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Last updated: 02 Sep 2019

The Best Hypoallergenic Cat Food (Review) in 2019

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Cat Food

Royal Canin Feline Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed Protein

Royal Canin Feline Hypoallergenic Protein

Hill's Prescription Diet Hypoallergenic Feline Treats

Hill's Prescription Diet Hypoallergenic Feline Treats

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Angela Westfall
Published 14:15 pm

Just like their owners, cats can be prone to a variety of food allergies. Some common allergies include corn, dairy, and – unfortunately for your feline friend – seafood! Luckily, since allergies like these are so common, experts from a holst of pet food manufacturers have put their minds to creating foods that will keep your friend healthy and full, without upsetting their stomach: these are hypoallergenic cat foods. We’ve searched for the best cat food for allergies out there, and have compiled this list of what we believe are the best on the market right now.

We’ve also addressed some of the most common questions about hypoallergenic food, to keep you in the know about your cat’s health. We hope this list will help you find the right option for you.

The Best Hypoallergenic Cat Food

1

Blue Wilderness offer a hypoallergenic food that’s healthy, natural and tasty. Their dry blend contains no soy, corn, or gluten, and also avoids artificial preservatives.

The recipe instead blends sweet potato with real meat, alongside carefully crafted kibbles containing antioxidants and a blend of vital vitamins and minerals, called LifeSource Bites. Inspired by the natural diet of the lynx, the blend emulates what your cat would eat in the wild. This means it’s easy to digest, and keeps them in tip top condition. Cats love the flavor too! Best of all, Blue Wilderness is a family company, and, having owned pets themselves, always put the animal’s best interest at heart.

Free from gluten

Free from corn

Free from soy

Free from meat by-products; contains real meat only

Rich in antioxidants

Contains patented LifeSource Bites, which provide vital vitamins and minerals

Specification:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • Model: 800191
  • Weight: 12 pounds

2

Hill’s Science Diet certainly lives up to its name – the science of nutrition has been carefully attended to in this gentle-on-the-stomach formula.

Perfect for cats with sensitives stomachs or food allergies, the formula offers complete nutrition that’s also easy to digest. You’ll be able to see the results too, since Hill’s Science Diet also promotes healthy skin and coat with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins C and E. Since they’ve been formulating cat food since 1939, decades of experience have gone into Hill’s blend, as well as the expertise of over 220 veterinary professionals.

Made in the USA without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, this food is a delicious option for cats with certain allergies.

Rice and egg-based formula

Contains corn

Free from artificial flavors, colors and preservatives

Easy to digest – great for cats with sensitive stomachs

Rich in omega-3, and vitamins A and E to promote healthy skin and coat

Specification:
  • Brand: Hill’s Science Diet
  • Model: 8878
  • Weight: 15.5 pounds

3

This hypoallergenic food combines green peas and salmon for a healthy, protein rich alternative to traditional cat food. It’s completely grain free – perfect for felines with corn or wheat allergies – and contains an expert blend of high-quality protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins vital to your cat’s body.

Designed to assist digestion, without compromising on nutrition, the formula also keeps your cat’s skin and coat in tip top condition. This is really important since the skin is the first line of defense against allergens. The low-fiber formula is a great option for cats with digestive issues, helping them to get more comfortable. Finally, the quality of this blend is guaranteed by no fewer than nine safety tests before it reaches your pet’s bowl.

Free from grains

Free from soy

Free from meat and meat-derived products

Contains peas and salmon

Formulated for easy digestion

Limited ingredient approach makes it suitable for a wide variety of allergies

Promotes healthy skin and coat

No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives

Specification:
  • Brand: Natural Balance
  • Model: 2363352118
  • Weight: 0.16 ounces

4

Halo’s holistic formula is a great alternative diet for cats with certain allergies. Free from soy, wheat, and processed meat products, this food takes a natural approach to keeping your pet healthy and happy.

Halo care deeply about the quality of the ingredients which go into their foods. Each flavor is formulated from whole meats, from ethical sources which avoid factor farming, antibiotics, and GMO products. All the vitamins in each bag are obtained from fruits and vegetables, and the blend avoids artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

If you’re looking for a food that’s easy to digest, and produced as naturally and ethically as possible, Halo’s blend could be the right choice for you.

Free from wheat

Free from soy

Free from seafood

Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

Only whole meats used

Contains barley

Ethically-sourced meats; not factory farmed animals

Especially easy-to-digest formula

Specification:
  • Brand: Halo
  • Model: 35022
  • Weight: 6 pounds

5

Because it’s available in a wide variety of flavors, it’s easy to tailor Instinct’s grain-free food to your cat’s allergies and preferences. The formula contains flaxseeds, peas, and carrots instead of grain-based carbohydrates, ensuring your cat stays energized without digestive discomfort.

Flavors available include salmon, chicken, and duck, each of which is optimized for feline health. Whole meats comprise the bulk of the food, alongside a mix of fruits and vegetables, hand-picked to provide all the nutrients that cats need to stay healthy.

For cats with allergies who turn their nose up at dry food, this is a great alternative.

Free from grains

Free from soy

Free from artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

Variety of flavors available, allowing you to avoid certain meats if need be

High-protein

Provides carbohydrates from peas and other vegetables

Specification:
  • Brand: Instinct
  • Model: 769949705925
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds

6

With their healthy, natural formulas, Blue’s cat food has earned themselves a second spot on our list.

This blend is not only grain-free, but also strictly limits its ingredients, allowing you to avoid any potential allergens easily. The food combines whitefish with pumpkin and pea, as well as healthy omega-3 oils to promote healthy skin and coat. It also contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals – including vitamin C – to support the healthy functioning of your cat’s body. Like Blue’s other foods, this nutrient blend is contained in tasty LifeSource Bites – kibbles that your cat will enjoy.

Free from grains

Free from dairy

Free from eggs

Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

Single protein source

Easy to digest

Contains pumpkin and pea as a carbohydrate source

Complete nutrition provided with the support of LifeSource Bites

Specification:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • Model: 800111
  • Weight: 1 pounds

7

Much like Blue, Hill’s have earned themselves an additional spot on our list – and for good reason. Their hypoallergenic treats contain hydrolyzed proteins. These are proteins which have been broken partially broken down into their constituent amino acids, making them easier for sensitive stomachs to digest.

As well as being a delicious snack for your feline friend, each treat contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, to help keep their skin and coat in the best possible condition. They also contain anti-oxidants, which are also great for supporting healthy skin.

Just because your cat as a food allergy doesn’t mean they need to go without treats – Hills know that owners want to pamper their pets no matter what, and developed these snacks with that in mind.

Treats suitable for cats with food allergies or sensitive stomachs

Hydrolyzed proteins are easier to digest

Crunchy treats

Cats love the taste

A better option than standard treats for cats with food sensitivities

Specification:
  • Brand: ill’s Pet Nutrition
  • Model: HLL-397
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces

8

And the second canned food on our list is this tasty offering from I and Love and You. Their All Natural formula blends whole meats with fruit and vegetables for a nutritious, but easily digestible food.

Their grain-free and protein rich formula is a great alternative to standard cat food for pets with allergies and sensitivities. Meat is always the main ingredient, along with real vegetables including sweet potato and carrot. It’s also free from carrageenan – a seaweed derived thickening ingredient which can upset more sensitive stomachs.

Like many of the foods on this list, I and Love and You’s formula is also optimized to keep your cat’s skin and coat as healthy as possible.

Free from grains, including rice

Free from soy

Free from artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors

Rich in protein

Made with real vegetables

Sweet potato provides healthy, easy-to-digest carbohydrates

Specification:
  • Brand: I and love and you
  • Model: F11060
  • Weight: 5 pounds

9

Unlike other hypoallergenic cat foods, Royal Canin provides a formula which contains hydrolyzed protein, making easier to digest than other high-protein cat foods. The hydroxylation process involves partially breaking down proteins into their constituent amino acids. This makes them far easier to digest, and can solve the issues caused by many food sensitivities in cats.

Royal Canin’s formula uses hydrolyzed soy protein, making it a great option if your cat is sensitive to certain meats or fish. It also contains a blend of B vitamins and amino acids designed to improve the condition of your cat’s coat and skin. On top of all these benefits, the food tastes great to cats!

Free from meat and seafood

Contains rice starch

Contains soy

Suitable for cats with digestive issues, including IBS

Hydrolyzed protein is easy to digest

B vitamins support healthy coat and skin

Specification:
  • Brand: Royal Canin
  • Model: 427877
  • Weight: 7.7 pounds

10

Blue have earned themselves a third and final spot on our list with their wet hypoallergenic food. This food is essentially the wet counterpart to their limited ingredient dry diet, meaning that cats who won’t eat dry food are catered to!

This particular blend combines whole duck meat with peas, potatoes and carrots. The light, grain-free carbohydrate source makes it really easy to digest, whilst all the vitamins and minerals your cat requires are provided through a mixture of fruit and vegetable extracts.

Blue’s natural, holistic approach to pet food is certainly on show in this product, which is free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Free from grains

Free from dairy

Free from eggs

Free from chicken and beef

Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

Complete nutrition achieved through the use of natural fruit and vegetable extracts

Omega-3 fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat

Specification:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • Model: 800374
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds

11

Purina are one of the best-known names when it comes to pet food, so it’s only natural that they’ve secured a spot on our list.

Purina’s hypoallergenic formula is a dry food which combines hydrolyzed proteins and rice starch to provide an easily digestible food that’s tasty too. The main protein source in this food is soy, but it’s supplemented with chicken liver to achieve the meaty taste cats naturally crave. Purina’s hydrolyzed protein cat food also includes B vitamins, which are vital to your cat’s natural metabolism.

Contains hydrolyzed soy protein

Contains rice starch

Free from beef

Free from seafood

Easily digestible

Flavor enhanced by hydrolyzed chicken liver

Fully supports the growth and maintenance of your cat

Specification:
  • Brand: Purina
  • Model: 11058647
  • Weight: 8 pounds

12

Natural Balance’s hypoallergenic food is of the limited ingredient variety. It contains salmon for protein and pas for carbohydrate, alongside natural plant extracts which provide your feline friend with all the vitamins and minerals they need to maintain a healthy body.

The food is grain free, and does not contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Natural Balance’s formula also avoids using any bleached ingredients, ensuring your cat’s diet is as whole and natural as possible. All these features add up to a food which cats with allergies and sensitive stomachs can easily digest, and keep down. Thanks to its high fish content, cats love the taste too!

Free from grains

Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

Free from meat

Contains easy-to-digest peas and vegetables

Contains whole salmon

Provides complete nutrition to your cat

Suitable for many types of allergy and sensitive stomach

Specification:
  • Brand: Natural Balance
  • Model: NB53360
  • Weight: 9 pounds

Best Hypoallergenic Cat Food Buying Guide & FAQ

That concludes our list of the best hypoallergenic cat foods available on the market today. We hope that these picks help you to find the formula that’s right for your pet. With so much variety, though, it can be difficult to know which blend is the right option for your cat. That’s why we’ve put together a quick guide to cat food allergies. Below we discuss how to spot them, what they can mean for your cat, and how to select a hypoallergenic food that meets your cat’s individual requirements. Like humans, all cats are different, so you might need to try a few different brands before you find one that works for your pet. Remember than your patience will pay off, though – it’s amazing what a difference a cat’s diet can make to their overall health, mood, and behavior.

Young cat eating at home from its bowl

Things to Consider When Buying Hypoallergenic Cat Food

With so many options about, making a choice can seem overwhelming. To help you make up your mind, here are a few important factors to bear in mind when choosing a hypoallergenic food for your cat:

This might seem like a fairly superficial consideration, but it can actually mean the difference between a successful diet and an unsuccessful one. If your cat is used to a certain type of food, it’s usually a good idea to stick to it. However, for cats with digestive issues, wet cat food can sometimes be the way to go. Unlike us, cats do not have flat molars for grinding up crunchy food, and must rely on their canines instead, which are actually designed for tearing into meat. Some cats struggle to chew dry food sufficiently, which can lead to it not being digested properly, making wet food the better option. Again, your cat’s individual comfort and preferences will dictate which type of food you choose.

  • Protein Source

It might sound obvious, but if your cat is allergic to a certain type of protein, it is best avoided. Always check the ingredients of a hypoallergenic cat food thoroughly, as even if it’s not the main source of protein, a meat which your cat is sensitive to might still be found elsewhere in the food. Some foods also contain fish oils as a source of omega-3, which should be borne in mind if your cat is sensitive to seafood. For cats with sensitive stomachs rather than a specific allergy, choosing a protein source such as soy or whitefish is often the best option. If you’re unsure, consult with your vet.

  • Hydrolyzed?

Another option you have when choosing a cat food is whether or not to purchase one with hydrolyzed protein. This kind of protein, which has been partially broken down into its constituent amino acids, can be far easier to digest, so is often a good option for cats with sensitive digestive tracts. However, if your cat is suffering from a specific food allergy rather than general sensitivity, choosing a food with normal protein is typically the best option, as the extra processing required to hydrolyze protein usually makes it more expensive.

Ingredients to Avoid Feeding Your Hypoallergenic Cat

As any owner knows, each cat is an individual – this also extends to which foods their body can handle. Although the name ‘hypoallergenic’ implies that a food will not trigger any allergic reactions, it’s important to remember that a food which is ‘hypoallergenic’ for one cat could be allergy-inducing to another. There’s no such thing as a completely allergy free cat food.

Because of this, the list of foods you should avoid feeding your cat will vary greatly from case to case. For reference, some common allergies and intolerances among cats include:

  • Grains – cats would not eat grains in the wild, and some cannot properly digest them. Corn is a particularly common trigger among cats
  • Dairy – adult cats are not equipped with the proper enzyme for digesting lactose, which can make some individuals particularly sensitive to dairy products
  • Meat byproducts – parts of the animal which humans won’t eat, such as fat tissue and certain organs, can make it into cat food. Some cats are sensitive to certain proteins found in these byproducts
  • Seafood – unfortunately for cats, many are allergic to fish and other seafood. This allergy is becoming increasingly common
  • Artificial colors and preservatives – as with humans, certain cats can be allergic to the colors and preservatives which are sometimes added to pet foods

Symptoms of a Food Allergy in Cats

Each cat is likely to exhibit a slightly different set of symptoms if they develop a food allergy, but some common symptoms are fairly easy to spot.

  • More scratching than usual
  • Runny nose or eyes
  • Coughing, wheezing, or sneezing
  • Dull fur and flaky skin
  • Diarrhoea and/or vomiting
  • Inflamed throat or paws
  • Lasting ear infections

If you notice your cat exhibiting one or more of these symptoms over an extended time period, consult your vet. They will be able to help identify the trigger and give you dietary advice.

Related Post: Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats

Best Hypoallergenic Cat Food FAQ:

Q:  What are food allergies in cats?

A:  Food allergies are caused by the immune system reacting to certain proteins as if they were a threat. This immune response is what triggers the flu-like symptoms often associated with food allergies. The mechanism responsible for this sensitivity is, unfortunately, still poorly understood. Food intolerances are slightly different: they trigger similar symptoms, but these are not caused by the immune system.

Q:  How can I determine the allergy of my cat?

A:  If your cat exhibits one or more of the symptoms above, and you suspect they have a food allergy, seek advice from your vet. They will be able to carry out a skin test or endoscopy to help determine whether an allergic reaction has occurred, and what the allergen was. Your vet will then advise you about the best diet for your cat – likely a hypoallergenic food. You may need to try a few different hypoallergenic cat food brands before you find the one which works best for your cat.

Q:  How should I treat food allergies in my cat?

A:  If you suspect your cat has a food allergy, you should always consult your vet. Treatment will usually involve a carefully monitored diet, which may require frequent tweaking as you and your vet work together to figure out the food which has triggered your pet’s allergy. Once a diet has been established, you’ll need to monitor your cat carefully, and avoid giving them people food. You might also need to replace their treats with a hypoallergenic alternative.

Q:  What are the consequences of an allergic reaction to the cats?

A:  The extent of an allergic reaction will vary between cats, but is an uncomfortable experience in any case. In rare instances, just like humans, exposure to a large quantity of an allergen can result in a cat entering anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis in cats include:

  • Collapse
  • Trembling
  • Pale gums
  • Wheezing
  • Facial swelling

If you notice one of these symptoms, contact your vet as soon as possible. Anaphylaxis is treatable, especially when identified quickly, and cats can recover in the course of a couple of days.

Less severe consequences of allergic reactions in cats include scratching, wheezing, swelling of the paws and throat, persistent ear infections, and vomiting or diarrhea. If the cat is exposed to their allergens frequently, over a long period of time, symptoms can sometimes worsen, so it’s important to contact your vet as soon as you suspect a food allergy.

Related Post: Best Cat Food for Kidney Disease

cat lying on table near bowl with pet food

Our Top Pick

Our top pick has to go to Blue’s Wilderness grain-free blend. The food balances proteins and carbohydrates in a formula that mimics what a cat would eat in the wild, without compromising on nutrition. It’s also very easy to digest, thanks to the combination of high quality meat and potatoes. With the blend’s LifeSource Bites, you’ll never have to worry about your cat developing a vitamin deficiency. Overall, Blue provide a great formula, for an affordable price, which cats love to eat.

Related Post: Best High Fiber Cat Food

Sources:

  1. Important Information on Food Allergies & Intolerance in Your Cat - Hills Pet
  2. Skin Disease Due to Food Allergies in Cats - Pet MD
  3. Dietary Reactions in Cats - Pet MD
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Angela Westfall
Angela Westfall
Angela has fostered, adopted, screened and saved cats for over 15 years. She is known as one of Central Ohio’s most passionate and knowledgeable cat enthusiasts. Her rescue, Angels Assisting Felines has partnerships with PetSmart and PetSuppliesPlus to help more cats find great homes.
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