Feline pancreatitis is one of the most troublesome cat diseases. This condition is not only difficult to diagnose but also tends to be resistant to treatment.
The pancreas is a tiny organ situated between the stomach and the small intestine. This organ serves various functions in the body, with the main ones being producing insulin and manufacturing digestive enzymes.
Pancreatitis is a condition characterized by the inflammation of the pancreas. However, the inflammation can result from a plethora of reasons, explaining why this disease tends to be challenging to treat.
Some experts hypothesize that the high carb content in some cat foods is to blame for the vast majority of feline pancreatitis cases. This is because a cat’s digestive tract is not designed to process carbohydrates.
As such, too much carb content in food can force the cat’s pancreas to work overtime, manufacturing digestive enzymes to help break down the foreign materials (carbohydrates). Over time, that constant stress can cause the pancreas to inflame, resulting in pancreatitis.
Cats are good at hiding illness, meaning you might not know that your kitty is suffering until the disease is at an advanced stage. However, most cats with pancreatitis often have a poor appetite since the food almost always upsets their tummy.
Since you do not want your cat to starve, it is crucial to find foods that will not upset their stomach, causing further inflammation.
As such, the best cat food for pancreatitis is one that is highly digestible, highly palatable, and has a high protein and fat content to allow the cat to get its daily caloric requirements even from a small portion. It also should not contain ingredients that are not part of a cat’s natural diet in the wild.
As you can imagine, finding cat foods that fit that bill can be a hassle. Fortunately, we got you covered; we have analyzed numerous products on the market and now present these reviews of the best cat foods for pancreatitis.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Smalls Smooth Bird Recipe Fresh Cat Food||
||Click to Save 40% Use code: Excitedcats2023|
|Best Value||Diamond Care Weight Management Dry Cat Food||
|Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Hydrolyzed Cat Food||
|Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dry Cat Food||
|Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Formula Dry Cat Food||
The 7 Best Cat Food for Pancreatitis – Reviews 2023
1. Smalls Smooth Bird Recipe Cat Food – Best Overall
Feeding fresh food to pets is an excellent option for a cat with pancreatitis. This human-grade fresh recipe contains all the nutrients your cat needs to keep its inflamed pancreas in check. The smooth bird recipe lists chicken thighs as the main ingredient, followed by chicken breast and chicken liver, all of which are superb protein sources. It also has green beans, peas, kale, and chicken hearts.
All of Small’s recipes are formulated to meet AAFCO’s nutritional standards, and the food is 100% complete and balanced. This recipe has all the vitamins and minerals your cat needs, and the added organ meats provide the healthiest sources of iron and phosphorus, such as vitamins E, D3, B1, B2, B5, B6, B7, and B12. The crude protein content for this particular recipe is 15%, with a caloric content of 1220 kcal/kg. It contains 72% moisture content to keep your kitty hydrated, and the texture is pâté style, which most cats seem to love.
With the food being pâté style, your kitty will not get the crunch that can help with dental hygiene. It also contains peas, which may be a controversial ingredient due to the ongoing investigation that peas may lead to heart disease in dogs and cats, but no conclusive end has yet been reached. This food is also expensive but worth it if your budget allows it.
While this fresh recipe is highly digestible, it’s best to check with your veterinarian before switching your cat’s food to ensure it’s safe to do so, especially with pancreatitis.
- Real chicken thighs are the first ingredient
- Contains chicken liver and chicken hearts
- Provides an excellent balance of vitamins and minerals
- Recipe meets AFFCO’s nutritional standards
- Highly digestible
- Contains peas
2. Diamond Care Weight Management Dry Cat Food – Best Value
While the Diamond Care Weight Management Formula Adult Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is designed for cats with weight problems, its composition also makes it one of the best cat foods for pancreatitis.
For starters, its main ingredient is chicken. The issue with most cat foods is that they derive their protein from unnamed sources, putting cats at risk of adverse reactions since a cat could be sensitive to some of those sources.
However, with this food from Diamond, you know what you are getting, thus ensuring you do not harm your kitty unknowingly. Besides, chicken is among the most high-quality protein sources around, and most cats love it.
Another reason the Diamond Care Weight Management Formula Adult Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is great for cats with pancreatitis is the healthy dose of feline-specific probiotics it contains. As mentioned, probiotics promote the growth and balance of healthy gut microbiomes necessary for smooth and effective digestion.
As a result, your cat’s pancreas will not have to work as hard to manufacture digestive enzymes, thus reducing the risk of inflammation.
Moreover, this cat food contains cellulose, which is a natural fiber that promotes better digestion and feelings of satiety. The Diamond Care Weight Management Formula Adult Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is also packed with a host of essential minerals, vitamins, omegas, and antioxidants for better overall health.
However, while this food does not have a high carb content, we are generally not fans of dry food when it comes to pancreatitis since it strains the digestive system. Nevertheless, the Diamond Care Weight Management Dry Cat Food comes with a boatload of high-quality ingredients that will benefit your cat.
Moreover, at its price, it is arguably the best cat food for pancreatitis for the money. Most cats seem to love this food’s taste as well.
- High-quality protein source
- Fortified with probiotics and fiber
- Tasty to encourage feeding
- Great for weight management
- Has essential vitamins and minerals for better overall health
- Made in the USA
- Dry food
3. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Hydrolyzed Cat Food
If you do not mind digging a little deeper into your pocket, we highly recommend the Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Hydrolyzed Cat Food. Purina enlisted various professionals’ expertise, including vets and nutritionists, to create a suitable food for cats with digestive problems such as pancreatitis. The result was this hydrolyzed cat food.
Hydrolysis is a process through which dietary components, such as protein, are broken down into tiny fragments. This process serves two functions: it increases the food’s digestibility and reduces the risk of the body viewing the food as a threat.
As mentioned, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of pancreatitis in cats. As such, by eliminating food allergies and intolerances through hydrolysis, your cat will be less likely to suffer a negative reaction from eating hydrolyzed food.
The Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Hydrolyzed Cat Food is among the top-tier hydrolyzed cat foods in the game. It is made from a single high-quality protein and is fortified with several vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to boost your cat’s digestive health.
As mentioned, this food is made specifically for cats with digestive disorders such as pancreatitis, meaning that the Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Hydrolyzed Cat Food is one of the few foods you can bank on.
However, it is one of the priciest cat foods in the market today.
- Designed for cats with pancreatitis and other digestive problems
- Highly digestible
- Uses a single protein source
4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dry Cat Food
The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dry Cat Food is another excellent option for cats with pancreatitis. It is also a perfect fit for cats with a propensity to gain weight since it has lower calories per serving than most cat foods.
So, what makes this food ideal for cats with pancreatitis? For starters, it is enriched with prebiotics that supports the growth and balance of good gut bacteria, resulting in a healthier digestive system.
Additionally, the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dry Cat Food contains a blend of dietary fibers to further boost the cat’s digestive health. Moreover, it comes with essential nutrients, such as EPA, DHA, and omega-3 fatty acids that soothe and nourish the cat’s gastrointestinal tract.
As you can see, the ingredients in the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dry Cat Food have been selected for their ability to promote smoother digestion, in addition to strengthening the entire digestive system.
Unfortunately, if your kitty is a finicky eater, there is a chance they might not like this pancreatitis in cats diet food.
- Designed for cats with digestive sensitivities
- Promotes digestive health
- Moderate calorie content for weight control
- Fortified omega-3 fatty acids to soothe the GI tract
- Picky eaters might not like it
5. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Formula Dry Cat Food
As you can probably tell from its name, the Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Feline Formula Dry Cat Food is designed to meet the unique needs of felines with gastrointestinal problems, such as pancreatitis.
It is also a good option for cats with incontinence, as it supports urinary health.
Like other Purina Pro vet formulas, this recipe was also created with the help of nutritionists, vets, and other experts to ensure a high-quality product for cats with stomach problems. What’s more, this formula is energy-dense to ensure that your cat receives sufficient nutrition from small servings and is ideal for cats of all ages.
Nonetheless, being a dry formula, it might be difficult for some cats to digest.
- Crafted for cats with digestive problems
- Great taste
- Ideal for cats of all ages
- Supports urinary health
- Dry formula can be difficult to digest
6. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canned Cat Food
Dry cat foods can be problematic to cats with pancreatitis for several reasons. For starters, the only way to make dry cat food is by using carbohydrates since they act as binding agents. That explains why dry cat food typically has a higher carb content than wet cat food.
As mentioned, cats do not process carbs well, meaning foods with high carb content can cause all kinds of gastrointestinal tract issues, including pancreatitis. Moreover, the inherent nature of dry food can aggravate the cat’s tummy further.
The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canned Cat Food is not only high-quality wet cat food but has also been designed specifically for cats with sensitive tummies, making it an excellent option for cats with pancreatitis.
First off, this food comes in thin slices in gravy to enhance chewability and digestibility. It is delicious as well to encourage your kitty to have more. You will also love that it carries few calories, making it an excellent fit for cats with weight problems.
Additionally, the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canned Cat Food is fortified with prebiotics to promote the balance of good bacteria in the cat’s gut. Good bacteria play an essential role in controlling digestion and boosting the immune system.
What’s more, the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canned Cat Food also has dietary fiber in its ingredients to promote smoother digestion. This food also contains a host of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that promote better gastrointestinal health, such as EPA, DHA, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Unfortunately, this cat food is not suitable for kittens.
- Designed for cats with digestive issues such as pancreatitis
- Enriched with prebiotics for better gut health
- Contains dietary fibers for smoother digestion
- Fortified with minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids
- Great for controlling weight gain
- Not suitable for kittens
7. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Gastroenteric Canned Cat Food
This is the wet version of the option above. As such, it comes with all the attributes of the Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Feline Formula Dry Cat Food, only that it is more digestible.
However, you will need a vet’s authorization to purchase this product. And yes, you will have to dig deeper into your pocket for it. Even though it’s sixth on our list, it is definitely still one of the best canned cat foods for pancreatitis out there.
- Designed for cats with gastrointestinal conditions
- Highly digestible
- Supports urinary health
- Requires vet’s authorization to purchase
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Cat Food for Pancreatitis
As mentioned, feline pancreatitis is a difficult condition to treat and can take a toll on your cat.
Many things can cause a cat’s pancreas to inflame, with some of the more common causes being parasites, toxins, and physical trauma. In other cases, pancreatitis is one of the symptoms of a larger underlying problem, such as inflammatory bowel disease or liver disease.
Nonetheless, regardless of the cause, the fact remains that pancreatitis severely limits a pancreas’s ability to perform its functions, including manufacturing digestive enzymes.
Therefore, one of the best ways of dealing with this condition is by feeding your cat foods that do not tax the pancreas and focusing on the cat pancreatitis diet. So, what are the qualities of such a food?
One of the symptoms of pancreatitis is a low appetite, which should not come as a surprise since most foods aggravate a cat with this condition. Unfortunately, when a cat goes for prolonged periods without eating, it becomes at risk of developing hepatic lipidosis. Also known as fatty liver disease, hepatic lipidosis occurs when a cat’s body starts breaking down fat stores for energy.
Unfortunately, unlike humans, felines are not designed to use body fat as fuel. Consequently, due to their inability to process body fat efficiently, their livers can develop severe complications from hepatic lipidosis. Unchecked, this disease can result in death.
Therefore, it is crucial to get your cat to eat even when they do not want to. As you can imagine, making the food irresistible is one of the best ways of going about that.
2. High-Quality Ingredients
Avoid cat foods whose ingredients do not reflect a cat’s natural diet. This means avoiding foods with meat by-products, corn, starch, and other filler ingredients.
Instead, opt for foods with named protein sources, a high-fat content, and limited carb content. Additionally, look for foods fortified with ingredients that support gut health.
3. High Moisture Content
Wet cat food is easier on your cat’s tummy than dry food. Therefore, even though there are some great dry cat foods for pancreatitis out there, we recommend choosing the wet versions for their superior digestibility. What’s more, wet food is more appealing to cats due to its great flavor and texture.
Related Read: How To Make Dry Cat Foods Soft (5 Methods That Work)
4. Limited Carbohydrate Content
Carbs are not part of a cat’s natural diet, which is why a high carb content is thought to be part of the reason why feline pancreatitis is running rampant in housecats today.
5. Optimized Calorie Content
Obese or overweight cats are at a higher risk of developing pancreatitis. Nevertheless, as mentioned, cats with this condition have poor appetites, meaning they tend to lose an unhealthy amount of weight. Therefore, choose a food whose calorie content is ideal for your kitty.
Want to see more cat food reviews? Check out our review page here!
If you have a sick cat, do not gamble with their health. While picking the best cat food for pancreatitis might not be as straightforward as we would want, we hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have been insightful. If you are still on the fence, we recommend going with the Smalls Smooth Bird Fresh Cat Food, as it is made of only the freshest ingredients, with real protein as the first. It is also highly digestible and in low in carbs.
If you are on a budget, the Diamond Care Weight Management Formula Adult Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is arguably the best cat food for pancreatitis for the money.
Related Read: 8 Best Cat Foods for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks
Featured Image Credit: yykkaa, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 7 Best Cat Food for Pancreatitis – Reviews 2023
- 1. Smalls Smooth Bird Recipe Cat Food – Best Overall
- 2. Diamond Care Weight Management Dry Cat Food – Best Value
- 3. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Hydrolyzed Cat Food
- 4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dry Cat Food
- 5. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Formula Dry Cat Food
- 6. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canned Cat Food
- 7. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Gastroenteric Canned Cat Food
- Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Cat Food for Pancreatitis