Best Hypoallergenic Cat Food

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The best hypoallergenic cat food is simple, streamlined, and contains anti-inflammatory ingredients for improved skin, coat, and digestive health.

That’s why I chose Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Rabbit Entrée Mini Patties as the best hypoallergenic cat food on the market.

This freeze-dried food has a simple, meat-based recipe that features rabbit meat and organs as its only protein source. To help reduce inflammation and control itchiness, it includes a touch of herring oil, a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Quick Look at Our Top Picks:

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Top Pick

Vital Essentials Rabbit Mini Patties
  • Rank: 1st
  • Rating: 9.7/10
  • Food Form: Freeze-Dried
  • Life-stage: Adult
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Runner Up

Go! Sensitivity + Shine Grain-Free Duck Paté
  • Rank: 2nd
  • Rating: 9.5/10
  • Food Form: Wet Food
  • Life-stage: Adult
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Best for Allergies

Hound & Gatos Lamb Formula
  • Rank: 3rd
  • Rating: 9.2/10
  • Food Form: Wet Food
  • Life-stage: Adult
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Budget Pick

Wellness CORE 95% Turkey Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
  • Rank: 4th
  • Rating: 9.1/10
  • Food Form: Wet Food
  • Life-stage: Kitten-Adult
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Best Testing

Hound & Gatos Lamb Formula
  • Rank: 5th
  • Rating: 9.1/10
  • Food Form: Air-Dried, Dehydrated
  • Life-stage: Adult
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What type of food is best for cats with allergies?

Diets featuring hydrolyzed proteins are the only truly hypoallergenic foods on the market, but they’re not right for every cat. Instead of shopping exclusively

for so-called hypoallergenic foods, the key is finding a food that works for your cat’s unique allergic situation.

Your options fall into several key categories.

Novel Protein Foods

Novel proteins don’t have to be exotic, odd, or expensive. Whether or not any given protein source is novel is determined by the eater, not the seller. For example, lamb-based foods are frequently marketed as novel protein diets, but if a cat has only eaten lamb-based food, chicken will be a novel protein to that cat.

Limited Ingredient Diets

Limited ingredient food is a cornerstone of feeding a cat with allergies. Whether you’re creating an elimination diet to identify your cat’s allergies or accommodating the cat who’s allergic to everything, a limited ingredient diet makes it easy to control what’s going into your cat’s body.

Not all limited ingredient foods are the same, but they should all have characteristics that ensure against an allergic reaction. They should be free of animal by-products and mystery meals that contain a nameless slurry of proteins. They should contain one primary protein source like chicken, turkey, or rabbit.

Hydrolyzed Foods

Perhaps the only true hypoallergenic cat food is the hydrolyzed diet. These foods are made with proteins that have undergone hydrolysis, a process that breaks down amino acids and renders them hypoallergenic. Hydrolyzed foods are typically available with a prescription only.

Though they may prevent allergic reactions, hydrolyzed diets are flawed. They usually don’t taste great, are made from low-quality ingredients, and they’re usually more expensive than other foods of similar nutritional quality.

Top 5 Best Hypoallergenic Cat Foods

Vital Essentials Rabbit Mini Patties Grain Free Limited Ingredient Freeze-Dried Cat Food Review

Vital Essentials Rabbit Mini Patties Grain Free Limited Ingredient Freeze-Dried Cat Food

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This straightforward, rabbit-centric recipe is a winning option for cats with food allergies. It contains nothing but rabbit meat, organs, and bones with water, goat’s milk, herring oil, and tocopherols as preservatives.

Raw goat’s milk contains enzymes that help to digest lactose, eliminating concerns about lactose intolerance.

The benefits of raw goat’s milk aren’t clear, but proponents name several benefits for cats with allergies. Raw goat’s milk is a source of caprylic acid, which may help fight yeast buildup as a symptom of allergies.

While advocates of raw milk claim that it’s a natural antihistamine, it doesn’t appear that its benefits go quite that far. It does appear, however, that people who drink raw milk as children have a lower risk of developing allergies or asthma later in life.

Herring oil is added as a species-appropriate source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can reduce inflammation and promote skin and coat health, helping to soothe and heal itchy skin.

Ingredients

Finely Ground Whole Rabbit, Rabbit Heart, Rabbit Liver, Rabbit Lungs, Rabbit Kidney, Rabbit Trachea, Rabbit Blood, Raw Goat’s Milk, Water, Herring Oil, Mixed Tocopherols, D-Alpha Tocopherol.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein52% min
Crude Fat15% min
Crude Fiber3.0% max
Moisture8.0% max
Ashn/a

What We Liked:

  • Made with a single source of animal protein
  • Very straightforward, simple ingredient list minimizes exposure to potential allergens
  • Contains raw goat’s milk, which may help reduce inflammation
  • Features herring oil as a source of soothing omega-3 fatty acids

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not all cats enjoy the rabbit taste
  • Expensive

Go! Sensitivity + Shine Grain-Free Duck Paté Recipe Review

Go! Sensitivity + Shine Grain-Free Duck Paté Recipe Review

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This recipe was formulated for cats with food sensitivities, allergies, and skin problems. Duck is its primary protein source, but it’s not a limited ingredient food. Turkey liver and dried egg product serve as additional sources of protein.

The food contains a mix of potatoes and other fruits and vegetables that could trigger allergic reactions.

Reviewers said the food was gentle on their cats’ stomachs and several reviewers note a difference in their cats’ coat condition. One said their “allergic-to-chicken Abyssinian inhales this cold meat duck product with no stomach upset, nor scratching/overgrooming herself!”

Ingredients

Duck, Duck Broth, Turkey Liver, Dried Egg Product, Potatoes, Flaxseed, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Apples, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Dried Kelp, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Xanthan Gum, Cassia Gum, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Beta Carotene.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein9.0% min
Crude Fat7.0% min
Crude Fiber1.0% max
Moisture78% max
Ashn/a

What We Liked:

  • Contains highly-digestible protein
  • Reviewers say it’s a good choice for cats with allergies
  • Contains a mix of muscle meat and organs

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Contains several sources of protein
  • Relatively long ingredient list
  • Contains multiple vegetables

Hound & Gatos Lamb Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Review

Hound & Gatos Lamb Formula Canned Cat Food

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This recipe has a short ingredient list and features lamb as its primary protein source. The food contains nothing but lamb, lamb broth, lamb liver, agar-agar as a thickener, salmon oil, and supplements.

Salmon oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that work double duty to soothe allergic cats. Omega-3s reduce inflammation and support overall skin and coat health.

This food is a great option for an elimination diet and also makes a good everyday food for cats who are sensitive to more common proteins.

Ingredients

Lamb, Lamb Broth, Lamb Liver, Agar-Agar, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate, Salmon Oil, Taurine, Salt, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Magnesium Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein12% min
Crude Fat8.0% min
Crude Fiber1.0% max
Moisture78% max
Ash2.5% max

What We Liked:

  • Contains a mix of muscle meat and organs
  • Short and simple ingredient list
  • Contains salmon oil as a source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Very expensive

Wellness CORE 95% Turkey Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Review

Wellness CORE 95% Turkey Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

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This canned food is primarily made from turkey, a good alternative for cats who would love to eat chicken but are allergic to it. In addition to turkey, the food contains a mix of gums, flaxseed as a source of fiber, and supplements.

Thanks to the use of two different gums and the inclusion of ground flaxseed, this is a relatively high-fiber food.

This might be a good thing if your cat is constipated or has other digestive issues, but in general, this much fiber isn’t necessary for cats.

Ingredients

Turkey, Water Sufficient For Processing, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein10% min
Crude Fat9.5% min
Crude Fiber1.0% max
Moisture78% max
Ash2.28%

What We Liked:

  • Made with a single protein source
  • Features turkey, a less commonly-allergenic alternative to chicken
  • Simple ingredient list minimizes potential allergens

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Relatively high fiber content compared to other wet foods
  • Doesn’t contain turkey organs

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Venison Cat Food Review

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Venison Cat Food

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If you’ve read our article on the overall best cat food on the market, you’ll know that moisture is a crucial factor in how we rank cat food. High-moisture foods are always better than kibble. If you’re dead-set on feeding your cat dry food, however, this air-dried food from Ziwi Peak may be a solution.

Unlike most dry foods, it’s very low in carbohydrates and emphasizes meat and organs over anything else. The food is streamlined and simple with a novel protein at the recipe’s heart. It’s rich in nutrients from venison muscle meat, liver, and tripe. It’s supplemented with New Zealand green-lipped mussel, an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

The food’s biggest drawback is its price. Ziwi Peak’s venison air-dried food is significantly more expensive than most dry foods and might cost almost $5 per day.

Ingredients

Venison, Venison Tripe, Venison Heart, Venison Lung, Venison Liver, Venison Kidney, New Zealand Green Mussel, Venison Bone, Lecithin, Inulin from Chicory, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Dipotassium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite), Salt, Preservative (Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), DL-Methionine, Taurine.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein45% min
Crude Fat23% min
Crude Fiber2.0% max
Moisture14% max
Ash12% max

What We Liked:

  • Primarily made from a novel protein source
  • Contains a mix of muscle meat, organs, and real bone
  • Supplemented with green-lipped mussel

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Very expensive

How do you choose the right food for your allergic cat?

If you suspect your cat has allergies, try an limited-ingredient elimination diet.

The best foods for an elimination diet contain just 2-3 ingredients, plus fat sources and supplements. Most limited-ingredient and novel protein diets have plant ingredients like dried kelp, alfalfa meal, and other supplemental ingredients that defeat the purpose of the food trial.

If you can’t find an appropriate limited-ingredient or hydrolyzed diet, you might consider a simple homemade diet instead.

This diet should be formulated under the supervision of a veterinary nutritionist or at least based on a recipe that’s been analyzed and proven to be nutritionally complete.

Give your cat this food exclusively for at least a month. If symptoms disappear, reintroduce his old proteins one at a time. If they return, take note of the protein he was consuming and eliminate it from his diet for good.

About the author


Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.

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