If you own a cat that’s struggling with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), it can be frustrating trying to find the right food for IBD. We completely understand the struggle, and that’s why we tracked down and reviewed the 10 best foods for cats with IBD.
While we can’t guarantee that every product will work with your cat, we can say that at least one of these products is exactly what your cat needs.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Purina Pro Plan Gastroenteric Formula||
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|Best Value||Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe||
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|Premium Choice||Hill's Prescription Diet Food Sensitivities||
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|Best for Kittens||Stella & Chewy's Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels||
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|Ziwi Peak Venison Recipe||
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The 10 Best Food for Cats With IBD — Reviews & Top Picks 2021
1. Purina Pro Plan Gastroenteric Formula — Best Overall
|Protein Source:||Chicken liver|
|Size Options:||6 and 10 pounds|
If you’re looking for a prescription-level IBD food that won’t break the bank, Purina Pro Plan Gastroenteric Formula is an outstanding choice. Purina formulated the recipe for cats with IBD, and it’s an easy food source to transition them to.
Since it’s a dry food, there are no special actions at dinner time, and it comes in a 10-pound bag that lasts a while.
This is a prescription cat food, which drives up the price compared to non-prescription food. It’s not nearly as expensive as some other prescription options out there, but it’s still expensive. That said, the chance of it not working for your cat is slim.
This combination of effectiveness and price is why it easily earned the nod as our best overall food for cats with IBD.
2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe — Best Value
|Size Options:||5 and 11 pounds|
If you’re shopping for the best food for cats with IBD for the money, look no further than Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe. It’s not a prescription food, which saves you money with the vet.
Blue Buffalo used a limited number of ingredients in this food, and salmon is the protein, which is an IBD-sensitive protein source. Since it’s a dry food that comes in 11-pound bags, it’s easy to transition to and lasts a long time.
The biggest drawback to this food is that it’s not a prescription food, which means that it doesn’t have all the perks that a prescription IBD food has. But for most cats with IBD, this is all they need to stay happy and healthy.
3. Hill’s Prescription Diet Food Sensitivities — Premium Choice
|Size Options:||5 and 8.5 pounds|
If you need the best of the best and don’t care about how much it costs, Hill’s Prescription Diet Food Sensitivities is what you’re looking for. It’s not cheap, but it has a great chance of settling your cat’s stomach.
As the name implies, you’ll need a prescription to purchase it, but most vets have no problem writing one for a cat that needs it. As an added perk, this food helps out with cats that also have skin sensitivities, so it’s a two-for-one.
Hill only uses high-quality ingredients and has a limited-ingredient formula that helps settle stomachs. But this is a more expensive option up front, and the largest bag size is smaller than that of most other pet foods.
4. Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels — Best for Kittens or Puppies
|Food Type:||Freeze-dried raw|
|Size Options:||5, 8, and 18 ounces|
There are diets that are great for your pets, then there are raw food diets. All you have to do to see the difference is look at the ingredients list. For Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels, it’s a diet that consists of 98% rabbit!
Fewer ingredients mean less chance for IBD flareups, and since it’s a raw food option, your cat is sure to love it. Now keep in mind that this is a freeze-dried raw food option. What that means is that you’ll need to rehydrate it by having it sit in water before feeding it to your cat.
It’s not a huge deal, but it does mean that the smaller product sizes go a bit further. That’s a good thing because of how much these small packs cost. They’re not cheap, but your cat will love them — and chances are that their stomach will too.
5. Ziwi Peak Venison Recipe
|Size Options:||3-ounce 24 pack or 6.5-ounce 12 pack|
Some owners swear that wet foods are better for a cat with IBD, while others swear by dry food. The truth is that it all comes down to your cat. But one thing is for sure: Wet foods tend to cost more. That trait certainly holds true with the Ziwi Peak Venison Recipe, and it’s the best canned cat food for cats with IBD.
But while it might have a higher price tag, when you look at everything that it offers, it’s easy to understand why and to justify the cost. For starters, it only uses a limited number of ingredients. This makes it easier on your cat’s digestive tract.
Second, all the protein is free-range and hormone-free. It’s an ethical and healthy way for your cat to eat. But when you pair the facts that it’s more expensive and doesn’t last that long, it can be a hit on the budget. If it’s what your cat needs, though, then it’s well worth it.
6. Hound & Gatos 98% Turkey & Liver Formula
|Size Options:||5-ounce case of 24|
One wet food option that you have is the Hound & Gatos 98% Turkey & Liver Formula. It’s an affordable wet food with a poultry-based protein that’s not chicken. Don’t let the name fool you — while it certainly has liver, it’s all turkey liver.
Turkey is usually a safe bet with cats that suffer from IBD, but it comes down to what your cat can handle. With Hound & Gatos, it’s a limited-ingredient recipe and all of the ingredients are high-quality.
There’s only one size option available, but it’s a larger bulk option. So, if it does end up working for your cat, you don’t have to worry about spending a ton because you can’t buy in bulk.
7. Blue Buffalo Basics Duck & Potato
|Size Options:||3-ounce 24 pack|
Blue Buffalo is one of the largest names in the pet food industry, and it made its way to the top by producing high-quality foods free of fillers. With its Blue Buffalo Basics Duck & Potato recipe, it takes that philosophy a step further.
Not only do you get a high-quality food, but it’s also a limited-ingredient recipe. What’s great for cats with IBD is that it’s a single protein source, and it also has potatoes and pumpkin. Both ingredients help settle a cat’s stomach, so it’s a win-win for your cat.
But the Blue Buffalo Basics line is anything but cheap. If you’re exclusively feeding your cat a wet food diet, this won’t even last 2 weeks, and it’s not a cheap product.
8. Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner
|Food Type:||Freeze-dried raw|
|Size Options:||5, 8, or 18 ounces|
Stella & Chewy has the Chick Chick Chicken Dinner, an excellent choice for a freeze-dried raw food diet.
It’s a single-source protein diet and has limited ingredients. Over 95% of the food is nothing but cage-free chicken, and the rest consists of 100% organic-certified fruits and veggies. It’s nothing but the best, and if your cat has a sensitive stomach, this is what they need.
But to get the best, you have to open up your wallet a bit. This is not a cheap food source, and if you have multiple cats, this food can easily push past your budget.
Also, many cats with IBD struggle with chicken. While the proteins that each cat can and can’t handle are different, chicken is often a no-go.
9. Tiki Cat Hanalei Luau Wild Salmon
|Size Options:||8-ounce case of 12, 6-ounce case of 8|
With Tiki Cat Hanalei Luau Wild Salmon, wet cat food doesn’t have to drive you out of house and home. It’s an affordable wet cat food solution, but that doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing on quality. All the salmon is 100% Alaskan wild-caught, and salmon is an excellent protein source if your cat has IBD.
However, there are more ingredients in this food than we would like, even if they are all high-quality. These extra ingredients are harder for a cat with IBD to deal with, even if it does have the best possible protein source.
It also only comes in smaller package options, so you’ll need to purchase more than one at a time. But for an affordable wet cat food, it’s definitely worth taking a shot to see if your cat can handle it.
10. Go! Sensitivities Limited Ingredient Duck
|Size Options:||3, 8, and 16 pounds|
With this recipe, Go! Sensitivities Limited Ingredient Duck Recipe, the name tells you almost everything that you need to know. There are limited ingredients, and everything that Go! did was for cats with sensitive stomachs in mind.
But those aren’t even the best perks. This food comes in a massive 16-pound bag, and it’s available for an affordable price. Additionally, since it’s a dry cat food, it’s easy to transition to, and you can leave it out if your cat doesn’t eat all at once.
However, duck isn’t always the best protein source for a cat with IBD, but it’s worth a shot, especially since you can start with a 3-pound bag. If it doesn’t work out, you won’t be stuck with a ton of food that you can’t use, and if it does, you have an affordable option to feed your cat!
With so many options and so many factors that you need to keep track of when getting your cat on a new IBD-friendly diet, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. That’s why we’re here to walk you through everything that you need to know and get it all sorted out as soon as possible.
Picking a Protein Source
Since the primary food source in cat foods is the protein, you can usually assume that this is what is causing IBD flare-ups when one happens. Since many cats are sensitive to different proteins, you should always stick to a food with a single protein source.
But every cat food has a single protein source, so how do you know which one to choose? The truth is that you don’t. It’s a trial-and-error process until you can figure out what your cat can handle. That said, we do know that three protein sources are more likely to cause flare-ups: beef, fish, and chicken.
So, if you’re looking to get it right the first time, try a novel protein source like venison, duck, or salmon. These proteins are usually a little easier for your cat to process, but there’s no guarantee of what your cat can or can’t handle.
Wet/Dry/Raw Food Options
Outside of the protein source, another factor that you need to consider is whether you’re feeding them wet, dry, or raw cat food. These all have their own various advantages.
The advantage of dry food is simple. It’s affordable and easy to feed. You can put it out in the morning and leave it out all day, and it comes in large quantities. It almost never spoils, and most cats like it. However, most cats prefer wet or raw food options.
Wet foods are more expensive, but they often have higher quality ingredients, and it can be easier to convince your cat to eat it. But the tradeoff is the price. Wet cat food is more expensive, and if your cat doesn’t eat it right away, you need to refrigerate the leftovers.
Finally, there are raw food options. There are freeze-dried raw foods and 100% fresh raw food options. But both are extremely expensive. You can expect to spend anywhere from $5 to $12 a day to feed a single cat under 10 pounds!
The tradeoff is that they get a delicious and nutritious meal that’s easy on their bellies. If you can afford it, raw foods are among the best options out there.
Prescription vs. Non-prescription
If you’re looking to get either the Purina Pro Plan Gastroenteric Formula or the Hill’s Prescription Diet Food Sensitivities diet, you’ll need to go to a vet and get a prescription for them. The reasoning for this is that they’re the only foods that say that they can “cure, treat, or mitigate” certain conditions on the packaging.
While these foods can certainly do those things, it’s debatable if they do a better job than other foods. We always recommend speaking to a vet about your cat’s IBD before starting any new food regimen. Ask them if a prescription food is right for your pet or if another cat food would do the trick.
Transitioning to a New Cat Food
While you should slowly transition a cat to any new food, this is particularly important if your cat has IBD. Always follow the instructions on the packaging, but this usually means mixing 25% of the new food with 75% for a time before increasing the amount of new food and lowering the amount of the old food.
Keep in mind that even while doing this, it’s not uncommon for cats with IBD to have flare-ups from their new diet. Give time for everything to settle down before making your decision that the new food is right for your cat. The last thing you want to do is keep switching to new foods without ever giving their stomach time to adjust.
If you’re still struggling about what food you should purchase after reading all the reviews, ask yourself one question, “Can you get a prescription food?” If so, go with the Purina Pro Plan Gastroenteric Formula. It’s a great choice at a great price, and if that doesn’t work, you can always try the more expensive Hill’s Prescription food.
However, if you can’t get a prescription, try Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe. It’s a prescription-free option available for a great price!
If your cat has IBD, you need to work on finding them the right food right away.
Featured Image Credit: Krakenimages.com, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Food for Cats With IBD — Reviews & Top Picks 2021
- 1. Purina Pro Plan Gastroenteric Formula — Best Overall
- 2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe — Best Value
- 3. Hill’s Prescription Diet Food Sensitivities — Premium Choice
- 4. Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels — Best for Kittens or Puppies
- 5. Ziwi Peak Venison Recipe
- 6. Hound & Gatos 98% Turkey & Liver Formula
- 7. Blue Buffalo Basics Duck & Potato
- 8. Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner
- 9. Tiki Cat Hanalei Luau Wild Salmon
- 10. Go! Sensitivities Limited Ingredient Duck
- Buyer’s Guide