Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

8 Best Foods for Cats with Feline Leukemia in 2021 – Reviews & Expert Advice

sick grey cat

Getting your cat tested for feline leukemia can be really terrifying. If you have noticed symptoms or were just getting a routine checkup, you’re probably scrambling for ways to make your cat’s life easier after this life-changing news.

Luckily, with diet and overall symptom management, cats can live quite a long time. The key is to make sure their immune system can keep up appropriately. So, we rounded up eight of the best foods we could find for cats with feline leukemia. Here are our reviews.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Purina Pro Plan True Nature High Protein Purina Pro Plan True Nature High Protein
  • Aromatic & hydrating
  • 25 essential vitamins & minerals
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Iams Proactive Health High Protein Iams Proactive Health High Protein
  • Great value
  • Prebiotics for gut health
  • All life stages
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Dr. Elsey's Clean Protein Cat Food Dr. Elsey's Clean Protein Cat Food
  • Terrific immune support
  • Natural ingredients
  • High calorie
  • Nulo Freestyle for Cats & Kittens Nulo Freestyle for Cats & Kittens
  • Small bite-sized bits
  • For adults & kittens
  • Protein sources for 4 ingredients
  • Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet High Protein Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet High Protein
  • Singular protein source
  • Grain-free
  • Potato-free
  • The 8 Best Foods for Cats with Feline Leukemia – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Purina Pro Plan True Nature High Protein – Best Overall

    Purina Pro Plan True Nature High Protein

    Calories: 66
    Protein: 11%
    Fat: 5.5%
    Fiber: 1.5%
    Moisture: 78%

    Purina Pro Plan True Nature High Protein cat food is an ideal source of sustenance, giving your cat mouth-watering flavors of ocean fish and trout. It also contains liver for an extra aromatic kick—it’s our overall favorite. Pop a top on this can of cat food, and your buddies come running for the feast.

    This recipe contains a major dose of 25 essential vitamins and minerals to replenish your cat’s system. It is optimized to give your cat lean muscle and a healthy immune system to stay strong and active.

    There are 24 cans total, measuring 66 calories per can. The guaranteed analysis on the can is 11% crude protein, 5.5% crude fat, 1.5% crude fiber, and 78% moisture.

    This entree is just one of many Purina True Instinct recipes you could try. They also have a wide variety of flavors and grain-free options available. However, your vet may recommend other products for your specific feline, depending on the stage of illness.

    Pros
    • Aromatic & hydrating
    • 25 essential vitamins & minerals
    • Strengthens immune system

    Cons

    • Might not work for all cats


    2. Iams Proactive Health High Protein – Best Value

    Calories: 439
    Protein: 38%
    Fat: 18%
    Fiber: 3 %
    Moisture: 10%

    If you’re looking for the best value, we think Iams Proactive Health High Protein cat food is the best cat food for cats with feline leukemia for the money. It has well-balanced, all-life-stages nutrition that keeps the immune, digestive, and cardiovascular systems running smoothly.

    This recipe contains real chicken as the number one ingredient. There are no fillers or harmful ingredients that will put your cat at risk but not break the bank either.

    This recipe contains 439 calories in each cup, totaling 3,874 calories per bag. That guaranteed analysis on the product has 38% crude protein, 18% crude fat, 3% crude fiber, and 10% moisture.

    There are tons of prebiotics and beet pulp to smooth the digestive tract and reduce Hairball production. Overall, you can’t beat the price for the nutrition—but it might not work for cats with dietary restrictions.

    Pros
    • Great value
    • Prebiotics for gut health
    • All life stages

    Cons

    • Might not work for dietary restrictions


    3. Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Cat Food – Premium Choice

    Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Dry Cat Food

    Calories: 544
    Protein: 59%
    Fat: 18%
    Fiber: 4%
    Moisture: 12%

    Although it comes with a higher price tag, we absolutely loved Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Cat Food. It has all of the right ingredients to keep your FeLV-positive cat living its best life. It mimics a more natural diet that your cat would find in a wild setting to give them only the nutrition they need.

    This chicken-based recipe contains this poultry source as the number one ingredient. We also see pork listed as a protein source—the third ingredient. All the added vitamins and minerals provide excellent immune health for your immuno-compromised friend.

    This product contains 544 calories per cup, totaling 4,030 per bag. The guaranteed analysis of this product has a whopping 59% crude protein, 18% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 12% moisture.

    Even though it’s a little expensive, this could be a significant improvement in your cat’s life. Although, this product does contain dried egg, which is an excellent source of protein for your feline. However, some cats show sensitivities to eggs, so please consult with your vet before switching your cat’s diet.

    Pros
    • Terrific immune support
    • Natural ingredients
    • High calorie

    Cons

    • Contains potential allergy triggers


    4. Nulo Freestyle for Cats & Kittens – Best for Kittens

    Nulo Freestyle for Cats & Kittens (1)

    Calories: 463
    Protein: 40%
    Fat: 18%
    Fiber: 4%
    Moisture: 10%

    Nulo Freestyle Grain-Free Cat & Kitten Food is our top pick for kittens with feline leukemia. It has a major increase in protein that they need to build their growing bodies while supporting a necessary immune system for overall health.

    The first four ingredients are all protein sources, which is more than any other product we could find. It contains pea protein rather than other potentially damaging fillers. Plus, we love that you don’t have to switch them into adulthood, as this is a growth and maintenance recipe.

    In one cup, this formula contains 463 calories—3,696 calories per bag. The guaranteed analysis of this product has 40% crude protein, 18% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 10% moisture.

    We really liked the small disc shape of the kibble—it was a perfect bite for kittens and adults alike. Always check with your vet before offering a vulnerable kitten any diet.

    Pros
    • Small bite-sized bits
    • For adults & kittens
    • Protein sources for 4 ingredients

    Cons

    • Check with vet beforehand


    5. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet High Protein

    Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet High Protein

    Calories: 413
    Protein: 37%
    Fat: 15%
    Fiber: 4%
    Moisture: 10%

    We loved the Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet High Protein recipe for FeLV positive felines. It has just the protein kick your cat benefits from while keeping out filler ingredients that could clog their system unnecessarily—like removing potatoes for carb content.

    This product contains real salmon as the number one ingredient and sole protein source to provide a proper dose of whole protein rather than meat meals. Peas and pea protein are used as carbohydrate sources for the formula.

    This product contains 413 calories per cup, totaling 3,760 per bag. The guaranteed analysis of the recipe has 37% crude protein, 15% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 10% moisture.

    Some cats have an aversion to peas in recipes, so always make sure to test these products with food trials and clear any dietary choices with your vet.

    Pros
    • Singular protein source
    • Grain-free
    • Potato-free

    Cons

    • Pea protein might not benefit all cats


    6. Taste of the Wild Dry Cat Food

    Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Calories: 390
    Protein: 42%
    Fat: 18%
    Fiber: 3%
    Moisture: 10%

    Taste of the Wild Dry Cat Food is specially formulated to aid in total bodily support for your feline. With appetite-inducing proteins like chicken, ocean fish, and smoked salmon, your cat is sure to crave this high-protein kibble.

    As each of those from Taste of the Wild, the recipe is supposed to cater to your kitty’s need for a natural diet. It’s suitable for cats of all life stages, making it perfect for kittens to seniors. Bountiful berries fill the formula to give your cat an antioxidant kick for full immune support, too.

    This product contains 390 calories per cup, totaling 3,745 calories per bag. The guaranteed analysis of the product has 42% crude protein, 18% crude fat, 3% crude fiber, and 10% moisture.

    As a bonus, it contains 80,000,000 live CFU, which are natural probiotics to aid in gut health. While this isn’t a necessary nutrient in all cat foods, it can really help your feline suffering FeLV to help build essential nutritional foundation blocks.

    Pros
    • Live probiotics
    • Antioxidants
    • All life stages

    Cons

    • Might not work for all cats


    7. Reveal Grain-Free Wet Canned Cat Food

    Reveal Grain-Free Wet Canned Cat Food

    Calories:
    Protein: 15%
    Fat: 0.5%
    Fiber: 1%
    Moisture: 82%

    The Reveal Grain-Free Tuna Fillet with Sea Bream is a fancy selection that might be pricey but is worth it. This is a truly limited ingredient diet, using prime cuts and shreds of tuna as the primary protein source. It’s instantly aromatic and appetite-inducing for any feline, so your cat is sure to take an interest.

    There are 24 cans in total, but this is intended to go over dry kibble. This is not meant to be a standalone diet for your cat. The product contains 15% crude protein, 0.5% crude fat, 1% crude fiber, and 82% moisture.

    If you were looking for a rich protein wet food to enhance your pet’s standard diet, this would surely give them the upped amount you’re looking for. Remember, this is a dietary enhancement product, and a little can go a long way.

    Pros
    • High protein shreds
    • Diet enhancement
    • Appetite encouraging

    Cons

    • Not a standalone diet


    8. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free

    blue buffalo wet

    Calories: 443
    Protein: 40%
    Fat: 18%
    Fiber: 4%
    Moisture: 9%

    The Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free recipe is designed to replenish your cat’s muscles with whole protein. In this case, Blue uses duck meat to encourage the healthy eating of novel proteins. It’s a terrific alternative to more common protein sources, like chicken or beef.

    Like all Blue foods, this recipe comes with LifeSource Bits, antioxidant-filled soft kibble pieces for an added nutritional boost. Blue doesn’t use any artificial flavors, corn, wheat, soy, or any other potentially triggering ingredients.

    This recipe contains 443 calories per cup, totaling 3,835 calories per bag. The guaranteed analysis of the product is 40% crude protein, 18% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 9% moisture.

    Always make sure to check with your vet before introducing grain-free recipes to your cat. Most will suggest only feeding grain-free if your cat has a diagnosed grain allergy. Otherwise, this product contains all of the natural goodies and protein boost your FeLV cat requires.

    Pros
    • LifeSource Bits
    • No artificial or filler ingredients
    • Novel protein

    Cons

    • For cats with grain allergies


    Buyer’s Guide

    What Is Feline Leukemia?

    Feline Leukemia, or FeLV, is a retrovirus that compromises a cat’s immune system. It is restricted to felines only and is non-transmissible outside the species. However, it spreads very quickly from cat to cat.

    Unfortunately, there is no cure, but it is manageable through treatment. Many cats with feline leukemia can live long lifespans, but they must live alone to avoid transmitting to another healthy cat.

    Symptoms of Feline Leukemia

    Often, feline leukemia can be asymptomatic. If your cat develops noticeable symptoms, it can make the illness harder to treat.

    Symptoms include:
    • Anemia
    • Lethargy
    • Wobbly gait
    • Fever
    • Weight loss
    • Prone to infections
    • Weakness
    • Gum inflammation
    • Cancer

    Why Is Diet Management Important?

    Because cats are feeling leukemia have compromised immune systems, nutrition needs to be a backbone in their everyday living. One way to keep your cats’ immune system functioning as it should is to provide a feline leukemia-positive cats diet high in protein, antioxidants, and low carbohydrates.

    Also, dry kibble isn’t the best choice when you’re looking at diet options. They don’t get enough hydration or whole protein, so if you choose a dry kibble diet—add a brother or topper.

    What Nutrients Are Most Essential?

    High Protein

    Protein is the most vital ingredient for your FeLV-positive cat. Since a cat’s natural diet is comprised of bountiful protein, it’s just as important for immune health to keep up during domestication. Immuno-compromised cats will need a boost of protein in their diet, which is why they benefit from extra.

    Cats that don’t get enough protein in their bodies will start to metabolize their own tissues, which can make them susceptible to decline.

    Sick cat
    Image Credit: Kachalkina Veronika, Shutterstock

    Low Carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates are essentially another word for energy. Your immune-compromised cat will need proper levels of energy to keep up with a normal state. High protein, moderate carb diets help your cat maintain the right levels of bodily energy.

    Amino Acids

    Amino acids, especially taurine, play a vital role in cat health. These acids are part of the metabolic process, storing and transporting nutrients throughout the whole body. This is critical for your cat’s overall immunity and body function.

    vet giving a pill to a sick cat
    Image Credit: Irina 1 Nikolaenko, Shutterstock

    Antioxidants

    Antioxidants minimize free radicals in the blood to protect your cat’s cells and strengthen immunity.

    Can FeLV Positive Cats Eat Raw Diets?

    There is some misconception about cats and raw food diets. It is true that cats cannot fight off illness properly with this condition. However, when you prepare raw food correctly, it actually boosts your cat’s immunity.

    This is a decision that needs to occur between you and your vet. Any dietary changes, including raw food diets, should always have vet supervision. Never make any finalized choices before receiving professional guidance.

    Conclusion

    Over all the others, we stand by our top choice—the Purina Pro Plan True Nature High Protein. It’s easy for your cat to eat, budget-friendly for most homes, and aromatic for a healthy appetite. Your cat will benefit from this extra moisture in its diet, and the chunks of protein don’t hurt.

    If you’re looking for the most nutritionally friendly bang for your buck, don’t forget to check out Iams Proactive Health High Protein. It is packed with the optimal nutrition to protect your FeLV-positive kitty, and it fits almost any budget.

    We hope we’ve introduced you to some excellent diet choices you can discuss with your vet—either as a standalone diet or an enhancement.


    Featured Image Credit: one photo, Shutterstock