Skip to content

As a loving pet parent you want to make sure your cat is getting the best nutrition—which can be challenging if your cat has a sensitive stomach. Keep reading to learn how to tell if your cat has food sensitivities, reasons why cats experience digestive issues, and the best types of food to help your cat avoid gastrointestinal problems.

Symptoms of a Sensitive Stomach in Cats

Common signs your cat has a sensitive stomach include:

Your cat might have a sensitive stomach even if they only show one or two of the symptoms, and stomach issues can have a sudden or gradual onset. Also, cats are notorious for hiding pain or discomfort because appearing weak goes against their instinctive survival skills.

If your cat has abdominal pain the symptoms might include a change in posture (hunched over instead of sitting up straight), grooming the stomach area more than usual, or protesting when you try to pick them up. You may notice changes in their general behavior if your cat has stomach pain: they might spend more time hiding, show less interest in playing, or have a change in temperament. 

If you suspect your cat is suffering from an upset stomach, take note of anything outside the norm, and don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns with a veterinarian. Some of these symptoms can be signs of other underlying issues, so it’s best to be sure.

Does my cat have a sensitive stomach, or are they just a picky eater?

It can be hard to tell, and both can be true. Some cats with a sensitive stomach become picky eaters as a result.

On the other hand, some cats are picky eaters from day one, and have specific preferences or a need for variety. Luckily there are tactics you can use to overcome the challenges of feeding a picky cat!

orange cat with sensitive stomach solutions

Why do some cats have a sensitive stomach?

Parasites, bacterial infection, and ingesting foreign objects can also cause an upset stomach, which (again) is why it’s important to bring any symptoms to your vet’s attention sooner rather than later.

What to feed a cat with a sensitive stomach

Fortunately, there are plenty of options for feeding a cat with a sensitive stomach! It may take some trial and error to discover what works best for your cat, and remember to make dietary changes slowly.  

Easily digestible proteins

Cats are obligate carnivores and their diet should be mostly meat, including muscle and organ meat. Chicken and fish are both easy for cats to digest. Some fattier meats like beef, lamb and pork might be harder for cats with a sensitive stomach to digest. But the most important thing is choosing high-quality animal proteins, like those found in a raw food diet for cats.

Wholesome carbohydrates

Cats digest carbohydrates differently than dogs because they lack (or have lower levels) of certain digestive enzymes involved in breaking down and using carbs. So if you include carbs in your cat’s diet it’s really important to make sure they come from wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients like organic fruits, vegetables, and seeds.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and promote healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. Omega 3s also support immune health, joint health, and a healthy coat and skin.


In the wild cats don’t eat carbohydrates at all, so they don’t get any dietary fiber. However the whole prey diet of wild felines includes indigestible materials like fur and bones that act like fiber to keep things moving through the digestive tract. For indoor cats it’s important that they get enough fiber from cat food to maintain digestive health, prevent constipation, and help hairballs move through the digestive tract.

Cats don’t need a lot of fiber in their diet to reap the benefits (and too much fiber can be problematic) so look for cat foods with 1% to 8% crude fiber.


Probiotics are helpful, naturally occurring bacteria that support gut health by promoting a balanced microbiome. A healthy gut is not only good for your cat’s digestion, it’s good for their immune health and ability to cope with stress. Choose cat food with probiotics, or use a probiotic supplement if recommended by your veterinarian.

cat eating wet food

What to avoid feeding a cat with a sensitive stomach

If your cat has a sensitive stomach you should avoid feeding the most common ingredients that trigger food sensitivities in cats. Your vet may recommend an elimination diet to pinpoint what your cat is sensitive to.

Low-quality proteins

Low-quality proteins aren’t as easy to digest, and their nutrients aren’t absorbed as well. Look for cat food with grass-fed, pasture-raised, or cage-free animal proteins, with no added hormones or antibiotics.


Despite the stereotype of serving a saucer of milk to a cat, most cats can’t digest dairy products because they don’t produce lactase (the digestive enzyme that breaks down dairy). Your cat may enjoy eating dairy, but it’s better for their digestive health if they don’t.

Wheat, Corn & Soy

Processed wheat, corn and soy are all common food allergens for felines, and should be avoided for cats with sensitive stomachs because they’re not easy to digest. These types of grains are inexpensive, so sometimes brands will use them to ‘bulk up’ their cat food recipes.


Food additives like artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, as well as thickeners like guar gum and carrageenan, can cause digestive issues and/or an allergic reaction in cats. 

Cat Foods for Cats with Sensitive Stomachs

When it comes to sensitive stomachs, cat parents can feel wary about transitioning to a new food or finding an option that will sit well with their cat. Stella & Chewy’s is proud to offer a variety of best-in-class solutions that offer digestive support and promote gut health. Some cat parents wonder whether wet food or dry food is best for cats with sensitive stomachs. The truth is both types of food can be helpful, as long as they’re made from quality, ingredients and none of the bad stuff.

All our cat food products provide complete and balanced nutrition per AAFCO,are formulated under the guidance of a PhD animal nutritionist and reviewed by our cooperating team of veterinarians to ensure appropriate, quality nutrients. Recipes always include responsibly sourced proteins as the #1 ingredient and do not contain any of the following potential stomach irritants:

Frozen & Freeze Dried Raw Cat Food

Our minimally processed raw diets for cats digest more gently and efficiently. They contain 98% meat, organs and bone to mirror an ancestral diet and provide complete and balanced nutrition for cats so you never need to supplement further. All raw morsel recipes contain natural sources of fiber, like pumpkin seed and raw ground bone, which aid in healthy digestion. All raw diets also contain added probiotics to support proper gut flora (bacteria). We also offer freeze-dried raw meal mixers and toppers.

Many raw-fed cats have smaller, firmer and less frequent stools. Stella & Chewy’s offers single-source protein recipes which makes it easy for cat parents dealing with food sensitivities or allergies. Raw diets also contain a high moisture content of 70% (as-fed frozen or when freeze-dried is rehydrated).

Raw Coated Kibble for Cats

Stella & Chewy’s high-protein dry cat food recipes have a pristine, highly digestible ingredient list including 65-70% pure animal ingredients and natural oils. Each piece of kibble is coated in our freeze-dried raw recipe, making for great palatability and including the benefits of raw in a sometimes more economical way. Cat kibble recipes contain added probiotics to support gut health and are rich in omega fatty acids.

Marvelous Morsels and Purrfect Paté: Wet Cat Food Options

Stella & Chewy’s wet cat foods use 100% human-grade ingredients and are made in a human-grade kitchen. The #1 ingredient is USDA-inspected muscle meat and we’ve selected to use bone broth over water or a traditional broth or stock as our 2nd ingredient. Bone broth is nutrient-rich, protein-rich, easy to digest and promotes healthy digestion and a healthygut. Marvelous Morsels, Carnivore Cravings and Purrfect Pate have a very high moisture content of 78-82% to help keep your cat hydrated

Stella’s Solutions Dinner Mixers

We also offer a Digestive Boost Dinner Mixer for cats featuring cage-free chicken as the number one ingredient, with pineapple as a natural source of fiber. These digestive boost morsels also contain probiotics to help promote intestinal health. This freeze-dried food can be enjoyed on its own or as a dry food topper. 

Cats with food allergies often suffer from skin issues and hair loss. Our Skin & Coat Boost Dinner Mixer promotes skin health and a soft & shiny coat with all-natural, active ingredients like cage-free duck, wild-caught salmon, salmon oil, biotin and chia seed. You can serve it as a complete meal or as a topper.

Slow Changes Are Best for Cats with Sensitive Stomachs

When switching to any new food, Stella & Chewy’s recommends a gradual transition over 7-10 days to minimize digestive upset. We always recommend consulting with a veterinarian if you have concerns about the health of your cat and to make sure Stella & Chewy’s is appropriate for your cat’s individual needs.

Human foods for cats with sensitive stomachs

Some types of human food (like pumpkin) can be appropriate for for cats, even those with sensitive stomachs! Learn which human foods are safe for cats to eat, and remember to keep serving sizes small, especially if you’re feeding something to your cat for the first time.

Related Articles