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’ll 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.
A Quick Glance at Our Favorites (2023)
|Best Overall||Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food Subscription||
||Click to Save 40%|
|Best Value||Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Cat Food||
|Hill’s Prescription Skin/Food Dry Cat Food||
|Stella & Chewy’s Rabbit Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food||
|Ziwi Peak Venison Canned Cat Food||
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 doesn’t contain chicken: beef. Both of these ingredients are foods that cats might be allergic to.
2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon Dry Cat Food – Best Value
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.
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 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.
4. Stella & Chewy’s Rabbit Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food
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.
5. Ziwi Peak Venison Canned Cat Food
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 bath breath in your cat.
6. Purina Pro Plan Vet Diets EN Gastroenteric Dry Cat Food
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.
7. Hound & Gatos 98% Turkey & Liver Canned Cat Food
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 simulates 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.
8. Go! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Duck Dry Cat Food
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.
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.
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!
- Want to know how various cat foods stack up against one another? Read the Best Cat Foods (Updated)
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