Food for cats with sensitive digestion: choice and feeding guidelines

Cat Food

All animals are individual and may have their own characteristics – both in character and appearance, and in the functioning of internal organs.

Some cats are predisposed to gastrointestinal disturbances, which may manifest as diarrhea, flatulence or vomiting. Causes range from parasitic diseases to breed predisposition. In order to protect the pet from health problems, the owner has to select the optimal food, which is labeled as such: for cats with sensitive digestion.

When a cat is prescribed a food for sensitive digestion

Digestion in cats depends on many factors, particularly the structure of the gastrointestinal tract or the enzymatic ability of the particular breed. Problems can be congenital or acquired, and symptoms can occur at any age – even if the cat had no prerequisites for developing the feature.

when a cat needs food labeled “sensitive digestion”
when a cat needs food labeled “sensitive digestion”

Symptoms that may indicate a digestive disorder usually manifest as:

  • Diarrhea or constipation;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Abdominal cramping and pain, which can be inferred by decreased activity and aggressiveness when trying to touch the abdomen, also pain may be manifested by excessive vocalization
  • Reduced coat quality and skin health due to decreased nutrient absorption.

If these symptoms occur, you should take your pet to the veterinarian, who will examine him, prescribe a treatment and help you find a special food. It is possible that medication may be necessary at first.

Food for cats with sensitive digestion: choice and feeding guidelines

Another reason is that while the cat is on a therapeutic diet, the veterinarian prescribes easily digestible food. Sometimes he may recommend the use of wet diets only, or a combination of dry food and wet food – to improve appetite or to replenish water balance.

What’s the difference between a dietary food and a regular food

Each diet has its own distinctive characteristics, both in composition and nutrient content. For example, special formulas tailored to different pet’s health problems. In addition they contain nutraceuticals which help to correct the symptoms of the disease, for example zeolites or psyllium.

Dry food

The main difference between dietary dry food and regular food is the composition and ratio of nutrients. Animals with digestive problems are often difficult to digest regular food, so for the creation of dietary diets select raw materials with a high level of digestibility.

Food for cats with sensitive digestion: choice and feeding guidelines
Special features of dry food for cats with sensitive digestion

These diets also have different levels of digestible and non-digestible fiber, which helps maintain intestinal microflora and peristalsis at the necessary level, stimulates the immune system of the intestine. Nutrients such as Omega-3 help reduce inflammation, and zeolites absorb excess water and toxins.

Dry food is a concentrated source of nutrients, and it takes a small amount to provide everything your cat needs. Plus, it’s easy to store and doesn’t need to be cooked.

Food for cats with sensitive digestion: choice and feeding guidelines
Dry food for cats with sensitive digestion

Wet food

Diet wet food differs from its dry counterpart in its high water content. This is a very important feature, since the main condition of a diet for cats with weak or problematic digestion is to consume plenty of fluids. The cat should actively drink, but it does not always follow this rule. Wet food allows the animal to replenish its water balance without frequent drinking.

Wet food is usually available in two forms:

  • Pate (in a tin can);
  • Pouch (in a bag).

The main disadvantage of wet food is that it should not be left in the bowl for too long. If your pet doesn’t eat it all within 40 to 60 minutes, you’ll have to throw the rest away. Opened packages can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for no more than 24 hours.

For cats who, due to poor health, eat small portions, it is better to choose small cans or bags.
Wet food for cats with sensitive digestion
Wet food for cats with sensitive digestion – pate and pouch

How to calculate daily food allowance

Calculate daily food allowance based on several factors: age, weight, activity and breed. The manufacturer usually prints a chart on the package to help you calculate the daily food allowance. This weight the owner divides by an equal number of meals.

Foods for kittens are higher in calories compared to foods for adults. Feeding rates are always listed on the package.

For most cats, the buffet type of diet is applicable, when the daily amount of dry food can lie in a bowl. However, if your pet has no control over the amount he eats, it is better to feed him often and in small portions.

Dry and wet food portions for cats with sensitive digestion

Feeding rates differ for cats that eat only dry food or only wet food. Sometimes owners feed their pets both. More often than not, the manufacturer specifies the feeding norms for dry product combined with 1 spider/can per day. If there is no such recommendation, it is better to ask the company or the veterinarian for a recommendation.

If the cat is very active, the daily portion can be increased by 15-20%. The reverse is true: animals that are overweight should be fed a little less. But it is important to remember that sometimes it is better to transfer the animal to a more or less caloric diet, which will also help avoid problems with digestion.

How to calculate a daily food allowance for a cat with sensitive digestion

Approximate Average Daily Amount of Dry Food:

  • For adult cats weighing 3 kg – 25 g, 4 kg – 40 g, 5 kg – 55 g, 6 kg or more, the portion is measured at the rate of 12 g per kilogram of weight.
  • For a cat weighing 2 kg – 35 g, 3 kg – 50 g, 4 kg – 70 g and 5 kg – 85 g.
  • Pregnant cats of small breeds (up to 5 kg) – 55 g of food per day, and larger – 12 g per kg of weight.


Only average values of dry cat food are indicated! To match the amount of food to your cat, read the instructions on the package of the food you bought out. For animals with allergies or illnesses, choose a specialized food that states that it is recommended for animals with such illnesses.

How to Choose Food for Cats with Digestive Problems

It is difficult to pick out the best foods for cats with sensitive digestion, because the selection of food is strictly individual. It must match the characteristics of the body, breed and indications of the attending veterinarian.

The first thing to start from is the age of the pet. Keep in mind that kittens will not be well-suited to adult diets, as they do not cover all the needs of a growing body.

Likewise an adult cat with a sensitive digestive system will not be suitable for a dry kitten food: it is too calorie-dense. If your cat is a very active cat, make sure it is marked “for active cats”.

Among manufacturers, it is worth choosing those who have their own research centers and high quality control. These are usually large companies – but small companies can be just as good.

Finally, look into the mixed-feeding type: when dry and wet food are alternated. For cats with sensitive digestion, this is the optimal solution.

The article is an advisory. Consult a specialist!

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