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Last updated: 29 Aug 2019

The Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs (Review) in 2019

Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Dry Cat Food

Halo Natural Dry Cat Food

Halo Natural Dry Cat Food

Purina Cat Chow Dry Cat Food

Purina Cat Chow Gentle Adult Dry Cat Food

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Angela Westfall
Published 16:34 pm

It is no secret that cats are very fussy eaters. One day a particular food item can be their all-time favorite; the following day is an entirely different story. But more than the occasional fussiness, any sign of change in your cat’s usual feeding habits should already alert you to the possibility of a sensitive stomach especially if your kitty is regurgitating, vomiting, or passing loose stools more frequently than usual.

The point is that you should be ready to start feeding your kitty with gentler and tummy-friendlier yet equally nutritious cat food. And you can start with our selection of the best cat food for sensitive stomach.

The Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs

1

Blue Buffalo’s Healthy Holistic Sensitive Stomach formulation for adult cats is one of the most trusted cat foods by kitty lovers everywhere. One of the best aspects of the Blue Sensitive Stomach is that it is enriched with both prebiotics and probiotics to really improve the overall functioning of your cat’s digestive system.

One can also find comfort in the fact that it doesn’t contain gluten, although science has already established the fact that gluten allergies are quite rare in cats. Nevertheless, the combination of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants in easily digestible forms should help ease a hypersensitive feline tummy.

Real chicken as its first and principal ingredient

Enriched with wholesome grains, fruits, and veggies

Comes with menhaden fish meal for DHA and EPA

Contains 4 strains of probiotic organisms

With FOS prebiotics for better digestive health

Specification:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • Model: 601
  • Weight: 15 pounds

2

One can always rely on Hill’s Science Diet to provide your kitty with well-balanced nutrition that is highly specific for its current health condition. Such is the case for its Sensitive Stomach and Skin Dry Cat Food formulation. The name itself already gives you an idea of what it brings to the fore. For firm believers of grain- and gluten- free pet foods, however, this is not for you.

Nonetheless, HSD’s Sensitive Stomach and Skin comes with a unique formulation made of easily digestible ingredients while also minimizing the incidence of flare-ups in both the integumentary and digestive systems of your pet kitty. Its principal ingredient is brown rice, eliminating chicken in the process, and providing for a less allergenic formulation. Not to worry though as it also comes with eggs to supply the much-needed proteins by your cat.

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Made of easily-digestible ingredients with brown rice as its principal ingredient

Excellent balance of nutrients from tummy-friendly ingredients

Enriched with vitamins and minerals

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

3

Purina’s take on what constitutes a tummy-friendly cat food is one that contains premium quality, novel protein – one that is rarely eaten by cats but is digestible enough not to overburden the feline’s gut. That’s what the Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin and Stomach formulation is all about. Packed with 40% premium proteins that are sourced from real lamb and then blended with healthy oats and rice, the Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin and Stomach makes for a really easy-on-the-tummy cat food.

Purina is also thoughtful enough to include beneficial prebiotics in its formulation, although a lot of folks would agree that the company would have made the product even better if probiotics were added as well. Nevertheless, with such great balance in nutrition, easily-digestible ingredients, and rich and novel animal protein source, this is one food your kitty will be meowing for.

Comprises of 40% protein

Contains easily digestible oatmeal and rice

Principal ingredient is real lamb

Enriched with natural prebiotic fibers

Specification:
  • Brand: Purina Pro Plan
  • Model: 38100144829
  • Weight: 16 pounds

4

One thing that folks love about Holistic Select Natural’s Feline Grain Free Canned Cat Food is that it is enriched with healthy botanicals best known for their antioxidant and natural fiber as well as prebiotics. There’s something amiss, though. Its marketing literature says it contains probiotics, but an analysis of its ingredient list fail to prove the presence of any organism resembling a probiotic.

Also, the literature also mentions something about digestive enzymes, but there is nothing in its ingredient list that says anything about such substances that generally ends with an ‘-ase’ like prote’-ase’. We also noticed quite a number of cat owners who complained about their cats not liking the product at all. But, in all fairness, there are a greater number of folks who can attest to its usefulness in taming their kitties’ tummies.

Real chicken, chicken liver, and lamb as principal ingredients

Enriched with prebiotics and healthy botanicals

Contains salmon oil

Specification:
  • Brand: Holistic Select Natural Pet Food
  • Model: 4169359049
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds

5

Purina’s strength in the formulation of high quality cat food lies in its understanding of the different needs of today’s felines. The Cat Chow Gentle Dry Cat Food from Purina is a testament to the company’s continued excellence in providing case-specific nutrition for felines. Instead of relying on traditional chicken for its animal protein source, the Cat Chow contains turkey. It does, however, contain gluten so if you’re wary about such an ingredient then you may have to look elsewhere. But if you can put your trust in the number of cat owners who are having exceptionally positive experience with the Cat Chow, then you know that this one’s for your kitty.

Contains premium quality and easily digestible proteins

Enriched with a blend of natural fibers

Provides 25 essential minerals and vitamins

Specification:
  • Brand: Purina Cat Chow
  • Model: 16633
  • Weight: 13.25 pounds

6

In the past, Spot’s Stew Natural Dry Cat Food was well-received by cat-lovers everywhere. Unfortunately, when Halo decided to give it a brand-new look complete with a reformulation of its time-tested and cat-approved recipes, not everyone was clearly happy. A lot of the complaints lodged against the company nowadays stems from the new formulation of the Spot’s Stew, specifically how the once-loved food by cats is now the most hated by feline pets.

We have to be fair though that a good number of feline-lovers do think the new formulation works for their pets. Spot’s Stew comes with all-natural ingredients including animal sources of premium proteins. Our only lament is that the old formulation came with 4 strains of probiotics. This is clearly missing in the new recipe.

High-quality natural animal ingredients as principal source of proteins

Contains refined grains and premium proteins

Contains non-GMO veggies, fruits, and wholesome grains

Specification:
  • Brand: Halo
  • Model: 34020
  • Weight: 3 pounds

7

If you’re really concerned about upsetting your cat’s tummy even further, Nature’s Variety’s Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food is the perfect choice. Since it only contains one animal protein source and one vegetable ingredient, you can easily pinpoint which of these two ingredients will your kitty be sensitive to.

If your pet doesn’t show any sign of tummy sensitivity to either ingredient, then you can start adding ingredients until you’ve found the culprit to its overactive tummy. While it is true that it only has very limited ingredients, you can always count on Nature’s Variety to give your pet optimal amounts of nutrients it needs for other physiologic processes.

Relatively short ingredient list with a single animal protein and vegetable ingredient

Enriched with healthy botanicals and prebiotics

Enriched with minerals and vitamins

Specification:
  • Brand: Instinct
  • Model: 769949658733
  • Weight: 5 pounds

Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs Buying Guide

It is understandable why some folks can get really upset if they see their pets showing signs of sensitive stomachs that the first natural reaction is to change their cat food. However, even before you pick the next available product in the store shelf, you might want to read our cat food for sensitive stomach buying guide first to give you a heads-up on what to expect in the market.

How Can You Tell If Your Cat Has a Sensitive Stomach? 

The term ‘sensitive stomach’ is a rather vague description of what is actually occurring in an organism’s tummy. We had to use the word ‘organism’ loosely here to mean every living organism that has a digestive system. Defining ‘sensitive’ requires an appreciation of what can be considered normal. One can only identify the presence of a certain ‘sensitivity’ if there is a deviation from what can be rightfully considered as ‘normal.

As such let us try to follow the journey of a feline dry kibble. From the mouth the kibble is broken down into smaller bits so that it can be passed through the narrow tube known as esophagus. From here, the smaller bits of kibble enter the stomach where they undergo further breakdown into even smaller, finer bits. This is made possible by the gastric acids in the cat’s stomach. From there, the now-finely broken down kibble is moved towards the duodenum, the first part of the small intestines. Here, secretions from the pancreas, gall bladder, and liver all mix with intestinal enzymes to further process these very fine molecules of kibbles releasing glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids from the kibble. These macronutrients are what are absorbed by the blood vessels that line the small intestines. Other substances are also absorbed by the blood. This absorption continues well into the large intestines or the colon where eventually stool is formed. Stool collects and gets ready to be ejected from the rectum and anus.

When we talk about cats having sensitive stomachs, we know that the main problem is in the stomach itself. However, the manifestations or signs and symptoms can actually occur anywhere along this tract that we have just discussed. For example, a classic sign of sensitive stomach is vomiting. This occurs because of the forceful expulsion of the contents of the stomach, but the manifestation is in the mouth.

The same is true with regurgitation, another common sign of stomach sensitivity. This occurs because of the improper closure of the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. Even before the food reaches the stomach, forceful contractions in the esophagus already pushes the food outward through the mouth.

So how can you tell if your cat has sensitive stomach? Let us just put it this way. If you notice something different in its feeding habits, then there’s a chance that it may be experiencing some form of stomach sensitivity.

But to give you a clearer picture, here are some of the more common signs that will indicate stomach sensitivity.

  • Changes in  appetite
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Vomiting or regurgitation
  • Increased or decreased thirst

What Causes a Sensitive Stomach for a Cat?

There are many reasons why a cat’s tummy can suddenly work out of sync with the rest of the digestive tract. As we already mentioned, the main culprit can be found in the stomach, yet the manifestation can be somewhere else. Regardless, here are some of the more common causes of feline sensitive stomachs.

  • Food allergies

Certain cats have dysfunctional or hype-reactive immune systems that even normal food molecules can be considered as allergen. This is especially true for highly proteinaceous foods like beef, chicken, and pork. If this is the case, you should also understand that other manifestations of allergies may accompany the signs and symptoms of stomach sensitivity.

  • Food intolerances

This should not be confused with food allergies. In food allergies, the stomach sensitivity is brought about by the activation of the immune system in the perceived presence of a protein allergen. In food intolerance, the food molecule is not digested properly such that it is not absorbed into the bloodstream. This leads to its passing through the gut and out of the anus in almost-unchanged form.

  • Organic disease and intestinal parasitism

Diseases of the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder can lead to the improper digestion of food molecules resulting in stomach upsets. It is also possible that intestinal parasites can block the efficient absorption of nutrients and water from the gut resulting in the rapid ejection of watery stools.

  • Feline hairball

Cats are known for their meticulous grooming behavior. Sadly, if the kitty happens to shed a lot, then the risk of hairball development is also increased. This hairball can change the way the stomach digests the food that is passed down from the esophagus. To reestablish normal functioning, the cat’s stomach will attempt to either pass the hairball down through the gut or upwards through the mouth. In most cases, regurgitation is easier.

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  • Feline feeding behavior

Feline pets have the tendency to eat almost anything that ‘moves’ outdoors owing to their predatory instincts. This can also cause stomach sensitivity.

  • Change in diet

A sudden shift in a cat’s diet can also lead to stomach sensitivity. This is especially true among kittens since their stomachs are still pretty much adjusting to the kind of diet that they were born to. Suddenly replacing this with a new one is like shocking their tummies into making the adjustment right away.

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Worst Foods for Cats with Sensitive Stomachs

If you analyze carefully what we have been talking about in the preceding section, it is quite easy to pinpoint the kinds of foods that you should never give to a kitty that has sensitive stomach. Here are some of the worst foods you can ever give to a cat that has issues taming its tummy.

  • Dairy products

The lactose found in dairy products such as pasteurized cow’s milk, cream, and even cheese cannot be digested properly by cats. While it is true that kittens require milk, this can only be provided by their respective mommy cats since these have the right kind of lactose that is easily digested by the kitten’s tummy. The same is true with milk replacements. Their formulation closely mimics mommy cat’s natural milk.

  • Beef

It is generally not known why some cats’ tummies are not really keen on beef, but the observation is that there are certain cats that experience diarrhea after consuming beef.

  • Fat trimmings

Too much fat in a cat’s diet can also lead to stomach sensitivity because of the unusually large quantities of bile needed to emulsify the fat in preparation for digestion. If there is not enough bile, then undigested fat can be easily passed down as diarrhea. In other cases, these can be vomited out.

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  • Grains

Remember what we said about cats being obligate carnivores? The answer is right there. Their digestive tract is simply not designed to munch and absorb grains for the simple fact that these take a significantly longer length of time to process.

  • Cat food with too many additives

The problem with some commercially-prepared cat food is that there are way too many additives that it becomes very difficult to pinpoint which is causing sensitivity in your cat’s tummy. Remember, many of these additives are synthetic and as such may not sit well with your kitty’s tummy.

Cats deserve the best nutrition for them to grow and live healthy. While having sensitive stomachs can be a great concern, giving them the right cat food for sensitive stomachs can help you reestablish normalcy in your feline friend’s tummy until such time that your vet has identified the culprit and designed a much safer diet for your kitty.

Related Post: Best Cat Food for Bengals

Sources:

  1. How to Relieve Cat Stomach Issues - PetMD
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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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