Did you know that your favorite pet might also be allergic to certain foods? Cat allergies come about when a cat’s immune system mistakes an ingredient for a threat and mounts an immune response that results in miserable symptoms like sneezing and even vomiting for your cat. If your cat is prone to allergies, a hypoallergenic cat food can help to avoid these symptoms by eliminating ingredients your cat is sensitive to from her diet.
We reviewed dozens of hypoallergenic cat foods based on several factors, such as price, customer ratings, nutritional value, ingredients, and other considerations to identify the best cat foods for cats with allergies.
We identified Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Food as our top pick. A natural and healthy option for most cats, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Food offers a high protein content and is packed with real chicken cats crave.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Hypoallergenic Cat Foods
|Best Overall||Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Food||4.5|
|Runner Up||Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Cat Food||4.1|
|Best Budget Buy||Purina ONE Sensitive Systems Adult Dry Cat Food||4.6|
|Best Limited Ingredient||Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Grain Free||4.2|
|Best Wet Cat Food||Instinct Original Wet Canned Food||3.5|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Cat Food
Our top pick is produced by Blue Buffalo, a reputable pet food manufacturer with many raving fans who won’t feed their pets anything else. Blue Buffalo Wilderness is a hypoallergenic cat food that’s healthy, natural, and delicious for cats. It has a high protein content of about 38% and contains no grains. With high-quality protein and fiber obtained from natural sources, Blue Buffalo Wilderness is a good option for cat owners who want to improve their pet’s digestive health.
Note that grains are not particularly bad for your cat, but they do not form part of their natural diet. Grains and other fillers don’t add nutritional value for cats, and some cats have sensitivities to grains or allergies to grains or other ingredients, leading many cat parents in search of grain-free foods. Blue Buffalo Wildnerness is available in a variety of flavors, so you can find the perfect recipe to appeal to your favorite feline.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Cat Food Key Features:
- No grains or gluten
- No artificial preservatives and ingredients
- Has real meat as its first ingredient
Our Runner Up Pick: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Cat Food
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Cat Food is made using a blend of carefully selected ingredients that are meant to benefit your pet nutritionally while reducing their exposure to common allergens or ingredients linked to sensitivities. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Cat Food is available in different combinations, so you can choose the variety your cat loves most or based on any known allergies or sensitivities. This particular variety combines green peas and salmon to offer a healthy combination that still provides the high protein content your cat needs.
It’s grain-free, which makes it suitable for felines that are reactive to corn and wheat. It contains a blend of other high-quality proteins, carbs, and vitamins that are important to your cat’s health. This premium cat food is designed to enhance healthy digestion and keep the skin and coat in top condition with a complete, balanced diet. Lastly, Natural Balance conducts nine safety tests on every food product before releasing it to the market to ensure premium quality.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Cat Food Key Features:
- Grain-free cat food
- Limited ingredients diet
- High-quality duck
Best Budget Pick: Purina ONE Sensitive Systems Adult Dry Cat Food
Purina ONE Sensitive Systems Adult Dry Cat Food takes the best budget award because of the value it offers for its price. Each cup of this cat food contains 36 grams of protein which helps satisfy your cat’s cravings while supporting muscle growth. This complete and balanced cat food contains turkey and other high-quality ingredients to provide your cat with all the protein and nutrients he needs to stay active and healthy.
This food features real turkey as the main ingredient to support strong muscles with an irresistible flavor cats love. This crunchy kibble helps to reduce plaque buildup and whiten your cat’s teeth, and antioxidants and omega-6 fatty acids boost your cat’s immune system and nourish his sensitive skin while being gentle on sensitive stomachs. Many reviewers say Purina ONE Sensitive Systems decreases their cats’ vomiting and helps to soothe their itchy skin.
Purina ONE Sensitive Systems Adult Dry Cat Food Key Features:
- Made with real turkey as the main ingredient
- Rich in omega-6 fatty acids
- Easy to digest
- Nourishes sensitive skin
Best Limited Ingredient Hypoallergenic Cat Food: Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Grain Free
The Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Grain Free cat food is a good option if your cat has allergies or sensitivities but you’re still looking for significant nutritional value. This grain-free cat food doesn’t contain ingredients that are common allergens for cats, such as corn, dairy products, or wheat. It is available in various grain-free formulas, allowing you to pick the variety that is best-suited to your feline’s preferences and tastes. Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Grain Free also contains the healthy omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your cat’s skin and coat.
Some cats are found to be allergic to poultry products, making this cat food – which has whitefish as its main ingredient – a good choice for eliminating poultry proteins. Reviewers say this food reduces vomiting in cats as well as hairballs. It contains several antioxidants that are beneficial for your cat’s overall health and well-being, too.
Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredients Grain Free Key Features:
- Has whitefish as its main ingredient
- Has no egg, grains, and dairy products
- Has some pumpkin produce
Best Hypoallergenic Wet Cat Food: Instinct Original Wet Canned Food
The Instinct Original Wet Canned Food is a good choice for cats with allergies who prefer wet food. It’s available in beef, chicken, duck, lamb, rabbit, salmon, and venison flavors, so you can choose your cat’s favorite or offer a variety. This wet food contains flaxseed, peas, and carrots as opposed to grain-based carbs that can cause allergies and stomach issues.
The main ingredient in this cat food is whole meat, and the other varieties include fruits and vegetables that are carefully picked to offer your cat the best nutritional value. This food is free of any artificial fillers as all the ingredients that support your cat’s health. Wet foods are often ideal for cats with digestion issues, including elderly cats whose digestive systems might not be functioning optimally. If your cat seems to scoff when you offer dry foods, Instinct Original might be the ideal choice for your finicky feline.
Instinct Original Wet Canned Food Key Features:
- Canned food without fillers
- Made from real meat and whole food ingredients
- Made in the USA
Who Should Buy Hypoallergenic Cat Food
Cat parents might wonder if they have to buy hypoallergenic cat foods. These foods might cost more than regular cat food varieties due to the extra work manufacturers have to do to reduce the allergens in them. It’s easy to say that if your cat has never had an allergic reaction, you probably don’t have to buy these foods, but that doesn’t mean you never will. Many cases have been reported where a cat has been tolerating a specific nutrient well for many months only for them to suddenly develop an allergy. The bottom line is that if your cat experiences an allergic reaction and you determine it’s from her food, you’ll find yourself on the hunt for a good hypoallergenic cat food. In fact, some cat parents choose to feed hypoallergenic foods even in non-sensitive cats simply to avoid exposure to as many potential allergens as possible.
It is tough to diagnose an allergic reaction in cats since they are susceptible to many gastrointestinal problems that can bring about effects that are similar to those brought by allergies. However, if the cat exhibits some symptoms after eating a particular food, there is a high probability that she’s allergic to one or more of the ingredients it contains. Veterinarians diagnose allergies in cats by testing their reaction to specific nutrients or nutrient combinations, and when the signs allude to an allergic reaction, you have no choice but to eliminate those ingredients from your furry friend’s diet.
It’s essential to know the nutrients of the food you choose since the hypoallergenic label does not make them allergy-proof. Hypoallergenic foods only have lesser amounts of common allergens, and most cats won’t get reactions when they feed on them. That’s not to say that no hypoallergenic cat food could ever trigger a reaction in any cat. Just like people, every cat is different, and foods have a variety of ingredient combinations – so you’ll need to be mindful when choosing any food for a cat with sensitivities or allergies.
Important Features to Consider
Proper hypoallergenic food for your cat should have several important features. Here are some things to consider when selecting the right hypoallergenic cat food:
- Wet vs. dry. Most meals are available in dry and wet versions, and it helps to understand the difference before making a choice. Dry hypoallergenic food is convenient since it is not messy and you can store it (almost) anywhere. However, wet cat food helps to keep your pet hydrated even if she doesn’t drink enough water. Wet food also helps to prevent any issues with your cat’s urinary tract, a common feline health concern. Aside from that, wet food also helps to solve any digestive problems. All in all, the nutritional value of dry and wet food isn’t dependent solely on whether it’s wet or dry. Some cats are comfortable chewing dry food, while others won’t even think about eating anything but wet food, so keep your cat’s preferences in mind.
- Ingredients. Allergic reactions are not simple. While some ingredients are known to trigger allergic reactions, some cats suffer from reactions to ingredients that rarely cause them in other cats. It helps to look at the ingredients in a particular hypoallergenic cat food brand before making a choice.
- Source of protein. One of the nutrients often under scrutiny when looking at cat foods is protein. Most allergies are to proteins, and they vary depending on the source. Most cat food varieties specify the type of protein it contains and in what amounts, making it easy to choose varieties that don’t contain the specific protein sources that your cat reacts to.
- Hydrolyzed. Some cat foods have hydrolyzed proteins, which have been broken down into constituent amino acids and are easier for a cat to digest. This is particularly important for cats that have digestive issues that are commonly mistaken for allergic reactions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is hypoallergenic cat food?
There are no cat foods that are 100 percent hypoallergenic. Cats are different, just like people, and yours might be allergic to one of the common ingredients found in many cat foods. Hypoallergenic foods contain ingredients that do not commonly lead to allergic reactions, lowering the chances of cats developing an allergic response. Most hypoallergenic cat foods contain hydrolyzed proteins, meaning the proteins are broken down into an easier-to-digest form that most cats’ immune systems won’t recognize as a protein, meaning they won’t develop an allergic response.
How can you tell if your cat is allergic to food?
A food allergy happens when your cat’s immune system mistakes a protein or any other ingredient as a threat. The system mounts a response such as itchy skin, skin infections, diarrhea, sneezing, coughing, and vomiting, among others. Itching and diarrhea are the most common signs of allergies, as well as other gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting.
Before you conclude that your cat has a food allergy, understand that several things can cause digestive problems. Confirming an allergy to certain foods is done through an elimination process where certain ingredients are eliminated or added to the diet over time, one at a time, monitoring for symptoms after each change to determine what ingredient prompts the allergic response.
What ingredients in cat food can cause allergies?
Cats, like people, can be allergic to just about anything, including any of the ingredients in their cat food. However, analyses have indicated that some ingredients and proteins are more likely to cause allergic reactions compared to others, and this guides the manufacturers when formulating hypoallergenic foods. Grains and dairy products cause most allergies and intolerances. Cats are not prepared to eat grains, and their digestive systems cannot deal with such foods. Corn, in particular, is a common trigger in cats.
Mature cats have no enzymes to digest dairy products, and this is another common cause of allergies. Some of the parts of meat that people do not eat, such as fat tissue, can easily be used to make cat foods, and this could trigger reactions. Lastly, seafood is another common cause of cat allergies, as well as artificial fillers and preservatives often found in commercially produced foods.
Can cats outgrow food allergies?
Food allergies might not have any dangerous health implications, but it is essential that they are diagnosed and treated correctly. There is no blood test to diagnose an allergy, and cats cannot outgrow them.
Other Hypoallergenic Cat Foods We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other hypoallergenic cat foods. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best hypoallergenic cat foods list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your cat. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing below.
- Dry Hypoallergenic Cat Food
- Wet Hypoallergenic Cat Food
- Limited Ingredient Cat Food
- Non-Animal Protein Cat Food
Dry Hypoallergenic Cat Food
This meal is available in three options; Duck, Salmon, and Venison recipes. Low in cholesterol and full of antioxidants, this treat is made from natural meat and is boosted with other berries and herbs to complement the proteins.
- Free from grain, fillers, wheat, soy, and artificial colors
- Available in three options
- Promotes healthy lifestyle in cats
Designed for indoor cats, this product contains natural protein from deboned chicken and is used to maintain a cat’s weight. It also controls hairballs while aiding in lean muscle development.
- Delicious formula
- Natural protein from deboned chicken
- Created for indoor cats
This is a high-protein blend that is available in three options; active cats, indoor cats, and kittens. It has a high protein content from real chicken meat and amino acids as well as vitamins from natural fruits and vegetables. The formula is easily digestible, making it a good option for cats with sensitivities.
- Free from corn, grain, and artificial fillers
- Contains vitamins from fruits and vegetables
- Easily digestible
This delicious meal is available in a choice of two; beef-hoki and chicken-lamb. It is all-natural and contains taurine which is beneficial for your cat’s general health. It comes in a resealable pack making it easy to store.
- Grain free
- Natural ingredients
- Contains taurine
This is a hypoallergenic cat food contains fats, fiber, and magnesium all blended to create a nourishing and nutritious formula.
- Contains antioxidants
- Grain free
- Good for the urinary tract
This food is an excellent alternative for cats with specific allergies. It follows a natural approach in keeping your feline healthy and free from the effects of food intolerances. Besides the real meats, this treat is complemented with fruits and vegetables.
- Free from soy, grain, and seafood
- Made using whole meats
- Simple to digest blend
This food complements your cat’s nutritional needs and was specially formulated to provide an all-round formula that is recommended for indoor cats.
- Contains a myriad of mineral and vitamins
- Made using natural ingredients
- Easily digestible
This is another formula meant for kittens with allergies and nourishes them by offering a complete set of nutrients. It supports the specific needs of growing cats, and it is made for small jaws.
- Supports the heart, teeth, jaws, and bones
- Good for growing cats
- Gluten-Free formula
This is a unique formula designed for cats with allergies as it is easily digestible and gentle on the stomach. It contains chicken liver, rice and other oils that all offer significant nutritional value. The proteins are hydrolyzed to make it gentle on sensitive felines.
- Contains hydrolyzed proteins
- Ideal for cats with food intolerance
- Provides optimal nutrition for a healthy body
Created by celebrity Chef Rachel Ray, this blend contains a line of well-formulated cat foods. It is made with real chicken meat and brown rice, has no artificial byproducts or additives, and is free of soy, corn, and wheat.
- Contains omega fatty acids
- Contains biotin and taurine
Formulated with over twenty nutrient-rich superfoods, this holistic dry cat food ideal for all life stages and is available in an option of chicken and Alaskan pollock. It’s recommended for active cats and those that have diabetic problems.
- Made using natural ingredients
- Free from fillers and additives
- Grain and gluten-free
This is a formula crafted for indoor cats and comes in two different recipe options; chicken or salmon combined with lentils and apples. It helps to prevent hairballs which are commonly seen on indoor cats.
- Proteins derived from real meat
- Superfood blend
- Protected probiotics
Made with the aim of producing a meal that will let you feed your feline like a real carnivore, this treat contains roasted venison and smoked salmon as its main ingredients.
- Grain-free blend
- High protein content
- Vegetables and fruits provide vitamins
- Nutritious and easily digestible
This hypoallergenic food is all-natural, grain-free and is primarily made of cod which stands out as a nice option to try if your cat is allergic to other protein sources. It contains the omega fatty acids that give a healthy and shiny coat.
- Comes in varying blends
- No artificial fillers
- No carrageenan
Wet Hypoallergenic Cat Food
This is a unique wet food formula is prepared using cuts of real chicken that are cooked and stored in their broth to give your cat with all the crucial nutrients. Its highly delicious recipe makes it likable even to the pickiest cats.
- Natural ingredients
- Free from artificial additives and preservatives
- Gives your cat a balanced diet
Limited Ingredient Cat Food
This food is cod based and has no grains. Its list of ingredients is simple, and the new cod taste might be something your cat will fall in love with. It offers the nutrients needed to nourish your cat and enhance its overall health.
- Made with 5 key ingredients
- Easily digestible
- Grain free
This food is formulated for cats with allergies and contains some unique green tea extract that enhances its taste and aroma. It comes in a variety of blends, and each of them is made with pure and simple ingredients that still offer the desired nutritional value.
- Contains few and easily digestible ingredients
- Contains healthy omega fatty acids
- No grain or dairy product
This single ingredient formula is a good option for cats with allergies. It sources its protein from animal meat, specifically deboned turkey, chicken, duck, and salmon. It is also wet and this makes it suitable for cats with digestion problems.
- Simple ingredients
- Potato-free and fish-free
- Cooked in the USA
Non-Animal Protein Cat Food
This specific food is designed for adult felines with sensitive skin and stomachs. It is made from egg and rice recipes that are designed to provide a balanced diet. It is easy to digest for cats and has antioxidants that boost the cat’s immune system.
- Easy-to-digest ingredients
- Free of artificial fillers
- Rice and egg-based recipe
This food is recommended by many since it’s hydrolyzed and contains light proteins that are easy on your feline’s digestive system. It also contains a blend of beneficial omega three fatty acids that work to nourish the cat’s body and improve its digestive system health.
- Contains hydrolyzed proteins
- Powerful B vitamins
- Chelated minerals for maximum absorption