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Is your cat a picky eater? Do you sometimes come home at night to a slop of vomit on your floor?
Does your otherwise healthy cat have a hard time keeping meals down? If so, your cat might need a food specifically designed for sensitive tummies.
Take a look at the five brands listed below
- Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Natural Adult Dry Cat Food
- Halo Grain-Free Natural Wet Cat Food for Adult Cats with Sensitive Stomachs
- Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin and Stomach Adult Dry Cat Food
- Hill’s Science Sensitive Stomach and Skin Dry Adult Cat Food
- Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Digest Sensitive Wet Cat Food
Five Best Cat Foods For Cats with Sensitive Stomachs
Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Natural Adult Dry Cat Food
Blue Buffalo cat foods feature real meat as the number one ingredient. Made with whole grains and fresh vegetables and fruits, Blue Buffalo cat food includes a FOS prebiotic to help support the digestive health of the cat while promoting nutrient absorption.
Blue Buffalo cat foods do not contain any animal-based by-products, corn, wheat, soy or artificial flavors and preservatives.
All cat food products by Blue Buffalo are manufactured in a two-part formula consisting of real food combined a precise blend of nutrients and vitamins in an incredibly healthy kibble the company likes to call “LifeSource Bits.”
These ingredients are processed at low temperatures to help preserve the delicate nutrients that can be destroyed by higher processing temperatures.
- Low processing temperatures preserve nutrients
- Free of common allergens
- Nutritionally balanced
- Made with whole foods
- Natural preservatives
- Contains “chicken meal,” a processed form of protein
- Not suitable for kittens
Halo Grain Free Natural Wet Cat Food For Adult Cats with Sensitive Stomachs
Halo uses only real, whole meat products and non-GMO veggies in the manufacture of its cat foods.
No “meat meal” of any kind (e.g. chicken meal, pork meal, fish meal) is added to this all-natural cat food. Halo also offers options for kittens who have sensitive stomachs.
The meals are all grain-free, making them ideal for cats with allergies. Additional nutrition such as taurine and minerals provide a balanced profile for your cat while at the same time delivering outstanding flavor.
Other nutrients included in this wet cat food include:
- Eggs (protein and choline)
- Dandelion greens (detox and liver support)
- Vitamin E (antioxidant and natural preservative)
- Biotin (healthy skin, claws, and fur)
- No meat meal of any kind
- Whole proteins
- Free of all common allergens
- Available for kittens
- Not as convenient as dry cat food
Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Sensitive Skin and Stomach Adult Dry Cat Food
The 16-pound bag of dry cat food for cats with sensitive stomachs is the perfect solution for a highly nutritious, well-rounded diet.
The lamb-and-rice formula contains real lamb as the first ingredient, making it ideal for the high protein requirements of cats.
The addition of Omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin A and zinc all combine to help nourish the skin and protect the coat of your pet.
These nutrients also aid in maintaining a healthy stomach lining for cats who tend to suffer from indigestion.
The Purina Pro Plan cat foods are offered in three different varieties: Savor, Focus and True Nature.
Each formulation is targeted toward a specific need for your cat, giving you the ability to craft a diet that best suits your cat’s unique constitution.
- Available in three formulations
- The Protein content of 40 percent
- Made in the U.S.A.
- Recommended by veterinarians and nutritionists
- Contains corn and rice
- Contains meat meal
- Contains soy-based ingredients
Hill’s Science Sensitive Stomach and Skin Dry Adult Cat Food
Hill’s Science formulation contains a unique antioxidant blend containing both vitamin A and vitamin C to help support the immune system of your cat.
This dry cat food is designed to be gentle on the system for cats with sensitive stomachs and skin.
This cat food is easy to digest and provides a balanced solution for cats who struggle to maintain a healthy coat and skin with the addition of Omega-6 fatty acids and other nutrients.
Hill’s Science pet foods are developed with the combined experience of more than 220 vets, scientists, and nutritionists.
- Easy to digest
- Boosts immunity
- Contains corn and oat fiber
- Contains meat meal
- May not work well for cats with grain allergies
Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Digest Sensitive Wet Cat Food
The highly digestible proteins present in Royal Canin’s formulation for cats with sensitive stomachs are uniquely processed to ensure palatability and a complete nutritional profile.
This product is especially beneficial for cats who have a strong odor to their stools and can help maintain a healthy weight.
The balanced profile of this wet cat food is targeted toward the instinctive preferences of cats to ensure optimal digestion and food interest.
- Contains real chicken
- Formulated for cats’ unique nutritional needs
- Can help reduce stool odor
- Contains common allergens including wheat and corn
- Contains meat-based by-products
What is Sensitive Stomach in Cats?
Cats have a way of hiding their illnesses and faults. After all, they have their reputations to uphold. A sensitive stomach is a little trickier for them to disguise. However, it’s not always easy for owners to diagnose.
Some cats will have a sensitive stomach for life. Other kitties might have occasional tummy troubles due to other conditions, such as allergy, stress, food intolerance, acute vomiting, or another sickness. If your cat begins eating less or suddenly gorges at each meal, then vomits shortly after, it could be a sensitive stomach.
Does your cat vomit more than twice a month? Did you know that’s a clear sign of a sensitive stomach? So are bouts of diarrhea and gas.
Just like people, Hills Pet says that cats can suffer from the occasional upset stomach. In a healthy cat, an occasional upset stomach is no reason for concern, especially if the cat spends a lot of time outside. However, persistent and/or severe digestive issues warrant a call to the vet.
Sensitive stomach occurs when your cat consumes anything that disagrees with their natural digestion.
For example, humans can have food sensitivities. Your cat isn’t any different, but our diets differ greatly. You might find peppers give you indigestion. Your cat might have the same issues with cheese, chicken, or milk.
However, the phrase sensitive stomach is more of a general term rather than an official diagnosis. You could also coin it a marketing term, but its presence on cat food cans and bags doesn’t mean brands made it up.
The 4 Most Common Symptoms of Stomach Sensitivities in Cats:
- Vomiting with or without bile more than twice a month
- Softer than usual stools
The video below talks more about a few causes and provides helpful tips on how we should react. Of course, we agree wholeheartedly that you should never yell or punish your kitty for vomiting.
There might be another illness present if your kitty seems lethargic, has a fever, or the symptoms have a sudden onset.
Some cats can develop sensitivities later in life, but vomiting is a symptom of many diseases and conditions. You should see your vet rule out a serious illness.
8 Common Gastrointestinal Issues Cat’s can Have that Mimic or Can Cause a Sensitive Stomach:
- Acid reflux
- Intolerance or allergy
- Ingested a foreign object (sewing needles are common)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Other common causes of a sensitive stomach vary. They can range from overfeeding to actual ingredient sensitivities. Sometimes, the cause is a combination of things we’re doing wrong as an owner, such as too many treats.
One thing you shouldn’t rule out is frequent food switching. This isn’t limited to changing brands of food, and your cat could show symptoms if you swap between flavors or varieties within the same brand without doing so gradually.
Cats are also susceptible to food poisoning, according to the NY Times.
We see evidence of this when companies recall pet foods for contamination or labeling mistakes. Always check the American Veterinary Medical Foundation for current and past pet food recalls if your pet has an adverse reaction to food or treats.
Your cat can also become sick from ingesting some human foods and medicines, so you should rule out these too.
If you think your cat could have a sensitive digestive system, Vet Street recommends a few things you can do to help mitigate their effects on your pet.
Tip 1: Eliminate Potentially Compromised Foods
Try to keep your pet from eating anything that has the potential to be compromised in some way.
If your cat is an outdoorsy pet, it is at increased risk of developing internal parasites. A regular parasite treatment plan can help reduce this likelihood.
Although cats are known for enjoying dairy products, their bodies often fail to produce the proper enzymes for proper dairy digestion. Eliminate dairy from your cat’s diet to rule out an allergy.
Tip 2: Make Changes to Diet Slowly
Make changes carefully. Any adjustment in your cat’s meal routine can cause an imbalance in its system.
If you do choose to switch your cat’s food to a different brand, Catster says to do so slowly by mixing increasingly larger percentages in with the old food until the diet consists of 100 percent new food.
Also, The Purrington Post recommends that you be sure that you are feeding your cat a high-quality, highly nutritious diet and not some cheap pet food made with low-quality ingredients.
A diary might sound odd, but it greatly helps your vet see the severity of the situation. It can also assist them in narrowing down the culprit.
Here’s an example.
You fed Teddy tuna on Friday. Your cat becomes ill within five minutes and vomits. However, you fed Teddy chicken from the same brand on Thursday with no symptoms occurring afterward.
Both flavors came from the same company. The ingredients are nearly similar except one has tuna and one has chicken. What does this tell you and your vet?
This shows your vet that it’s most certainly related to food and possibly to the ingredients in that particular variety. Your vet can take additional steps from here to improve their diagnosis and further treat your Teddy properly.
We can change up the scenario in numerous ways, but the bottom line is your journal provides a deeper insight. It’s also better than trying to remember every detail if you record it after it occurs.
How Will I Know if My Cat Has an Upset Stomach?
Symptoms of an upset stomach in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss f appetite. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is safe to assume that the cat has an upset stomach.
Can Cats Get Indigestion?
Just like humans, if a cat has ingested overly rich or fatty foods, it can suffer from indigestion. Unlike humans, though, the cat has extremely delicate digestive systems.
Even the smallest change can cause digestive trouble, let alone the feasting that can take place during celebrations. A cat with indigestion will often have:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Unexplained irritability
- Appetite loss
Following the steps above for a light diet and rest/recovery will help ease the symptoms of indigestion and can get your cat back on its feet in no time.
How Long Does it Take for a Cat’s Stomach to Empty?
Unlike bovines, which have a complex digestive system, cats have a simple digesting system similar to that of humans.
Because of this, a cat’s stomach will empty within two to three hours. If you are required to give your cat a supplement or medication on an empty stomach, wait at least two hours after a meal before administering the dose.
My Cat Vomits After Eating. What Does This Mean, and What Should I Do?
Reason 1: Eating Too Fast
If a healthy cat east too much food or eats too fast, the food could come right back up in short order.
If your cat eats very quickly, try feeding it smaller meals more often throughout the day. This will help discourage your cat from gorging itself at mealtime.
Reason 2: The Presence of Hairballs
According to Pets WebMD, hairballs can cause vomiting if left untreated. Hairballs form when the cat grooms itself.
Tiny hook-like structures on the tongue capture lose or dead hairs, which the cat then swallows.
While most of this hair will pass through the digestive tract to be excreted without an issue, some hair may remain in the stomach and eventually develop into a hairball.
In most cases, your cat will vomit the hairball naturally to get rid of it. Hairballs are most common in long-haired cat breeds but can occur in short-haired varieties as well.
Cats that are compulsive groomers are more likely to develop hairballs than those who are less fastidious.
If you notice that your cat did not have hairballs as a kitten but appeared to develop them as it grew older, no worries.
Your cat simply became better at the grooming process and is now able to remove more hair than it could when it was still a kitten.
You can eliminate the risk of developing hairballs to occur by placing a little dab of petroleum jelly on your cat’s paw.
The petroleum jelly will help prevent the formation of hairballs in your cat’s system. Also, daily brushing can help control the development of hairballs in the first place.
Products such as Laxatone, plain canned pumpkin (not pie mix), fish oil and a little butter are other methods you can use to avoid the hairball problem. A cat vomiting the occasional hairball is no reason for concern.
Reason 3: Food Sensitivities
Vomiting can also be caused by food sensitivities or a delicate digestive system. PetMD says that giving your cat food specifically designed for sensitive tummies can help decrease the likelihood of chronic vomiting.
Common Foods that Cats Can Have Difficulty Digesting
- Dairy containing lactose
Keep in mind two things: this isn’t an inclusive list and not every cat has a problem digesting these foods. Many cats thrive on a combination of grains, vegetables, and meats. We’ve met a cat who chooses to eat mostly vegetables over meat and vice versa.
Use this list to help you narrow down the problem ingredient(s) leading to your cat’s stomach discomfort. Don’t forget that preservatives and artificial colors and flavors could be the culprit too.
How Do I Stop My Cat Vomiting After Eating?
An ounce of prevention … You can’t stop them from vomiting up food that aggravates their stomach unless they don’t eat it.
Cats are not like humans. Our gag reflexes vary, but we do have some semblance of control even if temporary. Your cat has none. They can’t self-medicate, use our human tricks, or soothe nausea away as we can.
So they’re going to throw up, and they don’t care where.
Clean it up without scolding, please. It’s not your cat’s fault. We can’t stress this enough.
Yes, we understand that cleaning up cat throw up isn’t fun, but your cat can’t control it. A cat isn’t going to understand either, and you might wind up stressing them out more with punishment, according to Vet Street.
Just make sure not to feed that food again, and write down the name, brand, and date in your journal for future reference. If you haven’t contacted a vet by this point, we urge you to do so now.
What Else Can I do for My Cat’s Sensitive Stomach?
- Be patient with your cat as well as yourself
- Don’t continue feeding food or treat that makes your kitty sick
- Make food transitions gradually to minimize stomach upset*
- Feed smaller meals more frequently
- Be diligent with reading labels
- Treat additional underlying causes if applicable, such as hairballs
- Ask a vet for advice, especially if you feel like nothing you’ve done is working. Your cat’s sensitive stomach could be a symptom of another illness
- Consider cat-safe alternative medicines and supplements for digestive problems after consulting your vet
In the case of a pet food recall, spoilage, or contamination, you want to ignore this rule and change your cat’s food quickly. The benefit of healthy food outweighs the risk of sensitive stomach upset due to food change. According to PetMD, there are ways to minimize potential problems with fast swapping.
How can a Sensitive Stomach Cat Food Help?
Sensitive formulas contain easily digested ingredients, such as chicken. However, each brand is different. Some still contain common allergens, like soy, corn, and wheat. Others are free of grains but use potatoes for bulk.
In order for a sensitive formula to be right for your cat, it needs to contain ingredients that don’t make your cat sick. Unless you have that knowledge, you’re not going to know if it’ll work until you try.
I Found a Brand That Worked, but Now My Cat is Sick Again. What Happened?
Our first suggestion is to go read the label and see if anything changed. Chances are they added something new that your cat can’t digest. However, your cat could be sick
Once you find a food that works, continue checking the label every time you purchase it. Companies can change ingredients, and they don’t have to tell you.
We’ve had plenty of experience with companies pulling a switch-a-roo, so please be diligent in reading ingredient labels and checking recalls for mislabeled foods.
Is Wet Better Than Dry Food for a Sensitive Stomach?
It will depend more on your cat than anything else. One of our cats came to us as a stray, rescued from a short life of dumpster diving at a local Mexican restaurant.
You’d think he’d be thrilled to eat anything, but he won’t touch dry food or hard treats. He’s actually pretty snobby for a former street cat and eats a specific brand, texture, and flavor. Cats: the things we do for them.
The good news is that nearly every sensitive stomach formula on the market comes in wet and dry varieties. Only a few brands manufacture exclusive wet or dry foods lines, like Sheba
I Read Grains Make Cats Sick. Will a Grain-Free Formula Cure My Cat’s Sensitive Stomach?
There is a lot of misinformation about grains, grain-free foods, and cats. However, what matters more right now than grains vs. no grain formulas is whether the ingredients are a cause of your cat’s stomach problems.
Meat, additives, colors, and, yes, grains can all make your ill. Unless your cat’s sensitive stomach is because of grains, a grain-free diet isn’t going to help.
Can a Raw Diet Cure My Cat’s Sensitive Stomach?
Raw diets have gained popularity with many pet owners. This is a decision for you and your vet to make. We don’t suggest you make this switch without their guidance and consent due to current research.
Feeding raw might not solve anything. It could make your cat sicker too. Plus, if you don’t know what’s causing or irritating your cat’s sensitive stomach, it’s not going to magically help unless you’re lucky.
Is a Limited Ingredient Diet the Same as a Sensitive Stomach Formula?
Yes and no. Many limited ingredient diets simply remove the worst offenders from their pet food lines and replace them with ingredients more generally tolerated.
Another way to look at it is like this. You have the good, the bad, and the ugly. Limited ingredient formulas are in the middle, and they can be a great formula for cats with sensitivities if they’re free of problem-causing foods.
What Treats Can My Cat Have with a Sensitive Stomach Diet?
Just as you would with food, you’re going to read those labels and avoid any treats that have off-limit ingredients. It’s better to not feed treats at all, then to feed them a snack with something known to cause issues.
However, while you’re discovering what makes your cat ill, you should consider limiting special snacks. This is especially true for human foods.
Too many treats can be unhealthy for numerous reasons, but they can also hinder you from narrowing down troublesome foods.
For one thing, we tend to forget about them. Maybe we don’t count them because treats are a small amount of a cat’s diet. Unfortunately, if your cat is intolerant or allergic, it takes only a little bit to make them ill.
How Do I Know Which Sensitive Stomach Formula Will be the Right One for My Cat?
In all honesty, you won’t know until you try food that works. You don’t know that you’ll need a sensitive stomach formula or anything else special until you understand what’s causing the problem.
Lucky owners (and their cats) might already have an idea of which foods their cat tolerates. Referring to your food diary is a good starting place.
If your cat hasn’t stomached any food well, you might have more trial and error ahead of you. Your vet can assist you through the process of elimination.
Home Remedies for Cats with Sensitive Stomachs
There are several things you can do to help treat an upset stomach at home before heading to the vet.
You can treat a pet with an upset stomach by the following methods. Also, take a look at this YouTube video for more information on home remedies for cats with sensitive stomachs.
Avoid feeding your cat anything or a 24-hour period to allow the stomach to rest and eliminate the cause of the irritation.
Be sure to provide plenty of freshwaters to prevent dehydration. If your cat is still a kitten, do not withhold food for more than four hours or overnight at the very most. Be sure your cat has a warm and quiet place to rest while in recovery.
When you break the cat’s fast, feed it plain foods. Avoid the regular diet for at least three days and gradually reintroduce other foods once the cat is no longer vomiting. This step is important.
Returning to a normal diet too quickly may re-upset the cat’s stomach.
Double-check around your home to see if there are any household toxins your pet may have gotten into while you were not around.
If you suspect your cat ingested something toxic, contact your vet immediately.
Examples of a light diet are listed below:
- Boiled hamburger (drain the fat) with rice
- Cottage cheese and rice (as long as you are certain your cat does not have dairy allergies)
- Chicken and rice
The protein and the rice should be served in a 1:4 ratio. Remember that a light diet is not meant to be maintained for a long-term solution.
Three or four days is the maximum length you should go before fully reintroducing the cat’s normal diet.
If the cat is especially lethargic, try rubbing a little bit of pancake syrup on the gums for quick energy.
This is also a good time to check and see if the gums are pale or white. If they are any color other than pink, Pet Helpful recommends contacting the vet.
Closing Thoughts on Cats and Sensitive Stomach
Vomiting, diarrhea, and gas after your cat eat isn’t normal. It could be a sign of an underlying condition or food intolerance.
Intolerance and allergies aren’t one-size-fits-all. Your cat might be intolerant to meat, eggs, fish, grains, artificial colors or flavors, chemical additives, and vegetables. It’s a long list to narrow down.
A food diary and process of elimination can help you and your vet make the right diagnosis and discover food for your cat that’s nutritionally sound. However, it can take time, trial, and error. During this time, it’s best to work with your vet to make sure your cat’s overall health and nutrition are addressed.
Until then, try to be patient with your cat. Your kitty isn’t throwing up, passing gas, or having diarrhea accidents on purpose or acting out. They’re simply trying to relieve their own discomfort.
P.S.: If You Believe Your Cat has a Sensitive Stomach
- Call your vet
- Keep a symptom diary and mark when episodes occur
- Note any other behaviors or symptoms
- Jot down any food and treats, including the humankind