Feline owners are paying ever-closer attention to the diets of their pets. Symptoms that used to be dismissed as the moods and whimsies of a “finicky cat” are now seen for what they are: food allergies or sensitivities. Inflammation, infection, surgery and some medications may also cause dietary disturbances. Consider carrying these formulas for your customers who need to address their cats’ special dietary needs.  

PRICE SCALE: $ $0 to $2 per lb / $$  $2.1 to $3 per lb / $$$ $3.1 to $4 per lb / $$$$ $4.1 + per lb

Tummy Pleasers 

Cat lovers who have been feeding their felines tuna fish, take note: it is actually one of the three most common causes of food allergies in cats, along with beef and dairy products. Other offenders include lamb, corn, soy and wheat gluten. Typical reactions range from itchy dry skin or skin rashes to vomiting and diarrhea. Plenty of gentle formulas avoid ingredients that trigger food allergies and insensitivities and help kitty stay healthy. 

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin
Hill’s Pet Foods

Selling Point: A precise balance of nutrition for sensitive digestive systems and to improve skin and coat health. 

Best for: Smart shoppers seeking an all-around solid choice from a respected brand.

hillsretailorder.com, (800) 354-7817

Blue Sensitive Stomach Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
Blue Buffalo

Selling Point: Fortified with probiotics for an additional immune boost. Features deboned chicken and “LifeSource Bits.”

Best for: Cats that need easily digestible proteins.  

bluebuffalo.com, (800) 919-2833

Feline Selected Protein Adult PR
Royal Canin

Selling Point: A rabbit-based formula for cats suffering dermatologic or gastrointestinal problems. 

Best for: Adult cats who can’t keep their food down.

royalcanin.com, (800) 592-6687 


Back to Basics

When trying to determine whether a cat has food allergies, veterinarians recommend pet owners put their animals on elimination diets that feature novel proteins, which are protein sources not typically found in commercial formulas, such as duck and venison. If improvements are seen, they start to appear after four weeks. These formulas also are well-suited for cats with a variety of sensitivities.

Limited Ingredient Diet Line
Natural Balance

Selling Point: Four varieties of dry and canned food, plus three treats: rabbit/potato, salmon/potato, and chicken/potato.

Best for: Kitties on a limited ingredient diet.

naturalbalanceinc.com, (800) 829-4493

Instinct
Nature’s Variety

Selling Point: A limited dry food diet, available in rabbit and turkey, paired with 3 oz and 5.5 oz cans in duck, lamb, rabbit and turkey.

Best for: Pet owners looking for raw food options.

instinctpetfood.com,  (888) 519-7387

Blue Basics Line 
Blue Buffalo

Selling Point: This line of four varieties of dry and canned food uses a single animal protein source plus easily digestible carbohydrates like peas, potatoes, pea fiber and pumpkin.  

Best for: The cat who requires meals that go down easy.

bluebuffalo.com, (800) 919-2833


Seniority Rules 

Food allergies and food intolerance can occur at any age, but mature cats can be affected more due to their senior status. Also, certain breeds — i.e. Siamese — are more likely to develop sensitivities. Depending on your customers’ needs, you may want to consider adding some additional foods to your inventory that cater to these populations.

Pure Meadow Senior Cat Formula
Canidae

Selling Point: Limited ingredients, including chicken, turkey, lentils, chickpeas, peas, sun-cured alfalfa, plus vitamins, minerals and live probiotics.

Best for: Pet owners looking to keep things simple. 

canidae.com, (800) 398-1600

Nutro for Seniors
Nutro

Selling Point: The canned loaf is extra soft, making it easier for older cats to eat and digest. High in protein and available in two varieties of grain-free dry and canned food. 

Best for:  The senior cat who might have problems chewing. 

nutro.com, (800) 833-5330

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition
Royal Canin

Selling Point: Formulas designed specifically for pedigree breeds like Persian, Maine Coon, Siamese, and Ragdoll.

Best for: Owners of older cats (12 and older) with special dietary needs. 

royalcanin.com, (800) 592-6687  


This article originally appeared in the Jan-Feb 2017 edition of PETS+.