if your cat eats primarily wet food, they should have constant access to fresh water to ensure that they stay hydrated. Your cat needs between 3.5 and 4.5-ounces of water per pound of body weight per day.
  • Reduce Stress - Stress can have a negative impact on cat, and it can make them more prone to throwing up or not feeling well. Try to reduce their daily stress levels. You could even feed them in a quiet environment and see if it helps.

Transitioning Your Cat to Sensitive Stomach Diet

Never switch your cat's food without slowly transitioning them to it over the course of a week or 10 days. For the first two days of the switch, remove 25-percent of your cat's normal food and replace it with the sensitive stomach formula.

When day three and four come about, your cat should eat an even split of the sensitive stomach food and their regular food at every meal. Days five and six should be 75-percent sensitive stomach food and 25-percent old food. The seventh day should finish the transition with 100-percent of the food being the sensitive stomach food.

Our Top Five Picks for the Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomach

1. Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach And Skin Dry Cat Food

Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach and Skin Cat Food

Hill's cat food contains a specially balanced formula that comes designed to improve your cat's skin and coat while being gentle enough for sensitive stomachs. It has a blend of fatty acids that help to nourish your cat's skin and ensure a healthy coat.

There is a clinically proven antioxidant blend that has vitamins C and E to support a healthy and regular digestive system and immune system. The food has easy to digest ingredients that allow your cat to eat them without having discomfort, bloating, or gas afterword.

Your cat will enjoy an exclusive blend of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to support optimal health throughout their lives. There isn't any artificial flavoring, artificial colors, or artificial preservatives in this food, and this reduces the risk of setting off abdominal discomfort or problems.

Cat parents who had cats with sensitivities liked this egg and rice formula combined with the smaller kibble because it was easy for their cats to eat and digest. Cat parents who bought this food did say that it has a very carbohydrate-heavy formula that could cause weight gain.

Things We Liked
  • Has antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Smaller kibble is easier for cats to eat
  • Supports digestive health, immune health, and a healthy skin and coat
Things We Didn't Like
  • Contains a higher level of carbohydrates
  • Has a slightly more greasy formula
  • Comes with a slightly darker formula

2. Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Natural Adult Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Adult Dry Cat Food

This chicken and brown rice formula also contains quality ingredients including sweet potatoes, blueberries, cranberries, peas, carrots, and flaxseed. Real meat is on the label as the first ingredient, and the chicken is a lean protein source for your cats.

Your cat will get a specially formulated food that contains a good level of probiotics that help to ensure digestive health and healthy bacteria levels. Each bowl gets a serving of LifeSource Bits that contain a special blend of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants that support digestive and immune system health.

The entire formula is healthier, and it contains no chicken or poultry by-product meals, soy, corn, or wheat. Additionally, this food doesn't have any artificial preservatives, flavoring, or colors for an overall healthier formula that is easier on your cat's sensitive digestive system.

People who bought this sensitive formula cat food for their pet liked that it contains LifeSource Bits that give the food a boost of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. People who bought this formula did say that it can cause their cat to have a very strong-smelling breath.

Things We Liked
  • Has a very good probiotic content for healthy digestion
  • Blends LifeSource Bits with a quality dry kibble
  • Contains fewer ingredients to upset your cat's system
Things We Didn't Like
  • Can cause your cat's breath to smell
  • May be too hard for some cats to eat
  • Concerns about recent formula changes

3. Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin & Stomach Adult Dry Cat Food

Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin and Stomach Cat Food

Purina Pro Plan's sensitive skin and stomach food comes in three different flavors and seven different styles that lets you pick one to suit your cat's eating habits. Real meat is the first ingredient listed on the bag from a trusted source.

Your cat will enjoy a formula that is rich in vitamins, nutrients, fatty acids, and zinc that help to support healthy skin, a shiny coat, and digestive health. It also contains natural prebiotic fiber that helps to keep your cat's digestive system regular each time they eat.

There is a higher protein content in this formula that helps to support lean muscle growth, a healthy immune system, a healthy digestive system, and a nourished digestive tract. The oat and rice meal in this cat food is easier for your cat to digest than other ingredients.

Cat owners who bought Purina Pro Plan's formula liked that it came with a higher level of prebiotic fiber for healthy and regular digestion. Cat owners did point out that this food can have a stronger smell when you first opened the be that can linger for a few days.

Things We Liked
  • Has a great mix of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids
  • Has prebiotic fiber to support healthy digestion
  • Available in different sizes and flavors
Things We Didn't Like
  • Can have a lingering scent
  • Kibble is slightly larger and crumbly
  • May can mild digestive upset when you transition to it

4. Royal Canin Feline Health Canned Cat Food

Royal Canin Digest Sensitive Canned Cat Food

You can buy three different quantities when you buy this wet cat food, and the thin slices are good for cats who are over a year old with digestive issues. It features an optimal blend of vitamins and nutrients that help to support optimal health throughout your cat's life.

The formula helps your cat maintain an ideal and healthy weight, and it doesn't contain a lot of carbohydrates to encourage weight gain. The slightly higher protein content helps to support lean muscle growth and maintenance, a higher energy level, and healthy growth.

You can feed your cat this cat food by itself each day, or you can pair it with the dry kibble for a balanced and healthy meal. The highly digestible protein is very easy on your cat's system, and it comes with a gravy that is also highly digestible.

Cat parents who bought this canned cat food were happy that they could mix it with the dry kibble to give their dog a balanced and healthy meal. Cat parents were not happy that you feed a typical adult cat over three cans of this food every day because it's more expensive.

Things We Liked
  • Able to buy cases at a time
  • Has a highly digestible protein source
  • Supports a healthy immune system and a higher energy level
Things We Didn't Like
  • Have to feed your cat over three cans per day
  • Had a recent price increase
  • Chunks may be too large for smaller cats

5. Iams Proactive Health Sensitive Stomach Adult Cat Food

Iams Proactive Health Healthy Digestion Dry Cat Food

This cat food by Iams has a very protein-rich formula that has easily digestible proteins that are easy on your cat's sensitive stomach. It has supporting ingredients that help to support long-term digestive health, even in cats with extreme sensitivities.

The tailored prebiotic blend contains beet pulp and prebiotics that help to ensure that your cat's digestive system stays regular. It also works to help your cat's digestive system absorb all of the nutrients from the food they eat for a healthy and nourished cat.

The smaller and crunchier kibble pieces work to clean any plaque or buildup from your cat's teeth, and this can help them have better dental health overall. The formula comes enriched with a healthy blend of antioxidants that help to support cell repair, a healthy immune system, healthy muscles and bones, and a healthy digestive system.

Cat parents who bought this food for their cats were pleased that it has formula that is very rich in protein to support lean and strong growth. Cat parents were not pleased that this food may not be gentle enough for cats with very sensitive stomachs.

Things We Liked
  • Has beet pulp and probiotics for digestive health
  • Crunchy kibble cleans tartar and plaque from teeth
  • Comes with a healthy blend of antioxidants
Things We Didn't Like
  • May not be gentle enough for cats with severe sensitivities
  • Can leave a greasy residue
  • Kibble tends to crumble and fall apart

What's the Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomach?

Our pick for the best cat food for sensitive stomachs is Hill's Science Diet Sensitive Stomach And Skin Dry Cat Food because it's gentle enough for sensitive stomachs while still supporting your cat's healthy skin and shiny coat. It comes with a clinically proven antioxidant blend that gives your cat's immune system a boost each time that they eat it.

We picked it because it has an exclusive rice and egg formula combined with smaller kibble that was easier for cats of all ages to eat. Finally, we liked this choice because the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids support optimal health throughout your cat's life.