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Cat Food for Allergies Reviews: Our Top Picks

David Fields
Last Updated on
by David Fields

When it comes to finding the best cat food for cats with allergies, there are various options. However, understanding them requires knowledge about how hypoallergenic food differs from ordinary cat food.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of what we consider the best cat foods for allergies.  

Not only that, but we’ll guide you through the process of finding the best wet cat food for allergies that suits your cat’s needs.

We’ve carefully researched the options, and our favourite is Vital Essentials. However, it’s not the only option;

Cat Food For Allergies Comparison Table

Top 7 Cat Food For Allergies
Vital Essentials
  • Food form: Chunks
  • Ingredients: Grain-Free
Blue Buffalo
Best Wet Cat Food
  • Food form: Wet
  • Ingredients: Duck, Potatoes
Natural Balance
  • Food form: Dry
  • Ingredients: Green Peas, Salmon Meal
Stella and Chewy
Best Raw Cat Food
  • Food form: Raw, Frozen
  • Ingredients: Duck with Ground Bone
Hills Prescription
Best Prescription Wet Food
  • Food form: Dry
  • Ingredients: All-Natural
Royal canin for Sensitive Stomachs
Best for Cats with Sensitive Stomachs
  • Food form: Dry
  • Ingredients: Chicken meal, corn gluten meal
Hound and Gatos Canned Lamb Pate
Best Grain-Free Wet Food
  • Food form: Wet
  • Ingredients: Grain-Free

How We Picked Food For Cats With Allergies

Cats with allergies have particular needs. It’s important to try and get to the root of the allergy by eliminating and determining the cause.

Depending on that same cause, we researched the products that benefited those special cases.

Novelty Proteins:

When your cat starts exhibiting allergies, especially to food he’s familiar with, it’s often because the immune system has built up so much tolerance for a particular protein it starts attacking it.

Novelty proteins help break that cycle by introducing protein from a different source. Popular novelty proteins include:

  • Duck
  • Rabbit
  • Venison

Limited Ingredients:

Since one of the primary ways of determining a cat allergy is through an elimination diet, we stuck to foods with few ingredients. This helps you determine exactly what protein is causing the intolerance.

Omega-3:

As discussed, food allergies come with complications. One of the most obvious is damage to your cat’s skin and coat as he tries to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms like itching.

Omega-3 fatty acids help promote healthy feline skin and fur, so when making our choices, we emphasized foods that did more than alleviate the allergies.

We wanted ones that could make your cat feel comfortable while recuperating, too.

Allergic Cat eating wet food

Reviews: Best Cat Food for Cats With Allergies

1. Vital Essentials Raw Food For Cats

Best Overall
Vital Essentials
Vital Essentials is a brand of freeze-dried cat food that strives to create well-rounded meals without grains and using novelty proteins.

Vital Essentials also use a limited number of ingredients. This is ideal for owners experimenting with an elimination diet for their allergic cats. But it also means you know what you’re getting when you look at a recipe. Here it’s primarily duck, duck bone broth, and water.

Consequently, the pates are high in protein content. Additionally, the pates are freeze-dried, so there’s no need to worry about Vital Essentials taking up freezer space.

Finally, we like Vital Essentials pates because they use herring oil to give your cat the omega-3 acids it needs to maintain a healthy coat. For cats with skin allergies, this is crucial since many cats scratch or groom to alleviate symptoms. Both can be detrimental to their overall skin condition.

Our main issue with Vital Essentials pates is that not every cat likes rabbits. And these benefits don’t matter if the cat won’t eat.

Pros
  • Use novelty proteins for sensitive stomachs
  • Limited ingredients for healthy, balanced pate recipes
  • Freeze-dry pates for easy storage
  • Features herring oil for healthy cat skin
Cons
  • Some cats dislike flavor


2. Blue Buffalo Wet Food:

Best Wet Cat Food
Blue Buffalo
Best Wet Cat Food for Skin Allergies
Blue Buffalo’s limited ingredients wet food offers a formula that hydrates your cat, in addition to alleviating allergy symptoms.

The lack of grain-based carbohydrates combined with the high moisture content results in what we consider the best wet cat food for skin allergies and cats with a sensitive stomach since the formula is easy to digest.

Moreover, moisture content is particularly important when a cat has been off her food for a while, since it’s one of her primary sources of water. Blue Buffalo’s formula is designed to appeal to the fussiest cats and get them back on their food, but without the allergy symptoms.

For similar reasons, we appreciated the lack of dairy. After kittenhood, cats don’t have a lactose enzyme, and drinking it can cause dehydration.  Blue Buffalo’s dairy-free approach to hypoallergenic wet food ensures you won’t have to worry about any of this.

Finally, Blue Buffalo’s hypoallergenic wet food prioritizes omega-3 fatty acids. This is important in any diet for cats with sensitive stomachs because allergies lead to itchy, irritated skin. This encourages scratching and, depending on the severity of the allergy, overgrooming.

 So, not only does this wet food treat your cat’s allergies, but it increases your cat’s comfort and helps restore his coat. You should have your cat feeling comfortable in his skin again in no time.

But if you can coax your cat onto Blue Buffalo hypoallergenic food, we think you’ll notice the difference in your mog. 

Pros
  • High moisture content
  • Grain-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Possesses omega-3 fatty acids to revitalize skin
Cons
  • Some cats dislike taste

3.Natural Balance Limited Ingredients Diet

Best Dry Food
Natural Balance
Best Dry Food for Cats with Skin Allergies
Natural Balance’s limited ingredients dry food is a veterinary-recommended hypoallergenic cat food that uses a single protein source.

Not all hypoallergenic cat foods are grain-free. Natural Balance’s venison-based kibble is.  One of the advantages of grain-free cat food is that it’s significantly lower in carbohydrates than other dry foods. This is ideal for cats with sensitive stomachs since many cats struggle to digest carbohydrates with the same efficacy as proteins.

Another reason we consider this one of the best cat foods for allergies is because it uses venison as a protein source. Trying to find the best hypoallergenic cat food for your moggie can be complicated if you aren’t sure what protein or carbohydrate is behind the problem.

It’s also possible your cat is allergic to more than one protein. With that in mind, your vet may try to help the diagnostic process by recommending more atypical meat-based proteins like duck or venison.

Since venison is the single protein in Natural Balance, it’s ideal for cats with sensitive stomachs. 

Finally, we appreciate the affordability of Natural Balance’s limited ingredient options. The kibble bags come in various sizes, and pricing varies accordingly. But even at their largest, the pricing feels markedly lower compared to other special dietary cat foods.

You can buy 8lbs of this hypoallergenic cat food without worrying about your bank balance.

Related Article: Dry cat food reviews

Pros
  • It’s grain-free
  • Uses venison protein
  • Affordable
  • High taurine levels
Cons
  • Some history of product recalls

4. Stella and Chewy Dinner Morsels:

Best Raw Cat Food for Cats with Allergies
Stella and Chewy
Best Raw Cat Food for Cats with Allergies
Stella and Chewy have a range of raw food suitable for cats and dogs. Their raw food fosters cats’ inherited hunting instinct to encourage them in a wider culinary variety.

While not all Stella and Chewy’s options are hypoallergenic, sometimes the higher-grade quality and more varied ingredients can be enough to disrupt a feline allergy pattern.

However, we have focused on a raw recipe that uses novel ingredients, which is ideal for the cat with skin allergies.

Taurine is a vital part of a healthy cat’s diet. Cats that don’t get enough taurine face heart problems and other health risks. Stella and Chewy’s meals create a well-balanced recipe that is high in all the things your cat needs to stay healthy, including taurine.

The other reason we like Stella and Chewy is that their meals are suitable for cats of all ages. Many cat foods cater to the specific needs of adults, seniors, or kittens. But cats can develop allergies at any stage. And we had incredible difficulty finding kitten-appropriate hypoallergenic food.

Considering how vital nutrients and moisture are to a growing kitten, that’s a problem. But the combination of novel proteins with high taurine levels and water content means you can always experiment with Stella and Chewy to see if it clears up your kitten’s symptoms.

We also like the water content in raw cat food. Since raw food uses all animal parts, it often has a higher moisture level than your cat would get from ordinary wet food. So, in addition to reducing allergy discomfort, they keep hydrated.

Since the freeze-dried kibble doesn’t need to be frozen or thawed, you can safely store it in your pantry.

However, some Stella and Chewy raw food recipes rely on ordinary proteins like chicken or beef. We recommend looking closely at the recipe before committing, to ensure you pick one that can help your cat’s allergies.

Pros
  • It’s high in taurine
  • Suitable for cats of all ages
  • High moisture levels
Cons
  • Not all recipes hypoallergenic

5.Hills Prescription L.I.D

Best Prescription Wet Food
Hills Prescription
Best Prescription Wet Food for Cats With Skin Allergies
Hills Prescription cat food is veterinary-prescribed for treating cats with skin and food allergies.

The combination of limited ingredients, particularly duck protein, helps discourage an immune reaction from your cat towards her new food.

First and foremost, we love how palatable cats find Hills. It’s a small thing on paper, but anyone who belongs to a fussy cat will tell you that getting the right food to tempt finicky felines into eating is nothing short of an acrobatic stunt.

You still have to transition cats to Hills gradually, the transition is more for keeping sensitive stomachs settled rather than the usual battle of wills. It tastes great, and the hypoallergenic results have an immediate effect.

That’s largely because Hills’ hypoallergenic dry food uses duck protein instead of chicken or beef. If your cat doesn’t like the duck recipe, Hills also do a venison version. Both proteins differ enough from standard meat proteins to reduce allergy symptoms for cats with skin allergies.

Another benefit of Hills is that its recipe also improves gut health. This is helpful for cats with sensitive stomachs, who may not be processing food properly and experiencing gastrointestinal problems as a result.

Excellent as Hills is, you can’t walk into a pet shop and buy it. Instead, your vet will need to give you a prescription, and you need to remember to buy your supply through them. It’s a minor thing, but since you can’t stock up during the weekly shop, it does make remembering to replace the food harder than it could be.

Not only is it hard to access Hills, but when you do, it’s expensive. That said, it’s good value for money in that you notice a healthier, happier cat almost immediately.

Pros
  • Recipe tempts even the fussiest cat
  • Uses atypical proteins to reduce allergy symptoms
  •  Improves gut health and stool quality
Cons
  • It requires a prescription
  • Expensive

6.Royal Canin for Sensitive Stomachs

Best for Cats with Sensitive Stomachs
Royal canin for Sensitive Stomachs
Best for Cats with Sensitive Stomach
There’s a lot to recommend Royal Canin’s formula for sensitive stomachs: Veterinarians curated the formula to effectively treat a range of digestive issues your cat might experience, including allergies.

It’s also meat and fish free, which means that whatever else Royal Canin does, it alleviates any protein allergies. Note that it’s not grain-free, though, so if the problem is with carbohydrate intolerance, your cat may not get the desired result.

That said, Royal Canin’s dry food for cats with sensitive stomachs can address more than allergy problems. Because of its composition, it’s also suitable for cats with:

Because of the high vitamin B content in this cat food, one of its other advantages is that you should see a significant improvement in your cat’s skin condition. If he’s been scratching or overgrooming to self-treat the itchiness of allergies, this will help his coat improve quickly.

One objection we have to Royal Canin is its portions. When we first tried it on our cat, we followed the portion sizes to the letter. While they helped alleviate our cat’s symptoms, the amount of food looked excessive for a 10lb cat.

We turned out to be right when, a week into her Royal Canin diet, the cat regurgitated breakfast uneaten. She was eating more than what the packaging thought she could process.

The other drawback to Royal Canin is that it isn’t readily available. Despite being highly effective, Veterinarians struggle to source it. This makes Royal Canin one of the more expensive, if also one of the best, cat foods for cats with allergies.

Pros
  • Meat and fish free
  • Uses hydrolysed protein
  • Suitable for alleviating more than allergy symptoms
Cons
  • Inaccurate portion sizes outlined on packaging
  • Expensive

7.Hound and Gatos Canned Lamb Pate

Best Grain-Free Wet Food
Hound and Gatos Canned Lamb Pate
Best Grain-Free Wet Food for Cats with Allergies
If your vet recommends an elimination diet to determine your cat’s allergies, Hound and Gatos is an excellent wet food to work with.

It has a short ingredient list and a high moisture content guaranteed to keep even the most sensitive cats hydrated.

If your vet recommends an elimination diet to determine your cat’s allergies, Hound and Gatos is an excellent wet food to work with. It has a short ingredient list and a high moisture content guaranteed to keep even the most sensitive cats hydrated.

Like other foods for cats with skin allergies, Hound and Gatos incorporate omega-3 acids into its recipes to help revitalize skin your cat scratched or over groomed. This soothes irritated skin and helps your cat feel comfortable while recovering from recurrent allergies.

We also like its limited ingredients list because, as with other foods, you know what you’re getting when you look at the label. And if lamb still triggers an allergic response, you can always switch to a different Hound and Gatos flavor.

Since cats that go off their food, and especially off their wet food can lose a lot of their primary means of hydration, we also appreciate the high moisture content in this wet food.

However, it’s expensive wet food. This can be particularly problematic if you find your cat reluctant to sample the cans, so we recommend starting with a sample tin before committing to a larger purchase. 

Pros
  • Promotes skin health
  • Short, comprehensive ingredients list
  • Good moisture content
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Lamb may still trigger allergies in some cats

The Difference Between Wet and Dry Food

When looking for the best hypoallergenic cat food for your cat, you may need to decide if you want to experiment with wet or dry food.

The main difference between the two is the moisture content. Dry food, despite its name, possesses approximately 10% water content. In contrast, wet food is 70% water.

But moisture levels aren’t the only difference. Wet and dry cat foods don’t get produced the same way, either.

Wet food uses fresh or frozen meat in its recipes and combines them with vitamins and minerals for recipes high in moisture and nutrients. Dry food, however, cooks all its ingredients – meat inclusive – to create kibble. This is why so much moisture gets lost in the production process.

Finally, wet and dry foods offer different nutritional values. To bind kibble together, many dry foods rely on carbohydrates. That means that unless you buy weight-management dry food, it can be harder to keep your cat a healthy weight on dry food alone.

Whether you decide to try hypoallergenic cat food that is wet, dry, or both is one you will need to make in consultation with your vet.

How to Check Your Cat for Food Sensitivity

If you don’t want to shell out on test after expensive test, then the only foolproof way to explore the possibility of feline allergy is by changing foods.

The problem is that if your cat is reacting to an as yet unidentified protein or carbohydrate, that same protein or carbohydrate may be present in the food you swap to.

To successfully test for food sensitivity or feline allergy, your veterinarian will recommend what he thinks is the best hypoallergenic cat food for your cat.

However, some cats may react allergically to several proteins. This can make diagnosing a root cause challenging. When that happens, your vet may recommend novelty ingredients. These have proteins your cat won’t have experienced in other foods. Examples include:

  • Duck
  • Venison
  • Alligator

If the allergy symptoms clear up while on the veterinarian prescribed food and return when you revert to your cat’s normal food, you can reasonably assume a food allergy.

If they don’t, you need to consider other underlying causes that might cause the same symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

If your cat’s allergies come on suddenly, it’s natural to have questions about why and where they’ve come from.

Here are some of the most common questions.

What Are Common Signs of Allergies in Cats?

Like people, cats can suffer from allergies. Talk to your vet about allergy testing if your cat exhibits any of the following signs:

1. Sneezing or wheezing
2. Excessive head scratching, rubbing, or shaking
3. Vomiting, diarrhea, or bloat

What Are Cats Allergic To?

Our instinct is to blame our cat’s food once we suspect allergies. But it’s not always food. In addition to food allergies, cats react allergically to fleas and environmental allergies.

Environmental factors can range from dust or cleaning products to the ingredients in cat litter.
To rule out a food allergy or sensitivity, your vet may prescribe hypoallergenic cat food. Eliminating foods one at a time can also help expose the source of your cat’s allergy.

My cat’s eaten the same food for years. How can she be allergic?

Research shows that occasionally, not changing your cat’s food routinely can cause them to develop an allergy.

Scientists think that this happens because, with each repeated exposure, your cat’s immune system builds up a defense to proteins or carbohydrates she repeatedly encounters.

When that defense gets too high, it triggers an immune response and your cat starts exhibiting allergies when presented with her favorite fishy pate.

About David Fields
David Fields
David Fields is a long-time animal lover and has been blessed to share his life with many companions. A short list includes ragdoll cats, siberian husky and greyhound dogs, an African Grey parrot, many fish of all sorts, and a pandemonium of parakeet. He writes most of the articles on iPetCompanion and is regularly featured on other popular websites on the Internet.
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