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Sweet cat with a sensitive stomach needs specific cat food
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You always want what’s best for your cat. And all this time, you’ve been feeding her what you thought was the best cat food ever. Well, not all cat meals are created equal. 

And while some formulas—from dry to wet—boast many health benefits, some cats need food that is gentler on their stomachs. Some cats experience digestive issues, causing them to become ill after each feeding. 

So, how can you navigate your cat’s tummy troubles? By choosing a sensitive stomach cat food that fits her nutritional needs and lifestyle. Read on for some expert advice and product recommendations to help your beloved pet.  

Does Your Cat Need Sensitive Stomach Cat Food?

Cat looking to camera in kitchen, needs sensitive stomach cat food

While it’s common for cats to cough up hairballs, if your fur baby is vomiting after meals or suffers from diarrhea consistently, you may want to try switching up her cat food to see if things improve. Your cat may have a sensitive digestion system and require a special diet. 

“Signs that your cat may need a sensitive stomach diet, for the most part, may begin to manifest as inappetence (or lack of appetite), regurgitation, vomit, diarrhea, constipation or hair balls,” says Dr. Brian Bourquin, founder and chief medical officer of Boston Veterinary Clinic.

Bourquin also notes that cats that have consistent hairball issues usually have underlying gastrointestinal issues or food allergies. 

“Any repeatable issues can be concerning, and you should seek your veterinarian’s opinion immediately,” he says. “They can then best assess and help you decide a remedy for your cat such as a different over-the-counter food, or a restricted diet, or if your feline needs further testing.”

Reasons Your Cat Might Need a Sensitive Stomach Cat Food

Cat rolled onto belly, cat who needs sensitive stomach cat food

There are many different reasons your cat may need food formulated for sensitive stomachs. 

These include:

  • Allergies 
  • Parasites
  • Low-quality food with artificial additives, fillers and preservatives (which cause gastrointestinal problems)
  • A sudden change in food (if you swap formulas, do it gradually)
  • An unbalanced diet (too much or too little of nutrients)

“A cat may require sensitive stomach cat food, or a restricted diet, if they are experiencing food allergies, specific food sensitivities, or other issues due to underlying gastrointestinal (GI) issues,” says Bourquin. “These can first manifest as hairballs, vomit, or loose stool.”

Sensitive Stomach Cat Food: Key Benefits

Kitten sitting in owner lap, needs sensitive stomach cat food

According to Bourquin, when choosing cat food for a sensitive stomach, you should look for ones with easily digestible ingredients, probiotics, or other digestive enhancers. But he cautions against making a switch without talking to your veterinarian.

“Before putting your cat on any type of restrictive diet or giving them any sensitive stomach food, you should always seek your veterinarian’s opinion on the matter.”

Cat foods formulated for sensitive stomachs provide the following benefits:

  • Made with easily-digestible ingredients
  • May help maintain a cat’s weight
  • Provides balanced nutrition
  • Reduces stool odors 
  • Minimizes or prevents vomiting and diarrhea 
  •  Acts as a great source of protein

9 Best Sensitive Stomach Cat Foods

Cat eating from bowl, has a need for sensitive stomach cat food

Once your vet has assessed your cat’s needs and you both have decided on the need for a sensitive stomach cat food, consider the following options:

All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Best Overall Sensitive Stomach Cat Food 

Our Pick: Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Natural Adult Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food

A trusted brand, Blue Buffalo delivers a sensitive stomach food that packs a healthy punch with mixed grains (like oatmeal and brown rice), vegetables and fruits, and real chicken. Providing a balanced diet, this option offers the right vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will not only aid in digestion, but will help a cat’s immunity. 

Highlights

  • Made of real chicken
  • Has prebiotics and probiotics
  • Has Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids 

Things to Consider

  • Bag does not reseal, so you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t go stale by using your own sealed container. 

Best Wet Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs

Our Pick: Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Digest Sensitive Loaf in Sauce Canned Cat Food

Royal Canin Feline Care Nutrition Digest Sensitive Loaf in Sauce Canned Cat Food

Specifically formulated to give cats digestive support, this sensitive stomach formula promotes health through its blend of vitamins and minerals. When my cat was vomiting consistently, our vet recommended this product to us and it worked really well. 

Highlights

  • Good for cats of different ages (over 1 year)
  • High in protein

Things to Consider

Best Dry Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs

Our Pick: Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food

We love this option because it has very few ingredients (including easily digestible chickpeas), which effectively reduces a cat’s risk of having issues. The brand also says they make this variety in small batches, ensuring quality. It’s a good pick if you’re searching for a grain-free option for your cat’s sensitive stomach.

Highlights

  • Ingredients are harvested by local ranchers and farmers
  • Has no meat by-products 
  • Uses no artificial preservatives 

Things to Consider

  • Some reviewers say they had issues introducing this to their cats, so take it slow 

Best Raw Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs

Our Pick: Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Duck Cat Food

Smalls FREEZE-DRIED Raw Water Bird

Though not specifically formulated for cats with digestion issues, this raw option is a great pick for cats who might be sensitive to other protein sources like chicken or beef. Duck is a novel protein that may be easier to digest for some felines. And we love that Smalls removed the mess of serving raw food by freeze drying high-protein morsels. This is a great raw option for cats transitioning from a dry kibble. 

Highlights

  • All the benefits of a high-protein, raw diet without the mess
  • Has no added antibiotics, steroids or artificial hormones
  • Duck is a novel protein and may benefit cats with food allergies
  • Also available in Chicken and Turkey 

Things to Consider

  • It’s a higher price point than other cat foods on this list.

Best Cat Food for Diarrhea

Our Pick: Grandma Lucy’s Anti-Diarrhea Freeze-Dried Cat Meal Replacement

Grandma Lucy's Simple Replacement Anti-Diarrhea Freeze-Dried Dog & Cat Meal Replacement

If your cat is experiencing bouts of diarrhea, switching temporarily to a bland diet is useful. But constantly cooking chicken and rice at home can be a bit of a pain. That’s why we love this option from Grandma Lucy’s. It’s freeze-dried, so you can keep it in your cupboard until you need it. All you have to do to prepare this meal is add boiling water. It’s a great short-term meal replacement for cats with diarrhea.

Highlights

  • Makes serving a bland diet simple
  • Very easy to prepare
  • The only ingredients are freeze-dried chicken and white rice

Things to Consider

  • Not meant as a long-term solution or diet
  • It’s more expensive than making chicken and rice at home

Best Cat Food for Cats That Throw Up

Our Pick: Iams Proactive Health Sensitive Digestion & Skin Dry Cat Food

Iams Proactive Health Sensitive Digestion & Skin Turkey Dry Cat Food

We love this Iams sensitive cat food option for cats who particularly have vomit issues because it is made up of 33 percent protein, and a special blend of fiber and prebiotics to increase good bacteria in the tummy.

Highlights

  • Also helps regulate amount of water in intestines 
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids will support skin and coat
  • Not too pricey

Things to Consider

  • Contains several corn ingredients (which digests fine, but cats may still free hungry) 

Best Kitten Food for Sensitive Stomachs

Our Pick: Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain Free Natural Kitten Pate Wet Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Indoor Kitten Turkey & Potato Entree Canned Cat Food

Containing limited ingredients, which is a plus if your kitten has a sensitive stomach, this pick also contains omega-3 fats to aid in cat development. Formulated to promote gentle digestion as your furry friend gets used to wet food, this variety doesn’t contain chicken, beef, dairy, eggs, grain, gluten, by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives—some of which are allergy culprits.

Highlights

  • Less ingredients than most cat food
  • Contains single animal protein (real turkey)
  • Includes vitamins and minerals, like DHA (which promotes brain development)

Things to Consider

  • Comes in only a pate version, so hopefully your kitten likes the texture

Best Senior Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs

Our Pick: Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food

Hill's Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food

Developed by nutritionists and veterinarians, this prescription diet cat food supports the digestive health of senior cats in a great way. This product also aims to improve stool quality with its specific formula of nutrients, protein, fat, and fiber. 

Highlights

  • Also helps reduce the risk of urinary issues 
  • Can also control cell oxidation with its antioxidants

Things to Consider

  • Buying this product requires veterinary authorization 

Best Budget Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs

Our Pick: Purina ONE Natural Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula Dry Cat Food

Purina ONE Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Cat Food

For the best value, Purina ONE Natural Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula Dry Cat Food aims to nourish adult cats with its high-protein formula made of turkey and other quality ingredients.

Highlights

  • Each one cup serving has 36 grams of protein
  • Includes antioxidants and omega fatty acids
  • Crunchy kibble will also help prevent plaque buildup, keeping teeth and gums clean

Things to Consider

  • This formula was recently changed and some long-time buyers claim their cats are not fans