Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs (A Guide and Review)
Cats can develop sensitive stomachs for many reasons, but reactions to ingredients in cat food is the most common. Usually just changing your cat’s diet and removing the ingredient that is causing the stomach issue can improve your cat’s health immediately.
Serious health problems may also cause stomach issues, and it is important to rule them out.
Cats with sensitive stomachs can benefit from cat foods designed specifically for this problem. Keep reading to understand what the best foods for cats with sensitive stomachs are, symptoms of, what to avoid, and what maybe causing the issues.
Quick Links: Our Picks for The Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs
- Best Delivery Service – NomNomNow Fresh Cat Food
- Best Grain Free Food – Go! Sensitivity + Shine Grain-Free Duck Pate Recipe
- Best Organic Food – Newman’s Own Organics Turkey & Liver Dinner Cat Food
- Best Budget Food – Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach Cat Food
- Best Dry Food – Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Dry Cat Food
Symptoms of a Sensitive Stomach
There are several symptoms to help you determine whether or not your cat may have food sensitivities. If you notice something unusual about your cats eating habits and you have changed food recently, it may be a sensitivity.
Symptoms of a sensitive stomach in a cat can include licking the lips as a sign of nausea, refusing to eat and vomiting. Diarrhea can also occur if the problem affects the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract.
Here is a list of the most common symptoms to look for if you believe your cat is suffering from a sensitive stomach:
- Appetite changes
- Bloating or gas
- Weight loss
- Dull or dry coat
- Vomiting or regurgitation
- Increased or decreased thirst
Why Cats Suffer from Sensitive Stomachs
Several things can cause your cat to suffer from a sensitive stomach, so a little investigation will help you determine what is causing the most trouble. This may take a little trial and error on your part.
Some of the most common reasons for sensitive stomachs in cats include:
1. Your cat is eating too quickly
Dry food expands when it reaches the stomach contents. Therefore, if your cat eats too fast or eats too much, the food will expand in the stomach and it could make them nauseous.
2. Your cat is allergic to something in his food
Food allergies usually cause sneezing, itching, vomiting and diarrhea, but they can also cause digestive upset. An elimination trial diet is then needed. This means removing common allergens from your cats diet until the issues are resolved, and then reintroducing them individually while monitoring his reaction.
3. Your cat has an obstruction
Your cat may have an obstruction in his digestive tract, and wet food might be able to pass around it, while dry food might not. This can be a life-threatening situation and you should seek help from your veterinarian.
4. Your cat is stressed
Stress can also cause stomach issues for your cat. Make sure your cat has a safe and private area to eat his meals and other animals are not nearby.
5. You are switching your cats food too frequently
By changing your cats food often, you maybe throwing off the healthy bacteria in his stomach. When introducing new foods, it is important to add the new food to the old food and slowly increase while watching for any reactions.
6. Your cat has intestinal parasites
Parasites are common in cats and more so in kittens. They can affect the GI tract causing vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, dehydration and weight loss. It is important to have your cat seen by a veterinarian to treat parasites.
7. Your cat is suffering from other medical conditions
Your cat may have an underlying illness, such as gastrointestinal cancer, kidney disease or hyperthyroidism that is causing his sensitive stomach. Your veterinarian would need to determine the cause.
What to Look for in Food for Cats with Sensitive Stomachs
There are certain foods that some cats have a hard time digesting. This might be due to a certain ingredient in the food, the quality of those ingredients, or how the food is processed. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, vomiting, and diarrhea are common in cats with food sensitivities. Look for foods that have the following:
- Meat as the first ingredient
- Little to no filler ingredients
- No color additives
- High in protein
- Low in carbohydrates
- Novel protein for meat allergies (venison, duck, kangaroo, and rabbit)
Consider adding the help of probiotics for cats, which is good bacteria that populates the cat’s GI tract as well as being good for gut health. Basically when good bacteria thrive, the bad bacteria is forced out. Consider Purina’s FortiFlora and Nutramax’s Proviable probiotic supplements.
5 Best Foods for Cats with Sensitive Stomachs
Ingredients to Avoid in Cat Foods
If your cat is showing signs of a sensitive stomach, make sure his diet doesn’t include these common ingredients, which have been known to cause tummy problems.
While beef maybe a popular protein in cat food, it can upset some cats stomachs. Consider an alternate meat source like turkey, chicken or duck.
Inexpensive cat food brands often add artificial food coloring to their products, which serves no purpose other than to appeal to humans who buy it.
This is a top allergen for cats and used as a filler in cat foods.
Cornmeal is another fillers in cat foods that should be avoided. Many cats have bad reactions to all forms of corn.
Cats can be lactose intolerant. This would include anything from milk to cheese, and milk powder added in cat foods.
By-products are another food filler usually found in inexpensive foods. This comes from excess organs, tissues and fats from cows, chickens, and other animals. These proteins can be hard for your cat to digest.
Food preservatives are used to increase the shelf life of foods. Artificial preservatives found in cat foods such as BHA and BHT may be carcinogens and cancer causing.
Seafood, like beef, is another popular protein that cats can be allergic to.
Like humans, some cats suffer from sensitive stomachs. Although it is rarely a deadly problem, your cat may be miserable at meal time. It is important to have your cat checked by a veterinarian to determine if they are suffering from sensitive stomach, or some other health condition.
Amy is the founder of Cat Mania and a life long cat lover. She also writes for various other pet related websites. She is passionate about helping pet parents create a healthy and happy lifestyle for their fur-babies.