Best Cat Food To Stop Vomiting

Medically reviewed by JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM
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Vomiting is a common problem in cats. Common as it is, it can make your cat feel unwell and it leaves cat owners like you with a stinky mess to clean up.

Vomiting in cats is generally classified as acute or chronic.

Acute vomiting, the most common form in cats, generally lasts one or two days. This form of vomiting is easy to treat, if treatment is needed at all. Chronic vomiting, on the other hand, is more serious and can go on for weeks and may require veterinary treatment.

At A Glance: 6 Best Cat Foods To Stop Vomiting

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Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

ImageProductFeatures
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Best Overall

Smalls Human Grade Fresh Other Bird
  • Made with human-grade ingredients
  • Rich in real animal protein
  • High in moisture, low in carbohydrates
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Runner Up

Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine
  • Highly digestible natural ingredients
  • Real chicken as single source of protein
  • Meals portioned according to cat’s needs
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Budget Pick

Hound & Gatos 98% Chicken & Liver Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
  • High protein, no added carbohydrate
  • No artificial additives, highly digestible
  • Single high-quality protein source
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Best Wet

Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Cat Food
  • Natural, high-quality ingredients
  • Single source of premium animal protein
  • Includes organ meat and bone
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Best Dry

Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food
  • Real deboned chicken as first ingredient
  • Wholesome grains, veggies, and fruit
  • Rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients
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Best for Senior Cats

Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Grain-Free Senior Dry Cat Food
  • Holistic recipe made with natural ingredients
  • Single source of animal protein
  • Highly digestible, free from additives
Check Price

Before we get into the reviews of our top picks, let’s take a closer look at the issue of vomiting in cats.

Vomiting vs. Regurgitation

The term vomiting refers to the evacuation of food from the stomach. It is not a disease or diagnosis on its own but can be a symptom of an underlying condition.

Occasional (acute) vomiting in cats is perfectly normal. If your cat is otherwise healthy, you shouldn’t panic if he vomits once a month or so, especially if the vomited material is mostly hair. Cats tend to swallow hair during grooming and will vomit hairballs from time to time.
If your cat vomits more than three times and develops other symptoms such as lethargy or difficulty keeping food down, you may want to talk to your veterinarian.

You may also want to learn the difference between vomiting and regurgitation.

While vomiting is generally associated with issues of the stomach, regurgitation is a passive process related to the esophagus. Regurgitation occurs quickly without any abdominal contractions, usually right after eating or drinking.

If the vomited material looks like undigested food, it’s likely regurgitation and not vomiting.

What Causes Vomiting In Cats?

Because vomiting is such a common issue in cats it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause. The causes of acute or chronic vomiting can be identical, though there are some exceptions.

Ingestion of foreign bodies or toxic substances is generally a cause of acute rather than chronic vomiting.

Generally speaking, the causes of vomiting in cats can be divided into four categories:

  1. Toxins
  2. Drugs
  3. Diet
  4. Disease

Toxins may include everything from household chemicals to poisonous plants. Drugs that may cause vomiting include chemotherapy treatments, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories.
Diet is one of the most common causes of vomiting in cats.

Many cats have sensitive stomachs, so an acute episode of vomiting could be linked to a sudden change in diet. If you’re going to change your cat’s diet, you should transition him slowly onto the new food to avoid this kind of digestive upset.

Vomiting can also be caused by eating spoiled food, garbage, or a dead animal. It may also be caused by a sensitivity or dietary intolerance to an ingredient in the food.

Here are some of the ingredients most likely to trigger a dietary intolerance or sensitivity:

  • Food additives (colors and flavors)
  • Artificial preservatives
  • High levels of carbohydrate
  • Lactose (from milk)
  • Certain grains (wheat, barley, corn)
  • Common proteins (chicken, beef, pork, eggs)

If toxins, drugs, and diet don’t seem to be the issue, your cat may be suffering from an underlying disease or disorder as the cause of his vomiting.

Systemic diseases like hyperthyroidism and kidney disease have been known to cause vomiting. These conditions are fairly serious and generally require treatment. Intestinal parasites like tapeworms can also disrupt your cat’s digestion and cause vomiting.

If you’re not immediately able to identify the cause of your cat’s vomiting, it may be best to pay a visit to your veterinarian. Your vet can help rule out underlying conditions and diagnose your cat’s issues.

Also Read: Best Cat Food for Hairball Control

How To Treat Vomiting In Cats

In some cases, the best treatment for vomiting in cats is no treatment at all. This is generally the case with occasional vomiting and hairballs. If vomiting becomes a chronic issue, however, you’ll want to take the time to identify the cause then take steps to treat it.

For occasional vomiting, your vet might recommend giving your cat a bland diet for a day or two until the vomiting subsides. Make sure water is freely available as well to prevent dehydration.
In cases of severe or chronic vomiting, your vet might prescribe medication to help control the problem.

To determine how best to treat your cat’s vomiting, consider the following:

  • Frequency of vomiting. If your cat vomits one to three times within a 24-hour period, it may be nothing to worry about. Vomiting that lasts more than 24 hours should be addressed by a veterinarian to identify the cause.
  • Energy and activity. If your cat is vomiting but otherwise acting normal, it may be nothing to worry about. If your cat becomes lethargic or experiences additional symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, or excess vocalization, take him to the vet.
  • Appearance of blood. Vomiting blood is generally an indication of internal bleeding should be treated as a medical emergency. It may look red in color or dark brown to black.

If you suspect your cat’s vomiting may be due to dietary intolerance or a food sensitivity, the best thing you can do is make changes to your cat’s diet. Look for a cat food that is made with high-quality, natural ingredients and no artificial additives or ingredients that might upset your cat’s stomach.

What To Look For In Cat Food For Vomiting

Unless you already know what ingredients your cat is reacting to, you may need to do an elimination diet. This involves feeding your cat a limited ingredient diet (LID) made with a novel source of protein (one your cat hasn’t eaten before) for 8 to 12 weeks until all signs of sensitivity resolve.

This is generally the best course of action to take if you suspect a food allergy to a specific ingredient. If you suspect the issue is more related to the quality of the food, an elimination diet may not be needed.

Here are some things to look for in a good cat food for vomiting:

  • Made with wholesome, natural ingredients
  • Real source of animal-based protein
  • Moderate healthy fat content (ideally animal-based)
  • Low carb content, easily digestible carbs
  • Free from by-products and low-quality fillers
  • No artificial additives like colors, flavors, or preservatives

Generally speaking, the shorter the ingredients list the better. If a commercial cat food has a long list of ingredients, there’s more for your cat to react to.

For foods with long lists of synthetic supplements at the end, you might want to question the quality of the main ingredients. Low-quality cat foods often have long lists of supplements because the nutritional integrity of the main ingredients becomes compromised during processing (or it was never very high to begin with). Natural sources of nutrients are always preferable.

Do You Need A Prescription Food Or Veterinary Diet?

Not necessarily.

Veterinary diets do exist for sensitive stomach and dietary intolerances, but they aren’t necessarily the best solution. Many of these products use hydrolyzed protein to minimize the risk of triggering food allergies but they may also contain higher concentrations of carbohydrates than is optimal.

Rather than spending a small fortune on a veterinary formula from Purina One, Hill’s Science Diet, or Royal Canin, look for a premium cat food made with a single source of high-quality animal protein that is low in carbohydrates and highly digestible.

You may also want to consider fresh or wet food versus dry food.

Though many pet parents prefer dry food for its convenience and affordability, wet food may be a better option to help stop vomiting. Wet food is generally higher in protein, lower in carbohydrates, and richer in moisture than dry food which makes it both more palatable and more digestible for many cats.

Our Top Picks For Best Rated Cat Food To Stop Vomiting

The key to preventing vomiting in cats is to choose a diet that is highly digestible. It should also be free from allergy-inducing ingredients and artificial additives.

Here are the cat food options that we like.

#1 Best Overall: Smalls Human Grade Fresh Other Bird

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First 5 Ingredients: Turkey Thigh (Skin On), Chicken Liver, Green Beans, Peas, Kale

Made with human-grade ingredients and prepared in small batches, Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Food is our top pick for cats who suffer from vomiting. Made with real animal proteins and other natural ingredients, Smalls fresh food is a high-quality and nutritious diet any cat would be lucky to have.

This particular formula features real turkey as the main ingredient, supplemented by chicken liver. You’ll also find green beans, peas, and kale on the list as natural sources for key nutrients.

Smalls fresh food utilizes highly digestible proteins and wholesome natural ingredients. Their foods are completely free from artificial additives and by-product meals, making them a great choice for cats with food sensitivities or other digestive issues.

If your cat doesn’t like turkey, Smalls also offers chicken, beef, and fish recipes. All four of their formulas come in two textures as well – pate or minced.

Ingredients:

Turkey Thigh (Skin On), Chicken Liver, Green Beans, Peas, Kale, Vegetable Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline, L-Bitartrate, Salt, Taurine, Magnesium Gluconate, Potassium Chloride, Zinc Gluconate, Ascorbic Acid, Copper Gluconate, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Gluconate, Ferrous Gluconate, Niacin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Selenium, Dried Kelp, Biotin, Vitamin B12.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein23.4% Min
Crude Fat6.6% Min
Crude Fiber0.3% Min
Moisture65.4% Max

What We Liked:

  • Made with human-grade ingredients
  • Rich in real animal protein
  • High in moisture, low in carbohydrates
  • Free from gluten, grains, and fillers

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Fairly expensive compared to other options
  • Not pre-portioned like some fresh cat foods

#2 Runner Up: Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine

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First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Breast, Chicken Thigh, Chicken Liver, Asparagus, Carrot

Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine is free from ingredients and additives like artificial colors and artificial flavors that might irritate your cat’s digestive system and cause vomiting.

Chicken is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, which makes this diet a great source of nutrition. The carrot and asparagus add even more nutritional content to the diet. In addition to this diet’s nutritional merits, Nom Nom offers a few unexpected benefits not provided by the average cat food company.

The company prepares small batches of high-quality food and ships it fresh to your door. Plus, it portions out each meal based on your cat’s calorie requirements and other special needs. For further personalized service, Nom Nom welcomes you to send in your cat’s latest bloodwork and medical history, making the company an ally in your cat’s health care.

If your cat has a food sensitivity to chicken, you could try this Flavorful Fish recipe from Nom Nom as an alternative.

Ingredients:

Chicken Thigh, Chicken Breast, Chicken Liver, Carrots, Asparagus, Cantaloupe, Spinach, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Taurine, Choline Bitartrate, Zinc Gluconate, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Gluconate, Manganese Gluconate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Selenium Yeast, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Cholecalciferol (Source of Vitamin D3), Potassium Iodide.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein18% Min
Crude Fat4% Min
Crude Fiber0.8% Min
Moisture73% Max

What We Liked:

  • Made with high-quality, natural ingredients
  • Real animal protein from chicken
  • Low in carbohydrates, high in moisture
  • Pre-portioned according to cat’s calorie needs

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Fairly expensive compared to other options
  • Subscription required to order the food

#3 Budget Pick: Hound & Gatos 98% Chicken & Liver Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Hound & Gatos Chicken & Chicken Liver Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

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First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Calcium Carbonate, Agar-Agar

Not only does this Hound & Gatos recipe support your cat’s overall health with high-quality ingredients, but it promotes gastrointestinal and coat health as well. This formula is packed with premium animal protein and healthy animal-based fats but is free from added carbohydrate.

This formula features fresh chicken as the first ingredient with supplemental protein and essential nutrients from chicken liver. These are the primary ingredients – the rest of the list is simply supplements used to ensure nutritional balance.

Because this recipe is made with real chicken as the primary ingredient, it has plenty of natural flavor. If your cat is sensitive to chicken, try Hound & Gatos Trout & Duck Recipe.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Calcium Carbonate, Agar-Agar, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Salt, Taurine, Salmon Oil, 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 D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein10.0% Min
Crude Fat9.0% Min
Crude Fiber1.0% Min
Moisture78.0% Max

What We Liked:

  • High protein, no added carbohydrate
  • No artificial additives, highly digestible
  • Single high-quality protein source

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some cats may be sensitive to chicken
  • Contains some thickener (agar-agar)

#4 Best Wet: Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Cat Food


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First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Water, Beef Lung, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe

Ziwi Peak has a reputation for high-quality pet food made with natural, ethically sourced ingredients. In other words, this wet cat food is the perfect pick for cats who suffer from vomiting.

This particular recipe features beef as the main ingredient and single source of protein. If your cat is sensitive to beef, there are other options such as chicken, venison, lamb, and mackerel. All of Ziwi Peak’s recipes are packed with animal protein, low in carbohydrates, and rich in moisture.

What we really love about this recipe is that it contains real meat as well as organ meats and bone. This formula provides high-quality nutrition from natural sources and makes minimal use of synthetic supplements. It also doesn’t hurt that the mineral supplements are chelated which helps increase their absorption in your cat’s body.

If you’re looking for a highly digestible cat food to help resolve your cat’s upset stomach and other GI issues, try Ziwi Peak.

Ingredients:

Beef, Water Sufficient for Processing, Beef Lung, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe, Beef Liver, Chickpeas, New Zealand Green Mussel, Beef Bone, DL-Methionine, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex), Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid).

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein9.0% Min
Crude Fat5.5% Min
Crude Fiber2.0% Min
Moisture78.0% Max

What We Liked:

  • High-quality, natural ingredients
  • Single source of premium animal protein
  • Includes organ meat and bone

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Fairly expensive compared to other options

#5 Best Dry: Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food

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First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley

If your cat prefers kibble to canned food, this Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach cat food might be a good option. It features real chicken as the first ingredient, supplemented with additional protein from chicken meal and menhaden fish meal.

This formula is designed specifically for cats with sensitive stomachs, so it contains high-quality ingredients like real protein, whole grains, and healthy animal-based fats. You’ll also find prebiotics and probiotics on the list. These ingredients have very long names and a variety are included – this is what makes the ingredient list appear so long.

What makes Blue Buffalo products unique is the inclusion of their proprietary LifeSource Bits. These contain a rich blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to help support your cat’s overall health. They also help support healthy skin, a strong immune system, and healthy digestion.

Ingredients:

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Barley, Pea Protein, Peas, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed (Source Of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Pea Fiber, Menhaden Fish Meal, Fish Oil (Source Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), DL-Methionine, Calcium Sulfate, Fructooligosaccharide, Calcium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Taurine, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Salt, Cranberries, Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Vegetable Juice For Color, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, etc…

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein32.0% Min
Crude Fat16.0% Min
Crude Fiber3.5% Min
Moisture9.0% Max

What We Liked:

  • Made with high-quality, natural ingredients
  • Supplemented with prebiotics and probiotics
  • Nutritionally balanced and easy to digest

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not a single-source protein recipe
  • Contains some gluten (barley)

#6 Best For Senior Cats: Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Grain-Free Senior Dry Cat Food Food

Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Grain-Free Healthy Weight Indoor Cat Dry Cat Food

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First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Potato Protein, Dried Peas, Dried Potatoes, Tapioca

Our top pick for the best cat food for older cats that vomit is Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Grain-Free Senior Dry Cat Food. This recipe features real chicken as the first ingredient.

In addition to being formulated for senior cats, this recipe is designed to support your cat’s digestive health. It is made with wholesome natural ingredients, not by-products and rendered meat meals. It is also highly digestible thanks to the lack of artificial additives.

This recipe is a great pick for older cats whose metabolism is slowing down. It provides plenty of digestible protein with fiber to support healthy digestion. It is also supplemented with the antioxidants your cat needs for optimal health.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Potato Protein, Dried Peas, Dried Potatoes, Tapioca, Soy Protein Concentrate, Chicken Liver, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Pea Fiber, Flaxseed, Calcium Sulfate, Salmon Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Blueberries, Dried Cranberries, Dried Carrots, Dried Sweet Potatoes, Salt, Inulin, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, etc…

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein30.0% Min
Crude Fat10.0% Min
Crude Fiber5.0% Min
Moisture10.0% Max

What We Liked:

  • Formulated to support digestive health
  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Highly digestible, no artificial additives

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Contains some plant-based protein
  • Fairly expensive compared to other options

Final Thoughts

Vomiting is a common GI issue in cats. In many cases it is mild and resolves itself in a few days. Other times, however, it can last for weeks and become a much more serious health problem.

Take your cat to the vet if vomiting has become problematic or if you notice additional symptoms (especially blood in the vomit). Your vet may recommend a bland diet for a few days to give your cat’s tummy a break, but you should also consider a permanent switch to a higher quality, more digestible food to prevent the issue from recurring.

A new diet of low-carb, allergen free, and all-natural food could help to calm your cat’s tummy and stop the vomiting. Work with your vet to come up with the best treatment plan to stop your cat’s vomiting.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Should cats eat after vomiting?

If your cat vomits once or twice but appears to be well otherwise, you still might want to remove food for a few hours. After giving your cat’s stomach a break to rest, you may reintroduce food or try a bland diet of cooked chicken breast. Make sure your cat has access to fresh water at all times.

Why is my cat throwing up undigested food?

If your cat is throwing up undigested food, it is likely regurgitation and not vomiting. Regurgitation often happens when a cat eats too much too quickly. The regurgitated food will be undigested and will generally be regurgitated in a long, tubular shape.

Why is my cat vomiting every day?

It is normal for cats to throw up occasionally but more than three times a month is abnormal. If your cat is vomiting daily, you should not ignore the issue. It could be something simple like hairballs, but it could also indicate that your cat has a serious illness. Either way, talk to your vet as soon as possible.

Kate Barrington

About Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.