As the name suggests, limited ingredient food for cats is food with a low number of ingredients, in order to offer good nutrition for cats with common cat food allergies or sensitivities.
By limiting the number of ingredients, these specially manufactured foods offer astute pet owners reassurance that their beloved mogs are getting all that they need without the fear of allergies arising.
Owners can pick out cat foods with ingredients that agree with their cats and be assured that these grain-free alternatives to the average store brand will contain the protein, vitamins, and minerals that their pets need to thrive.
Our Top Three Picks
1. Merrick Grain Free Limited Ingredient Real Meat (Best Overall Pick)
This single protein source recipe comes in a variety of flavors and is designed for easy digestibility. With a high number of added vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and taurine, this food contains all essential nutrients for every stage of your cat’s life.
2. Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein (Premium Pick)
This recipe is packed full of protein and incorporates antioxidants, taurine, and omega fatty acids to promote nutritional wellbeing. This food is enjoyed by fussy eaters and can be fed to cats at every stage of their lives.
3. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free, Natural Indoor (Best Value Pick)
Designed for indoor cats, these pellets are free of eggs, soy, corn, wheat, and dairy and don’t contain artificial colors, artificial flavors, or preservatives. The recipe also includes unique ingredients like biotin, L-Lysine, and folic acid to ensure your kitty’s immune system and overall health is taken into account.
Some Addition Picks
4. Merrick Grain Free Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Cat Food (Best dry food)
The first ingredient in this recipe is real, deboned chicken, which is an excellent source of protein for your fur babe. The recipe also includes a limited amount of vegetables, as well as amino acids, vitamin B12, biotin, and both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
5. Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural, Adult Dry Cat Food
The recipe features vitamins and minerals to boost your fur baby’s health. It also contains L-Lysine, which is a supplement known for its positive effects on managing symptoms in cats with Feline Herpes Virus.
6. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Wet Cat Food (Best Wet food)
This food is low on carbohydrates, completely grain-free, and contains biotin to help promote healthy skin and coats. The formulation also contains ingredients aimed at optimizing digestive functioning and overall health.
7. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Healthy Indoor Senior Recipe (Best senior option)
Designed for indoor senior cats, this food is rich in omega fatty acids and contains several essential vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. Good sources of fiber also help to limit hairballs in older cats.
8. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Wet Cat Food in Broth (Best Broth option)
This tasty food is high in moisture, which offers an added source of liquid for cats who don’t drink as much as they should, as well as added vitamins and minerals. There are a few proteins to choose from for kitties with meat allergies.
9. Instinct Grain-Free Minced Recipe Natural Wet Cat Food Cups (Easiest to serve)
These convenient cups are a well-balanced mix of protein, whole foods, moisture, and added vitamins to boost your cat’s overall wellbeing. The tasty recipe offers a good, consistent source of nutrition for selective eaters.
10. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe (Best weight control option)
This food comprises real, deboned chicken and is specifically formulated to help keep your fur friend’s weight ideal. With essential additions, this food offers good overall nutrition for your fur child.
11. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Recipe Natural Cat Food
This smartly packaged food is available in a number of sizes and three different flavors (salmon, turkey, and rabbit). These kibbles are low in carbohydrates and difficult to process proteins, making them ideal for cats with sensitivities.
12. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Cat Food, Grain Free
This food favours ingredients that are less commonly associated with allergies in cats and is specifically formulated for felines with food sensitivities. Available in a number of flavors, this range aims to offer options to suit all preferences.
13. Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food
This recipe is made up of 77% real animal ingredients and is suitable for cats of all ages. The kibbles are raw coated and contain several added vitamins and minerals to promote wellness. The recipe is also low in carbohydrates and focuses on its protein content.
14. "I and love and you" Nude Dry Cat Food - Grain Free Limited Ingredient Kibble
This unique recipe contains superfoods like flaxseeds, turmeric, and coconut oil to ensure good overall nutritional value. Rich in omega fatty acids, this food contains no fillers and is high in protein.
15. "I and love and you" Naked Essentials Canned Wet food - Grain Free
This wet food has a high protein value, a healthy amount of fats, and very few carbs. The food is rich in naturally sourced omega-3 fatty acids and contains a number of added vitamins and minerals. The tins assist in correct serving sizes and also help to hydrate kitties.
16. Purina Cat Chow Naturals Original
This food aims to offer your feline friend a diet full of natural ingredients and added essential supplements. The recipe features a high amount of protein, as well as leafy greens and whole grains for a good source of fiber.
Why use limited ingredient food?
Limited ingredient food is designed for cats with allergies or sensitivities to certain foods or additives. By offering limited ingredient food, pet owners can cut out food sources that they know their cat is sensitive to, while still offering a tasty meal and good nutrition.
Typical signs of an allergic reaction to a food include:
Your cat may also experience a food intolerance, which is a little different from an allergy in that the immune system isn’t involved in the often less severe reaction. In that case, also check out the best hypoallergenic cat foods.
If you suspect that your cat may have a food allergy or intolerance, you may want to conduct a food trial. Trying foods with limited ingredients will help you to identify the source of the upset through a process of elimination.
Some common cat allergies include:
Limited ingredient pet food generally promotes proteins as a primary ingredient and many creators favor ethical sourcing of meat for their foods.
What to Look for When Choosing?
Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that your feline friend must have a source of meat in her diet in order to be healthy and thrive. Cats with allergies and sensitivities still need a source of protein in their diets but choosing food with just one source may help to identify the source of their discomfort and limit food reactions going forward.
Limited ingredient cat food is a good option, even for those whose cats don't battle with allergies. Many cat foods available in stores are full of grains that are difficult for cats to digest.
When selecting a food for your beloved kitty, be sure to take note of the protein type and protein content. The protein type will depend on your cat’s preferences but be sure to pick out food with as high a protein content as possible. The protein should always be listed as the first ingredient in the recipe.
Another thing to look out for is the type of carbohydrate used in the food and the amount it contains. Inexpensive carbohydrates like corn and wheat are often used as fillers to bulk up the food, and as cats are not naturally equipped to process these sources, they are often the cause of sensitivities and allergies.
One factor that doesn’t matter much to cats, but certainly does matter to their humans is cost. When choosing a food, be sure to select one that will be an affordable cat food for your family as a long-term commitment. As it uses expensive meats and quality ingredients, limited ingredient pet food is generally more pricey than the average kibble you’d find in stores. Your kitty companion will; however, thank you for giving them the nutrition they need and there are plenty of options on the market available at different price points.
Most of the brands we have featured have both wet and dry food options and can be fed together for added benefits. While dry food is often more affordable and helps to maintain healthy teeth and gums, wet food offers your kitty the hydration they need and is also good for overall urinary health. Regardless of which food you choose to feed, be sure to always offer your cat access to plenty of fresh, clean water.
Be sure to check the label for these aspects before selecting a food:
While allergies are one of the main reasons for the increasing popularity of this type of food, there are a number of other benefits to feeding a limited ingredient diet. The clear list of ingredients allows pet owners to be confident in what exactly is going into their beloved companion’s body. This food is generally of good quality and full of added vitamins and minerals, making its clear message a trustworthy choice for discerning guardians of any cat.
Limited Ingredient Cat Food: The Verdict
Limited ingredient food certainly seems to be the solution that owners of pets with allergies have been searching for. As these foods contain high levels of high-quality protein and no grains, they are not only great for sensitivities, but for all felines.
When it comes to selecting a limited ingredient food for your beloved cat companion, it doesn’t get better than Merrick Grain Free Limited Ingredient Real Meat. This food is low in carbohydrates, grain-free, and full of added vitamins and minerals. It also adds a good source of moisture to your pet’s diet and comes in a variety of different proteins, making it our number one pick in this category.
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