This content has been reviewed and approved by our in-house Veterinarian for accuracy
Your sweet munchkin has been with you through thick and thin, and now they need your help. They have new dietary needs at an older age. Or, you had some extra room in your home and you’re helping an older fur baby live the rest of their life out in pure bliss.
Either way, your friend might have a sensitive stomach, and that can make life a little less blissful for an older cat. On top of making things cozy around the house, a diet that’s easy on the digestive system can go a long way for these furry pals.
An important thing to know is that you’re not alone in your situation. There are parts of the natural aging process that can cause vomiting later in life for cats, not just illness.
For this article’s specific purpose, we focused on personal experiences to guide our search. There are dozens of reasons that older cats vomit, so we had to narrow down the links between symptoms. This took four hours of reading.
We learned that there is a difference between vomiting and retching. This distinction is important in getting your cat diagnosed, but it’s less relevant when deciding on their food since ‘gentle’ is the name of the game.
Speaking of diagnoses, if your older cat has begun vomiting without explanation, don’t assume it’s just their age. Definitely check with your vet to make sure nothing else is going on.
We compiled a list of over a dozen top food brands that we found on Chewy, Amazon, Walmart, Petco, and Petsmart. Then we crossed the list without guidelines and requirements, and eventually, the list below was born.
Between researching and cross-referencing, we’ve spent over nine hours compiling the list of the best cat food for older cats that vomit. Plus another three hours to write this piece. That’s twelve hours spent on your furry ole friend!The winner is Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach. It has nutrients that are unmatched in potency and quality. The third competitive edge Blue Buffalo has is its purity. Read on below to find out more about our top choice. We highly recommend.
Twelve hours sure does produce a lot of information to sift through. Obviously, there’s a huge difference between a chronically vomiting cat and a cat whose food simply does not sit well with them, so that was the first clarification we made going into researching.
Also, we studied what types of ingredients and textures were best for cats who vomit particularly of older age. A big rule we stuck by is the simpler the ingredients, the better.
Then we relentlessly read through a thousand plus reviews to see what cats and their parents had to say. This helped polish the list off, differentiating between fantastical claims and actual results.
The conclusion is a list you can count on to meet your needs.
To find the best cat food for older cats that vomit, we had to look in a few places.
The first place we started was by going through nearly all of the cat food out there on the market. We didn’t limit our search only to the bags that have the word “sensitive” on them. Some non-sensitive foods have the potential to be just as beneficial as specifically formulated ones.
Next, we decided that an extra fancy cat meal with an ingredient list longer than the Constitution isn’t suitable for a queasy cat’s stomach. Keeping it simple is best for kitty. That way they get what they need, but the ingredients are way easier to digest.
Since older cats usually can’t eat dry food alone, we wanted to throw in some alternatives for variety! If you’re currently feeding your old cat dry food by itself, please see the canned foods and broth supplement below.
Your cat may not be getting the proper amount of moisture or nutrients if you stick to one food type. That’s why we made sure to include different options. Here’s a rundown of what we looked for:
Price - Price matters because with an older cat can come vet bills. We want your cat to get the best, but you don’t need to go bankrupt at the same time.
Flavor - With fewer and simpler ingredients, the flavor is a big deal. All of these foods and flavors have been kitty-approved.
Ingredients - Just like us, when cats age, their digestive tracts aren’t as efficient nor effective as they used to be. That’s why feeding your cat a small number of gentle ingredients is better. Some of the longer formulas have their purpose, and we do use them! But, overall, less is best.
Texture - In this list, you’ll find some brands that offer wet and dry food by the same line. Hopefully, that’s a match for your cat’s palette. Since so often it’s not, we have options of all different textures included here. With older cats, sometimes the texture is just what it comes down to.
This list was tailor-made for people who own an older can that suffers from chronic vomiting or retching. That’s a very wide umbrella.
Regardless of why your cat is vomiting, this list is for you. As I’d hinted at before, cats’ aging bodies can change. For one, they simply become more susceptible to hairballs.
But, there are dozens of other reasons your cat could be vomiting, a few including an ulcer, indigestion, or other scary things.
Please, please don’t panic after reading that! If your cat is vomiting for an unknown reason, call your vet.
They should assess your cat’s symptoms over the phone to see if they need immediate care and usually give you a few signs to watch out for.
Chances are, you know what’s up with your cat, and now you’re ready to change their diet. This list is for you.
This list is also for those who currently have their older cat on a sensitive diet, but it’s not working or is having adverse effects.
This list will not provide solutions for cats who sometimes eat random things and puke it up later. I think that would be every one of them...
It took us hours and hours to come up with this list.
As mentioned, we looked through almost every adult cat food on the market. We even included startup companies because sometimes they house hidden gems. From this list, we dwindled it down to those with the most desirable ingredient list.
Then we read through reviews for hours on over a dozen websites. Chewy, Petco, and Petsmart seemed to have almost the same options, so we continued on to Amazon, Walmart, and multiple others.
From that list, dwindled even more to those with four stars or over, and got to reading. We read every single review on every website we could find to get a real picture of what these companies are offering and what cats are saying about it.
And so the list was born. Here. We. Go.
At Cat Kingpin, we research so thoroughly because we stand behind our recommendations. Without further ado, let’s introduce you to the best cat foods out there for vomiting kitties.
Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach is our top choice without a doubt. This food has it all, really. It’s packed with actual meat, omega fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s also got FOS, a specific prebiotic that increases gut function.
Perfect for your squeamish kitty!
Plus, this formula contains extra Taurine, which older vomiting cats need more than a middle-aged cat would. Essentially, their needs revert back to those of a kitten in some ways.
There are cons to this food though. A very small number of cats had an immediate negative reaction to the food. There weren’t many of these stories, but their symptoms consistently sounded the same.
Whenever you change your fur babies' diet, observe your cat for a few hours after they eat for the first day or two, and if their systems seem fine, you’re good to go!
For any adverse reactions such as immediate vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, or wheezing, call your vet.
Cat parents who have especially picky eaters found relief with Royal Canin's line for sensitive stomachs. The easily digestible protein ensures your older cat doesn’t miss out on nutrients just because they can’t eat as well.
This product helps keep your cat at a healthy weight, which is imperative for aging cats because their activity level decreases.
The less pressure on the circulatory system and joints, the better. Cats also really seem to enjoy the tougher texture of the loaf.
Cans becoming damaged during transit was a common theme among complaints about the Sensitive Loaf. Plus, the company hints that it’s best enjoyed with dry food, which means this is not a one-stop-shop food.
If your cat can’t eat dry food, there are broth supplements and other alternatives that are available to your cat. It’s 2020-there’s a product for that!
Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus is a staple for aging cats with almost any need. Purina covers all the basics plus some in this formula. You can buy this food in a wet or dry form.
They’re extra proud of their exclusive blend of beta carotene, vitamin E, fiber, and omega 3 & 6 fatty acids. Any cat over the age of seven is the target audience of Purina Pro Plan.
The variety of flavors is great for nauseous, vomiting cats, whose appetite can be picky sometimes. Don’t forget, they also have an 11+-year-old bag of food, but since this one can be eaten by all cats over 7, this one ended up making the list!
There is an odd complaint about this food. Customers seem to suspect that they’ve reformulated their lean meat flavors to also include fish though it doesn’t say so on the label.
It’s a recent complaint, so be aware.
While most of our cats love pate-style food textures, some customers said their cats hated it. It seemed they were expecting chunks in gravy, which isn’t what you get here.
Friskies Natural Senior Broth soup broth is one of those luxury items your older cat just deserves. This food supplement gives your cat a break from their daily food routine and adds a nice comfort food to their menu.
It’s made with real animal meat and broth. What a wonderful way to also give your cat’s teeth a break.
This broth adds liquid to your cat’s diet, so reach for this guy when your baby of any age is sick.
A recurring complaint regarding this product is its price. People just can’t seem to get down with the cost.
Don’t forget that this does not replace a regular, balanced diet, so add as extra in their bowl or as an additional treat.
Purina One Sensitive Skin & Stomach is your go-to for an older cat with vomiting issues. This formula was created for sensitive tummies, and the main ingredient is real turkey. It’s specifically made to be easily digestible.
An important aspect of this food is that older cats seem to be able to chew this product easily, which makes it wonderful for cats who can still hold down solids. Plus, the added fiber in the recipe helps stave off hairballs that contribute to vomiting and retching.
The absolute only two complaints were that customers saw very obvious variances from bag to bag between stores and that some cats just flat out refused to eat this one. I guess it just didn’t fit their palet!
Once you find a food that works for your older cat, it’s best to avoid switching if at all possible.
To add variety to your older queasy cat’s diet, you can try new wet food. Then try one of the soup flavors, and let us know what you think!
Since your cat has been with you for so long, you’re probably fully aware of how much they eat. With any new food, however, definitely check the feeding instructions.
It’s not ideal for just one of these products to carry your cat’s whole diet. Even adding treats can supplement extra nutrients that are so important for older cats.
As your cat ages, they may begin to have trouble chewing or swallowing. When you notice that, dampen their food to soften it and check with your vet. Your furry friend might need nutritional supplements.
As far as leaving your elderly cat’s bowl out, that is another purely situational choice. You’ve had a system up until this point, but maybe it needs to be adjusted for kitty’s needs.
Maybe your cat can’t finish their wet and dry food in the 30-minute window that wet food allows. For this, you can help by leaving dry food with added water out for longer than that half-hour window.
This gives your cat the time and option to finish their food at their own pace.
Q: How do I know if my cat is a chronic vomiter?
A: If your cat vomits only occasionally, your cat isn’t a chronic vomiter. If your cat’s vomiting doesn’t subside after almost two days, then check with your vet as soon as you can.
Once you speak to your vet, you’ll find out what’s going on with your cat. Chronic vomiting is vomiting that persists regularly and does not get better. The diagnosis will come from your vet.
Sometimes it’s just your cat’s aging body giving them a hard time. It doesn’t always have to be serious. In case it is, we always recommend checking with your vet first.
Q: What textures are best for sensitive stomachs?
A: That answer isn’t as clear cut. Your cat’s texture preference is not a problem. We’ve made sure there are options on the list that cover all textures.
The trick to texture is figuring out what your cat can handle best. Some can’t chew dry food due to teeth issues, some love the gravy/chunky style wet food, but loathe the pate-style. The texture isn’t as important in preventing vomit as it is tempting your cat to eat their food.
If anything, dry food might become too difficult for your cat to chew. However, there are methods to combat this throughout the article.
Your cat won’t go unfed!
Q: Are any of these foods particularly good for allergies in cats?
Making sure your cat’s water is as clean as possible all the time helps cats with allergies. It seems silly, but it really helps their tummy remain placid.
Cats with allergies can have irritated airways and extra mucus, so hairy, dirty, water is a bigger deal than it sounds like.
Q: My older cat won’t eat anything. What food should I try?
A: Forget the food, and get to your vet ASAP. We’re assuming you don’t mean “my cat just missed their last meal” and that’s it. If your cat has not been eating for well over a day or two, they’re trying to tell you something isn’t right.
Listen to them and take a trip to the vet as soon as possible.
Q: I know of some other really wonderful cat foods for sensitive stomachs. Why didn’t those make it on here?
A: You’re right, there are plenty of other acceptable, even great options out there. This article would be a textbook if we included every one of them!
These are the products we chose based on the specific parameters of our search. The goal for us at Cat Kingpin is to not only find the best and most exclusive. Our goal is to make cat-care information available for cat parents of all walks of life, socioeconomic status, and location.
You won’t find a South Carolinian cat food on this list that’s only sold in four stores throughout the state. Accessibility is important!
With that in mind, please comment below if you know of a stellar cat food brand for sensitive stomachs that we don’t have on the list.
We want to know!
Q: Some people add water to a cat’s food to make it easier to chew. Do I need to supplement anything if do that?
A: Great question! Yes and no.
You’re right, dampening the dry food dilutes the nutrients since your cat can’t eat as much. That’s why it’s so important to have wet food and other options in addition to regular dry food.
A wonderful alternative is to add the broth on the list to your dry food.
A lot of people like to add wet kitten food sometimes because it’s so packed with nutrients!
Throughout the research conducted for this article, it quickly became clear how many people have this problem. We knew it was common, but nearly three out of five cat owners have gotten to (or will) care for a vomiting cat.
No food seems to be a crowd-pleaser as much as Buffalo Sensitive Stomach is, and we understand why. The label matches the company’s claims, which match their reviews.
It’s the best dry food for sensitive stomachs out there, and we think it’s your best place to start.
What food did you pick? Let us know your experience in the comments!
Sources:Vomiting, Chronic in Cats - https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/digestive/c_ct_vomiting_chronic
Whitney is a south Louisiana native who stopped fishing after she got her first pet fish. Her love of animals only grew stronger as her family began to have room for other friends like birds, cats, dogs, horses, and…a few more cats. She has experience handling a pet problem or two, and she spends her days either talking or typing about it. If you have any fun pet stories to tell, you can write to her at @WriteWhitney