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What is the best dry cat food for sensitive stomachs?
Low carb dry cat food is best.
As carnivores, cats have a hard time digesting carb rich foods.
Here’s our 3 best dry cat food sensitive stomach picks:
- Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein | Best Overall
- Tiki Cat Born Carnivore | Best Value
- Ziwi Peak Air-Dried | Best Quality
A high carb diet can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and food rejection.
Many dry cat foods are high in grains to save cost. Not good for digestion.
What to do?
We’ll go through a buying guide to break things, then run through the top picks.
Finally, I’ll go through frequently asked questions on the topic.
I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet for any further questions. This article is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.
Our top 3 buying tips for sensitive stomach friendly dry cat food:
- Choose low carb
- Avoid grains and additives
- Avoid peas and legumes
1. Choose Low Carb
For easy digestion, aim for less than 25% carbs (dry matter).
Why are carbs a problem for digestion?
Although they can digest small amounts, the high amount of carbs in many dry cat foods result in diarrhea.
Check with a calculator to find out where your cat food sits.
For this reason, wet cat food is best. Wet cat food is lower in carbs.
Feeding cats wet food helps with remission from diarrhea.
But with this article, I’m assuming you’re after a dry cat food.
Good luck, because there’s not many low carb dry foods (sorry). Fortunately, there are a few we’ve found (more later).
2. Avoid Grains and Additives
Some cats are sensitive to grains, including wheat and barely.
Other things to avoid:
Some cats are sensitive to these ingredients.
How can they cause digestive issues?
Either by poor digestion (e.g. lactose) or the food affecting digestive function (e.g. faster transit time).
The only real way to systematically go about finding out if these ingredients are an issue is an elimination diet.
On the bright side, some fibers may help digestion if hairballs are an issue.
Fiber including cellulose, beetroot pulp, and sugarcane fiber can bind hair, helping with elimination. Usually common ingredients in many dry cat foods.
3. Avoid Peas and Legumes
Cats have smaller stomachs more sensitive to gas.
Legumes (e.g. kidney bean) are gas producing and loaded into cat foods as a protein substitute (instead of chicken).
Steer clear if these ingredients are high up the list, but you can get by with small amounts depending on your cats tolerance.
3 Best Dry Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs
I’ve recommended the same 3 cat foods in my best dry cat food article!
It’s really a case of these three being the most reliable options.
1. Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein
Best Dry Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs
Dr. Elsey’s are the best choice for easy digestion.
They use protein gelatin instead of grains, giving you a carb free meal. No peas or fillers.
It’s an affordable meal for all life stages.
We are yet to give this one a try, so can’t comment about the taste or changes.
- Easy digestion
- All life stages
- High protein diet
Where to find Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein?
2. Tiki Cat Born Carnivore
Best Value Dry Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs
Tiki Cat Born Carnivore is low carb, at under 15% dry matter.
Whilst it does contain some peas and chickpeas, it’s still less ‘fillery’ (is that the word?) than many other options.
As this product isn’t available where I live, I haven’t tested it.
But I find it hard to recommend much else.
- Fussy eaters
- All life stages
Where to find Tiki Cat Born Carnivore?
3. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried
Best Quality Dry Cat Food
If food intolerance is an issue, Ziwi Peak is your best choice.
It’s a grass-fed product from New Zealand.
No grains. No peas. Nada.
It’s meat, organs, and little else to trouble your cats digestion. A complete meal for all life stages.
For quality, it’s a standout choice on the market. And our cats enjoyed it, thankfully.
But it’s ultra expensive! I think it’s worth it, but I can’t say it’s up everyone’s alley.
- Diarrhea relief
- Food intolerances
Where to find Ziwi Peak?
Best Dry Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs: Full List
Still not sure?
I’ve rounded up the best dry cat foods that are easier on digestion.
It’s hard to find cat foods that are grain and pea free (sadly). But all these options have fewer than 25% carbs dry matter.
Here is the list:
|Orijen Original||$||All||44%||20%||4,120||No||Yes||No||8.55||Good choice, but added peas|
|Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein||$$||All||67%||0%||4,030||No||No||No||8||Best overall|
|Go! Solutions Carnivore||$||All||51%||17%||4,298||No||Yes||No||8||Has peas|
|Ziwi Peak Air Dried||$$$||All||41%||5%||5,600||No||No||No||7||Best quality, but pricey|
|Tiki Cat Born Carnivore||$||All||48%||14%||3922||No||Yes||No||7.5||Best value|
|Solid Good Indigo Moon||$||All||47%||19%||3,958||No||Yes||No||7.5||Good choice, but has peas|
|Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain||$||All||47%||20%||3,745||No||Yes||No||7||Another good choice, but with peas|
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness||$$||Adult||44%||24%||3,832||Yes||No||Yes||7||Average option|
|Purina Pro Plan Kitten||$||Growth||48%||25%||4,370||Yes||No||Yes||7||Very affordable|
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does Dry Food Upset My Cats Stomach?
Overeating, high carb amount, or food intolerance.
Cats have a ping pong ball sized stomach. It can’t handle huge amounts of food.
This leads to so called ‘scarf and barf’.
Solution? Use small portions.
Spread food intake over 3-6 meals. In the wild, cat’s eat small frequent meals.
Food intolerance can also cause vomiting and pruritis (itchy skin).
What Is the Best Dry Food for Cats With Sensitive Stomachs?
Choose low carb dry cat food.
Best options include:
- Ziwi Peak Air-Dried
- Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein
- Tiki Cat Born Carnivore
- Orijen Original
Canned food increases the chance of remission from diarrhea. Consider switching part of the diet to wet cat food.
What Are Signs of Digestive Problems?
- Dry heaving
When Should I Call a Vet?
If you notice the following:
- Blood in vomit
- Blood in stool
- Vomiting more than once a month
- Diarrhea lasting more than 2 days
The pattern of vomiting is a sign of different things.
Problems with motility may cause your cat to vomit up to 8 hours post-meal. Digestive system damage leads to blood in the stool or vomit.
Keep a record of your cats history to help your vet with diagnosis.
High carb dry cat foods cause digestive issues. This includes vomiting and diarrhea.
Your choices are limited for dry cat foods that are low carb. Use a dry matter basis calculator and aim for fewer than 25% carbohydrate.
Contact a vet if the problem persists.
Our top picks: