Looking for the best cat food for sensitive stomachs? We’ve done the research and have decided that Purina ONE Sensitive Stomach Cat Food is our number #1 pick!
Occasional vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, and hairballs are part and parcel of being a pawrent, but ongoing gastrointestinal (GI) problems aren’t.
Whether it’s constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive gas, a loss of appetite, sensitive or irritated skin, hairballs or even general lethargy, these are all symptoms of a cat with a sensitive stomach.
Cats, like humans, are prone to digestive issues, which is why we’re looking at the best cat food for sensitive stomach options currently available on the market.
Top Cat Food Picks For Cats With Sensitive Stomachs
Carry on reading to see our reviews, as well as a buying guide and some of the most frequently asked questions about feeding cats and kittens with sensitive stomachs.
How Can I Tell if My Cat Has a Sensitive Stomach?
Some symptoms of a sensitive stomach are easier to notice like if your cat vomits straight after a meal, he has excessive (and smelly) gas, there’s a change in his bowel movements, or he’s showing a general disinterest in his food.
But there are less visible signs too. For example, if there is more scratching more than usual, he is losing fur, his face, head, and ears are swollen or he has flu-like symptoms, it could be due to a sensitive stomach.
Other signs to look out for include a change in his behavior. So, if for example, your usually social cat suddenly becomes more of a socio-cat or takes to hiding in strange places, it could be as a result of a sore or upset tummy. And while people might lick their lips when they’re hungry, cats do it when they’re feeling nauseous.
No one knows your feline friend better than you, so any strange behavior is a tell-tale sign that something’s not right.
Why Do Cats Suffer From Sensitive Stomachs?
Diarrhea or vomiting isn’t normal for a healthy cat, which is why you need to find out what is causing sensitive stomach issues sooner rather than later.
If your cat is vomiting or has diarrhea for more than a few days, you should consider:
Allergies or intolerances
Vomiting may occur due to allergies or intolerances to certain foods or ingredients. The same way some humans react to things like gluten or dairy, cats do too.
Sudden change in food or diet
Something as simple as a change in your cat’s diet can have an effect on his stomach. Rather than just swapping formulas, it is a good idea to introduce the new one gradually.
GI problems can be a result of low-quality ingredients in your cat’s food. Always check the ingredients for fillers, preservatives and artificial additives of any type. And it is important to know from where the food and the contents are sourced.
Too much of a good thing is as bad as not enough, even when it comes to nutrients. Make sure your cat is eating a balanced diet with the correct amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
The right kind of proteins
We sometimes lose sight of the fact that cats are carnivores and need animal proteins (i.e. meat). As a result, their digestive systems can’t properly break down plant proteins, and their stomach and overall health suffer as a result.
Cat-unfriendly foods and objects
You know the saying ‘curiosity killed the cat’? Well, it could be because he ate something he wasn’t supposed to. Cats occasionally eat non-food items or foods that aren’t good for them, like chocolate, onions, plants and even stray bits of yarn, which can cause an upset tummy.
A common, but often overlooked cause of vomiting or diarrhea is food that’s gone off. Always check to make sure the food you’re feeding him hasn’t expired or gone bad.
Tapeworms, whipworms, roundworms, and hookworms are just a few parasites that can cause GI problems, including vomiting and diarrhea. It’s a good idea to deworm your cat once or twice a year.
The throwing up of a hairball now and then, although unpleasant to watch, or accidentally stand in, isn’t a reason for concern. But if your cat’s coughing up hairballs regularly, it can be a sign that something is wrong.
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Cat
Whether your cat battles with a sensitive stomach or not, there are certain foods that should only be given as treats every now and then and some that should never be given at all.
Potentially dangerous foods for felines include:
Sushi for humans is absolutely fine, but contrary to popular belief, raw fish can cause sensitive stomach issues in cats. This is because certain types contain thiaminase, which breaks down thiamine, or vitamin B1, in cats. This kind of deficiency is responsible for neurological problems, including convulsions.
Raw eggs can pose a serious risk to you and your cat. This is because of salmonella and other parasites that can cause pancreatitis. Cooked eggs are fine, but they should only be fed to your cat every once in a while, as a treat.
Chives and Onions
Onions, chives, leeks, and garlic all belong to the allium family and are toxic for cats. These harmless human foods can damage the red blood cells, which can lead to gastrointestinal issues as well as anemia. Fresh, powdered, or flakes, they should never be given to your cat.
Another no-no for your cat is bones. Hard bones can break his teeth, and they can splinter and cause him to choke.
Too many fatty foods are dangerous for cats and can cause sensitive stomach issues as well as pancreatitis.
Another fallacy when it comes to cats is that they drink milk. As they get older, some cats become lactose intolerant, and dairy products like milk and cheese will cause upset tummies.
Home Remedies for Cats Suffering from a Sensitive Stomach
If your cat is suffering from sensitive stomach issues like vomiting and diarrhea but is still eating and drinking regularly, you can try these handy home remedies. Depending on your cat, these may or may not be appreciated, so it may be a case of some trial and error.
If your cat likes heat, let him rest in your arms or even on your stomach. This gentle warmth will relieve any discomfort he might be experiencing.
If your cat doesn’t mind having his abdominal area touched, you could give him a soft massage in that area. If he doesn’t like it, you could try putting your hands around his tummy or wrap him in a blanket.
It’s a good idea to keep your cat calm and in an area where he’s most comfortable. This way, you can monitor him and see if there are any changes in his behavior.
These home remedies are useful when your fur baby is experiencing mild gastrointestinal problems, but are not a replacement for professional care. If the symptoms persist for more than a few days or get worse, you need to see your vet as soon as possible.
What is the Best Cat Food for Cats That Throw Up?
Digestive care cat food? Really? Unless you have tried it and seen the difference it can make to your kitty, it’s easy to poo-poo it as a marketing gimmick. But recipes that have been specially formulated for cats with sensitive stomachs can, and do, make a massive difference to your cat’s health.
If you are considering moving over to an easy to digest cat food for your feline, you should keep the following in mind:
Always make sure the main ingredient is a high-quality animal protein like chicken, fish, or beef.
If your cat has a reaction to any of these, then you can try food with turkey, lamb or duck as the main protein.
Although not a problem for all cats, some grains can cause a sensitive stomach. Check the label to see what grains are included in the recipe.
Avoid cat foods that have a lot of additives, including artificial colorings, flavors, and preservatives. As a general rule of thumb, the easier it is to read a label, the better. Stay away from foods with unknown, and unpronounceable, ingredients.
Reviews: The Best Cat Food for Digestive Problems
Finding the best cat food for vomiting or other sensitive stomach issues isn’t difficult. There’s a wide range to choose from, including sensitive stomach kitten food, food for older cats, wet food, dry food, the list goes on. But with so many types available, how do you know which is best for your feline?
As always, we’ve spent hours researching and reviewing the best cat food for sensitive stomach options available. We’ve compared prices, looked at the ingredients and scoured forums and other websites for reviews so that you don’t have to.
- Purina ONE Sensitive Systems Adult Dry Cat Food
- Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Natural Adult Dry Cat Food
- Hill’s Science Plan Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Cat Food
- Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Digest Sensitive Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food
- Iams Proactive Health Sensitive Stomach Adult Cat Food With Chicken And Turkey
Purina ONE Sensitive Systems Adult Dry Cat Food
Best Dry Choice
If you’re on a budget, and who isn’t nowadays, Purina ONE Sensitive Systems dry cat food is a perfect choice. Formulated for cats that battle with sensitive skin and stomachs, it includes all the essential vitamins and minerals to strengthen your cat’s immune system and aid digestion.
With turkey as the main ingredient, ONE is high in protein, with just the right amount of carbohydrates. There are no fillers, artificial flavors or preservatives, and the crunchy kibbles help prevent plaque buildup. Best of all, it is recommended by vets.
If you’re looking for quality food that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, Purina ONE Sensitive Systems is the way to go.
Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Natural Adult Dry Cat Food
Best For Older Cats
Let me start off by saying, while Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Cat Food is a really good product, it does contain chicken, and as mentioned before, some cats can have an adverse reaction to it.
For cats that do love chicken; however, this is one of the best foods available and is excellent value for money. The dry cat food contains LifeSource Bits, a unique formula with the perfect combination of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
It also has FOS prebiotics that assists with the absorption of nutrients, and for a healthy coat and skin, there are omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
As you would expect with easy digestion cat food, there are no preservatives, artificial colorings or flavors, and no soy, wheat or corn.
Hill's Science Plan Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Cat Food
Another trusted name in pet nutrition is Hill’s Science, so it should come as no surprise to see one of their products on the best cat food for sensitive stomach list.
The dual action formula of the Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Cat Food isn’t only gentle on your cat’s sensitive stomach, it also nourishes his skin and coat, from the inside out.
With vitamins C and E included in the antioxidant blend, you know your furbaby is getting everything he needs for a healthy and robust digestive and immune system.
The disk-shaped kibbles are easy to chew and digest, and there are no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colorings used in the recipe. Also, the highly digestible cat food doesn’t cause any bloating, excessive gas, or other digestive discomforts.
Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Digest Sensitive Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food
Best Wet Option
One of the best wet cat foods for sensitive stomach options available has to be Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition. The formula has an excellent blend of all the essential nutrients and minerals to keep your cat healthy.
Also, this easily digestible cat food has a high protein content that helps with energy levels and muscle growth. What we like, and most cats too, is that you can feed this as is, or you can mix it with dry kibble. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition is gentle on your feline’s digestive system and is especially suitable for cats with sensitive stomachs. And an added bonus is the delicious gravy.
Iams Proactive Health Sensitive Stomach Adult Cat Food With Chicken And Turkey
Best Vomit Preventor
You can’t go wrong with Iams Proactive Health Sensitive Stomach Adult Cat Food, especially if your cat is battling to keep his food down.
One of the best cat food for sensitive stomach choices available, it is a protein-rich recipe that includes prebiotics, fibers, and beet pulp to ensure optimal absorption of all the essential nutrients.
Antioxidants strengthen the immune system, and fatty acids ensure a healthy coat and skin. The crunchy kibbles are a good size, even for small cats and they help prevent plaque buildup.
When compared to some of the other products, Iams is an affordable option.
Tips on How to Introduce A Sensitive Cat Food Diet
Cats don’t take to change well at the best of times, and if he already has GI issues, a sudden change in diet will only make it worse. Once you’ve found the best cat food for sensitive stomachs that’s suitable for your fur baby, it’s best to do it gradually.
Take it slowly
Don’t rush the process. It’s important to give your cat, and yourself a minimum of seven days. Introducing the new food to quickly could result in him refusing the new food altogether.
Substitute the new food with the old
It’s best to start adding some of the new food to the old, little by little each day. The recommended seven-day switch is as follows:
- Day 1 – Feed your cat 75% old food with 25% of the new food
- Day 2 – Reduce the old food to 70% and increase the new food to 30%
- Day 3 – Old food should be at 60% old food and new food at 40%
- Day 4 – On day 4 it should be 50% old and 50% new
- Day 5 – Mealtime should be 60% of the new food and 40% of the old one
- Day 6 – New food, 75%, and old food, 25%
- Day 7 – Only the new food
Remember, this is only a guide. If you need to stick to the same ratio for a few days in a row before adding more of the new food, then do so.
Don’t starve your cat
Cats, unlike humans and dogs, can’t go without food for more than 24 hours, so don’t try and starve him as a way of getting him to eat the new food. If your cat isn’t getting a sufficient amount of food, or none at all, he can develop a potentially fatal illness, hepatic lipidosis.
Avoid treats and non-cat food
While you’re transitioning your cat over to a new food, you should avoid giving him human food or treats for five to six weeks.
Schedule meal times
You might need to stick to scheduled meal times in the beginning, rather than having his food available at all times. The idea is to feed him at set times every day and remove any uneaten food after half an hour. It’s recommended to start doing this before you swap over foods.
Once he is eating according to a schedule, you can start mixing in the new food as per the guide above. For this to work, you shouldn’t give your cat more food than he eats in the allocated 30 minutes.
Perseverance is key
It’s important not to give up or lose patience. It can take up to 12 weeks to see results from the new food. If, however, your cat’s symptoms get worse, or you see new ones developing, it’s best to speak with your vet.
What Else Can I Do If My Cat Has a Sensitive Stomach?
Changing your cat’s food to one that’s suitable for sensitive stomachs will help ease GI issues, but throwing up and diarrhea can also be caused by other factors. If these aren’t addressed, the vomiting and runny tummy will continue regardless of what he’s eating.
Some cats, like humans, are sensitive to external factors, which can affect their stomach. But, in the same we can make a few changes to our lifestyle to reduce these stressors, we can do the same for cats by improving their environment.
Make sure his food, water, and litterbox are located in quiet areas in your home. Chances are sensitive stomach issues could be as a result of the stress he feels when he’s eating, drinking or pooping.
Make sure these essentials are all located away from high-traffic areas with lots of noise. Also, check to see that he can access them easily. Once you’ve found the perfect spots, don’t move the bowls or litterbox around.
Cats love climbing, scratching, hiding, and of course, resting. To reduce unnecessary stress for your pal, he should have a few things around the house where he can do what comes naturally to him. Take a little time to create an enriching environment for your cat. He’s definitely worth it.
Cats are creatures of habit, and they also like things going their way. Stick to his routine and keep it predictable because this is when your cat is at his most comfortable.
Your kitty needs all sorts of stimulation, including sights, sounds, and even smells. When you’re at work or out for the evening, reduce his stress levels by leaving the TV or radio on at a low volume. Just don’t let him watch a horror movie.
The feline social structure is one of the most complex around, which means if you have more than one cat, or are planning to bring a new one home, it’s best to talk to an animal behaviorist. Adding a new addition to the family or a change in your cat’s environment can create a lot of stress.
Frequently Asked Questions About Feeding Cats and Kittens
Whether it’s a cat with a sensitive stomach, one that’s suddenly become very picky or a kitten that’s new in your home, these frequently asked questions will give you all the answers you need to keep your kitty happy and healthy.
1. My cat is coughing up hairballs. Is this related to his diet?
Ah, hairballs, the bane of a cat’s existence. While it shouldn’t be happening all the time, your cat coughing up a hairball every now and then is his way of cleaning out his stomach. Remember, cats groom themselves and as a result, end up swallowing their fur.
Most times, hairballs pass straight through their digestive system, without causing any problems. But there are times when the fur collects in his tummy and gets stuck. And this is where the hacking, hooping and throwing up of a hairball happens.
If your cat is prone to hairballs, you might want to groom him more regularly, reducing the amount of fur he swallows. And while hairballs aren’t directly related to his food, you could also consider a cat for sensitive stomachs or one that reduces shedding.
2. I have an older cat and a new kitten. Can they eat the same food?
Quite simply put, no. Older cats and kittens have very different nutritional needs, and the best foods are formulated with a cat’s age in mind. Kittens, for example, need much higher levels of protein to help them grow as well as vitamin C and E to build their immune systems. There is also more iron, zinc, phosphorous, calcium, and magnesium in kitten food.
3. What’s better, dry or wet cat food?
When it comes to deciding between wet or dry food for your cat, it’s more about his personal preference. Of course, each one has its own benefits, which you should keep in mind.
Benefits of dry cat food
- Dry cat food is easier to measure out, and it usually lasts longer
- Dry kibbles help keep your cat’s teeth healthy by removing plaque buildup
- You have the option of adding water to make dry food wet
Benefits of wet cat food
- It’s soft and easy to chew
- Wet food is available in single-serve portions
- The wet formula allows for easier digestion
4. When can my kitten start eating adult cat food?
Even if your kitten looks fully grown, until they’re about 12 months old, they still need all the vitamins and minerals kitten food provides. Once they’re a year old, you can switch over to adult food.
5. Can my cat drink milk?
Kittens can and should drink their mother’s milk as it contains all the vitamins and minerals their growing bodies need. However, after they have been weaned, cats shouldn’t drink milk. They don’t need it, as their food contains all the nutrients required. And some cats are in fact, lactose intolerant.
6. Is it okay to feed my cats a vegetarian diet?
Once again, the simple answer to this is no. Cats are meat eaters, and their digestive systems are unable to process plants and grain, to get all the essential nutrients. As gross as it sounds, in the wild, the only carbohydrates and non-meat proteins a cat eats, is what’s inside his prey’s stomach.
7. My cat seems a lot more finicky than other cats when it comes to eating. What’s the problem?
Unfortunately, when it comes to cats, there’s no such thing as a single problem. Cats are susceptible to external factors, and the slightest change in their routine can affect their eating habits. a
You may have moved his bowl to a new spot, or you’ve bought a new one that’s too small. It could be because his dining area is noisier than usual or there’s an unusual draft that’s bothering him. It could also be something more serious, like a medical condition. Cats can’t go without food for more than 24 hours, so if he stops eating, it’s best to get him to the vet to make sure there’s nothing serious going on.
8. Should I change my cat’s diet as he gets older?
Just like kittens have specific dietary needs, older cats do too. As they age, certain ingredients become more critical, such as antioxidants, as well as healthy fats. Others become less so, like very high levels of protein.
Also, as cats age, they move around a lot less, which means obesity can become an issue. And just as ageing humans are affected by illness and disease, so too are cats. Consult your vet to ensure your cat is eating the right food for his age, condition, and illness.
9. Are there healthy treats I can give my cat?
Although it’s not recommended to feed your cat too many treats, all of us deserve a little spoil every now and again. For a guilt-free treat, you could give him some boiled chicken, or you can find a good quality product at the pet store or from your vet.
Remember some foods are incredibly toxic to cats and should be avoided. If you’re unsure about healthy treat choices, speak to your vet.
10. Can my cat eat my dog’s food?
Your cat occasionally having some of your dog’s food isn’t a major problem and shouldn’t cause any health issues. But it’s not recommended only to feed your cat dog food. Cats are very different from dogs, and their nutritional requirements aren’t the same.
Cats, unlike dogs, are carnivores and need animal protein in their food. Dogs, on the other hand, can get nutrients from plants. Taurine, which isn’t found in dog food, is essential for cats, and a lack of it can lead to heart disease and blindness.
Hopefully, we’ve answered all your questions, and then some, with regards to the best cat food for sensitive stomach issues.
Always Ask Your Vet
We’ve hopefully answered all your questions with regards to the best cat food for sensitive stomach issues, but it’s important always to ask a professional if you’re not 100% sure. If you’ve changed your cat’s diet, but the vomiting and diarrhea persist, you need to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
Ongoing diarrhea and vomiting in kittens and older cats can be potentially life-threatening. Also, because both are symptoms and not diseases, there could be an underlying issue that needs urgent treatment.
Our Top Pick
The five foods we’ve reviewed here are all recommended and will definitely alleviate sensitive stomach issues. But if you had to ask us for our top pick, it would have to be a toss-up between Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Digest Sensitive food and Iams Proactive Healthy Digestion Dry Cat Food With Chicken And Turkey.
This is based purely on our guys absolutely loving these particular two products. And best of all we can feed the foods on their own, or mix them up a little for variety.