Are you looking for the best limited ingredient cat food?
Here we discuss the best food options. After that, we talk about some things to look for in your food of choice and we answer some common questions.
Let’s get to it.
In A Hurry? Here Are Our Top Picks…
- Purina Beyond Grain Free
- Reveal Wet Cat Food
- Blue Buffalo Basics
- Feline Natural Hypoallergenic Cat Food
- Rachael Ray Nutrish
Best Overall Limited Ingredient Cat Food
Purina has our favorite overall limited ingredient cat food. Their formula passes on harmful ingredients while including what your cat needs and still selling at a reasonable price.
Purina’s limited ingredient food skips out on corn, wheat, and soy products. You also won’t find much in the way of artificial preservatives or flavoring, so this food checks all our boxes. One possible gripe is that it does contain chicken meal. That’s not a big deal for us or for many buyers, but some buyers might prefer that it be left out.
We like that this food does pretty well with protein. It packs 36% protein per serving and that’s plenty for your kitty. 35% serves as our “cut off line”; anything above and that’s great. Anything below and it could use some more. This food crosses the line, passes the test, and we’re pretty content with the protein.
This food sells at a pretty reasonable price compared to other limited ingredient cat foods. It’s not the least expensive, but it does the best job of combining high quality with low price. It’s our overall favorite pick.
Things We Like
- No corn, wheat, or soy
- Does a great job of packing in the protein
- Very reasonable price compared to other products
Things We Don’t
- Some owners might not appreciate that this food contains chicken meal
This is our overall favorite limited ingredient cat food. It passes on some common bad-for-you ingredients, helps your cat stay healthy, and still sells for a very reasonable price.
Best Wet Limited Ingredient Cat Food
Reveal has our favorite wet limited ingredient cat food. This food packs all the nutrients your cat needs while skipping out on those ingredients that he or she doesn’t need.
Reveal’s formula calls itself “grain free”, but there’s more to it than that. It passes on several common allergens that cats have. Reveal doesn’t include grains (like wheat), corn, or soy in their final product. In fact, most of their bowls are just meat and gravy. While that wouldn’t be good for a human over the long term, your cat is a carnivore. Meat and gravy is right up your cat’s alley.
We like that Reveal is a wet cat food. Cats should get most of their hydration from their food, so wet food is a better choice for keeping your cat well-watered. Most wet foods also have much higher amounts of protein and are tastier for your critter than comparable dry foods. We’re pretty glad that there are some solid wet food options for your cat.
Reveal does a good job of packing in other nutrients into their cat food. As mentioned above, they’re pretty high in protein. They also have omega 6 fatty acids (it’s better than it sounds) and Vitamin A to help your cat have clear skin and a strong, shiny coat.
We like that there are tons of flavor options to choose from for picky cats and cats who like to try different things at meal time.
The price is very reasonable for a wet food, but it’s higher than what you could find a dry food for.
Things We Like
- Very limited ingredients – great pick for cats with allergies
- Wet cat foods are healthier and taste better for your kitty
- Tons of protein helps your cat stay strong and active
- Helps your cat’s coat shine
- Lots of flavor options
- Reasonable price for a wet cat food
Things We Don’t
- Budget shoppers will get more mileage out of a dry food since they are cheaper per serving
This is our favorite wet limited ingredient cat food. We love that it’s wet and helps your cat to stay hydrated and healthy.
Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food For Older Cats
Blue Buffalo has our favorite limited ingredient cat food for older cats. This food restricts harmful ingredients while still giving your “experienced” kitty everything that he or she will need to survive.
The Blue Buffalo Basics formula passes on several unhelpful ingredients. It doesn’t include chicken, beef, grains, corn, soy, dairy, or eggs. This is a solid pick if your cat has some pretty serious food sensitivities.
We like that this food has what Blue Buffalo calls “LifeSource Bits”. LifeSource Bits are nutrients chosen for their ability to promote a happier and healthier cat. Your cat will get all that he or she needs for a stronger immune system, joint health, and a healthy digestive system. This is good news for aging and “more experienced” cats.
The protein content in this food is pretty low. If you’ve read any of our other cat food reviews, you know that high protein is very important for your cat, but older cats are an exception to that rule. Some older cats may have a problem digesting lots of protein. Most of the time we’d make a fuss about a measly 28% protein, but it won’t be an issue if you’re feeding a mature cat of 7+ years.
This food runs at a pretty high cost per pound, even for a limited ingredient cat food. It’s not a bad deal if you want a limited ingredient cat food for an older cat. Once your needs get that specific, the price tends to go up.
Things We Like
- Great choice for cats with food sensitivities
- Helps your cat’s immune system
- Promote strong skin and a healthy, shiny coat
- Good for older cats who struggle with digestion
Things We Don’t
- Not a good pick for younger cats (less than 7 years old)
- A little pricier than other options on our list (but very reasonable if you want a limited ingredient cat food for older cats)
Blue Buffalo is our favorite limited ingredient cat food for mature cats. If your cat is 7+ years old, this is a great pick to help him or her stay healthy.
Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food For Severe Food Sensitivities
Feline Natural has our favorite limited ingredient cat food for severe food allergies or sensitivities. They provide a healthy meal for your cat and exclude a ton of potential allergens or food sensitivities.
Feline Natural helps cats with severe food sensitivities by excluding almost any potential problems. They say no to grain, wheat, corn, soy, cereals, dairy, rice, potatoes, fillers, gelling agents, legumes, GMO ingredients, starch, and preservatives.
This cat food is about as close as you’ll get to “limited ingredient” as you’ll ever find. It has as few possible allergens as any food we’ve ever seen, so this is our favorite pick if your cat has severe diet restrictions.
Feline Natural doesn’t have many ingredients in their cat food, but all the ingredients are in line with a cat’s natural, meat-based diet. We like this food if your cat has any kind of dietary problems.
And since the foods are based on your cat’s natural meat-based diet, the proteins are about as high as you’d expect. This cat food puts in a whopping 48% protein. That’s a ton. Protein helps your cat keep weight off, be more active, and rebuild stronger muscles. It’s more in line with your cat’s natural digestion preference and is awesome to see in a cat food.
We’re thrilled about the protein content here.
The food is a bit pricier than other options on this list, but it’s very reasonable compared to other foods with such restricted ingredients.
Things We Like
- Great pick for cats with severe food sensitivities
- Few ingredients helps your cat’s digestion (improves diarrhea, vomiting, etc.)
- Tons of proteins – great pick for all kitties
Things We Don’t
- A little pricey compared to other options on our list (but reasonable compared to other super-limited-ingredient cat foods)
This is our favorite limited ingredient cat food for cats with severe food allergies. This food passes on a ton of potential allergens but is great for your kitty.
Best Cheap Limited Ingredient Cat Food
Rachael Ray’s Nutrish is our favorite cheap limited ingredient cat food. It restricts harmful ingredients while still selling at a budget-loving price point.
Rachael Ray’s Nutrish passes on wheat, corn, and soy in their food. This food also excludes chicken by-product, fillers, and artificial flavors or preservatives.
This cat food also does a good job at helping your cat’s digestion. It includes “easy digestion foods” like pumpkin and dandelions that help your cat’s meals pass through better. This is a good pick for cats who have any kind of digestion problems like diarrhea or vomiting.
We like that this food places a special emphasis on immune system health. It includes antioxidant rich berries that help your cat build and maintain a strong immune system.
Some buyers complained that the cat food smelled bad and that their cats didn’t love the taste, but these buyers seemed to be in the minority.
This food sells at a super reasonable price per pound and it’s our favorite pick for budget shoppers.
Things We Like
- Great pick for budget shoppers – very reasonable price per pound
- Good pick for cat’s digestion
- Helps boost immune system
Things We Don’t
- Includes more ingredients than other options on our list
- Some buyers complained about smell and taste (but these buyers were a minority)
This is our favorite cheap limited ingredient cat food. It’s a great pick for budget shoppers.
What To Look For In A Limited Ingredient Cat Food
There are a lot of limited ingredient cat foods. How can you know which one is best for you?
We look at 4 main areas when deciding which cat foods we want to recommend:
- Other perks
- Buyer reviews
Let’s take a deeper look at each of these.
All limited ingredient cat foods will restrict some ingredient. Which ones are most important and what should you avoid in food?
This depends on your cat. What is he or she allergic and sensitive to?
Almost all limited ingredient cat foods pass on grains (or wheat), soy, and corn. If you’re new to limited ingredient cat foods and aren’t sure what the problem is, we recommend starting with one of these foods.
As more ingredients are restricted, the price tends to rise. So we recommend more-limited foods to cat owners who either can’t figure out the problem or whose cats seem allergic to almost everything.
Many cat foods often have a type of “specialty” to go along with being limited ingredient foods. We’ve tried to note these where important. Some cat foods will be best for sensitive stomachs, others best for older cats, some best for indoor cats.
And then others are just general purpose limited ingredient cat foods. And those are okay too (often, less specialized foods are less expensive). Our best overall and best budget picks are more all-purpose options.
You can often figure out if a food has a special purpose by looking at the name of the food. It will often say something like:
- “sensitive stomachs”
- “hairballs and vomiting”
- “indoor cat”
When you see any of those, it’s a good indicator that the food has a special purpose other than just being limited ingredient.
We recommend that you stick to the more all-purpose foods if your cat doesn’t have any specific issues, since the all-purpose options are often less expensive.
We like to check a lot of customer reviews before buying. In particular, we’re looking for:
- Feedback on taste (whether cat liked/disliked)
- Any ill effects
- Overall positive experience
One of the first things we want to look for is whether cats liked the taste. If he or she isn’t liking it, then he or she won’t eat it.
It’s safe to assume that your cat will have the same interests as the majority, even if he or she has been a picky eater in the past. There will always be a few cats who don’t like most foods and you’ll hear about these in the reviews. But we recommend trying a food for yourself before knocking it.
The thing to watch out for here is to make sure that most cats enjoyed the food. If you’re seeing too many horror stories of kitties who’d rather starve, maybe it’s time to try another option.
We also want to look for any ill affects attributed to the food. It’s important to look for any vomiting or diarrhea that started after the kitty began his or her new diet. It’s possible that the cat got a genuine sickness and started new food at the same time, so only start getting worried after you see several of these.
And the last thing we want to see if an overall positive experience with the food. Nothing too specific to keep an eye out for, but we like to see reviews in excess of 4 starts, but at least 4.3 is even better.
And then the price. Instead of looking at the exact dollar amount (like $23), we like to look at the price per pound (like $2.50 per pound). Limited ingredient cat foods are often a bit more pricey than other options since they don’t have filler. You should expect to find food in the $2-$3 per pound range.
The closer a food gets to the $3 per pound range, the more we consider it to be “pricey”. It’s more expensive relative to the other options out there.
Closer to $2 per pound is considered “reasonable”.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does this food contain X ingredient?
If you’re asking about wheat, corn, or soy, the answer is no. None of the foods we listed above contain wheat, corn, or soy.
If you are curious about a more specific food (like legumes), we recommend checking the ingredient list. You can hover your mouse over the product pictures on Amazon or Chewy to get a zoomed view.
Does this food solve X problem?
We recommend looking at the name and product description. Most foods are very proud to solve a problem like hairballs in addition to being limited ingredient, so the foods will almost always tell you how they help.
We recommend Purina Grain Free as our overall favorite option. It limits several harmful ingredients while giving your cat everything that he or she needs to stay healthy.
Thanks for reading! Let us know in the comments below, what food is your cat eating?
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