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Best Overall: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food
Limited ingredient foods are great for cats with allergies, as they reduce the chance for your cat to be exposed to allergens. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient is made from peas and salmon and is grain-free. Because it has only a single protein source and a single carb source, there’s less opportunity for your cat to develop allergies to the ingredients. The best way to introduce a limited ingredient cat food to your pet is to pick one with foods he or she hasn’t had (i.e. if she’s shown intolerance to food with chicken and rice, focus on one with salmon and peas).
Cats love Natural Balance, which is great because some limited ingredient foods can be unappetizing for cats (one of the most common allergens, corn, and wheat gluten, is addictive to felines). It helps develop your pet’s shiny coat and gastrointestinal issues as well. If you’re looking for a great, well-loved limited ingredient food, Natural Balance is one of the best you can buy.
Best Dry: Blue Buffalo BLUE Basics Limited Ingredient Cat Food Indoor Fish & Potato Recipe
Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Fish & Potato dry cat food is another limited ingredient dry cat food that is perfect for your food-sensitive cat. Its only protein source is whitefish (a great choice for cats who have shown intolerance to meats such as chicken and beef) and doesn’t contain any grains, dairy or eggs. Blue Basics Limited Ingredient foods also include pumpkin, which has been known to help aid in digestion.
Many cats are allergic to poultry, so eliminating chicken is a good place to start if you’re working to narrow down your cat’s allergies. Blue Basics Fish & Potato reduces vomit and hairballs and makes cats' coats shine.
Best Wet: Blue Buffalo Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Duck & Potato Pate Cat Food
There are many benefits to a wet food diet, especially for cats that don’t drink water as often as they should. As with all of our picks, BLUE Basics Limited Ingredient filler-free and contains no by-products. This food's single protein source is duck, which is a healthy meat rarely used in cat food (which is a good choice if you’re trying to eliminate allergy sources). Instead of wheat, it uses potatoes and peas as its carbohydrate source. We love the added fish oil, aimed at helping treat dry or flaky coats, and the pate consistency makes it easy to digest for sensitive stomachs.
If your vet recommends a limited ingredient cat food, wet food is often more enticing for picky eaters and helps cats increase their water intake. Blue Basics can help mitigate skin and stomach issues in sensitive cats—but be prepared for your cat to beg for this food every morning.
Runner-Up, Best Wet: Instinct Grain Free Wet Canned Cat Food Salmon Flavor
Nature's Variety Instinct Grain-Free Salmon Wet Food is another top-rated choice for wet food-inclined cats. Nature's Variety is a great choice for cats with allergies who fare better on a wet diet. While not limited ingredient, Instinct has no corn, wheat or soy, and is devoid of all fillers and gluten. Since many cat allergies arise from corn-based foods, Instinct is an excellent choice in that respect. There are many flavors, but we recommend the salmon flavor for cats who have allergies—some cats are allergic to poultry or beef. Instinct is 95 percent salmon and pork liver, which we love—many foods have only 30-40 percent proteins, but Instinct focuses on whole foods.
Instinct is great for elderly cats who struggle with digestion, as well as corn-sensitive adult cats. If you’re looking for great wet food, starting with a grain-free version is a good way to reduce allergies in sensitive cats.
Best for Allergies: I AND LOVE AND YOU All Natural Canned Cat Food Oh My Cod! Pate
"I and love and you" is a small pet food brand from Boulder, Colorado with a big following. Though they’re still a new company, their products are getting rave reviews from customers and vets alike. We love Oh My Cod! Pate for cats with allergies because it’s an all-natural, no-filler, grain-free food that’s number-one ingredient is cod. Since cod is an ingredient used far less frequently than other protein sources, it’s a great fish to try if your cat has shown allergies to other meats. It also has Omega's 3 and 6, which help give your cat a shiny, full coat.
Even cats that turned their noses away from many other healthy foods seem to love this canned food. If you are the type of consumer that picks small businesses over larger corporations, "I and love and you" is a great, healthy cat food to try with your allergy-sensitive kitty.
Best Natural: Halo Purely For Pets Halo Spot's Stew Natural Dry Cat Food
Halo Spot’s Stew Natural is made from only whole proteins and refined whole grains including whitefish, salmon, eggs, and peas. Many commercial cat foods are filled with starchy fillers such as corn and potatoes in order to reduce the amount of meat and protein. Not surprisingly, some of the most common allergens for pets are found in these fillers. Halo Spot focuses on only whole foods, not by-products or fillers, to give a cat a balanced and healthy meal. This food is great if your cat has general allergies to carbs or meat by-products. If your cat experiences indigestion, vomiting or loose stools, switching him or her to a sensitive stomach food like Natural Balance can help them digest more comfortably.
Best Pea Free: Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food
Made with real chicken and salmon, Purina Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food offers an ideal source of protein for your feline friend. This trusted brand of cat food contains no artificial flavors or preservatives, ensuring that your cat will get the nutrition that he/she needs without harmful additives. In addition to real meat, this cat food contains Taurine (an amino acid that’s essential for good health), dried spinach, and vitamin E.
Purina also caters to cats with special dietary restrictions. While other brands of cat food contain peas and pea protein, Purina Cat Chow leaves these ingredients out, making it perfect for cats with pea allergies or sensitivities. If you’re worried about the price tag, customers also voiced their approval of Purina’s affordable prices. With its natural ingredients and competitive pricing, Purina Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food is a great option for cats that have a pea free diet or other dietary restrictions.
Best Treats: Hill's Prescription Diet Hypoallergenic Feline Treats
Every cat deserves treats, and Hills Prescription Diet Hypo Treats are perfect for your cat with allergies. Developed with allergies in mind, Hill’s Prescription is formulated to help ease sensitive stomachs. It contains hydrolyzed proteins, which have been broken down into smaller parts, making it easier to digest. Once broken down, your pet’s body no longer recognizes them as the forms that once caused allergies, so they don’t have the same negative effects. Hills Prescription Diet Hypo treats contain hydrolyzed chicken liver, rice, and corn, so you should make sure your cat doesn’t have a corn allergy before feeding him or her these treats.
Once you’ve switched your cat to an allergy diet, Hill’s Prescription allows you to offer rewards and treats without the painful side effects.
Protein source Since many feline allergies are tied to commonly used protein sources, finding a hypoallergenic with a neutral protein source is critical. Whitefish, cod, salmon, and duck are all popular choices for protein in hypoallergenic cat foods. Sometimes switching to a novel protein source that your cat hasn’t had before—in combination with avoidance of other common allergy triggers like corn or gluten—is enough to quell allergy issues.
Limited ingredients Not all hypoallergenic cat foods are also considered limited-ingredient foods. Pay attention to the label to determine if a food not only eliminates the most common allergens but also limits the number of ingredients in general. A limited-ingredient diet can be useful when you're unsure what allergy triggers your cat may have or if they’re experiencing trouble with digestion and frequently have bouts of diarrhea or vomiting.
Dry vs. wet Hypoallergenic cat foods are available in both dry and wet options. While dry foods are typically less expensive than wet foods, wet foods are sometimes more appetizing to selective eaters. They also may help your cat to take in more liquids, which can aid digestion.