The Best Limited Ingredient Cat Food for Felines with Allergies
“Deciding on your cat’s diet is downright plain and easy,” says no cat owner ever. And yes, it’s even harder if your cat has food allergies or food sensitivities. But, this is where limited ingredient diets come to the rescue.
While it’s still not easy to pick the best limited ingredient cat food for your cat, at least you know that by focusing on this subgroup, you are hunting for gold at the right spot.
- What Is a Limited Ingredient Diet?
- 10 Best Limited Ingredient Cat Foods
- 1. Natural Balance L.I.D. Green Pea & Duck Formula
- 2. Instinct LID Pate Real Turkey Recipe
- 3. Hill's Prescription Diet Skin/Food Sensitivities Venison & Green Pea Formula
- 4. Instinct LID Recipe with Real Rabbit
- 5. Blue Buffalo Basics LID Formula Turkey & Potato Recipe
- 6. Merrick LID Real Duck Pate Recipe
- 7. Blue Buffalo Basics LID Indoor Duck & Potato Entrée
- 8. Taste of the Wild PREY Turkey Formula
- 9. Go! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Duck
- 10. Purina Beyond Simply White Meat Chicken & Whole Oat Meal Recipe
- Does Your Cat Need a Limited Ingredient Pet Food?
- How to Identify If Your Cat Has Allergies?
- Benefits of Limited Ingredient Cat Food
- How to Start Your Cat in a Limited Ingredient Diet?
- What Is a Food Trial?
- What ingredient in cat food causes allergies?
- How do I know what my cat is allergic to?
- Why is my cat scratching but has no fleas?
- What causes cat allergies?
What Is a Limited Ingredient Diet?
In theory, a limited ingredient cat food or diet is simply what the term implies, or it’s exactly what it sounds – a diet that is only comprised of limited or fewer ingredients.
But why would you give your cat a dry or wet cat food that only contains a few ingredients? Wouldn’t that be less nutritious, too?
The primary goal of this diet is to prevent allergic reactions in cats through elimination. And in this case, the common allergens in a cat’s food are the ones that are being removed. That’s why this diet is also referred to as an elimination diet.
Most often, what triggers food allergy in cats is the protein source in their diet, which can be from milk products, or a certain meat source, such as beef, chicken, or fish.
So, in a limited ingredient wet or dry cat food, there’s only one source of animal protein, and it’s from a novel protein, or meat, that is not commonly used in a cat’s diet.
And since pet food companies don’t usually use novel proteins in their products, your cat may have never eaten these meats. So, there is a great chance that they are not allergic to these meats.
A pack of limited ingredient dry food or canned cat food can either have venison, rabbit, turkey, or duck meat, as its single protein source.
Many LID cat foods also only have a single source of carbohydrates, aside from having only one protein source. Additionally, they may also contain some supplements, and fats to give cats complete and balanced nutrition as much as possible.
Moreover, you won’t also see a LID cat food with grains, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives, which are common in other cat foods.
This is already expected since the main goal of this diet is to control the ingredients as much as possible to eliminate the possible allergen/s to a cat.
So, when there’s something that has to go, these fillers are automatically the first on the list as they don’t bring nutritional value after all.
10 Best Limited Ingredient Cat Foods
Natural Balance L.I.D. Green Pea & Duck Formula
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Instinct LID Pate Real Turkey Recipe
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Hill's Prescription Diet Skin/Food Sensitivities Venison & Green Pea Formula
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Instinct LID Recipe with Real Rabbit
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Blue Buffalo Basics LID Formula Turkey & Potato Recipe
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Merrick LID Real Duck Pate Recipe
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Blue Buffalo Basics LID Indoor Duck & Potato Entree
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Taste of the Wild PREY Turkey Formula
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Go! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Duck
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Purina Beyond Simply White Meat Chicken & Whole Oat Meal Recipe
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We can empathize with you on the daunting task of choosing the right cat food, and we know how important it is to address your cat’s true food allergies as soon as possible.
That’s why we’ve also made our research to help you narrow down your choices for the best hypoallergenic cat food in the market.
Feel free to give our top picks a try, but we should remind you that the process may still not be as quick as you expect it to be.
As cat owners, we bet you already know that switching your feline companion to a new food takes time. And it’s meant to be that way to help your feline friend adjust smoothly and avoid digestive issues during the transition.
- Natural Balance L.I.D. Green Pea & Duck Formula
- Instinct LID Pate Real Turkey Recipe
- Hill's Prescription Diet Skin/Food Sensitivities Venison & Green Pea Formula
- Instinct LID Recipe with Real Rabbit
- Blue Buffalo Basics LID Formula Turkey & Potato Recipe
- Merrick LID Real Duck Pate Recipe
- Blue Buffalo Basics LID Indoor Duck & Potato Entree
- Taste of the Wild PREY Turkey Formula
- Go! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Duck
- Purina Beyond Simply White Meat Chicken & Whole Oat Meal Recipe
1. Natural Balance L.I.D. Green Pea & Duck Formula
One of the roadblocks that make it difficult to sustain a cat’s need for a limited ingredient food is its heftier price tag compared with regular cat foods.
For some reason, it can be more expensive to source a single source of high quality protein than to use multiple meat sources.
However, that’s not the case with Natural Balance L.I.D. Green Pea & Duck Formula. This L.I.D. cat kibble, despite being cheaper than other hypoallergenic diets, is still formulated using premium ingredients starting with duck as its sole source of dietary protein.
Each tasty and crunchy bite of this kibble is also packed with limited carbohydrate sources, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to promote skin and coat health.
It is also fortified with vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients to ensure that your cat gets the best nutrition while on this diet.
However, this recipe contains salmon oil. So, if your kitty is allergic to salmon or salmon meal, you’d want to skip this one.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Cat Food is packed with love and pride in the USA, and it doesn’t contain grains, artificial flavors, and colors.
At the end of the day, whether your cat has food sensitivities or not, he is still a carnivore by nature, so these fillers are of no good for him.
2. Instinct LID Pate Real Turkey Recipe
Most cats would choose a plate of wet food over kibbles in a heartbeat because let’s face it, wet food looks, tastes, and feels closer to the meat of freshly hunted prey in the wild.
And the best thing is that with Instinct Limited Ingredient Wet Food, you can still satisfy your cat’s cravings even if he is potentially allergic to the common proteins.
Just like other limited ingredient diets, this canned food is made simple with only one source of animal protein. And in this case, it’s turkey. Additionally, it also has only one source of vegetables.
This premium cat food is formulated without common allergens, such as beef, chicken, fish, and eggs. And it doesn’t have the usual fillers like grains, wheat, or soy.
3. Hill's Prescription Diet Skin/Food Sensitivities Venison & Green Pea Formula
Worried about your cat’s frequent scratching and obvious cuts in his skin? You might want to talk to your vet and ask if you can get a veterinary prescription to purchase this cat wet food.
While this is a prescription diet, Hill’s Science Skin/Food Sensitivities Wet Cat Food is a popular limited ingredient food for cats with allergies.
It is specially developed by veterinarians and nutritionists as a special diet intended for cats with food sensitivities and skin issues. Being a limited ingredient cat food, it only contains one source of animal protein, and for this recipe it’s venison.
Additionally, it is also loaded with omega fatty acids, fats, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, E, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and taurine.
It’s also not short of clinically proven antioxidants, and it has a high palatability score among cats which can make the transition easier.
Moreover, it doesn’t contain natural chicken, or fish meat, as well as any soy protein. With all its nutrients combined, it can provide your cat a balanced diet while improving his skin and coat health, supporting his immune system, promoting good digestion, and maintaining a healthy skin barrier.
4. Instinct LID Recipe with Real Rabbit
Are you looking for a kibble using 100% crushed, freeze-dried raw nutrition for your cat’s limited ingredient grain-free diet? If you do, then, you’d better try this dry food for your feline companion.
This recipe is made with one animal protein and one vegetable. It is formulated with cage-free farm-raised rabbit, a nutrient-rich meat source that is easily digestible and provides your cat all of the essential amino acids that he needs.
It is also packed with guaranteed levels of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and other essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, B vitamins, niacin, folic acid, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and a lot more.
If your cat is also a picky eater, then, this would be a great choice for his limited ingredient diet because of its palatable flavor. Cat lovers and owners gave it a high rating on its flavor.
Additionally, this cat food doesn’t contain grain, chicken, beef, fish, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, and artificial preservatives. Hence, it is very unlikely that your cat would have an issue with it.
5. Blue Buffalo Basics LID Formula Turkey & Potato Recipe
Blue Buffalo is one of the staple brands that are synonymous with premium and trusted pet food. Hence, it is not surprising why their limited ingredient grain-free indoor cat kibble is on this list.
This particular recipe only uses turkey as its animal protein, and it is also packed with high-quality carbohydrates like potatoes, pumpkin, and peas to support your cat’s digestion.
Plus, it contains BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource Bits – a mixture of handpicked antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, formulated by veterinarians and nutritionists to promote your cat’s overall health and well-being.
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Cat Food is also made from all-natural ingredients, and it doesn’t contain poultry by-product meals, artificial flavors, and artificial preservatives.
6. Merrick LID Real Duck Pate Recipe
For felines with food allergies and sensitivities, less is actually a lot more. Basically, their body can better absorb and utilize the simply optimal nutrition from their limited ingredients diet.
And that’s why the #1 ingredient in this hypoallergenic wet cat food is duck meat, which also serves as its only source of animal protein.
Additionally, carefully selected nutrients are also added to ensure that your cat gets the complete and balanced nutrition that he needs while addressing his sensitivities and food intolerances.
This recipe is also free of the common allergens in cats, such as grains, corn, wheat, soy, or gluten.
7. Blue Buffalo Basics LID Indoor Duck & Potato Entrée
Not all wet foods are created equal – and that explains why there are pate-style canned foods that some felines don’t like that much. Good thing that Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient cat wet food is not one of them.
This premium grain-free L.I.D. cat food features one source of animal protein from a real duck.
And it’s densely packed ingredients are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids to help support your cat’s overall health, while promoting a healthy and shiny coat, and preventing an allergic response.
Its all natural-recipe is also devoid of chicken, beef, soy, gluten, wheat, by-products, and artificial preservatives.
Hence, you can breathe well while your cat is taking this wet food knowing that it’s made from natural and premium limited ingredients.
8. Taste of the Wild PREY Turkey Formula
Your cat will paw-sitively get wild with the aromatic scent and flavorsome turkey flavor of this Taste of the Wild Prey Turkey Limited Ingredient Recipe Dry Cat Food.
This formula is only made with three easily digestible key ingredients: cage-free turkey, lentils, and sunflower oil.
While its ingredients are limited, this cat food still provides your feline buddy with a complete and balanced diet. It is also added with probiotics, omega acids, and DHA from fish oil, and other micronutrients.
All of these macro and micronutrients work to support your cat’s digestive system, prevent skin problems, and support his overall health and wellness while also helping to pinpoint what is causing his food sensitivities.
9. Go! SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Duck
This high-protein limited ingredient dry cat food uses cage-free duck as its single source of animal protein, and is packed with the nutrients your cat needs to thrive each day.
It’s also filled with as limited ingredients as possible to minimize the risk of causing allergic responses to your cat.
Go! Solutions SENSITIVITIES Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food also contains prebiotic dietary fiber to support cats with sensitive tummies.
It is also fortified with vitamins and minerals to ensure that your cat meets his daily nutritional needs while battling his food sensitivities.
This premium grain-free cat food is also gluten-free, and it doesn’t contain filler products such as corn, wheat, or soy.
However, the formulation contains chicken fat, and dried egg. So, if your cat is sensitive to these ingredients, it’s best to try the other options in this list.
10. Purina Beyond Simply White Meat Chicken & Whole Oat Meal Recipe
While your cat may need a limited ingredient cat food, it doesn’t mean that he’ll be deprived of the rich nutrients that he can get from a non-restrictive diet.
This natural and grain-free cat food contains simple ingredients, which make it easier for you to spot your cat’s allergen.
However, even if there are fewer ingredients, you can set your worries away knowing that your cat is still getting optimal nutrition.
Purina Beyond Simply White Meat Chicken & Whole Meal Cat Food contains real chicken as its first ingredient, and it is formulated as an ideal meal for indoor cats with sensitive stomachs.
It is also enriched with vitamins, minerals, and natural probiotics to support your cat’s digestion and overall health.
With its delicious taste, your cat would feel like eating cat treats every mealtime. You can either serve this alone or as toppers on your cat’s favorite limited ingredient wet food.
Above all, it’s made in the US facilities using sustainable practices like water use efficiency, renewable energy, and waste reduction.
Does Your Cat Need a Limited Ingredient Pet Food?
A limited ingredient cat food is helpful for felines with food intolerances and/or allergies.
So, when your kittens or adult cats are perfectly healthy with their current dry or wet food, there’s no reason for you to switch to a limited ingredient diet as there is nothing that they need to avoid. As they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
And to answer the previous question mentioned above, experts are also torn whether this diet can offer the best pet nutrition or not.
However, for felines with cat allergies whose quality of life is compromised because of what they have to endure every day, a hypoallergenic diet or limited ingredient cat food is a great alternative.
After all, what good can a premium canned food do to a cat, when it only triggers an allergic response? Sooner or later, he will also avoid eating such food because of his bad experiences.
And when that happens, it won’t matter if you are giving your cat the healthiest cat food in the market because he is not eating it anyway.
Cats are smart and can be picky with their food. And at times, it is in their best interest. Some cats simply avoid food that gave them a negative experience in the past. It can be in the form of an allergic reaction, an upset stomach, indigestion, and so on.
At the end of the day, it’s best to figure out ways to ensure that your cat is getting the nutrients that he needs.
And this doesn’t stop in just simply giving him a balanced diet. You should also make sure that your cat loves eating his food because a happy cat makes a healthy cat – not just physically, but holistically.
How to Identify If Your Cat Has Allergies?
Cat’s allergies may often manifest in the form of itchy skin, usually around the neck and head. And this constant itching can lead to bald spots or small cuts in his skin that can also be easily mistaken as signs of flea infestation.
Additionally, a cat with food allergies or food intolerance may also exhibit symptoms of gastric distress, such as diarrhea, and vomiting.
When these symptoms are not properly managed, it will only be a matter of time before a cat will suffer from dehydration and its effects on his body.
Benefits of Limited Ingredient Cat Food
As mentioned earlier, the primary benefit of a limited ingredient cat food is that it can help you pinpoint the allergen in your cat’s food through the process of elimination. But that’s obviously not just the only benefit.
That being said, aside from addressing food allergies in cats, this diet can also create a ripple of positive effects on his overall health and well-being.
However, for a limited ingredient diet to work, you have to stick to it for at least eight weeks and monitor your cat’s reaction and progress.
Below are the benefits of this diet as a result of removing the potential allergens to a cat’s food:
- Increased energy levels because his body can once again absorb and retain the nutrients from the food that he eats.
- Lower carbohydrate intake, which a cat’s body doesn’t need that much anyway.
- Relief from itching skin, hot spots, and reduced presence of small cuts or wounds due to frequent scratching.
- Relief from digestive issues.
- Improve a cat’s digestion, have firmer stools and normal bowel movements.
- Less exposure to potentially harmful additives because there are fewer ingredients.
How to Start Your Cat in a Limited Ingredient Diet?
A limited ingredient diet can be considered a special diet, so, it’s best to consult your veterinarian. In fact, in making any decision that can greatly affect your cat’s health, it’s important to seek expert advice first.
Adult cats, in particular, are more susceptible to illnesses and food sensitivities because of their fluctuating immune system and overall health.
They are also more likely to have prolonged problems with their diet, which would warrant a more restrictive approach in what they eat. And consulting your vet can help you identify the best limited ingredient cat food that suits your cat.
Before your vet appointment, take the time to identify the following because these bits of information can help your vet make a better judgment:
- List down what proteins have your cat taken and what’s the primary protein source in his diet right now.
- What reactions have you noticed that could support your suspicion that your cat may be allergic to one or some of these proteins?
What Is a Food Trial?
A food trial is the first step in figuring out why your cat is having issues with his diet, and whether or not such issues are caused by any ingredient in the food that he eats.
Food trials may take place in a couple of weeks, in which you will have to slowly introduce a new food to your cat’s daily menu, and then closely monitor for allergic reactions.
If your cat shows improvement while he is on a LID diet, you’ll have to continue giving him such food until you are sure his allergies have been eradicated.
After this, you’ll have to reintroduce your cat’s previous proteins and watch out for changes or any allergic response.
If your cat doesn’t exhibit allergic reactions even after you’ve reintroduced his previous proteins, then, it is likely that his allergy is caused by something else.
Hence, you can resume his previous diet and totally stop giving him a limited ingredient cat food. As for his unresolved allergy, your vet will have to run more tests to identify what triggers the allergic response.
What ingredient in cat food causes allergies?
The foods most commonly associated with food allergies in cats include beef, fish, chicken, and dairy products. Limited research has been performed in this area, and there may be other common allergens that we have not yet identified.
How do I know what my cat is allergic to?
The best way to determine what your cat might be allergic to is to schedule an intradermal (skin) or blood test for allergies with your veterinarian or a veterinary dermatologist.
Why is my cat scratching but has no fleas?
The most common causes of itching are parasites, infections, and allergies. There are many skin diseases that do not initially cause itching. However, itching may develop with these diseases due to secondary bacterial or yeast infections. It is possible that by the time itching develops the initial cause is long gone.
What causes cat allergies?
Felines can develop three main types of allergies: environmental, food, and flea allergies. Substances that make up these allergen categories include: Organic substances such as pollen, grass, plants, mold, and mildew.