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Home > Cats > 8 Best Cat Foods for IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

8 Best Cat Foods for IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

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Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cat eating pet food in a heart shaped bowl

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an intestinal disorder that affects many people in the United States—and it also affects our pets. If you have a cat suffering from IBD, the proper food can significantly improve its health. If you want to purchase the right food for your pet but aren’t sure what to get, you’ve come to the right place.

We are about to review several different brands of specialty cat food for IBD so you can see the differences between them. We will tell you about the pros and cons we experienced while reviewing them and tell you how it worked for our cats. We’ve even included a short buyer’s guide so you will know what to look for if you continue to shop.

Keep reading while we look at protein, fiber, omega fats, and more to help you make an informed purchase.

Disclaimer: The foods reviewed here were chosen because they have certain characteristics that might help with some of the causes or consequences of this medical condition. However, they are not a medical treatment or a substitute for medical treatment. Keep in mind that each medical case is different and what works for some pets may not work for others. Your veterinarian is the right person to advise you on the best diet for your pet’s individual case.

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A Quick Glance at Our Favorites (2024)

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food Subscription Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food Subscription
  • Fresh turkey is the main ingredient
  • Added vegetables for essential nutrients
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Cat Food Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Cat Food
  • Omega fats
  • Real fruits and vegetables
  • The de-boned salmon first ingredient
  • Third place
    Hill’s Prescription Skin/Food Dry Cat Food Hill’s Prescription Skin/Food Dry Cat Food
  • Contains venison
  • Omega fatty acids
  • Pea protein first ingredient
  • Stella & Chewy’s Rabbit Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food Stella & Chewy’s Rabbit Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food
  • Low calorie
  • Minimal processing
  • Rabbit first ingredient
  • Ziwi Peak Venison Canned Cat Food Ziwi Peak Venison Canned Cat Food
  • Free-range meat
  • Grain-free recipe
  • Venison first ingredient
  • The 8 Best Cat Foods for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

    1. Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food Subscription – Best Overall

    If your cat has been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you know that the right diet is critical for them. Your cat’s food should help reduce inflammation, heal the stomach lining, and regenerate the gut flora.

    Since cats with IBD have a much harder time digesting food and absorbing essential nutrients, you need to find food that is easy to digest. It’s even thought that diet alone can help some cats with IBD. Smalls Cat Food is an excellent food for IBD, specifically the Fresh Other Ground Bird recipe. Most food allergies and sensitivities are triggered by beef, chicken, and dairy, so it’s important to have food that doesn’t have these ingredients.

    The formula of this recipe contains fresh, whole turkey as the main ingredient, followed by chicken liver, which adds to the high protein level of this food. It also has fresh vegetables such as kale, green beans, and peas, which will give your cat extra nutrients. It’s also moisture-rich.

    Smalls sends the food to your door frozen to retain the freshness, and since it is subscription-based, it will show up when you need it. The food is human-grade, so combine the high-quality proteins with the increased moisture and you end up with a highly digestible food for your cat. This makes it the overall best food for IBD.

    However, there are two things to keep in mind. First, it’s quite expensive. Second, if your cat has an allergy to chicken, there is only one recipe that does not contain chicken: beef. Both of these ingredients are foods that cats might be allergic to.

    Pros
    • Fresh turkey is the main ingredient
    • Added vegetables for essential nutrients
    • Human-grade ingredients
    • The subscription service sends it to your door
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Expensive

    2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Dry Cat Food – Best Value

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Protein: 40%
    Type: Dry

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is our pick as the best food for cats with IBD for the money. It contains de-boned salmon as its first ingredient, which helps provide the 40% protein your cat will receive in each portion. This brand also provides omega fats which help reduce swelling and promote a shiny coat. Real fruits and vegetables provide plenty of important vitamins and minerals that can help boost the immune system.

    While reviewing Blue Buffalo Wilderness, the only problem we had was that some of our cats didn’t like it. We also noticed that the kibble was quite small and better suited to kittens.

    Pros
    • The de-boned salmon first ingredient
    • Omega fats
    • Real fruits and vegetables
    Cons
    • Some cats don’t like it
    • Small kibble

    3. Hill’s Prescription Diet Skin/Food Sensitivities Dry Cat Food

    Hill’s Prescription Diet d d Skin Food Sensitivities Venison & Green Pea Formula Dry Cat Food

    Protein: 27%
    Type: Dry

    Hill’s Prescription Diet d/d Skin/Food Sensitivities Venison & Green Pea Formula Dry Cat Food is another great premium choice food for cats with IBD. It features pea protein as the first ingredient, so it’s the perfect choice for cats that might be allergic to chicken or turkey. The venison ingredient helps provide the taurine your cat requires, and there are helpful omega fats in the ingredients.

    The downside to Hill’s Prescription Diet is that it doesn’t have as much protein as the brands we’ve looked at so far, and the fat content is higher. It’s also expensive compared to other brands on this list.

    Pros
    • Pea protein first ingredient
    • Contains venison
    • Omega fatty acids
    Cons
    • Lower in protein
    • Expensive

    4. Stella & Chewy’s Rabbit Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

    Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

    Protein: 44%
    Type: Dry

    Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food is our pick as the best for kittens with IBD. It features raw ground rabbit meat and bone as the first ingredient, which provides your pet with 44% protein per serving. It’s a low-calorie food at only 131 calories per serving that receives minimal processing for the most natural complete meal possible. Stella & Chewy source all of their ingredients ethically, and most of our cats liked it.

    Stella & Chewy’s downside is that you need to soak the food in water before serving it. We also noticed a bad odor coming from it that didn’t bother the cats but was unpleasant in the kitchen.

    Pros
    • Rabbit first ingredient
    • Low calorie
    • Minimal processing
    • Ethically sourced ingredients
    Cons
    • Requires soaking in water
    • Bad odor

    5. Ziwi Peak Venison Canned Cat Food

    Ziwi Peak Venison Recipe Canned Cat Food

    Protein: 10%
    Type: Wet

    Ziwi Peak Venison Recipe Canned Cat Food is our pick as the best canned cat food for IBD. It features free-range venison as its first ingredient, and meat, organs, and mussels make up 96% of the ingredients. This grain-free recipe provides your pet with a complete and balanced meal that includes the essential nutrient taurine.

    The downside to Ziwi Peak Venison is that some cats don’t like it, and it has a bad smell that can lead to bad breath in your cat.

    Pros
    • Venison first ingredient
    • Grain-free recipe
    • Free-range meat
    Cons
    • Some cats don’t like it
    • Bad smell

    6. Purina Pro Plan Vet Diets EN Gastroenteric Dry Cat Food

    Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Formula Dry Cat Food

    Protein: 50%
    Type: Dry

    Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Formula Dry Cat Food is another great cat food for cats with IBD. It uses a special formula that allows it to be digested completely by your cat, and it provides your cat with 50% protein per serving for plenty of energy and the building blocks for strong muscle. Their patented formula also helps defend against struvite and oxalate crystals. We found that most of our cats like this food, and it seemed to help the ones with IBD.

    The downside to the Purina Pro Plan brand is that it is quite expensive and is a little high in calories, so you will need to watch the portion size once your pet starts to feel better.

    Pros
    • Special formula for total digestibility
    • Helps defend against struvite and oxalate crystals
    • Most cats liked it
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • High in calories
    • Based on soy protein and poultry by-products meals

    7. Hound & Gatos 98% Turkey & Liver Canned Cat Food

    Hound & Gatos 98% Turkey & Liver Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Protein: 10%
    Type: Wet

    Hound & Gatos 98% Turkey & Liver Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food features turkey as its first ingredient, and as the name suggests, 98% of the ingredients are meat proteins that simulate your cat’s natural diet. There are no chemicals or artificial preservatives, and there are no grains.

    The downside to Hound & Gatos is that it can be challenging to get your cat to eat it. In fact, our cats seemed to like this brand the least of all the brands on this list.

    Pros
    • Turkey first ingredient
    • 98% meat ingredients
    • No chemicals or artificial colors
    Cons
    • Some cats don’t like it

    8. Go! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Duck Dry Cat Food

    Go! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Duck Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Protein: 31%
    Type: Dry

    Go! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Duck Grain-Free Dry Cat Food features de-boned duck as its first ingredient to help provide your pet with 31% protein per meal. Flaxseed adds important omega fats to your pet’s diet, which will promote a healthy and shiny coat. Each serving provides your pet with a complete meal that doesn’t contain any chemical preservatives.

    The downside to Go! SENSITIVITIES is that some cats won’t eat it, and there are chicken ingredients, so if you are using this brand to avoid allergies, you may need to choose another brand.

    Pros
    • De-boned duck first ingredient
    • Omega fat
    • Complete meal
    Cons
    • Some cats won’t eat it
    • Chicken ingredients

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    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Food for Cats With Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

    What Is IBD in Cats?

    Inflammatory bowel disease is a gastrointestinal disorder that can have a range of causes, but many experts believe food sensitivities to certain proteins, food additives, artificial colors and preservatives, milk, eggs, and wheat can trigger it. It can cause diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, gas, abdominal pain, and much more.

    What Kind of Food Should I Choose?

    Unfortunately, since there are many possible causes and triggers of IBD, you might need to try several different brands before you find one that doesn’t trigger your cat’s allergies. We recommend choosing a limited ingredient brand, so it’s easy to keep track of the ingredients you are switching out, making it possible to identify the exact component causing the problem.

    Wet Food vs Dry Food

    Wet food’s moisture content better resembles the diet of a carnivore animal, however, without having the bones and hard parts, it is not as effective to scrape the cat’s teeth. Wet food can stick to your pet’s teeth, leading to dental problems. We recommend a mixture of dry food and wet food because the crunchy kibble helps to scrape away plaque and tartar from your pet’s teeth, slowing the progression of dental disease.

    While your cat is sick, we recommend feeding whichever food they like that doesn’t trigger their IBD.

    Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
    • NO MESS - The 360° tray on this cat food and water bowl set has a raised design to catch and...
    • WHISKER FRIENDLY - Shallow and wide metal containers with flat bottoms ensure your kitty can enjoy...
    • CHEW-SAFE MATERIALS - Kittens and cats love chewing on silicone and soft rubber - but it's a choking...

    Whether you are an avid kibble supporter, favor wet food, or dabble between the two, opting for the right cat bowl to serve it in is key! The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is equipped with features like shallow dishes for whisker relief, slight elevation to promote good posture and digestion, and removable stainless steel bowls for easy cleaning. Its modern design is spill-proof and has a wide tray on the base meant to catch anything that falls from your kitty's mouth or out of the bowl. Click here to find out if the Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is right for you.

    At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

     

    Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
    • NO MESS - The 360° tray on this cat food and water bowl set has a raised design to catch and...
    • WHISKER FRIENDLY - Shallow and wide metal containers with flat bottoms ensure your kitty can enjoy...
    • CHEW-SAFE MATERIALS - Kittens and cats love chewing on silicone and soft rubber - but it's a choking...

    High-quality cat food is an important part of fostering a long and healthy life for your cat but the right cat food and water dish will promote good posture, offer whisker relief, and aid in good digestion. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite bowl since it offers all of the above and is beautifully crafted to meet modern home stylings. The wide tray design catches any food and water spills and the entire setup is dishwasher safe. Learn more about the Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl here.

    At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

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    Conclusion

    When choosing food for IBD, we highly recommend our pick for the best overall. Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food features a special formula geared to the needs of your cat that digests easily without bothering your pet’s stomach. It can also help prevent the formation of stones in the kidney and bladder. Our pick for the best value is another great choice. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food features de-boned salmon as its first ingredient and real fruits and vegetables.

    We hope you have enjoyed reading these reviews and found a few brands that you would like to try. If we have helped your pet feel better, please share this guide to the best food for cats on Facebook and Twitter.


    Featured Image Credit: Sharaf Maksumov, Shutterstock

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