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The 9 Best Cat Foods for Sensitive Stomachs

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Medically reviewed by  JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM
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Updated by  Kate Barrington
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The best cat food for sensitive stomachs is easy to digest, rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients, and free from additives and artificial ingredients that could irritate your cat’s intestinal tract or immune system.

With its highly-digestible recipe, abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, and personalized customer experience, Smalls Fresh Ground Bird is our pick for the number one best cat food for sensitive stomachs.

But food sensitivities and allergies vary from cat to cat and not everyone is on the same budget.

There’s simply no single food that will solve every cat’s digestive woes. So, in addition to our top pick, we’ve included an assortment of species-appropriate, highly digestible foods to help you choose.

At a Glance: Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomach to Buy in 2023

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Overall Best
10.0
Picked by 31 people today!

Smalls Fresh Ground Bird

  • Primarily made with high-value animal protein
  • Made from human-grade ingredients
  • Conveniently shipped to your door
GET 35% OFF ENTER "CATS35" TO GET 35% OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER
Runner Up
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

Open Farm Surf & Turf Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Species-appropriate blend of muscle meat, organs, and bone
  • Rich in animal-sourced omega-3 fatty acids
  • Fairly low carbohydrate content
Get 20% Off ENTER "CATS20" TO GET 20% OFF YOUR FIRST AUTO-SHIP ORDER
Budget Pick
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

  • Primarily a meat-based recipe
  • Rich in hydrating moisture
  • Contains animal-sourced omega-3 fatty acids
Best Wet
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

RAWZ 96% Turkey & Turkey Liver Pate Canned Cat Food

  • Made with turkey as a single source of protein
  • Negligible carbohydrate content
  • Short list of simple, whole-food ingredients
Best Dry
9.4
Picked by 31 people today!

Ziwi Peak Mackerel & Lamb Air-Dried Cat Food

  • Contains a species-appropriate blend of muscle meat, organs, and bone
  • No added carbohydrate aside from dietary fiber
  • Rich in omega-3s for anti-inflammatory and joint benefits
Best Limited Ingredient
9.5
Picked by 31 people today!

Raised Right Original Turkey Adult Cat Recipe

  • Made with a single source of animal protein
  • Short list of digestible ingredients
  • Rich in animal-sourced omega-3 fatty acids
Best For Senior Cats
9.6
Picked by 18 people today!

Tiki Cat Silver Chicken, Duck & Duck Liver Recipe in Broth

  • Concentrated source of animal protein and fat
  • Very low carbohydrate content around 10%
  • Contains low phosphorus levels for kidney support
Best with Probiotics
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

Stella & Chewy’s Tummy Ticklin’ Turkey Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Made with a single source of animal protein
  • Very low carbohydrate content
  • Easily digestible with limited list of ingredients
Best Novel Protein
9.3
Picked by 31 people today!

Koha Limited Ingredient Diet Rabbit Au Jus for Cats

  • Single protein recipe made with rabbit only
  • New Zealand green mussels provide omega-3 fatty acids
  • Easily digestible and rich in hydrating moisture

4 Causes of Sensitive Stomach in Cats

The term sensitive stomach isn’t clearly defined. It’s typically used in reference to cats who experience digestive issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, or flatulence after eating certain foods. In some cases, these symptoms are related to underlying health conditions but they can also be a physical response to issues with the food itself — the quality or digestibility of the ingredients, the formulation, or even the breakdown of nutrients in the food.

Concerns about your cat’s digestion should be addressed with your veterinarian. They can help you determine whether your cat has an undiagnosed health condition or if they can benefit from a change in diet. Here are the four most common causes of digestive issues in cats.

Acute Gastroenteritis

This is any condition involving acute inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It could be caused by parasites, food poisoning, spoiled food, or another disease. Acute gastroenteritis is typically short-lived and may resolve on its own but some cats may benefit from treatment with anti-nausea medication, probiotics for digestive support, or intravenous fluid therapy.

Colitis

Colitis is inflammation of the large intestine. This condition can be either acute or chronic and, in many cases, the underlying cause is unknown. Common triggers include bacterial or parasitic infections, kidney disease, and food allergies. Some cats with colitis respond well to bland or novel protein diets while others improve with supplemental fiber or probiotics added to their diet.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are allergic reactions to specific substances in food. Contrary to popular belief, gluten and grains are not the most common culprits for cat allergies — they are proteins like chicken, beef, and fish. While skin irritation and poor coat health are the most common symptoms in cats, food allergies occasionally manifest as vomiting and diarrhea.

If you suspect your cat has a food allergy, it’s important to identify the allergen and remove it from their diet. The simplest option is to switch to a diet that doesn’t contain any of the proteins in your cat’s current food and gauge their condition after at least a month on the new food.

Click Here For A List Of The Best Hypoallergenic Cat Food

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

A common condition in senior cats, inflammatory bowel disease is characterized by the accumulation of inflammatory cells in the lining of the GI tract. This inflammation disrupts normal GI function, often causing chronic vomiting and diarrhea. The exact cause of IBD is unknown but an abnormal immune response to components of the diet may be involved.

Why Trust Cats.com

Not only have we spent years reviewing dozens of the world’s most popular cat food brands and hundreds of individual products, but we’ve spent countless hours analyzing labels, contacting pet food manufacturers, and reading customer reviews. We’ve also gotten hands-on experience with most of these foods with the help of our own cats.

The entire testing process for this guide was funded by Cats.com without direct influence from the brands involved. Our recommendations are based on a variety of factors including but not limited to ingredient quality, species appropriateness, brand reputation, price, and popularity.

To test the products on this list, we purchased the food at full retail price and performed a thorough qualitative analysis. In addition to offering the food to our cats to get their opinion, we made observations about the food’s texture, consistency, smell, appearance, and packaging.

The Top 9 Best Foods for Cats with Sensitive Stomachs

Moisture-rich food featuring highly digestible animal-sourced ingredients is often the best choice for cats with sensitive stomachs. That’s why we’ve chosen Smalls Fresh Ground Bird as our top recommendation. This single-protein recipe is packed with nutrition and hydrating moisture to benefit your cat’s digestion and overall health.

Though Smalls is our top pick, we recognize that it may not be the ideal choice for every cat. Your cat is unique, and so are their needs and preferences. We’ve included a variety of options for different preferences, life stages, and budgets in our recommendations below.

#1 Overall Best: Smalls Fresh Ground Bird

Small Fresh Ground Bird

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 13% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 40
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $4.00 per day

Smalls is a fresh cat food delivery service that offers a selection of frozen gently cooked cat foods. While you can only purchase the food with a subscription, Smalls offers a sampler pack that enables you to try all the recipes at a discount. Smalls also offers free cat treats from Shameless Pets with every order.

Featuring chicken muscle meat and chicken liver as the top two ingredients, this protein-rich fresh cat food formula offers easy digestibility for most cats. Not only is it packed with species-appropriate animal protein, but it’s full of hydrating moisture.

This food has a soft, minced texture that is easy to chew for most cats. It contains a few plant ingredients but the total dry matter carbohydrate content remains low, under 10%. Plus, it’s free from artificial additives and the ingredients are humanely-raised and sustainably sourced.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Liver, Green Beans, Water Sufficient for Processing, Dried Yeast, Tricalcium Phosphate, Kale, Magnesium Proteinate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Dandelion Greens, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Cod Liver Oil, Salt, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite, Biotin.

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Cod Liver Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 13%
Crude Fat: 8.5%
Crude Fiber: 1.5%
Moisture: 73%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 48.15%
Fat: 31.48%
Fiber: 5.56%
Carbs: 14.81%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 34.54%
Fat: 54.84%
Carbs: 10.63%

What We Liked:

  • Primarily made with high-value animal protein
  • Made from human-grade ingredients
  • Conveniently shipped to your door
  • Low carbohydrate content

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Only available as a subscription plan
  • No phone support (text and email only)

#2 Runner Up: Open Farm Surf & Turf Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

Open Farm Surf & Turf Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 45% Min
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Calories Per Ounce: 136
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $4.13 per day

Freeze-dried raw foods offer a shelf-stable, convenient alternative to fresh and frozen raw food while delivering similar nutritional benefit. The downside of this freeze-dried food is its low moisture content. This Open Farm formula is, however, designed to be rehydrated before feeding which helps resolve the issue.

This particular recipe features a blend of salmon and beef, inclusive of beef organs and bone. It’s a species-appropriate blend of animal ingredients and doesn’t contain added grains, starches, beans, peas, or legumes. It’s also free from potentially irritating binders like carrageenan and the fresh salmon provides anti-inflammatory omega-3s.

Freeze-dried food tends to be pricey but it’s a nutrient-rich and often calorie-dense choice. At 136 calories per ounce, the average 10-pound cat will only need about 1 ½ ounces of this food per day.

Ingredients

Salmon, Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Heart, Beef Bone, Montmorillonite Clay, Dicalcium Phosphate, Organic Dandelion Greens, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin), Salt, Organic Cranberries, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (A Preservative), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Magnesium Sulfate, Rosemary Extract.

Ingredients We Liked: Salmon, Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Heart, Beef Bone

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 45%
Crude Fat: 34%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 47.37%
Fat: 35.79%
Fiber: 5.26%
Carbs: 11.58%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 32.47%
Fat: 59.59%
Carbs: 7.94%

What We Liked:

  • Species-appropriate blend of muscle meat, organs, and bone
  • Rich in animal-sourced omega-3 fatty acids
  • Fairly low carbohydrate content
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Likely expensive to feed
  • Low moisture, should be rehydrated before feeding

#3 Budget Pick: Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 11% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 35
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $1.98 per day

Inexpensive wet cat foods don’t tend to be high on quality but this Nulo Freestyle recipe is an exception. It’s a meat-based formula rich in protein and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids with lower-than-average carbohydrate content.

This Nulo recipe isn’t a single-protein formula, so it may not be appropriate for cats with chicken allergies. It is, however, free from high-starch fillers and hard-to-digest legumes. The high moisture content contributes to the food’s digestibility and makes it a hydrating choice for cats. Overall, it’s a high-protein, moderate-fat food with fairly low carbohydrate content.

While this recipe is well-liked by cats and appears to be highly digestible, starchy thickeners like guar gum are a concern for some cat owners. Some cats develop loose stools after eating foods thickened with guar gum, so keep an eye out for changes in your cat’s stool if you choose this recipe.

Ingredients

Turkey, Chicken, Turkey Liver, Turkey Broth, Tuna, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Agar Agar, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Menhaden Fish Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Salt, Iron Proteinate, Sodium Carbonate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Magnesium Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Ingredients We Liked: Turkey, Chicken, Turkey Liver, Tuna, Menhaden Fish Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Guar Gum

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 11%
Crude Fat: 6.5%
Crude Fiber: 0.75%
Moisture: 78%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 50%
Fat: 29.55%
Fiber: 3.41%
Carbs: 17.05%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 36.02%
Fat: 51.7%
Carbs: 12.28%

What We Liked:

  • Primarily a meat-based recipe
  • Rich in hydrating moisture
  • Contains animal-sourced omega-3 fatty acids
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Guar gum causes loose stools in some cats

#4 Best Wet: RAWZ 96% Turkey & Turkey Liver Pate Canned Cat Food

RAWZ 96% Turkey & Turkey Liver Pate Canned Cat Food

  • Made In: Thailand
  • Guaranteed Protein: 9% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 37
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $3.25 per day

This single-protein recipe from RAWZ is a great choice for cats with chicken sensitivities and those who simply prefer the taste of turkey. It’s a high-protein wet food made with just two main ingredients, both of which are species-appropriate animal proteins.

Turkey broth gives the food flavor and adds plenty of hydrating moisture. There are no grains, potatoes, peas, or legumes which might be difficult for your cat to digest. In fact, fenugreek seeds are included as a digestive aid. There is some evidence to suggest that it may help stimulate appetite in pets and most cats seem to tolerate it well.

Overall, this is a high-protein and high-fat formula with negligible carbohydrate content. Its short list of ingredients and moist texture make it highly digestible for most cats.

Ingredients

Turkey, Turkey Liver, Turkey Broth, Fenugreek Seeds, Dandelion Greens, Taurine, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Magnesium Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Salt, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Ingredients We Liked: Turkey, Turkey Liver

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 9%
Crude Fat: 8%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 78%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 40.91%
Fat: 36.36%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 18.18%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 27.75%
Fat: 59.91%
Carbs: 12.33%

What We Liked:

  • Made with turkey as a single source of protein
  • Negligible carbohydrate content
  • Short list of simple, whole-food ingredients
  • Rich in moisture and animal-sourced fat

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Pricey, may cost over $3.00 per day
  • Some reviewers say the consistency is a little dry

#5 Best Dry: Ziwi Peak Mackerel & Lamb Air-Dried Cat Food

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Recipe Cat Food

  • Made In: New Zealand
  • Guaranteed Protein: 43%
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 129
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $2.84 per day

While high-moisture cat food is preferable, this air-dried recipe from Ziwi Peak is a nutritious choice. Air-dried instead of extruded under high heat and pressure, this recipe features whole mackerel as the first ingredient. Eight of the next nine ingredients consist of lamb muscle meat, organs, and bone.

As a primarily meat-based recipe, this air-dried recipe may be easier for cats to digest than the typical high-carb kibble. Aside from meat ingredients and New Zealand Green Mussel — a species-appropriate source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s — the only other ingredients in this food are sources of dietary fiber added to support digestion and synthetic supplements to ensure nutritional completeness.

The low moisture content of this food can be a downside, especially considering it isn’t designed to be rehydrated the way freeze-dried foods are. If your cat prefers dry food but you’re looking for a more species-appropriate alternative to kibble, this air-dried food might be a good choice.

Ingredients

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

Ingredients We Liked: Whole Mackerel, Lamb, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Lung, Lamb Heart, Lamb Liver, New Zealand Green Mussel, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Spleen, Lamb Bone

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 44%
Crude Fat: 24%
Crude Fiber: 3%
Moisture: 14%
Ash: 12%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 51.16%
Fat: 27.91%
Fiber: 3.49%
Carbs: 3.49%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 41.79%
Fat: 55.36%
Carbs: 2.85%

What We Liked:

  • All main ingredients are animal-derived
  • Contains a species-appropriate blend of muscle meat, organs, and bone
  • No added carbohydrate aside from dietary fiber
  • Rich in omega-3s for anti-inflammatory and joint benefits

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive to feed
  • Much lower moisture content than canned food

#6 Best Limited Ingredient: Raised Right Original Turkey Adult Cat Recipe

Raised Right Original Turkey Adult Cat Recipe

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 21%
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Calories Per Ounce: 44
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $3.05 per day

If you suspect your cat’s digestive issues are linked to food allergies or sensitivities, a recipe made with a short list of animal-sourced ingredients may help. This fresh cat food formula features turkey as a single source of protein, inclusive of muscle meat and organs.

With turkey thigh and organs as the top three ingredients, this recipe contains over 63% protein measured as dry matter. The dry matter fat content is around 24% and appears to be sourced primarily from cod liver oil. Overall, this is a high-protein and moderate-fat fresh food formula with low carbohydrate content.

Though this recipe contains a few plant ingredients, it’s free from hard-to-digest beans, peas, and legumes. The carbohydrate content is under 10%, measured as dry matter, and the food doesn’t contain any artificial additives or inflammatory ingredients.

Ingredients

Turkey Thigh, Turkey Heart, Turkey Liver, Carrots, Blueberries, Organic Spearmint, Cod Liver Oil, Egg Shell Powder, Flaxseed Oil, Organic Dried Kelp, Taurine, Thiamine Mononitrate.

Ingredients We Liked: Turkey Thigh, Turkey Heart, Turkey Liver, Cod Liver Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 21%
Crude Fat: 8%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 67%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 63.64%
Fat: 24.24%
Fiber: 6.06%
Carbs: 6.06%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 49.49%
Fat: 45.79%
Carbs: 4.71%

What We Liked:

  • Made with a single source of animal protein
  • Short list of digestible ingredients
  • Rich in animal-sourced omega-3 fatty acids
  • Good choice for cats with chicken sensitivities

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some cats seem to dislike the flavor
  • Only available in quantities of 4 or 16 bags

#7 Best for Senior Cats: Tiki Cat Silver Chicken, Duck & Duck Liver Recipe in Broth

Tiki Cat Silver Chicken, Duck & Duck Liver Recipe in Broth Senior Shreds & Mousse Wet Cat Food

  • Made In: Thailand
  • Guaranteed Protein: 12% Min
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Calories Per Ounce: 31
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $4.98 per day

This wet cat food recipe is uniquely formulated for senior cats. It is made with a combination of soft shreds and mousse which makes it easy for cats with dental issues to eat and the the multi-protein flavor may entice picky cats to eat.

The food contains 60% dry matter protein and 25% fat, most of which appears to come from animal sources. At around 30 calories per ounce, it’s not a low-calorie food and the high protein content should help skinny senior cats keep on weight.

While this food doesn’t contain carrageenan, a known carcinogen, it is thickened with xanthan gum. Gum thickeners may not be inherently harmful but they have been known to trigger digestive upset in some cats.

One reviewer quipped that, as a high-protein and low-carb recipe, the food has been a game-changer for his diabetic cat. Several reviewers commented that their cat really loves the combination mousse-shreds texture.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Duck, Duck Liver, Pumpkin, Dried Egg, Coconut Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Salt, Magnesium Sulfate, Turmeric, Tuna Oil, Green Tea Extract, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Zinc Oxide, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement.

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Duck, Duck Liver, Dried Egg, Tuna Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Coconut Oil, Xanthan Gum

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 12%
Crude Fat: 5%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 80%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 60%
Fat: 25%
Fiber: 5%
Carbs: 10%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 45.9%
Fat: 46.45%
Carbs: 7.65%

What We Liked:

  • Concentrated source of animal protein and fat
  • Very low carbohydrate content around 10%
  • Contains low phosphorus levels for kidney support
  • Soft shreds and mousse texture for cats with dental issues

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Pricey, costs over $0.75 per ounce
  • Reviews are limited because the product is still new

#8 Best with Probiotics: Stella & Chewy’s Tummy Ticklin’ Turkey Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

Stella & Chewy's Tummy Ticklin' Turkey Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 40% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 140
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $4.09 per day

Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried cat food is an easily digestible choice for many cats due to the single-protein formula and short list of ingredients. For added digestive support, however, the food also contains probiotics.

This recipe from Stella & Chewy’s features turkey as a single source of protein — one that is novel for many cats. If your cat is allergic to turkey, there’s always chicken, duck, fish, and even rabbit. Each formula features a carnivore-appropriate blend of muscle meat, organs, and ground bone with minimal added carbohydrate.

Like other freeze-dried foods, this recipe is low in moisture. To support your cat’s hydration and ease digestion, it’s best to rehydrate this food before feeding it to your cat. Fortunately, the lightweight morsels crush easily and soften quickly in warm water or broth.

Ingredients

Turkey With Ground Bone, Turkey Liver, Turkey Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Dried Pediococcus 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.

Ingredients We Liked: Turkey with Ground Bone, Turkey Liver, Turkey Gizzard

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 40%
Crude Fat: 37%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 42.11%
Fat: 38.95%
Fiber: 5.26%
Carbs: 13.68%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 28%
Fat: 62.9%
Carbs: 9.1%

What We Liked:

  • Made with a single source of animal protein
  • Very low carbohydrate content
  • Easily digestible with a limited list of ingredients

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Primary source of added fat is plant-based
  • Low moisture, should be rehydrated before feeding

#9 Best Novel Protein: Koha Limited Ingredient Diet Rabbit Au Jus for Cats

Koha Limited Ingredient Diet Rabbit Au Jus for Cats

  • Made In: Thailand
  • Guaranteed Protein: 9% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 25
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $5.35 per day

For cats with food allergies and sensitivities, Koha offers a variety of limited ingredient, minimal ingredient, and single-protein recipes. This rabbit-based wet food contains little more than rabbit muscle meat, ground flaxseed, and New Zealand green mussel with pumpkin as a source of dietary fiber.

Though free from carrageenan and potentially irritating gum thickeners, this recipe does use agar agar as a binder. Like carrageenan, agar agar is a seaweed derivative but there are no scientifically proven harmful effects.

The carbohydrate content of this formula is a little higher than we’d like to see but it’s one of the few canned food formulas on the market made with rabbit that doesn’t also contain another protein. The rabbit is protein-rich but fairly lean and the green mussels provide a supplemental animal-derived fat source, primarily omega-3s.

Ingredients

Rabbit, Water Sufficient For Processing, Ground Flaxseed, New Zealand Green Mussel, Agar Agar, Pumpkin, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Salt, Taurine, Dried Kale, Cranberries, Ginger, Turmeric, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Ingredients We Liked: Rabbit, New Zealand Green Mussel

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Agar Agar

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 9%
Crude Fat: 4%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 82%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 50%
Fat: 22.22%
Fiber: 5.56%
Carbs: 22.22%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 39.62%
Fat: 42.77%
Carbs: 17.61%

What We Liked:

  • Single protein recipe made with rabbit only
  • New Zealand green mussels provide omega-3 fatty acids
  • Easily digestible and rich in hydrating moisture
  • May be a good choice for cats with food allergies

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive to feed
  • Higher carbohydrate content than is ideal

What to Look for in a Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs

Cats with digestive issues are frequently misunderstood and their problems are often dismissed. The term “sensitive stomach” itself is a euphemism—no cat’s stomach is inexplicably fragile or fussy. There’s usually a reason why a cat can’t tolerate certain foods, even if that reason is difficult — and frustrating — to identify.

In other words, a sensitive stomach isn’t a diagnosis in itself. But if your cat frequently experiences digestive upset, changing their diet could help. Here are some options to discuss with your veterinarian.

Switch to a Bland Diet

If your cat has acute gastroenteritis, start with a 12-hour fast to allow their GI tract to rest, then introduce a bland diet. Think of it like the BRAT diet for humans recovering from a stomach illness — BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

Like the BRAT diet, a bland diet is non-irritating and provides enough nourishment for a few days, but you shouldn’t feed it any longer than necessary. Your cat needs complete and balanced nutrition, so switch to a nutritionally complete pet food as soon as possible.

This type of diet comes in various forms. Some like pumpkin puree and boiled chicken. Some recommend boiled chicken and rice. If you want to keep it carnivore-appropriate, try unseasoned chicken thighs cooked with the fat and skin attached. Remove the bones and serve with bone broth.

Eliminate Inflammatory or Irritating Ingredients

This often means choosing a pet food made with novel proteins — meats that your cat hasn’t been exposed to before. For example, if your cat always eats a chicken-based food, opt for one made with rabbit or venison instead. Other potentially irritating ingredients include artificial additives, carrageenan, and dairy.

While you’re ridding your cat’s diet of inflammatory ingredients, don’t forget to incorporate anti-inflammatory ones. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish or krill oil are powerful and species-appropriate anti-inflammatories.

Prioritize Highly Digestible Ingredients

Plant protein is less digestible for cats than animal protein. Animal by-products, similarly, may have lower digestibility scores than properly proportioned muscle meat, organs, and bones. Fat follows the same carnivorous logic — animal fat is more digestible than plant fat.

Generally speaking, a diet of whole, animal-sourced ingredients will be more digestible for your cat than a recipe filled with animal by-products, plants, and artificial additives. The shorter the list of ingredients the better because it means there’s less for your cat’s body to process.

Promote Healthy Gut Flora by Providing Probiotics

Supporting a healthy gut microbiome is a cornerstone of ensuring that your cat’s digestive system stays in top shape. Dysbiosis, or an imbalanced bacteria population, is associated with poor digestive health and IBD. Particularly if your cat has undergone antibiotic therapy — which kills both good and bad bacteria — it’s likely that dysbiosis plays a role in your cat’s tummy troubles.

One of the simplest ways to promote healthy gut flora is to add a probiotic supplement to your cat’s meals. You can also consider the inclusion of prebiotics, which promote the growth and activity of beneficial gut bacteria.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What food is good for a cat with a sensitive stomach?

The best food for cats with sensitive stomachs is made with a short list of digestible, species-appropriate ingredients. In other words, a recipe featuring muscle meat, organs, and bone, ideally from a single species or, at least, one that doesn’t trigger sensitivities in your cat.

What ingredients should cats with sensitive stomachs avoid?

Animal-sourced ingredients are the most digestible for cats, so avoid recipes that rely too heavily on plants. Prioritize animal-sourced proteins and fats, being particularly careful to avoid plant protein concentrates like pea protein or potato protein. Avoid inflammatory ingredients as well, such as dairy, carrageenan, and artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Is wet or dry food better for cats with sensitive stomachs?

Digestibility is key when it comes to a diet for cats with sensitive stomachs, so wet food is ideal. High-moisture foods are easier for your cat’s body to process and wet foods generally tend to be lower in carbohydrates than dry food.

Note: The values in our nutrient charts are automatically calculated based on the guaranteed analysis and may not represent typical nutrient values. This may lead to discrepancies between the charts and the values mentioned in the body of the review.
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About Mallory Crusta

Mallory is the Head of Content at Cats.com and an NAVC-certified Pet Nutrition Coach. Having produced and managed multimedia content across several pet-related domains, Mallory is dedicated to ensuring that the information on Cats.com is accurate, clear, and engaging. When she’s not reviewing pet products or editing content, Mallory enjoys skiing, hiking, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She has two cats, Wessie and Forest.