Cats are remarkable creatures; they are tiny little killers with precious faces meant to be squished and smooched. Cats are obligate carnivores and do not require vegetables or grains to survive. Still, a well-balanced diet is ideal for keeping them healthy. Most cats will have some gastrointestinal issues in their lifetime (like nearly all animals), but there are some kitties out there who have chronic tummy issues. Whether it’s related to their kidneys (cats are more prone to renal insufficiency than dogs) or they suffer from irritable bowel disease, their tummy issues can usually resolve with a diet change.
Choosing the best cat food for sensitive stomachs may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s why we’ve curated the top cat food options around — to save you time and money, and help your little pal feel better in no time.
Disclaimer: We always recommend consulting a veterinarian and getting blood work done on your kitty before making a food switch.
Our Top Picks: Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs
Choosing the best cat food for sensitive stomachs isn’t an exact science. It may take a few tries, especially if you have a picky kitty. We’ve chosen the top seven best cat food brands for sensitive stomachs and explained why each selection is the top of its kind.
- Best Overall: Purina One Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Cat Food. This well-known brand tackles sensitive skin and stomachs in this dry formula. The price point and flavor make it a favorite among owners and cats alike.
- Best Dry Food: Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Lamb & Rice Formula Dry Cat Food. This well-rounded diet contains oats and rice to help with digestion.
- Best Wet Food: Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Chicken & Pumpkin Formula Shreds Grain-Free. Pumpkin and chicken are a great combo to promote healthy digestion.
- Best Limited-Ingredient: Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe. Keep it simple with basic ingredients in this dry cat food made my Merrick. The recipe starts with chicken and includes probiotics.
- Best for Seniors: Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Turkey & Potato Indoor Mature. Senior cats need different nutrition than their younger counterparts.
- Best for Vomiting: Hill’s Science Diet Adult Hairball Control Light Dry Cat Food. Most vomiting in cats comes from hairballs, so we suggest a hairball formula.
- Best for Diarrhea: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dry Cat Food. If your cat has diarrhea, you need to take them to the vet. Your vet will likely prescribe this diet.
1. Purina One Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Cat Food
The best cat food for sensitive stomachs overall
Brand: Purina | Type: Dry | Protein: Turkey | Notable Feature: Grain-Inclusive | Price: 💰
Your cat will enjoy the taste of real turkey in this dry cat food. The easily digestible formula includes 34% protein and 0% fillers. Included in this well-rounded dry cat food for sensitive stomachs is a blend of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients plus omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants. The crunchy kitty kibble promotes healthy teeth and gums. Each cup of Purina One Sensitive Skin and Stomach dry cat food is 430kcals.
- Has ceased vomiting for several reviewers’ cats
- Improved coat and skin after a short time on the diet
- Safe and inexpensive for every cat in a household to eat daily
- Lots of kibble dust in the bag
- Can cause extra flatulence in some cats
2. Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Lamb & Rice Formula Dry Cat Food
The best dry cat food for sensitive stomachs
Brand: Purina | Type: Dry | Protein: Lamb | Notable Feature: Pea-Free | Price: 💰💰
A good, all-around favorite kibble for sensitive tummies is Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach. This particular formula contains lamb as the first ingredient — Purina supplements with chicken, beef, soy, and plenty of grains and vegetables. Probiotics aid in healthy digestion; this tasty cat food includes 600 million colony-forming units (number of viable bacteria cells) to keep your cat’s GI tract moving along healthily.
While higher in calories than other dry foods, if you follow the portion guidelines, you can offer less kibble and still give your BFF what they need. Each serving of Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach contains 40.0% minimum crude protein and is 539kcals per cup.
- Helped many cats with their itchy skin
- Many cats stopped having vomiting episodes after the first serving
- Households with multiple cats seem to have found the kibble that everyone loves
- Some kitties experience extreme weight gain on this diet
- Vomiting actually increased while on Purina Pro Plan’s Sensitive formula
3. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Chicken & Pumpkin Formula Shreds Grain-Free
The best wet cat food for sensitive stomachs
Brand: Natural Balance | Type: Wet | Protein: Chicken | Notable Feature: Shredded & Easily Digestible | Price: 💰💰
Your vet might recommend introducing wet food into your cat’s diet on the rare occasion that you will need to feed them medication with their meals. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Shreds is an excellent option for this trick. Not only is it made with chicken and pumpkin, but the blend is mild enough for sensitive GI tracts.
The shredded cat food is a nice balance between wet and dry for those kitties that might be a bit picky about texture. Each serving of Natural Balance shreds contains 11.0% minimum crude protein and is 67kcals per tray. Most adult cats will need several trays per day, but you can also use it as a topper with their kibble.
- Seems to help many cats with urinary issues
- Actual chunks of chicken visible in these tasty shreds
- Convenient containers in which to dispense the cat food
- Some cats do not like the smells of the pumpkin chunks
- A few owners are not impressed with some of the ingredients, such as carrageenan
4. Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe
The best cat food for sensitive stomachs w/ limited ingredients
Brand: Merrick | Type: Dry | Protein: Chicken | Notable Feature: Gluten-Free | Price: 💰
Merrick might be a newer brand to you, but they have been making high-quality food for dogs and cats for over 25 years. This dry cat food for sensitive stomachs contains chicken as its primary source of protein. Chickpeas are in the mix as an easily digestible carbohydrate. Merrick prides itself on its diets and this one in particular because it contains no grains, fillers, corn, gluten, or potato meal. Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe contains 34.0% minimum crude protein and is 395kcals per cup. 90 million viable bacteria cells will keep your cat’s gut flora in balance. If you need your cat to put on weight, this is a good choice.
- Most cats love the taste
- Provides relief for kitties with sensitive/itchy skin
- Solved loose stool issues in many cats and even helped minimize the odor of their stools
- Claims that some cats wouldn’t even touch it
- Some cats have lots of bowel movements on this diet
5. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Turkey & Potato Indoor Mature
The best cat food for seniors with sensitive stomachs
Brand: Blue Buffalo | Type: Dry | Protein: Turkey | Notable Feature: Grain-Free | Price: 💰
This veterinary professional is reluctant to include Blue Buffalo due to their frequent recalls. Still, there are no active recalls on any of their diets, let alone this one.
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula for mature indoor cats is highly rated, meaning that your senior cat will likely love it. Senior cats are ages 7+. Mature kitties require different nutrition to help slow down muscle degeneration and promote healthy bones and joints. This specific Blue Buffalo formula features turkey as its primary protein source mixed with tasty peas and potatoes. Each serving of Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Turkey & Potato Indoor Mature contains 28.0% minimum crude protein, 12.0% minimum crude fat (this is important for aging cats), and is 397kcals per cup. The senior cat formula also includes live cultures to promote gut health.
- Even picky cats appear to enjoy this turkey and potato diet
- Owners love the limited ingredients and grain-free formula
- Vomiting seems to have ceased in many cats once switching to this diet
- Caused vomiting in some cats
- Includes caramel color, which can be an allergen to some cats
6. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Hairball Control Light Dry Cat Food
The best cat food for easing vomiting
Brand: Hill’s Science Diet | Type: Dry | Protein: Chicken | Notable Feature: Reduces Vomiting | Price: 💰💰
If your feline is susceptible to hairballs and subsequent vomiting, they need to be on a hairball control diet. While some hairballs are common, they are not supposed to cause your cat prolonged discomfort. Save your kitty from incessant hacking with Hill’s Science Diet’s hairball formula.
The tasty kibble contains 10.0% fiber to help reduce hairballs and has plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to give your adult cat a balanced diet. Each serving of Hill’s Science Diet Adult Hairball Control Light contains 32.0 minimum crude protein and is 279kcals per cup. This is a superior option if you are trying to manage your cat’s weight in addition to their hairballs.
- Has aided in many cats’ weight loss
- Larger kibble pieces encourage cats to eat slower
- Many claim that their cat’s hairball problems have disappeared with this kibble
- Large pieces might be a challenge to smaller kitties
- The triangular shape of the kibble was off-putting to some cats
7. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dry Cat Food
The best cat food for easing diarrhea
Brand: Royal Canin | Type: Dry | Protein: Chicken | Notable Feature: Prescription Required | Price: 💰💰
Cats are not prone to having diarrhea, so if your furry feline is experiencing loose stools, you need to take them to the vet. Most often, diarrhea in cats is from bacterial overgrowth in their GI tract that leads to colitis and gastritis. Most vets will prescribe antibiotics, probiotics, and Royal Canin’s gastrointestinal diet. With this diet, you do not have to transition your cat onto the food, but you must transition them off of it. Purina One Sensitive Skin and Stomach Dry Cat Food contains 29.0% crude protein and is 362kcals per cup.
- Offers fast relief from constipation
- Great for cats diagnosed with megacolon
- Helped to put weight back onto cat that was experiencing unexplained weight loss
- Some owners complained that it made their cat more ill
- Sometimes the product seems inconsistent from bag to bag
What to Look for in the Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs
If you are trying to eliminate certain ingredients from your cat’s diet due to your vet’s recommendation, it’s best to find a natural cat food free from fillers or dyes.
Ideally, a high-fiber diet is the most beneficial when it comes to improving your kitty’s gut health and reducing vomiting and loose stools. Just make sure to pay attention to the amounts of crude protein, fat, and fiber in the foods you choose.
Also, stick with the portion sizes on the product label. Overfeeding your cat can lead to health problems like diabetes, joint issues, and even kidney and liver failure. If your cat starts to gain weight, cut back on their food and reduce the amount of treats given (if any). Overweight cats are not happy cats; felines are happier when they are lean and nimble.
As for other considerations, take into account your kitty’s age, activity level, health concerns (if any), and flavor preferences when deciding on the new food. Mixing wet and dry is an option if your feline prefers one over the other, but you’d like to give them more variety.
As mentioned above, it is vital that you gradually transition your cat to the new food, whether it’s wet or dry. Cats with sensitive stomachs will require a longer transition of two weeks to ensure that they don’t have an adverse reaction to their new kibble or wet food.
Compiling a best-of list can be difficult: deciding on criteria and rating metrics, weeding through hundreds of products, and then articulating the list from a place of knowledge and experience.
This reviewer has several years of veterinary experience and education and can speak intelligently on the topic of feline nutrition. Even so, we read hundreds of reviews (both positive and negative) from multiple sources in order to compare data and create our list of the top 7 best cat foods for sensitive stomachs available for purchase.