The Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food

Dry, flaky skin, itchiness, or a rash could indicate a food allergy for your favorite feline. Limited ingredient cat foods are used to diagnose and eliminate common food allergens from your cat’s diet. Proteins like milk, chicken, fish, or beef are culprits, and limited ingredient cat foods narrow down the possibilities, so you can find what’s irritating your cat.

We reviewed dozens of limited ingredient cat foods to find the best of the best recipes. We looked at both wet and dry foods, as well as those designed for kittens and cats of all ages. We also considered flavor options, price, and texture. Through all of that, we found five of the best limited ingredient cat foods on the market.

Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food Overall
Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free
A nutritious mix of protein and vegetables provide your cat with the calories he needs minus stomach upset or itchy skin reactions.

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free recipe comes in four flavors, which gives you some options as you narrow down the causes of your cat’s allergy issues. Each flavor has a single protein source, and some of those sources are outside of the norm like duck, salmon, and venison. They are all mixed with green peas for a natural source of fiber.

The 5 Top-Rated Limited Ingredient Cat Food

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food OverallNatural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free4.4
Best Wet Limited Ingredient Cat FoodReveal Limited Ingredient Wet Canned Cat Food4.5
Best Budget Limited Ingredient Cat FoodPurina Beyond Simply Natural Simple Ingredient Recipe4.6
Best Dry Limited Ingredient Cat FoodBlue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Cat Food4.5
Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food for All AgesI and Love and You Nude Super Food4.3

*Ratings are current at the time of publication and can change

Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food Overall: Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free

The point of a limited ingredient cat food is to eliminate foods that cause your cat digestive troubles or trigger allergies. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free comes in four different flavors, each with a single protein source. Cat allergies typically stem from a protein source, so limiting the number of sources increases your chances of eliminating the cause of your cat’s problems.

With this brand, you can choose from green pea and chicken, green pea and duck, green pea and salmon, or green pea and venison. If one doesn’t work, you have three other options to try. But no matter the recipe, Natural Balance leaves out fillers, potatoes, corn, wheat, and soy. While grains can be a healthy source of protein for a cat, a gluten allergy is always a possibility, too. For that reason, every Natural Balance recipe is gluten-free.

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Key Features:

  • Four (4) flavor options, each with a  different but single source of protein
  • Free of corn, wheat, and soy
  • Natural fiber

Best Wet Limited Ingredient Cat Food: Reveal Limited Ingredient Wet Canned Cat Food

Best Wet Limited Ingredient Cat Food
Reveal Limited Ingredient Wet Canned Cat Food
Lots of flavor options give your cat some variety, including several seafood flavors.

Reveal Limited Ingredient Wet Canned Cat Food keeps the ingredient list short and free of extras like artificial flavors, dyes, and preservatives. You can buy one that’s a single protein in broth or a mix of up to two proteins to give your cat variety. Despite these different sources of protein, none of the flavors contain grains, so there’s no worry about a gluten or wheat allergy. Every recipe is made of natural ingredients.

Finally, the manufacturer uses ethical and sustainable protein sources. From the harvesting of the meat to packaging and shipping, environmental and social impact is taken into consideration.

Reveal Limited Ingredient Wet Canned Cat Food Key Features:

  • No artificial flavors, dyes, or preservatives
  • Environmentally and socially safe protein sources
  • Eight (8) flavors

Best Budget Limited Ingredient Cat Food: Purina Beyond Simply Natural Simple Ingredient Recipe

Best Budget Limited Ingredient Cat Food
Purina Beyond Simply Natural Simple Ingredient Recipe
A single protein source along with probiotics give your cat a healthy digestive boost.

Purina Beyond Simply Natural Simple Ingredient Recipe has everything that Purina is known for, nutritious pet food at an affordable price, and puts it into a limited ingredient recipe. You’ve got two options, either chicken and whole oatmeal or salmon and whole brown rice. Both have a single source of protein plus some fiber for your cat’s digestive health.

Purina’s recipes also include probiotics to encourage a healthy gut bacteria balance. That being said, it skips corn, wheat, soy, and meat by-products, all of which can be potential sources of irritation. Finally, other synthetic ingredients like dyes and preservatives are left out.

Purina Beyond Simply Natural Simple Ingredient Recipe Key Features: 

  • Probiotics for gut health
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or meat by-products
  • Contains a single protein source along with a natural source of fiber

Best Dry Limited Ingredient Cat Food: Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Cat Food

Best Dry Limited Ingredient Cat Food
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Cat
A recipe supported with natural ingredients like pumpkin and peas promote digestive health while limiting exposure to potential allergens.

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Cat Food has some special ingredients that give cats a nutritious boost. It starts with LifeSource Bits, Blue Bonnet’s proprietary mix of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. They’re targeted to immune system health and balance in the digestive environment. That combined with a single protein source and ingredients formulated for adults indoor cats. Depending on the recipe, the protein source may be turkey, salmon, duck, or lamb.

All ingredients are natural, and the recipe does not include by-product meals, corn, wheat, or soy. It’s also free from synthetic flavors and artificial preservatives.

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Gran-Free Cat Food Key Features:

  • LifeSource Bits for immune and digestive health
  • Gentle ingredients like pumpkin and peas
  • Single source protein options include — salmon, duck, turkey, and lamb

Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food for All Ages: I and Love and You Nude Super Food

Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food for All Ages
I and Love and You Nude Super Food
Not all cat foods work for kittens or older cats. A recipe designed for cat health from start to finish gives you an option for your cat no matter his age.

I and Love and You Nude Super Food comes loaded with nutritious ingredients like flaxseed, pumpkin, and coconut oil that provide a nutritious boost for cats old and young. This all-age recipe works well for homes with multiple cats in a variety of life stages. Each recipe has two protein sources, so you can be careful with your cat’s allergies.

This brand also includes pre-and probiotics to balance gut bacteria and promote digestive health. Finally, the recipe includes essential fatty acids to promote brain development in kittens and the look and feel of your older cat’s skin and coat.

I and Love and You Nude Super Food Key Features:

  • Two sources of protein per recipe
  • Appropriate for cats of all stages, from kitten to senior cats
  • Pre- and probiotics to promote digestive health

Who Should Buy a Limited Ingredient Cat Food

Limited ingredient cat foods are usually suggested by a veterinarian for cats who have food allergies. At first, you may not know exactly which food causes the allergy,  so you may have to try a few different varieties until you find the right one. These kinds of cat foods may also have more unusual protein sources like wild turkey, venison, or seafood to get away from the chicken and beef that are commonly related to allergies.

A limited ingredient cat food may also be recommended if you’re cat has issues with gluten. A gluten allergy is not common in felines, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. If you want to be on the cautious side, you can look for a limited ingredient recipe that’s free of grains, too. There are recipes specific for kittens, indoor cats, and adults only.

Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food Overall
Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free
A nutritious mix of protein and vegetables provide your cat with the calories he needs minus stomach upset or itchy skin reactions.

Important Features to Consider

A limited ingredient cat food should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting one for your cat:

  • Ingredients (especially protein source). The ingredients, especially the protein source, are the most important factor in your decision. The best limited ingredient cat foods should have only one protein source. Some recipes have two, but proteins are common allergens for cats, and the fewer there are in the cat food, the less likely your cat is to have a reaction. You also want to keep the ingredient list short. Many times veterinarians recommend a limited ingredient diet to help identify food allergies. If the cat food has a long ingredient list, it can be difficult to narrow down the true source of your cat’s issues. Wet cat foods often have fewer ingredients than dry recipes, so they could be a good place to start.
  • Life stage. Some limited ingredient cat foods are designed specifically for certain life stages, such as kittens or adult cats. Kittens need DHA and omega fatty acids for healthy brain development, for example. Make sure that the food is appropriate for your cat’s age, so he gets the nutrients he needs.
  • Type of food. Your basic cat food types are dry or wet. Wet limited ingredient cat foods often have fewer ingredients, making them a good choice as you’re identifying your cat’s allergy source. However, dry foods are much less expensive. In the long term, you’ll probably need to find a dry limited ingredient cat food. You can then supplement it with wet cat food if you want. You can do an all wet cat food diet, but it’s expensive, and wet cat foods will spoil after 30 to 45 minutes if they’re not refrigerated.

Frequently Asked Questions

What ingredients should you avoid in cat food? 

Cats are carnivores, but the most common cat allergens tend to be protein sources like beef or chicken. Less common are allergies to corn, wheat, and soy. If you’re conscious of the quality of the ingredients you’re feeding your cat, you may also want to avoid foods with meat by-products, as they’re not as high quality and act as fillers. Like people, allergies can vary from cat to cat, so you may have to try a few different brands until you find one that works with your cat’s body chemistry.

What is the healthiest cat food for indoor cats?

Indoor cats have the same health needs as outdoor cats. However, since he’s indoors, you may want cat foods that pay special attention to coat and digestive health. Omega fatty acids, for example, contribute to a shiny coat and healthy skin that flakes less than average. You’ll also want food that’s fiber-rich, so your cat’s digestive health stays on track.

Do cats need wet food every day? 

Cats can eat wet cat food every day, or eat a wet cat food only diet, for that matter. However, cats don’t need wet food every day, since dry foods are just as nutritious. The biggest differences between wet and dry cat food are their price and the quality of their ingredients. Canned foods have higher quality ingredients, which contributes to their higher price. If you have the budget, go ahead and feed your cat wet food every day. If not, leave it for a treat. But remember, wet food can spoil if left out longer than 30 minutes. Put it in the fridge if your cat doesn’t eat it all right away.

Other Limited Ingredient Cat Foods We Reviewed

Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food Overall
Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free
A nutritious mix of protein and vegetables provide your cat with the calories he needs minus stomach upset or itchy skin reactions.

We looked at the 20 other limited ingredient cat foods. These recipes didn’t make our 5 best limited ingredient cat foods list, but they’re still some of the most nutritious options on the market. Their unique blend of ingredients could be perfect for your cat.

Dry Limited Ingredient Cat Foods

Canidae Grain-Free Pure Dry Cat Food

Canidae Grain-Free Pure Dry Cat Food

A short list of seven ingredients lets cats eat without digestive upset.

Key Features:

  • Whole foods to aid digestion
  • Added probiotics
  • Short ingredient list

Cost: $30

Forza 10 Neutroceutic Dermo Active Feline Formula

Forza 10 Active Dermo Support Diet Dry Cat Food

When you stick to the basics, you end up with a happy cat. This formula leaves corn, wheat, and soy behind for pure nutrition.

Key Features:

  • Free of corn, soy, and wheat
  • Formulated to relieve dry, itchy, or irritated skin
  • Single protein source

Cost: $13

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe

A recipe that uses one protein and one grain creates a great option for cats with food sensitivities.

Key Features:

  • One protein and one vegetable per flavor
  • Grain, corn, wheat, dairy, and egg-free
  • Made from natural raw ingredients

Cost: $20

Wet Limited Ingredient Cat Foods

Applaws Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Cat Food Mousse

Applaws Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Cat Food Mousse

A simple list of five ingredients provides smooth nutrition in this nutrient-packed mousse.

Key Features:

  • Grain-free
  • Five ingredient recipe
  • Easy-open cup

Cost: $34

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free 

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free

A single protein from sources outside the normal beef and chicken give this Blue Buffalo recipe the chance to nourish your cat without causing allergic reactions.

Key Features:

  • Contains no wheat, corn, soy, dairy, or eggs
  • Each flavor contains one protein source
  • Pate-style

Cost: $27

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe Wet Cat Food

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe Wet Cat Food

One animal protein and premium ingredients come together for a delicious and healthy option for your cat.

Key Features:

  • One protein source
  • Free of dairy, eggs, grain, potato, corn, wheat, and soy
  • No artificial dyes or preservatives

Cost: $36

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Wet Cat Food in Broth

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredients Diets Wet Cat Food in Broth

An easy to open cup container makes this recipe easy to access when your cat is ready to eat.

Key Features:

  • Free of corn, wheat, and soy
  • Single protein source
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives

Cost: $40

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredients Indoor Cat Food 

Natural Balance L.I.D Limited Ingredient Diets Indoor Cat Food

Prebiotics ease digestive issues to keep litterbox clean up fast and easy.

Key Features:

  • Added prebiotics to aid digestion
  • Grain-free
  • Lean formula

Cost: $38

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredients Wet Cat Food

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Wet Cat Food

When you put a single protein source with green peas for fiber, you get a recipe cats love.

Key Features:

  • Single protein source
  • Green peas for fiber and dietary health
  • Grain-free

Cost: $38

Limited Ingredient Cat Foods for All Ages

Adirondack Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Cat Food

Adirondack Limited Ingredient Cat Food

This slow-cooked recipe maintains nutrients that feed kittens and adult cats alike.

Key Features:

  • Two (2) flavor options
  • Grain-free
  • Omega fatty acids from coconut oil and flaxseed

Cost: $32

Artemis OSOPURE Wet Cat Food

Artemis OSOPURE Wet Cat Food

Depending on the flavor, Artemis uses either single or dual protein sources in their wet cat food.

Key Features:

  • Free of soy, potato, gluten, wheat, soy, and corn
  • Includes pumpkin for sensitive stomachs
  • Small size for better portion control

Cost: $30

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Wet Cat Food

Dick Van Pattens Natural Balance Limited Ingredients Wet Cat Food

Keep it simple for cats and kittens with this limited ingredient recipe.

Key Features:

  • Grain-free
  • Designed to support skin and coat health
  • Aids digestive health

Cost: $40

FirstMate Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food 

FirstMate Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food

Cat or kitten, it doesn’t matter. This cat food has nutrients for any age.

Key Features:

  • Grain-free
  • High protein content
  • Fiber from blueberries

Cost: $39

I and Love and You Lovingly Simple Dry Cat Food

I and Love and You Lovingly Simple Dry Cat Food

Pre- and probiotics add to the digestive ease of this recipe. High protein and omega fatty acids work wonders for your cat’s overall health.

Key Features:

  • Added pre- and probiotics
  • No grains
  • Rich in antioxidants for immune system health

Cost: $11

Merrick Limited Ingredients Diet Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Merrick’s salmon recipe works perfectly for cats with poultry allergies. But, you’ve still got three other flavor options if salmon isn’t to your cat’s liking.

Key Features:

  • Single protein source
  • Free of corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and eggs
  • Omega fatty acids for skin and coat health

Cost: $37

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Wet Cat Food

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Wet Cat Food

Merrick uses a single protein source to cut down on the chances of an allergic reaction.

Key Features:

  • Pate-style
  • Free of grains, corn, and gluten
  • Made for cats of all ages

Cost: $43

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet High Protein Dry Cat Food

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet High Protein Dry Cat Food

A combination of high-protein and a good dose of natural fiber makes this an excellent option for cats with a sensitive system.

Key Features:

  • Free of grains or potatoes
  • Single protein source
  • No artificial fillers or preservatives

Cost: $21

Taste of the Wild PREY Turkey Formula for Cats

Taste of the Wild PREY Turkey Formula for Cats

Omega fatty acids and DHA make this mix a great option for the growing kitten and the seasoned adult cat.

Key Features:

  • Lentils as a single carbohydrate source
  • Probiotics for gut health
  • No corn, wheat, gluten, grains, or soy

Cost: $20

Vital Essentials Vita Cat Freeze-Dried Mini Nibs

Vital Essentials Vital Cat Freeze-Dried Mini Nibs

Freeze-dried ingredients hold onto their nutrients for a delicious, vitamin-rich meal.

Key Features:

  • Made of raw ingredients
  • Gluten and grain-free
  • Alpha prey model with no vegetables or fruits

Cost: $29

WholeHearted Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Duck Recipe

WholeHearted Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Duck Recipe

When you mix in probiotics, your cat’s digestive health gets a needed boost.

Key Features:

  • No potatoes or soy
  • Limited to one protein source
  • Added probiotics

Cost: $26

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