There's no doubt about it that you, just like countless other cat owners out there, always aim to give your little one(s) only the tastiest and highest quality cat food that you're able to afford on a consistent basis. However, it's not always about the highest quality or the taste, for some cats it's all about the proper ingredients to cater for a specific condition they have.
This is especially true for countless cats out there who have sensitive stomachs and need to be fed a special kind of cat food that caters to their special needs, because feeding them regular cat food that hasn't been designed to meet their needs will have them experience all sorts of digestive problems, vomit and feel ill all day long.
So, if you're an owner of a cat that's known to have a sensitive stomach, here's a quick look at the 6 formulas of cat food we recommend most for felines with these special needs.
Our List Of The Top 6 Sensitive Stomach Cat Food – (Updated List For 2018)
Top Pick: Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Cat Food
Pick #2: BLUE Adult Sensitive Stomach Dry Cat Food
Pick #3: Purina ONE Sensitive Systems Adult Premium Cat Food
Pick #4: Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Digest Sensitive Canned Cat Food
Pick #5: Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Sensitive Digestion Dry Adult Cat Food
Pick #6: Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Canned Cat Food
*Note: The links in the table above, as well as several links in the remainder of the article below, will take you to over to Chewy.com where you can find out more information about the products, such as current prices and customer reviews.
How Can I Know If My Cat Has A Sensitive Stomach?
If your cat has a sensitive stomach and you aren't exactly aware of it, there are certain symptoms you can pick up on that are clear signs, most (if not all) of which are related to your cat's digestive system. The following list mentions some of these most common symptoms.
- Vomiting, most commonly observed shortly after they eat a meal of theirs
- Diarrhea and/or loose stool
If you notice any other symptoms than the ones mentioned in the list above, especially skin problems such as rashes and your cat excessively scratching itself, then your cat is likely suffering from something more than a sensitive stomach, something which you need to consult with your veterinarian about for further inspection.
Generally speaking and in all cases where you notice such problems with your cat when they're eating, it's almost always a much better idea to consult with your veterinarian and listen to their opinion about it before pulling the trigger yourself first and switching up your cat's food.
The reason for this is that in many cases, your cat may be suffering from an underlying health problem or condition that may be causing these food sensitivities, problems such as heartworms, parasites, specific organs not functioning like they're supposed to, and so on. So first make sure that your cat's health is on point before switching up their food, as making this switch will only be a waste of your time, money and energy if there's a complication that's causing this.
What Criteria Determines The Best Cat Food For Sensitive Stomachs?
So, how exactly can you tell if a formula of cat food is good for your troubled-tummy feline? The following list mentions some of the most common components that make up a cat food formula that's suitable for such kitties.
Grain Free: Because grains in cat food is one of the first culprits that takes the blame for cat food sensitivities, which also holds true with dogs and dog food sensitivities as well, then logic says that one of the first things to try right off the bat is to simply take out the grains in the food you feed your cat.
Lactose Free: Just like grain, one of the most common culprits that causes digestive problems in cats is dairy, because of the lactose in contains.
Some cats can consume dairy and digest small amounts of lactose just fine, but many cats are lactose intolerant and even the slightest amount of it that enters their system causes an entire world of digestive trouble.
So, if you know that your cat has a sensitive stomach, carefully study any formula you plan on feeding them by reading the ingredients list found on the label and making sure that it's dairy free.
No Artificial Ingredients: If you're going to be actively searching for suitable cat food options for your sensitive stomach cat, you should also be looking for formulas that contain little to no artificial ingredients and artificial additives, both for their special condition and their overall health as well.
Artificial ingredients and additives can greatly agitate a cat's digestive system really fast, so that's something you always have to keep in mind.
Specific Meat Sources: Some meats that are often featured in cat food are much more likely to cause digestive problems in cats with food sensitivities than others, which drives some manufacturers to design their formulas around special meat sources that are known to be less more likely to cause these problems.
One of the most common meats that cat food formulas specifically manufactured for sensitive stomach cats often feature is Venison, for example.
Generally speaking, a cat food formula specifically designed for sensitive stomachs will avoid common culprit meat sources like beef and lamb, just to name a couple.
Proper Balance: Another very important issue you have to be aware of is the importance of macro-nutrient balance when it comes to sensitive stomach cat food.
For example, a cat food formula that's exceptionally high in fat is a terrible option for cats with sensitive stomachs, given the increased effort that digestive systems have to put in to properly digest fat in comparison to other macronutrients.
So, finding a cat food formula that has balanced amounts of protein, dietary fat and carbohydrates would be best, with protein being a bit higher in amount than other macronutrients due to high protein needs that cats have in general.
Consistency: This specific point is not related to a cat food formula in and of itself, it's rather related to how you as a cat owner approach setting up your cat's diet, something that plays a very important role in minimizing stomach sensitivities.
A big mistake many cat owners often make is feeding their cats one brand/formula of cat food one day, then a different brand/formula the next day, and then another different brand/formula the day after that, and so on.
Not only is this inconsistency bad for your cat's overall nutrition, it's also one of the main reasons cats experience sensitive-stomach symptoms.
This is why one of the first things your veterinarian will recommend you do if your cat exhibits sensitive-stomach symptoms is that you stay consistent with feeding them only one cat food formula that meets their needs.
Throughout the years, countless cat owners noticed these symptoms go away after remaining consistent with feeding their cat only a single formula and not moving back and forth between different formulas every other day, so there's no reason why you can't give this a try and see for yourself if your cat's case is this simple and not really complicated at all.
An Important Note About Changing Formulas
Upon becoming aware that your cat has a sensitive stomach that requires special cat food manufactured just for that condition, a quick (yet very important) note must be made about switching formulas and/or brands.
Doing things the wrong way will only make your cat's tummy problems much worse, even if you've got the absolute top formula to ease your feline's tummy problems, so take note of the following points.
Easy Does It: Because throughout all this time your cat has been eating from one (or more) specific formula, it's an absolutely terrible idea to just stop feeding them that formula all of a sudden and start feeding them all of their meals from the new formula designed for their special needs.
Doing this will actually be counterproductive and will make their condition much worse. Instead, approach all of this by a proper transitional period in between.
Over the period of the next two weeks, slowly and gradually feed your cat a diet that's based around less and less food from the old formula they used to eat, and make that diet based more and more around food from the new formula you're introducing to them to help with their food sensitivities.
Start off by first replacing a certain percentage of one of their meals for the day with their new food, then go about this on a meal by meal basis, until you get to the end of that two or three week period where you'll find that all of your cat's meals are from the new formula you got them and their system has grown to accept the new food without any problems.
Had you immediately stopped feeding your cat any of their old food and started to feed them a 100% of their meals from the new formula right away, you'd have noticed that they're now vomiting even more and experiencing more frequent diarrhea than they used to before, which is obviously counterproductive to what we're trying to achieve here.
Any Other Tips You've Got For Me?
In addition to feeding your cat a specific formula that's been designed for countless other cats that suffer from the exact same condition, there are a few additional tips you should also keep in mind for the time-being.
First of all, lay off the human food. And when we say lay off the human food, we mean no "cheats", no "snacks", no "just a little bit of X or Y won't hurt" - nope, even the tiniest bit of human food has the ability to cause some major problems for cats with sensitive stomachs.
Also, setting up a proper feeding schedule for cats with sensitive stomachs is another very important issue that you should implement.
Cats that are fed one to two large and concentrated meals for the entire day are much more likely to develop digestive problems than cats that are fed more frequent yet smaller meals that are more evenly spread out throughout the entire day.
This is not only true when it comes to avoiding digestive problems in your cat, it's also true when it comes to maximizing the nutritional benefit your cat is getting from their food, something we all obviously strive for because we're paying good money for those bags on a regular basis!