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10 Best Cat Foods for Smelly Poop in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

Nicole Cosgrove

cat eating_Shutterstock_Krakenimages

As much as we love our feline friends, we don’t love when their litter boxes stink to the high heavens! When your entire house reeks every time your cat goes to the bathroom, something must be done. Fortunately, there are options to remedy this situation.

What causes smelly poop in cats?  Usually, it’s intestinal parasites, bacterial infections, digestive issues, or a disagreeable diet. Before anything else, you should take your pet to the vet to ensure they aren’t ill. If they’re not, your best bet is to change the food they’re eating.

Why change their food? Your pet may have developed a food sensitivity to proteins such as chicken and fish, grains, or may just be having trouble digesting certain ingredients — all of which can lead to overly stinky poop. But which food would be most helpful?

We’ve reviewed some of the most popular cat foods for smelly poop and come up with a list that will help your house smell like home once again .divider-cat

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend Adult Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend Adult
  • Great reviews
  • Meat as the first ingredient
  • Reasonably priced
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Rachael Ray Nutrish Super Premium Rachael Ray Nutrish Super Premium
  • Great price
  • Chicken as the top ingredient
  • Healthy fiber with prebiotics
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein
  • High protein
  • Grain-free
  • LifeSource Bits
  • Taste of the Wild Dry Cat Food Taste of the Wild Dry Cat Food
  • Grain-free
  • Cats love the taste
  • Mimics the feline ancestors’ diet
  • Instinct Grain-Free Wet Cat Food Pate Instinct Grain-Free Wet Cat Food Pate
  • Inspired by raw diets
  • Packed with protein
  • Contains 0% of known food sensitivity triggers
  • The 10 Best Cat Foods for Smelly Poop – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend Adult Dry Cat Food – Best Overall

    High protein: Yes
    Grain-free: No
    Crude protein: 34%
    Crude fat: 15%
    Calories: 370 kcal/cup

    When it comes to a food that will help your cat’s poop smell a little better, the one we vote best overall is Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend. This food is high in protein — with salmon (or chicken) listed as the first ingredient — so if your cat isn’t sensitive to either of those, it should be gentle on their stomach. Purine ONE also includes healthy omega fatty acids to keep your kitty’s coat shiny and plenty of vitamins and minerals for balanced nutrition. Plus, it’s recommended by vets.

    There are rave reviews of this cat food improving the smell of cat poop.

    Pros
    • Great reviews
    • Meat as the first ingredient
    • Reasonably priced
    Cons
    • Has grains which your cat could be sensitive to

    2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Super Premium Dry Cat Food – Best Value

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Super

    High protein: Yes
    Grain-free: No
    Crude protein: 34%
    Crude fat: 14%
    Calories: 386 kcal/cup

    Rachel Ray Nutrish Super Premium food for cats is our pick for the best value. Featuring farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient on the list means this food is high in protein, making it healthy for your kitty. It also contains beet pulp, a source of fiber that also includes prebiotics to help improve digestive health. Plus, this cat food is made up of small pieces making it easier for your pet to eat (which helps them avoid vomiting later).

    Rachel Ray Nutrish Super Premium also avoids fillers, artificial flavors and preservatives, soy, and wheat.

    Pros
    • Great price
    • Chicken as the top ingredient
    • Healthy fiber with prebiotics
    Cons
    • Reports of cats developing urinary crystals after eating
    • Contains corn gluten which some cats are sensitive to

    3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-free, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food – Premium Choice

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness High

     

    High protein: Yes
    Grain-free: Yes
    Crude protein: 40%
    Crude fat: 18%
    Calories: 443 kcal/cup

    If you’re looking for a premium option when it comes to your cat’s food, we recommend Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free dry cat food. It’s packed with real chicken for a high protein amount that’s sure to keep your kitty’s muscles strong and contains sweet potatoes and peas instead of grains. Plus, it offers omega fatty acids to keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy. This food also includes LifeSource Bits (minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants), specially curated by animal nutritionists and holistic vets to improve immune function.

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness avoids chicken by-product meal, corn, soy, wheat, and artificial preservatives or flavors.

    Pros
    • High protein
    • Grain-free
    • LifeSource Bits
    Cons
    • Complaints of cats throwing up after eating
    • Rare report of cats developing urinary crystals

    4. Taste of the Wild Dry Cat Food With Real Roasted And Smoked Meat

    Taste of the Wild Dry Cat Food

    High protein: Yes
    Grain-free: Yes
    Crude protein: 32%
    Crude fat: 16%
    Calories: 350 kcal/cup

    Produced by a family-owned company, this brand claims their food is an “ancestrally accurate diet” that mimics what your kitty’s ancestors would have eaten. This particular recipe mimics a river diet, containing trout as the first ingredient, along with wood-smoked salmon. It also includes sweet potatoes in place of grains to help your pet more easily digest their food. Plus, Taste of the Wild has a mix of fruits and veggies full of antioxidants to help boost your pet’s immune system and maintain their overall health and well-being.

    Though this product is made in the U.S., they source their ingredients globally.

    Pros
    • Mimics the feline ancestors’ diet
    • Grain-free
    • Cats love the taste
    Cons
    • Reports of a recent recipe change making some cats ill
    • Food pellets may be harder than your cat is used to

    5. Instinct Grain-Free Wet Cat Food Pate

    Instinct Grain-Free Wet Cat Food Pate

    High protein: Yes
    Grain-free: Yes
    Crude protein: 10%
    Crude fat: 5%
    Calories: 193 kcal/cup

    If your cat prefers wet cat food to dry, then Instinct Grain-Free Pate might be the pick for you. Inspired by raw diets, it has cage-free chicken listed as the first ingredient. In fact, 95% of the product consists of chicken, chicken liver, and turkey for a huge protein boost that will keep your cat strong. It contains 0% of grains, soy, wheat, potatoes, corn, xantham gum, carrageenan, or artificial preservatives and flavors — all known food sensitivity triggers — making it a healthy choice for your pet, especially if they have a sensitive stomach.

    This product is made in the United States.

    Pros
    • Inspired by raw diets
    • Contains 0% of known food sensitivity triggers
    • Packed with protein
    Cons
    • Some reports of mold on the food
    • Occasional reports of bone chips in food
    • Contains Montmorillonite clay, a possible source of heavy metals

    6. Tiki Cat Luau Wet Food

    Instinct Grain-Free Wet Cat Food Pate

    High protein: Yes
    Grain-free: Yes
    Crude protein: 16%
    Crude fat: 6%
    Calories: 63 kcal/cup

    Another wet cat food, Tiki Cat Luau, features human-quality shreds of meat in their food. With real, hormone-free chicken listed as the first ingredient, each can of cat food is also high moisture offering your cat extra water to meet their needs. Grain-free and low in carbohydrates, Tiki Cat helps your cat maintain its weight and keep its blood sugar level. Several vets have reviewed their formulas to ensure their suitability for kitties with special diet needs such as irritable bowel syndrome and diabetes. This food does not contain ingredients such as artificial flavors, gums, or fillers.

    Tiki Cat comes in a wide variety of flavors, including salmon, chicken & egg, seabass, tuna & mackerel, and tilapia.

    Pros
    • Lots of flavors
    • Human quality meat
    • Dolphin safe
    Cons
    • Some cats refused to eat
    • Bit pricier than other brands

    7. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free, Natural Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food

    Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient

    High protein: Yes
    Grain-free: Yes
    Crude protein: 30%
    Crude fat: 14%
    Calories: 402 kcal/cup

    If your cat has issues with smelly poop, it might be because they have food sensitivities or a stomach unable to digest specific ingredients. If that’s the case, trying a limited ingredient food may be your best bet. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet contains a single protein source in the form of duck and includes pumpkin and potatoes in place of grains to support digestion. Because it has no grains, it is gluten-free, making it easier for sensitive kitties to stomach. It also contains no chicken or beef — two potential food sensitivity triggers in cats.

    Also packed with LifeSource Bits (antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins) and omega fatty acids, this food isn’t just good for your pet’s stomach but their overall health as well.

    Pros
    • Gluten-free
    • Chicken & beef free
    • Limited ingredient for sensitive stomachs
    Cons
    • Some cats wouldn’t eat
    • Occasional reports of diarrhea

    8. Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food

    Dr. Elsey's Cat Foods

    High protein: Yes
    Grain-free: Yes
    Crude protein: 59%
    Crude fat: 18%
    Calories: 544 kcal/cup

    Dr. Elsey’s cat food aims to promote a healthy life via vet-approved ingredients that are over 90% protein. Like Taste of the Wild, this food mimics an ancestral diet that consists mostly of protein with no grains or gluten, with chicken being listed as the first ingredient. The product also includes healthy omega fatty acids to boost the shine on your cat’s coat. Dr. Elsey’s is a low oxalate food, meaning it will help keep your pet’s kidneys healthy and urinary crystal free.

    This product is non-GMO and contains no artificial preservatives or fillers. Though it is gluten-free, it is not made in a gluten-free facility, so keep that in mind if your cat is susceptible to gluten.

    Pros
    • Low oxalate
    • Grain & gluten-free
    • High protein
    Cons
    • Contains rosemary extract, which may not be good for cats
    • Some cats threw up after trying
    • Some cats refused to eat

    9. Royal Canin Digestive Care Dry Cat Food

    Dr. Elsey's Cat Food

    High protein: Yes
    Grain-free: No
    Crude protein: 36%
    Crude fat: 813%
    Calories: 350 kcal/cup

    As you know, smelly poop is often the result of food sensitivities and digestive issues, which is why Royal Canin Digestive Care can help immensely. It is specifically formulated for cats one year of age and up who have sensitive stomachs and promotes digestive health via healthy, easier-to-digest fibers and prebiotics. In fact, this product claims that after 10 days of use, it effectively improves stool quality up to 95%. Plus, the shape of the food is designed to help cats not throw up after eating.

    This brand has been formulated by vets and nutritionists to meet any specific dietary needs your pet may have.

    Pros
    • Made specifically for cats with sensitive stomachs
    • Promotes digestive health
    • Improves stool quality
    Cons
    • Meat is not the first ingredient
    • Some cats wouldn’t touch it

    10. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Adult Cat Food for Indoor Cats

    High protein: Yes
    Grain-free: Yes
    Crude protein: 30%
    Crude fat: 8%
    Calories: 329 kcal/cup

    This limited ingredient recipe is 100% free of grains, contains one source of animal protein (salmon), offers prebiotics and fiber to improve digestive health, and helps control hairballs. It’s specially formulated to keep indoor cats lean and healthy and contains omega fatty acids to help keep your kitty’s coat shiny.

    Owners of cats with sensitive stomachs and illnesses such as colitis have said this product helped them immensely. All of Natural Balance’s recipes are tested for safety before being released, so there shouldn’t be any problems in that regard.

    Pros
    • Limited ingredient
    • Grain-free
    • Made to improve digestive health
    Cons
    • Some cats wouldn’t eat
    • Contains rosemary extract, which may not be good for cats
    • Rare reports of mold on food

    divider-catBuyer’s Guide

    After you’ve ruled out any health issues that could be causing your cat’s poop to smell worse than usual and decided to try switching up their diet, there are some things to consider. Since a lot of the time digestive issues will be caused by sensitivity to a particular ingredient in foods, that should be your primary focus. Once you’ve decided upon a brand, we recommend trying it with your cat for at least 3 months so you can see how it affects them (unless, of course, there’s an immediate negative effect — in that case, always stop using the product as soon as you notice a problem).

    cat after eating food from a plate
    Credit: mik ulyannikov, Shutterstock

    Look For This in Cat Food For Smelly Poop

    What ingredients are in a cat food should, by far, be what you look for when it comes to choosing a new food for your cat. Ingredients you want to be sure a food contains include:

    Ingredients to look for:
    • Good animal protein source – Cats are carnivores, so a good bit of their nutritional needs should be met with protein. In fact, the minimum amount of protein in their diet should be no lower than 26% (though more is better). This protein should come from a good quality animal source such as fish, chicken, turkey, etc., and should be the first ingredient in the food.
    • Limited number of ingredients – When cats have food sensitivities or digestive issues, the fewer ingredients they’re consuming, the better off they’ll be. Limited ingredient cat foods will have fewer ingredients than most, with most unused ingredients being those that are common food sensitivity triggers.
    • Healthy fats – Along with high amounts of protein, cats also need a diet rich in healthy fats (approximately 20-24%). You may think that higher fat contents will pack on the pounds, but in actuality, if a food doesn’t meet your pet’s fat needs, they’ll overeat in an attempt to meet them. Fats should also come from animal sources such as salmon oil or chicken fat, and the like (although they can be supplemented with plant fats).
    • Increased moisture – Cats sometimes don’t drink the amount of water they should. Some think this goes back to ancient instincts when felines would get most of their needed water content from prey. Sometimes, though, it’s as simple as your cat preferring to knock the water dish over so you have to clean up the mess. But, like us, a good portion of a cat’s body is made of water, so it’s crucial they get what they need. Foods with increased moisture content will help them reach their goal, plus more water will help improve digestion.
    • Good fibers – Fiber content doesn’t need to be extremely high in a cat food, but it should come from a good source such as beet pulp. Much like with humans, fiber can help your kitty’s stomach work better, causing less smelly poop.
    • Easy to digest carbs – When it comes to clearing up smelly poop, part of the issue will usually be with digestion. Having food your cat can digest easily will go a long way. While some cats will have no problems digesting whole grains, other cats will have a lot of trouble with them, so pick a food that has carbohydrates coming from places other than whole grains.

    Ingredients you don’t want your cat food to have include:

    Ingredients to avoid:
    • Food sensitivity triggers – Cats can develop sensitivities to food just like us, resulting in gas and smelly poop. One of the biggest triggers is common proteins such as beef, seafood, and chicken. Luckily, plenty of cat foods these days contain other animal proteins such as duck and turkey. Wheat, soy, and corn are other culprits. With a limited ingredient diet, you can test and see if any particular ingredients make your cat’s poop worse.
    • Dairy – Contrary to popular belief, milk and milk products aren’t good for your kitty since cats are usually lactose-intolerant.
    • Artificial ingredients – Artificial flavors, preservatives, and colors may upset your pet’s stomach.

    divider-cat

    What Your Cat Prefers

    Cats are individuals, so they will have different preferences regarding what they want to eat. Of course, if your cat adores chicken, but it makes them sick, don’t feed it to them. But if your cat prefers wet food to dry, then try to get them a good for them brand they’ll love.

    Brand Reputation

    Not all brands of pet food are created equal. Seek out trustworthy brands with plenty of third-party reviews from other cat owners before buying so you know what you’re getting into. Also, research the ingredients the brand uses and where they come from to ensure they’re quality. Finally, look at recent news of the brand. You may find a brand people love, only to find out there’s been a change at the top in recent years that affected the quality of the food.

    happy cat
    Image Credit: islam zarat, Shutterstock

    divider-cat

    Conclusion

    When it comes to clearing up your kitty’s stinky poop, changing their diet could work wonders. We recommend Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend as the best overall cat food for this due to the rave reviews from cat owners who say it helped them with this issue. Offering good ingredients for the best value, our pick is the Rachael Ray Nutrish Super Premium. Finally, if you’re looking for a food that’s a bit more premium, we’d go with Blue Buffalo Wilderness due to its use of real chicken and LifeSource Bits, plus the absence of grains.


    Featured Image Credit: Krakenimages, Shutterstock

    Nicole Cosgrove

    Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.