Best Dry Cat Food for Allergies in 2021

Not sure what the best dry cat food for allergies is?

Cats are allergic to many things including dust, fleas, pollen, and food. About 10% of cat allergies are food-related.

A cat with allergies needs food with novel or hydrolyzed protein, which helps give relief to the problem.

I’ll help you find the best dry cat food to help with your cat’s allergies in this article.

In this article, I’ll give you the best dry cat food for allergies.

I’ll also provide a buying guide to help you learn more about allergies and what types of foods to look for.

My name is Derrick, and I write for Simply Cat Care. Our goal with this website is to help cat owners improve their cat’s health.

I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet before continuing.

Let’s get into the article.


Product Review: The Best Dry Cat Food for Allergies

Best Dry Cat Food for Allergies Overall: ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Cat Food

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Lamb Recipe Cat Food, 14-oz bag

Novel protein sources for allergy relief

Omega 3 from mussels for immune health

Grain-free for digestive health

No carrageenan

Not enough variety of flavors

Pricey

Product Review

Looking for hypoallergenic cat foods is a tough ask, especially dry cat foods. Let’s look at how ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Lamb Cat Food is different.

The main benefit of ZIWI Peak is the use of lamb and New Zealand green mussels which are novel protein food sources. This helps give your cat relief from allergies, as common proteins such as chicken and fish are not in the product.

ZIWI Peak is high quality and does not contain any filler ingredients such as corn, wheat, rice, and tapioca starch. This is great for cats with sensitive digestive systems.

The cost is a little higher than typical dry cat food due to the quality. The only novel protein options are lamb and venison. Some cats may want more variety and flavors.

Ingredients List

Lamb, Lamb Heart, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Liver, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Lung, New Zealand Green Mussel, Lamb Bone, Lecithin, Inulin from Chicory, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Dipotassium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite), Salt, Preservative (Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), DL-Methionine, Taurine.

Best Dry Cat Food for Allergies Runner Up: Instinct Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food Rabbit

Novel protein source (rabbit) for allergy relief

Freeze-dried rabbit coating for taste

Grain-free for digestive health

Affordable

Smelly waste

Slightly high in carbohydrates

Product Review

Let’s take a look at Instinct Limited Ingredient dry cat food.

I like that this product uses rabbit as the main food source. This is a novel protein that helps with allergy relief. It’s also flavored with freeze-dried rabbit to improve the taste.

The main downside of this product is the use of tapioca which raises the level of carbohydrates (23%+ on a dry matter basis) in this product, and reports of smelly litter boxes.

On the bright side, the amount of carbohydrates in this bag is lower than many other competing dry cat food brands.

Ingredients List

Rabbit Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Rabbit, Natural Flavor, Coconut Oil, Montmorillonite Clay, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), DL-Methionine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Freeze Dried Rabbit, Salt, Pumpkinseeds, Rosemary Extract

Best Dry Cat Food Budget Pick: Fussie Cat Market Fresh Guinea Fowl & Turkey Meal Recipe

Fussie Cat Market Fresh Guinea Fowl & Turkey Meal Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food, 2-lb bag

Contains novel protein sources for allergy relief

Affordable

10-pound bulk buy option to save costs

Grain-free for easier digestion

A high calcium-phosphate ratio for kidney health

High in carbohydrates from pea

Product Review

Let’s look at Fussie Cat Market Fresh Guinea Fowl & Turkey Meal Recipe.

This food choice contains guinea fowl and turkey which are novel protein foods. These animal proteins are good sources of nutrition for cats, whilst providing relief from allergies. The food is affordable and comes in up to 10-pound bags to save costs.

The main downside is the high carbohydrate content. This choice comes in at 30% on a dry matter basis, which is high.

Cats prefer a lower carbohydrate diet in general, and some may reject this type of food. Low carbohydrate foods may be better for diabetic cats.

Ingredients List

Guinea Fowl, Turkey Meal, Peas, Pea Flour, Turkey Fat, Turkey, Natural Flavors, Alfalfa Meal, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Fructooligosaccharides, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Kelp, Cranberries, Blueberries, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate) Mixed Tocopherols

Calorie Content: 3,604 kcal/kg, 415 kcal/cup

Best Dry Cat Food for Allergies Freeze Dried: Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels for Cats

Stella & Chewy's Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food, 3.5-oz bag

Novel protein sources for allergy relief

Freeze-dried to lock in nutrition for top health

Made in the USA from local food sources

Grain-free for easier digestion

Low in carbs

Pricey

Limited range of flavors in the range

Product Review

Let’s look at Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels for Cats. This is a freeze-dried food that is intended for use as a treat or topper to your cat’s health.

The main benefit of this product is the use of rabbit, which is a novel protein source suitable for an elimination diet. It’s also a limited ingredient food that is grain-free for easy digestion.

On the other hand, this product is pricey and is more inconvenient than kibble. This is because freeze-dried foods need rehydration and heating before serving.

But, as a treat or topper, this is a great option.

Ingredients List

Rabbit With Ground Bone, Rabbit Liver, Olive Oil, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Dried Ediococcus 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

Calorie Content: 4,630 kcal/kg, 131 kcal/oz

Buying Guide: Best Dry Cat Food for Allergies

Not sure what type of dry cat food you need to help with allergies?

Getting the right food is often a pain if you don’t have much guidance.

This article will help you understand what types of dry cat food will work best for allergies to keep your cat healthy.

Best dry cat food for allergies

What Dry Cat Food Ingredients Should I Avoid For Allergies?

Common protein sources such as:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Fish

These foods may cause allergies or any foods your cat eats on a regular basis.

10% of all cat allergies are dietary-related. The above foods are the main culprits.

A cat with suspected food allergies needs to abstain from all of these protein sources until the problem food is identified with an elimination diet.

Since these protein sources are common in almost all cat food it’s hard to find food to give your cat relief.

What Ingredients Help a Cat With Allergies?

The best dry cat food contains either novel protein food sources or hydrolyzed protein food sources.

These types of proteins will help give your cat relief from their allergies, whilst giving them the nutrition they need for health.

Novel protein food sources include:

  • Lamb
  • Venison
  • Goat
  • Duck
  • Turkey

These foods are uncommon in the diet of many cats. Allergies develop over time to foods cats are exposed to often, and that’s why these uncommon or novel protein sources provide relief.

Hydrolyzed protein is a pre-digested protein source that the immune system does not recognize.

The proteins are digested into individual amino acids and are created from many protein sources including plant-based food sources.

Your vet is best equipped to help you find out which type of food is best suited to your situation.

What Cat Foods Are Hypoallergenic?

As mentioned, novel protein and hydrolyzed protein food sources are hypoallergenic.

Cat’s develop allergies upon frequent long-term exposure to a food.

If your cat hasn’t consumed food, it cannot produce antibodies to the protein.

That means cats cannot develop an allergy until consuming the food on multiple occasions.

Remember:

Even if the food contains a novel protein, it must not contain common proteins as well.

Usually, a label saying limited ingredients is a sign the bag only contains one or two protein sources.

What Is The Best Dry Cat Food For Allergies?

The best dry cat food for allergies should contain a novel protein or hydrolyzed protein source without a common protein source.

Your cat’s food should be beneficial for health with high-quality animal protein as the main ingredient. The food should have fewer carbohydrates and fillers for digestive health.

Your vet will help you decide which food is best suited to your situation. They may prescribe a diet with hydrolyzed dry cat food to help your cat.

The main prescription food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Skin/Food Sensitivities Cat Food.

The food is only needed during an elimination diet and isn’t recommended for regular use.

As for long-term regular dietary use, I recommend ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Cat Food – All Natural, High Protein, Grain-Free & Limited Ingredient with Superfoods.

This is a healthy low-carb dry cat food high in nutritional value. This is a great choice for cats.

Frequently Asked Questions: Best Dry Cat Food for Allergies

What are allergies?

An allergy is something that causes the immune system to overreact.

Allergens include:

  • Hair
  • Pollen
  • Food
  • Dust
  • Medications

Food allergies occur at any stage during a cat’s life.

An allergen can affect the cat via:

  • Ingestion
  • Inhalation
  • Contact with the skin

An allergy causes an acute or delayed allergic reaction.

Antibodies are the cause of allergic reactions. They release upon exposure to an allergen.

Antibodies release a protein called histamine which inflames areas of the body such as the nose, throat, and digestive system.

An allergy is different than food intolerance.

Food intolerance is a non-immunological process whilst an allergy is an immunological process.

Cat’s experience digestive symptoms in contact with foods they are allergic to (e.g. vomiting, diarrhea).

Food intolerance doesn’t involve an allergic reaction but may lead to unpleasant symptoms such as bloating and fatigue.

What causes food allergies in cats?

Most food allergies are caused by the protein component of the food.

The structure of a protein determines the allergenicity, and this structure may change with cooking methods to increase or decrease allergenic potential.

Heat-treating cat foods containing starch, sucrose, casein (the main protein in milk), and corn oil may increase allergenicity.

Some sources of carbohydrate foods may also result in an allergic response, at least in humans. It is unclear whether cats are allergic to any carbohydrate-based foods.

What are hydrolyzed cat foods and why do they help cats with allergies?

Hydrolyzed protein is a protein pre-digested into individual amino acids.

The immune system may not recognize these proteins and won’t produce antibodies that lead to allergic reactions.

These foods are prescription-based and are used with an elimination diet to help your cat find relief from allergies.

Your vet is best equipped to help you determine whether this type of food is best for your cat.

What is an elimination diet?

An elimination diet is the removal of all possible sources of food allergens and intolerances that limits the diet to only a few items.

This reduces the risk of your cat having any kind of reaction which provides immediate relief.

It also helps to find the cause of the problem by introducing one new food at a time (in a basic form such as chicken breast meat) to find out whether your cat tolerates the food.

This is called a food challenge.

The process may take weeks to re-establish a diet that your cat is able to tolerate, that provides enough nutrition and variety for long-term quality of life.

This process is helpful when the cause of your cat’s problems is unknown.

If any negative symptoms occur during the food challenge, removal of the offending food solves the problem.

Speak with a vet for more help.

What is a novel protein?

A novel protein is an uncommon protein source such as:

  • Lamb
  • Venison
  • Duck
  • Turkey
  • Goat

An elimination diet uses these sources of foods as they are less likely to trigger an allergic response.

Commercial cat food that is limited to only these food sources and preferably fewer overall ingredients, is recommended for use with an elimination diet.

How do I know if my cat is allergic to food?

If a cat is allergic to something in their food then they will experience symptoms in the gastrointestinal system as well as the face and skin.

Common signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swollen eyes

Cats experience allergies to many things that include:

  • Hair
  • Pollen
  • Food
  • Dust
  • Medications

Fleas exist in unclean environments.

Exposure to fleas may result in an allergic reaction called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD).

Check out my guide to flea treatment for help with this problem.

What should I do if I think my cat has an allergy?

See a vet.

Vets will perform a range of tests to find the cause of the allergy. This includes:

  • Blood tests
  • Skin prick tests
  • Physical examination

The vet will send your cat’s blood for laboratory examination.

Skin prick tests involve exposure to various substances to see if a skin reaction (e.g. swelling, redness, hives) occurs.

The vet will prescribe the proper treatment after identifying the offending food or foreign body that causes the allergy.

This may involve the following:

  • Elimination diet
  • Flea treatment
  • Medication

Elimination diets are implemented when the cause of the problem is not identified.

What can I do to prevent my cat from having allergies?

A clean house helps reduce dust and fleas.

This may reduce the risk of allergens from the environment.

In terms of food allergies, there is not much you can do.

Generally, it’s best to limit your cat’s diet to foods they need and avoid feeding foods that don’t provide nutritional value to them.

Check out our article on the best flea collar to learn more about topical flea treatment.

Check out the best cat litter for allergies to learn more about litter choices.

Can allergies be cured?

No.

Once a cat has an allergy, there is nothing that will cure it.

Management is the only solution:

This involves selecting foods that don’t expose the cat to the offending substance.

As long as the cat is not exposed to harmful food, then it is able to live a happy and healthy life.

Are cats allergic to milk?

Cats are rarely allergic to milk.

However, cats do experience lactose intolerance after consuming a small amount of milk.

The average cat can tolerate 85ml of milk without harm.

Read more about whether milk is bad for cats over here.

What does hypoallergenic cat food mean?

This is a food that is less likely to result in allergies.

Hypoallergenic cat foods require a vet prescription.

These foods are sometimes used by vets for an elimination diet as they contain hydrolyzed protein.

Due to the carbohydrate content and other nutritional values, they may not be suitable ‘long term’ foods.

Check out my guide to feeding your cat for top health.

What cat food helps with allergies?

Cat food that has limited ingredients and contains novel proteins (i.e. meats less often used in cat food such as duck and kangaroo) is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

If you are looking for high-quality protein source food for your cat, then these products are a great option.

However, your cat may need a prescription diet with hydrolyzed protein formulas to tackle allergies. These foods need vet approval in order to purchase the foods.

Discuss the best available options for your cat with a vet.

What should I look for when reading a label for allergies?

You’ll need to give your cat a novel protein food source to help with allergy relief.

The novel protein must not contain any common protein sources (e.g. chicken, beef, fish) otherwise it will serve no purpose.

This requires careful inspection of the ingredients list to find out whether the ingredients are safe to eat. We’ve provided some product selections in this article to help you.

Many cat food tins will state the flavor, but that won’t be the main ingredient.

If a cat food says ‘recipe’, ‘dinner’, ‘nuggets’, ‘entree’, or any other descriptor the ingredients may have foods unsuitable for limited ingredient diets.

For example, a cat food label may say ‘duck recipe’. Duck is a novel protein that works well for elimination diets, however, the food may also contain common proteins.

Read more about label reading over here to find the best cat food.

Conclusion: Best Dry Cat Food for Allergies

This article goes into detail about the best dry cat food for allergies.

Cats are allergic to many things including dust, fleas, pollen, and food. 10% of all cat allergies are food-related.

An allergy results in an abnormal immune response. Symptoms include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, puffy eyes, and diarrhea.

The first thing you should do if you suspect an allergy is to speak to a vet, who will run tests to find out the cause of the problem.

If the problem isn’t found, an elimination diet helps to give your cat relief. It involves using novel or hydrolyzed protein food sources.

Common foods are re-introduced with a food challenge to find out what your cat tolerates.

Our Top Pick: Best Dry Cat Food for Allergies Overall

ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Cat Food

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Lamb Recipe Cat Food, 14-oz bag

Novel protein sources for allergy relief

Omega 3 from mussels for immune health

Grain-free for digestive health

No carrageenan

Not enough variety of flavors

Pricey

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Affiliate Disclaimer Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for yourself. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. As a Chewy affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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