IBD, also known as irritable bowel disorder, is often caused by many factors in both humans and animals. If you have a pet cat that is experiencing this disorder, most experienced vets will advise you to change its diet to help reduce inflammation, as well as for the fast healing of their gut. To further help you achieve better health goals for your kitty, we have compiled a list of the best cat foods for IBD, their ingredients, and other vital information. Each product discussed is advantageous in restoring your cat's gut health, without stressing their digestive system; this is the primary reason why they're recommended for all cat lovers and owners.

At a Glance: Best Cat Food for IBD in 2021

Editor's PicksProduct NamePriceRating
Best OverallDr. Elsey's cleanprotein Chicken FormulaCheck Price on Amazon4.5
Best Freeze-DriedStella & Chewy's Yummy Lickin' Salmon & ChickenCheck Price on Chewy4.3
Best for Picky EatersZIWI Peak NZ Venison RecipeCheck Price on Amazon4.2
Best Dehydrated Cat FoodThe Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken RecipeCheck Price on Chewy3.9
Best Prescription DietHill's Prescription Diet i/d Digestive CareCheck Price on PetSmart4.1
Best Limited Ingredient DietMerrick Limited Ingredient Diet Real Turkey RecipeCheck Price on Chewy4.1
Best HypoallergenicBlue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient DietCheck Price on Amazon4.4
Best Grain-FreeInstinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real ChickenCheck Price on Amazon4.6
Best HolisticPureVita GrainFree Chicken EntreeCheck Price on Amazon4.8
Also GreatTiki Cat Hanalei Luau Wild SalmonCheck Price on PetSmart5.0
*Ratings are from Amazon, Chewy, and PetSmart at the time of publication and can change

1 Best Overall: Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Chicken Formula

Best Overall: Dr. Elsey's cleanprotein Chicken Formula
Key features:
  • Brand: Dr. Elsey’s
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Pork Protein Isolate, Gelatin, Chicken Fat
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken, Pork
  • Calories: 554 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: All

Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food is a clean protein meal, formulated with just the right amounts of protein for your feline. This is a purely animal-based meal; thus, it features non-grains and gluten. What’s more, Dr. Elsey’s meal for cats contains high amounts of Omega 3 acids, which go a long way to quicken the gut healing process.

Cats with IBD are known to exhibit loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting, as well as a myriad of symptoms. Still, Dr. Elsey’s food for cats with IBD is formulated to curb all these symptoms and encourage your pet to try out more nourishment for faster healing. Furthermore, the protein kibble from Dr. Elsey is also great for filling up your cat and helping it maintain its initial body mass. Certainly, if you want to introduce your kitty to an active lifestyle, it’s wise to start with its diet, by offering him/her this wonderful treat from Dr. Elsey.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Pork Protein Isolate, Gelatin, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate, Fructooligosaccharide, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Carbonate, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Carbonate, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide), Potassium Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Taurine, Salt, Rosemary Extract.

What others say about it:
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This food is so good. I really had no idea the carbs ect I was dumping into my cat. I thought I was buying good food. My cat is long in general but he hit 18 pounds and was labeled obese. It’s 19 days today and I can already see his belly fat is getting smaller. Worth every penny.

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2 Best Freeze-Dried: Stella & Chewy’s Yummy Lickin’ Salmon & Chicken

Best Freeze-Dried: Stella & Chewy's Yummy Lickin' Salmon & Chicken
Key features:
  • Brand: Stella & Chewy’s
  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon With Ground Bone, Chicken With Ground Bone, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed
  • Primary Proteins: Salmon, Chicken
  • Calories: 125 kcal/oz.
  • Flavor: Salmon & Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult

The next best thing since tuna for cats comes from a leading manufacturer in animal foods. This is Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried meal formulated as a dinner morsel, no matter their size or species. This food for cats with IBD features only the healthiest and yummiest ingredients, which keep your cat coming back for more. Every morsel is made up of 98% wild-caught fish and cage-free chicken, for better dietary health and an even more impressive energy level.

Stella & Chewy’s cat food aids in digestion, improvement of appetite, and the relief from allergies. What’s more, many pet owners swear by the meals that come from this brand; the most raved about is that it is freeze-dried, and also that it comes with a rich, organic taste that many cats desire. 

Ingredients:

Salmon With Ground Bone, Chicken With Ground Bone, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Fenugreek Seed, Dried Pediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Taurine, Tocopherols (Preservative), Dandelion, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

What others say about it:
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Our daughter has these for her cats so we bought our 3 cats a bag. We use it as treats and they love it

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3 Best for Picky Eaters: ZIWI Peak NZ Venison Recipe

Best for Picky Eaters: ZIWI Peak NZ Venison Recipe
Key features:
  • Brand: Ziwi
  • First 5 ingredients: Venison, Water Sufficient for Processing, Venison Tripe, Venison Liver, Chickpeas
  • Primary Proteins: Venison
  • Calories: 222 kcal/6.5-oz can
  • Flavor: Venison
  • Life Stage: All

Designed to mimic the high protein diet a cat would eat in the wild, Ziwi Peak NZ Venison Recipe cat food is high in protein provided by meat that is ethically sourced. It’s a great choice for a cat lover who cares about the environment and wants to feed their cat a natural diet that will work in harmony with their body.

This canned food has a chunky loaf style and plenty of moisture making it ideal for picky eaters. Because it contains only a single source of protein and no fillers, grains or sugars, it may be helpful in controlling gut problems and controlling weight.

Ingredients:

Venison, Water Sufficient for Processing, Venison Tripe, Venison Liver, Chickpeas, Venison Lung, Venison Heart, Venison Kidney, New Zealand Green Mussel, Venison Bone, DL-Methionine, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex), Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid).

What others say about it:
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This is the best flavor and quality I’ve found and I’ve bought numerous brands from pet stores. It’s not the cheapest but I want the best ingredients for my cats and a flavor they will consistently eat. I give them a good variety but this can is guaranteed to be eaten with none thrown away. I put out half at a time. If you take no waste into account I call it a value. If you always throw half the food out because your cat won’t eat it then that doubles the price you paid for it without the benefit that the healthy ingrdients provide. 5 stars easily.

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4 Best Dehydrated Cat Food: The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe

Best Dehydrated Cat Food: The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe
Key features:
  • Brand: The Honest Kitchen
  • First 5 ingredients: Dehydrated Chicken, Dehydrated Eggs, Dehydrated Potatoes, Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes, Organic Flaxseed
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken
  • Calories: 576 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: Adult

Cats by nature are hungry; thus, to appeal to their wilder side, Honest Kitchen has created a formula featuring real chicken. This happens to be their most excellent cat food yet, the Honest Kitchen Chicken Cat Food. Besides being packed with protein, this meal also contains high amounts of moisture, which makes them a better alternative to the canned meals in today’s market.

We trust this feline IBD food because it is processed and packaged in the USA. Nothing is imported and added from China, and all procedures are done under strict health conditions. With such quality, our editorial team is confident in this company’s foods. Experience the best effects of organic food by purchasing a pack of this chicken cat food for your best feline. 

Ingredients:

Dehydrated Chicken, Dehydrated Eggs, Dehydrated Potatoes, Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes, Organic Flaxseed, Dehydrated Pumpkin, Dehydrated Spinach, Dried Cranberries, Minerals [Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Potassium Iodide, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite], Taurine, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), D- Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement].

What others say about it:
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This product cured my cat of bad diarrhea. She was having accidents everywhere and losing weight prior to using this. We’ve been giving her this with the digestive supplement for about a month and she is so much better. No more accidents or diarrhea! What a relief for her and us.

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5 Best Prescription Diet: Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care

Best Prescription Diet: Hill's Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care
Key features:
  • Brand: Hill’s Prescription Diet
  • First 5 ingredients: Water, Pork Liver, Chicken, Rice, Potato Protein
  • Primary Proteins: Pork, Chicken
  • Calories: 161 kcal/5.5 oz can
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: All

Find the best cat food for cats with IBD in the Hill’s Prescription Diet. This is a digestive care meal that was formulated for gut relief, easy digestion, and overall well being. We took a look at the ingredients used for this cat food and came across a wide range of organic substances. Such purity ensures that your cat is safe from any dangers associated with the ingestion of canned foods. It also allows them to receive the nutrients and minerals present in meals, faster than with any other meal.

It’s also no secret that many veterinarians love Hill’s prescription cat food for inflammatory bowel disease; hence why it often gets recommended for cats suffering from IBD. Even more reassuring is the fact that Hill’s Prescription is a brand that has been in the business for pretty long. Regardless of your cat’s species and gender, their food helps to address illnesses and disorders that other diets cannot tackle efficiently. It is for this reason that this brand has won several awards from trusted scientific institutions all over the world. 

For more information on the brand, check out our Hill’s Cat Food Review.

Ingredients:

Water, Pork Liver, Chicken, Rice, Potato Protein, Chicken Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Powdered Cellulose, Dried Beet Pulp, Guar Gum, Calcium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Taurine, Dicalcium Phosphate, Iodized Salt, Fructooligosaccharides, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Choline Chloride, Psyllium Seed Husk, DL-Methionine, minerals (Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate), Magnesium Oxide, Beta-Carotene.

What others say about it:
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We are on the second bag now, and my cat has stopped throwing up. After many doctors visits, and countless diet changes, this was suggested. About 3/4 through the first bag, I noticed the improvement. She looks healthy and great, and is full of energy and joy.

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6 Best Limited Ingredient Diet: Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Real Turkey Recipe

Best Limited Ingredient Diet: Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Real Turkey Recipe
Key features:
  • Brand: Merrick
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Pea Protein, Natural Flavor
  • Primary Proteins: Turkey
  • Calories: 157 kcal/can
  • Flavor: Turkey
  • Life Stage: Adult

Our Merrick Recipe Cat Food is the real deal when searching for a meal with balanced nutrition. This cat food comes in high quantities for longer periods. This meal is produced in China, with all ingredients being sourced directly from nature. What’s more, it contains pure proteins and carbohydrates, which are also easily digestible.

Keep your cat’s diet simple with this meal option in your home, and watch as he/she enjoys it with relish. The Merrick Recipe cat IBD diet is a unique blend of nature and scientific knowledge, merged perfectly for the safety and satisfaction of every cat. The company is made up of scientists who have a soft spot for cats; thus, they do everything possible to cater to all their health needs.

Read our full brand review.

Ingredients:

Deboned Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Pea Protein, Natural Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Organic Dried Alfalfa Meal, Sodium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Taurine, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Salt, Flaxseed Oil, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Glucoheptonate, Sodium Selenite), Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate)

What others say about it:
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Both of my cats readily eat this even after it has been opened and refrigerated. One cat has GI issues and he can eat this without it causing issues.

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7 Best Hypoallergenic: Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet

Best Hypoallergenic: Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet
Key features:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • First 5 ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Potatoes, Natural Flavor
  • Primary Proteins: Turkey
  • Calories: 185 kcal/5.5 oz can
  • Flavor: Turkey & Potato
  • Life Stage: Adult

What is the best protein-packed meal one can ever offer their feline? It is the Blue Basics Adult Cat Food. It comes with many descriptions given by both veterinarians and cat lovers. This cat food is certainly a top choice concerning its ingredient choices, packaging size, and price. It comes in a pack of 24 cans, with each can weigh 3 oz. And even better is the fact that the Blue Basics cat food features no gluten or grains.

It is a limited ingredient meal formulated as a pate style for easy digestion. Besides its smooth texture, this meal encourages natural health and smooth digestion with its complex carbohydrates. Overall, the Blue Basics food for cats with IBD is recommended for every cat experiencing the symptoms of IBD such as vomiting, bloody stools, etc.

You may also like our guide on Blue Buffalo Cat Food.

Ingredients:

Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Potatoes, Natural Flavor, Carrots, Peas, Fish Oil (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Cellulose Powder, Cranberries, Blueberries, Pumpkin, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Choline Chloride, Sunflower Oil (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9).

What others say about it:
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99% of vomiting STOPPED. No exaggeration. I have three cats and the amount of random puking and fur balls has practically ceased to exist. (I’m knocking on wood) They’ve been on this food for about six months and after I month I realized I hadn’t cleaned up cat barf for awhile… sure enough, it’s the food. The very few times I’ve cheated and bought them a few cans of something else… you know the sound…it can wake anyone from a dead sleep. So, I’ll stick to this.

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8 Best Grain-Free: Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken

Best Grain-Free: Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken
Key features:
  • Brand: Instinct
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken, Turkey & Peas
  • Calories: 496 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: All

The Instinct brand started in Lincoln, Nebraska, and they have gradually made a name for themselves in today’s cat food industry. The brand has a lot of animal food options under their name, causing them to maintain their fame across the globe. They have launched their latest food, the Instinct Raw Boost Recipe. This natural cat food was prepared by seasoned scientists with guidance from both veterinarians and cat enthusiasts and has been produced without soy, wheat, grains, and other artificial elements to avoid any allergic reactions from your feline.

 

We love that the Instinct Raw IBD in cats best food is freeze-dried because this provides your cat with all the needed nutrients in their right amounts. Hence why it is best to invest in this cat food that can be eaten over a more extended period, as it helps save you some money. Overall, the Instinct Cat Food is one such food; the ideal solution for all economic cat owners. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe is one of 5 recipes included in our review of Nature’s Variety Instinct Cat Food.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Tapioca, Freeze Dried Chicken, Natural Flavor, Freeze Dried Chicken Liver, Dried Tomato Pomace, Pumpkinseeds, Freeze Dried Chicken Heart, Montmorillonite Clay, Carrots, Apples, Cranberries, Choline Chloride, Salt, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Taurine, Dried Kelp, Salmon Oil, Blueberries, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.

What others say about it:
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They liked it so much, they couldn’t even wait to get into it. They ripped up the bag. I think it’s safe to say, they like it. But we have a whole container to finish first.

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9 Best Holistic: PureVita GrainFree Chicken Entree

Best Holistic: PureVita GrainFree Chicken Entree
Key features:
  • Brand: PureVita
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Pea Flour, Chicken Fat
  • Primary Proteins: Chicken, Peas
  • Calories: 451 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken and Pea
  • Life Stage: All

The last best cat food for IBD on our recommendation list is one amazing act of food that has stood its ground over the years in quality and efficiency. Meet the PureVita Cat Food is a grain-free and dry food that is produced by the PureVita Brand. They specialize in the distribution of high-quality cat food that fills up your feline, aids in their digestion, and also offers them nutritional values for overall physical and emotional wellbeing.

There’s no better meal plan than one with the Pure Vita check cat food. It contains some critical phyto content that supports the development of your feline at every stage. If you ever need healthy food options for your pet, think PureVita. PureVita GrainFree Chicken Entree is one of 4 dry cat food recipes mentioned in our Pure Vita Cat Food Review.

Ingredients:

Chicken, chicken meal, peas, pea flour, chicken fat (preserved with tocopherols and citric acid), natural flavors, dried egg product, pea fiber, flax seeds, yeast extract, brewers dried yeast, phosphoric acid, pea starch, dried tomato pomace, salt, DL methionine, potassium chloride, dried carrots, sunflower oil, minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate), dried cranberries, dried apricots, dried cherries, taurine, turmeric, dried chicory root, vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid,  biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), choline chloride, lactic acid, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of  vitamin C), inositol, yucca schidigera extract, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, rosemary extract, yeast culture, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract.

What others say about it:
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My cat refuses to eat anything else other than this, when I’ve attempted to change up his food (and thrown away the empty bag) and my car straight up goes and gets it out of the garbage, and protests around the house screaming and dragging the bag around. So I assume the taste and satisfaction are a 10/10 or maybe there’s just something wrong with my cat, not sure. Any ways! I recommend the product.

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10 Also Great: Tiki Cat Hanalei Luau Wild Salmon

Also Great: Tiki Cat Hanalei Luau Wild Salmon
Key features:
  • Brand: Tiki Cat
  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Taurine
  • Primary Proteins: Salmon
  • Calories: 125 kcal/6 oz can
  • Flavor: Salmon
  • Life Stage: Adult

Tiki is a well-known brand in the world of cats. They’re famous among cat owners because they are made with love for cats. Every morsel of this food for cats with IBD is sourced from nature, and as such, there are no additives, artificial flavors or colors, and no preservatives. Your feline will love the taste of this fantastic cat food; the second it takes a single bite.

Tiki started with a group of cat lovers, who wish to improve the general health of felines all over the world. They began by researching the various causes of IBD, and with the help of science, found diet alternatives that can help curb all symptoms and aid in fast healing. Their Tiki Pet Food is the end product of such dedication and can be purchased in all animal stores, at an affordable rate.

Read here our detailed review of Tiki Cat – Cat Food.

Ingredients:

Salmon, Salmon Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Iodate, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin K3 Supplement.

What others say about it:
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I purchased this for the grain free choice. I wanted to see if it helped my cat’s intestinal problems. I can’t say it’s helped yet. I can say she does love the food.

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Best Cat Food for IBD Buying Guide

What is IBD in Cats?

Feline inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a condition caused by a cat’s digestive system becoming chronically irritated and inflamed. In cats with IBD, special cells have entered the lining of the digestive system making them thicker. As a result, it is more difficult for the cat’s GI tract to both digest food and absorbs essential nutrients.

Inflammatory bowel disease is more common in middle-aged and older cats but it can occur at any age. The exact cause is not well understood but it is thought to be a combination of factors involving the cat’s immune system, a loss of healthy gut flora, diet, and some other environmental factors. It can take different forms depending on what part of the gut is involved.

What is the Cause of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Cats?

The cause of IBD in cats isn’t known scientifically, mainly because all cases that are recognized are idiopathic or unknown. Some scientists claim that the idiopathic cases of IBD are caused by a shift in the relationship between the GI immune system and the natural microbiota. When this happens, the gut starts to fight with itself, often leading to the presence of inflammatory cells in your cat’s intestine.

The presence of inflammatory cells in the gut makes it difficult for the intestinal lining to do its job efficiently. The result is that the digestion and absorption of nutrients by the intestines become extremely tough and may take a longer time than usual.

Wet cat food in a bowl

Symptoms of Feline IBD

Some prevalent symptoms that allow you to identify IBD in cats include:

Chronic Vomiting & Diarrhea

This often occurs when the intestinal lining gets leaky thanks to the occurrence of severe damage. The leak causes the coating to have a hard time doing its job, thus diarrhea and vomiting are experienced.

Bloody Stools

Luminal damage in the digestive tract of your feline could occur, and this might lead to blood moving into your cat’s stool.

Weight Loss

Cats tend to lose weight when dehydrated, and this happens when their systems don’t retain the water they consume. The inability to retain water is a result of holes in their intestinal system.

Loss of Appetite

This symptom stems mostly from the vomiting discussed earlier. Cats get apprehensive about food and tend to neglect it during such periods.

What is the Difference Between IBS and IBD in Cats?

Cats can also suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) but it is not the same thing as Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Many cats suffer from periodic issues with their intestines. It is not something that affects them every day. In a similar pattern to IBS in humans, the muscles around the colon contract which causes pain and changes to the stool (poop). It can be triggered by stress, medication, or by eating something that does not agree with them.

IBD symptoms are different and more severe. There is constant inflammation of the gut and it is very debilitating. Weight loss can be very severe.

How do you Prevent IBD in Cats?

Because the causes of IBD are not completely understood and because the causes in each cat are likely to be different, there is no single thing that you can do to prevent your cat from developing Inflammatory Bowel Disease. However, because the cause is most probably a combination of gut flora problems, diet, and immunity, it makes sense to do all you can to support these three factors.

You can support a healthy gut flora by choosing a cat food that has the right ratio of animal protein to carbohydrates. This will help to maintain the friendly bacteria in your cat’s gut. Cat foods containing probiotics and prebiotics may also be helpful in boosting the immune system.

How Can I Help My Cat with IBD?

The most important thing that an owner can do for cats with IBD is know how to spot the symptoms and get to a vet quickly. If you notice that your cat has chronic vomiting or diarrhea, bloody stools, weight loss, and a loss of appetite, do not just dismiss it as a sensitive stomach or food sensitivities – get it checked out.

Unfortunately, this disease can cause a lot of damage to your cat’s body, and the earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis will be.

Following diagnosis, cats with IBD may need to take medication and you can help by ensuring that it is taken regularly and that you report any side effects or changes in your cat’s IBD symptoms to your vet. You may also be advised to change your cat’s food and your vet may give you advice on the best cat food for IBD.

What to Look for in a Cat Food for IBD

All cat foods should mimic a cat’s natural diet. In this section of the article, we’re looking at the full range of products on sale and how best we can filter the top quality and highly effective ones from all others.

Nutritional Value

The first thing is the nutritional value being offered to your feline. The cat food you choose needs to be species-appropriate, such that it meets all your cat’s dietary demands. Cats require high amounts of protein but fewer carbohydrates. Plant-based foods don’t fill up cats as much as protein-based products do; thus, you need to be mindful when selecting the meal.

Inflammation

Another thing that is vital to the selection of your cat’s meal is inflammation. Some ingredients support inflammation, and this can be dangerous for your feline. Some elements that cause inflammation include lactose, carrageenan, artificial flavors, and colors, as well as preservatives such as TBHQ.

Moisture

Moisture is essential in foods for cats with IBD because they help combat dehydration in your cat’s digestive system. This is a common symptom amongst cats with IBD. As much as possible, choose freshly-cooked, canned, raw, or dehydrated meals over dried kibble.

You may also like our reviews of the Moist & Semi-Moist Cat Food and Hypoallergenic Cat Food.

Limited ingredients

Avoid all allergenic ingredients, since food allergies play a massive part in IBD. Some allergens include pork, chicken, beef, dairy, and eggs. Opt for a novel protein instead, like turkey, lamb, rabbit, etc.

Take a look at our article on the Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food.

Is Dry or Wet Food Better for Cats with IBD?

Some cats with IBD are treated with a prescription diet. A diet designed for cats with food allergies may be helpful and this could be a novel protein diet or a hydrolyzed diet. Grain-free cat foods and raw diets may also be helpful. So, which is the best cat food for IBD? Should you choose the best wet cat food for this condition or natural dry cat food?

Overall, a cat with Inflammatory Bowel Disease needs food that is easy to digest. Dry food is generally considered as harder to digest than canned food because dehydrated food is more challenging for the gut due to the lack of moisture. It would be best to choose the best wet cat food that has a novel protein, is low in carbohydrates, and has no additives.

How Can Cat IBD Diet Help?

The IBD diet isn’t designed to cure IBD; it’s only formulated to help control its effects and symptoms. IBD diets are meal plans carefully constructed by scientists and veterinarians to avoid any adverse effects. They are formulated, keeping in mind that your cat’s digestive system needs some time to heal. Cat foods for IBD are known to aid in the reduction of gastrointestinal system inflammation, allergies, and gut diseases. This helps the occurrence of IBD or better yet control it once it’s experienced.

Cat eating fodd from a bowl

Should You Feed Your Kitty a Prescription Cat Food for IBD?

Prescription foods for cats with IBD are those meals that usually omit the common inflammation ingredients. This doesn’t offer your cat’s digestive tract a faster healing process. Prescription foods are high, but when it involves cats with IBD, owners need to be mindful. When feeding cats with prescription meals, every cat owner needs to ensure that their pet still receives the much-needed protein from meats. Prescription diets such as Hill’s prescription cat food is a great product to introduce to your cat because it contains the right amounts of nutrients and minerals, needed for both healing and growth.

Our Top Pick – Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Chicken Formula

The best choice product in this article comes from Dr. Elsey’s company, a leading manufacturer of animal foods. Since their inception, they have given cat owners some of the best diet options meant to satisfy and heal their cats simultaneously. The perfect balance between these two things is what makes Dr. Elsey the very best. They formulated the best protein-packed cat food, made with easily digestible ingredients for the enjoyment of your feline. With high amounts of omega-three acids as well as other nutrients, you can be confident that your cat is gaining all the required nutritional balance needed for optimal growth.

Sources:

  1. Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
  2. Cathy Meeks, MS, DVM, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment, PetMD
  3. Lisa Gorman, DVM, Chronic Gastrointestinal Disease in Cats, The MSPCA–Angell

FAQs

Pumpkins contain soluble fiber. This can be highly beneficial for cats with digestive issues. However, always talk to your vet first. If you do serve pumpkin to your cat, make sure that it is plain, canned pumpkin. Never give them the stem, skin or pulp and only feed it in moderation.

IBD can often be controlled once a successful medication regimen has been established. If this is the case, your cat should reach the expected lifespan for their breed. However, some cases of IBD cannot be controlled or occur with intestinal cancer and this disease has a poorer prognosis.

Obviously, cats with IBD cannot tell you that they are in pain. However, considering the mechanism that causes the disease and the symptoms, it is not unreasonable to assume that your cat is experiencing some discomfort. Even if they are not in constant pain, vomiting, lethargy and diarrhea are not pleasant symptoms to have to put up with!

One approach to treating IBD is to choose a food with a different protein. Tuna may seem like a good option as it is full of moisture. However, fish allergies are common in cats and so it may not be the best option.

If your cat is undergoing a diet trial, you should not give them anything apart from their prescribed food so you cannot give them tuna.

Yes, probiotics can be very useful for cats with IBD. They reseed the gut with beneficial bacteria and that improves digestion and boosts the immune system. Use a probiotic that is specifically designed for cats rather that using a human product. Human intestines are not the same as cat intestines!

For cats, the Bifidobacterium and Enterococcus families are the best options. Bifidobacterium tend to colonise the small intestine and Enterococcus lives in the cat’s large intestine.

There are positive and negative effects of feeding a raw food diet to a cat with IBD. Raw food diets are claimed to mimic the foods that a cat would eat in the wild. They eliminate many components of commercial cat food that your kitty simply does not need such as guar gum, sorbic acid and wheat.

However, these diets make it very hard to make sure that your cat is receiving all of the nutrients that they need. A completely balanced raw diet is difficult to obtain. Therefore, you should never start your cat on a raw food diet without first discussing it with your vet.

As the treatment for your cat’s IBD starts to work, your cat’s gut will begin to recover. They will absorb more nutrients and will start to put weight back on. Work with your vet to find a food that your cat finds palatable and that is suitable for their IBD.

If you are struggling to get your cat to eat, a feeding routine may help. Small and frequent meals are usually tolerated better than infrequent large meals. Cats prefer food that is close to their body temperature so try heating it in a microwave to 101.5 degrees F. Cats are solitary hunters and do not like people fussing over them when they are eating. Try placing their food bowl in a quiet part of the house where they will not be disturbed.

The exact relationship between IBD and lymphoma in cats is not completely understood. The two diseases can have very similar symptoms and it can be difficult to make a differential diagnosis without extensive tests.

It may be the case that chronic inflammation caused by IBD increases the risk of lymphoma and this is another reason why you should seek prompt treatment.

Some research has indicated that CBD can reduce inflammation in intestines in laboratory animals. However, there have been very few studies on its effectiveness in cats. There are anecdotal reports from pet owners that CBD has helped their cats. If you want to try out CBD, always talk it over with your vet first.

Cooked eggs are safe for cats to eat and are a useful source of protein. However, they may not be part of the prescribed diet that your vet is using to treat your cat’s IBD and some cats are allergic to eggs. You may be advised to feed your cat only the egg whites and not the yolks. Raw egg can be a source of harmful bacteria and is best avoided for some cats.

Sharon Parry

Sharon is a Ph.D. scientist and experienced pet content writer. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a Cockapoo puppy. She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and turning it into easy-to-understand articles that offer practical tips. When it comes to our furry friends, she knows that there is always something new to learn!

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