8 Best Limited Ingredient Cat Foods in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks

Best High Fiber Cat Foods

Last Updated on October 11, 2023 by Fumipets

8 Best Limited Ingredient Cat Foods in 2023


Limited Ingredient Cat Foods, also known as LID cat foods, have gained popularity as a dietary option for cats with allergies, food sensitivities, or dietary intolerances.

These specialized cat foods are formulated with a limited number of high-quality ingredients, making it easier to identify and eliminate potential allergens or irritants. The primary aim of LID cat foods is to provide a simplified diet that reduces the risk of adverse reactions, digestive issues, and skin problems, which are common in cats with sensitivities.

These foods typically feature a single protein source and a few essential carbohydrates. While LID cat foods can be beneficial for many cats, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian to determine if such a diet is suitable for your feline friend.

Limited Ingredient Cat Foods

Limited ingredient cat foods are gaining popularity and acclaim, whether your cat has sensitive stomach issues or you just want to try feeding your cat in a more organic way. Providing your cat with a balanced diet that satisfies their nutritional demands is the first step in keeping them healthy. Your cat may get a full diet with limited cat meals without the need for extra or possibly dangerous substances. We are aware that it may be challenging to locate cat chow with really few substances.

Fortunately, we will be examining some of the top restricted ingredient cat meals available on the market today in this post. Each item in this review has been certified by the manufacturer as a restricted ingredient food, so you can be sure your cat won’t be exposed to excessive additives.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2023

BEST OVERALLWinner Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription   Human-grade food  Animal protein as first ingredients  Free from fillers, preservatives, and byproducts Check Price
BEST VALUESecond place Blue Buffalo Basics LID Cat Food Blue Buffalo Basics LID Cat Food   Affordable  Ideal for sensitive cats  No-allergy formula Check Price
Third place Instinct LID Dry Cat Food Instinct LID Dry Cat Food   Minimal processing  First raw coated kibble  Complete holistic cat food Check Price
  Natural Balance Dry Cat Food Natural Balance Dry Cat Food   Grain-free  Balanced diet  Wholesome ingredients Check Price
BEST FOR KITTENS Instinct Grain-Free Kitten Food Instinct Grain-Free Kitten Food   High in protein  Wholesome ingredients  Ideal for sensitive kittens Check Price

The 8 Best Limited Ingredient Cat Foods

1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription – Best Overall

a tabby cat eating smalls freeze-dried raw bird recipe
Protein content: 54.6%
Fiber content: 0.3%
Fat content: 6.6%
Flavor: Chicken

The best limited-ingredient cat food for cats with food sensitivities or allergies overall is Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Bird. The cuisine is of human-grade quality and the initial components are chicken thigh, breast, and liver. Green beans, organ meat, kale, and a concentration of essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin E, copper, biotin, selenium, and vitamin B12 are also included in the formula to promote general health.

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The Human-Grade Fresh Bird food, like other Smalls products, is developed to satisfy the nutritional standards set by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutritional Profiles for all life stages. All ingredients are devoid of preservatives, fillers, and byproducts and are USDA-certified, humanely harvested, and sustainably sourced.

Animal protein makes up about half of the calories consumed, supporting your cat’s skeletal, muscular, and organ health. To accommodate your cat’s tastes and demands, Fresh Bird is offered in smooth and ground texture formulations. Yet, the meal is pricey and only accessible with a subscription.


  • Human-grade food
  • Animal protein as first ingredients
  • Two textures for picky cats
  • Free from fillers, preservatives, and byproducts


  • Expensive
  • Only available through a subscription

2. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Cat Diet – Best Value

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Cat Diet

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Protein content: 30.0%
Fiber content: 6.0%
Fat content: 14.0%
Flavor: Duck & potato

For the money, Blue Buffalo Basics is the best product we provide. This cat chow is more reasonably priced when compared to similar goods from rivals and provides a good amount of cat food that can last for a few months. With the inclusion of pumpkin and potatoes for easy digestion, genuine duck serves as the only animal protein source in this cuisine with few ingredients.

This food is perfect for cats with sensitive stomachs since it doesn’t include grains that carry gluten. To satisfy the natural fiber needs without using any items that cause allergies, such as poultry, beef, maize, or wheat, natural fiber sources have been incorporated.

The exact combination of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in this product for cats has been chosen by holistic doctors and animal nutritionists. Therefore it’s a dependable cat food you can rely on. The fact that this cat chow does include ingredients that some cat owners could find objectionable is a drawback.


  • Affordable
  • Ideal for sensitive cats
  • No-allergy formula


  • Contains byproducts

3. Instinct Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food

Instinct Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food Rabbit Recipe

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Protein content: 35.5%
Fiber content: 4.0%
Fat content: 16.5%
Flavor: Rabbit

The Instinct minimal ingredient dry cat food is another excellent option in this area. This cat food offers your cat a wide range of holistic advantages. This natural cat food was developed for sensitive cats that are prone to a variety of food allergies. It is the first raw-coated kibble, and for finicky eaters, each piece is covered with freeze-dried raw ingredients.

The primary component is a rabbit, which was selected because it is easily digestible and contains all the necessary vital amino acids for your cat. Each raw component is loaded with protein and has undergone minimum processing. This meal is low in fat, making it more suitable for obese cats or cats who can keep a stable weight, according to a brief glance at the certified analysis.


  • Minimal processing
  • First raw coated kibble
  • Complete holistic cat food


  • Low in fat

4. Natural Balance Diets Dry Adult Cat Food

Natural Balance Diets Dry Adult Cat Food

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Protein content: 30.0%
Fiber content: 4.5%
Fat content: 12.0%
Flavor: Salmon & green pea

The Natural Balance restricted ingredient cat food with salmon and green pea flavoring is the best overall product in this category. The components in this food have been carefully chosen to provide your cat with a comprehensive and balanced diet without adding any extra dangerous or superfluous substances.

For cats with delicate stomachs, this grain-free cat food with a single animal protein source is a good choice. The components are designed to support your cat’s skin and hair so that it will seem lustrous. The major component is chicken, a dependable source of protein for cats’ healthy muscular growth.

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Even after the formula adjustment, no fillers have been added to the meal. This food may be given to cats that are allergic to certain foods or if you choose to give your cat food without extraneous ingredients.


  • Grain-free
  • Balanced diet
  • Wholesome ingredients


  • Formula change
  • Pricey

5. Instinct Grain-Free Kitten Food – Best for Kittens

Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Dry Cat Food (1)

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Protein content: 42.5%
Fiber content: 3.0%
Fat content: 22.5%
Flavor: Chicken

This meal is specially designed for kittens under the age of 12 months. It includes a variety of organic, nutritious components that will promote a kitten’s growth and development. This grain-free cat food is made with real animal products and healthy oils. Fruits and vegetables are some additional healthy elements that are used.

The probiotics in this diet support immunological and digestive health, while the omega-3 fatty acids support healthy skin and fur. Given that it doesn’t include several common allergies including soy, maize, wheat, and grains, this product is excellent for cats with sensitive stomachs. This is a raw, all-natural kitten food that is covered with chicken protein and other raw nutrients. Compared to other kitten feeds, it is more expensive.


  • High in protein
  • Wholesome ingredients
  • Ideal for sensitive kittens


  • Low in fiber
  • Pricey

6. Merrick Grain Free Limited Ingredient Canned Cat Food

Merrick Grain Free Limited Ingredient Real Meat Canned Cat Food Turkey

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Protein content: 9.0%
Fiber content: 1.4%
Fat content: 5%
Flavor: Turkey

This protein comes from a single source of authentic, deboned turkey. With a turkey taste, the Merrick limited ingredient food is a wet adult cat food. Fish is not included in the recipe since it has the potential to cause allergies in cats, and it contains simple components for cats with food sensitivities.

This wet cat food’s recipe is devoid of grains and gluten and provides omega 3 and 6 for healthy skin and hair, making it simple to digest. This cuisine may stay around two to three days in the refrigerator but should be served at room temperature. While the cost of a single can of food is high, the advantages and overall quality make it worthwhile. While it is a pate cat food, the luscious texture will tempt cats who won’t eat dry cat food.


  • Contains essential fatty acids
  • Supports a healthy coat
  • Limited ingredient wet cat food


  • Expensive
  • Low in protein

7. Merrick Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Merrick Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

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Protein content: 34.0%
Fiber content: 4.0%
Fat content: 14%
Flavor: Chicken

Cats that are sensitive to particular components can benefit greatly from the Merricks limited ingredient dry cat food. This meal is designed for cats that have food allergies and has a grain-free formulation with only one protein source—chicken.

Deboned chicken serves as the primary source of protein, while peas and chickpeas have taken the place of the grains that are traditionally included in cat food. This aids in limiting any components that might bother adult cats with allergies or digestive problems. In order to provide cats with fatty acids, chicken fat has been included. With little fat and carbohydrate content, this dish has a respectable quantity of protein.


  • Free from artificial ingredients
  • Supports digestive health
  • Grain-free recipe


  • Contains high amounts of plant protein
  • Poor moisture content

8. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Wet Pate Cat Diet

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Wet Pate Cat Diet Indoor Turkey and Potato

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Protein content: 8.0%
Fiber content: 1.5%
Fat content: 6.0%
Flavor: Turkey & potato

Cats that are sensitive to substances like gluten and grains may eat this pate wet cat food with a reduced ingredient list. It is simple to determine precisely what ingredients are in this cuisine since the ingredient list is minimal. To meet the energy needs of an adult cat, it includes a single source of genuine turkey. Beef and chicken, which might cause allergies in cats, are not included in this dish.

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The premium ingredients in Blue Buffalo Basics pate cat food are supplemented with vitamins and minerals. Smoothness and the taste of turkey make it appealing to picky cats that don’t like eating dry cat food. This recipe of Blue Buffalo Basics does not include any wheat ingredients, which are often used as a thickening agent in other limited ingredient cat meals.

Because of the low quality of the ingredients, this food is beneficial for cats that have stomach problems. It is also known to be beneficial for cats who have minor allergies. One tin of this meal won’t survive very long after it’s been opened and exposed to air; it should be refrigerated after opening. It may also lose moisture after being out in the air for a while.


  • Grain and gluten-free
  • Limited ingredient recipe
  • Allergy sensitive formula


  • Quickly dehydrates when exposed to air
  • Expensive

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Limited-Ingredient Cat Food

Why Choose Limited Ingredient Cat Food?

By selecting cat meals that advertise having few ingredients on the package, consumers may avoid the many needless substances that are often added to cat food. This indicates that there are no extra or hazardous additions in the food itself, just simple-to-understand components for your cat or kitten.

Cats with allergies and dietary sensitivities do better on cat diets with fewer ingredients. To help sensitive cats and encourage healthy digestion, several triggering components including wheat, soy, cereals, gluten, maize, and artificial colors are left out of the mix.

What Types of Limited Ingredient Cat Foods Are There?

Your cat’s preferred kind of food will determine the best restricted ingredient meal for them.

Dry Food

The most common kind of cat food available is this one. In comparison to other cat feeds, this kind has a longer shelf life and a diluted flavor and odor. Dried limited ingredient cat meals are easy to prepare and provide all the primary advantages of a restricted ingredient cat food for your cat.

Comparing this kind of food to wet or minced cat diets, it is often richer in protein, fat, and fiber.

Kitten Formula

The components in this kind of restricted ingredient cat food have been carefully chosen to support the growth and development of a young kitten. Compared to adult cats, kittens have quicker metabolisms, therefore they need more protein to maintain their energy levels and support the growth of their muscles.

Wet (Pate) Food

Wet cat meals are designed for fussier cats that don’t appreciate the kibble’s gritty feel. Wet cat meals are more opulent and contain more moisture. Wet cat meals have the added benefit of having concentrated levels of protein, fat, and fiber, which allows you to monitor the amount of nutrients your cat is receiving at each feeding.

Mince and Gravy-Based Foods

Wet pate cat feeds are comparable to this kind of cat food, but the mince particles are finely diced and separated. Cats who reject other meals could find the texture more enticing. It has more moisture in the form of gravy and is less slimy than wet cat chow.

What Allergenic Ingredients Should You Avoid in Cat Foods?

Ideally, you should steer clear of the following substances in your cat’s diet if it is prone to allergies:

• Wheat

• Grains

• Soy

• Gluten

• Chicken

• Pork

• Artificial colors and flavors

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Even if the taste of the meal is pig or chicken, the majority of restricted ingredient cat feeds will not include this in the product’s recipe.


We have picked two of the cat meals that we love and recommend the most. These include a small number of healthful, well-chosen ingredients. The Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Bird is our favorite choice because of its very high protein content and all-natural ingredient list. The Blue Buffalo Basics are our second pick. These two foods don’t have any extraneous chemicals and have fewer, easier-to-read ingredients that are better for your cat’s health.

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5 Questions and Answers on Limited Ingredient Cat Foods:


What are Limited Ingredient Cat Foods?

Limited Ingredient Cat Foods are specialized cat food formulations designed with a minimal number of ingredients, typically a single protein source and a few essential carbohydrates. They are crafted to address food sensitivities, allergies, and intolerances in cats.


Why might a cat need a Limited Ingredient Diet?

Cats may need a limited ingredient diet if they exhibit signs of food allergies or sensitivities, such as skin issues, digestive problems, or chronic vomiting. Transitioning to LID cat food can help identify and eliminate the specific ingredients causing these reactions.


Are Limited Ingredient Cat Foods suitable for all cats?

While LID cat foods can benefit cats with dietary sensitivities, they are not necessarily suitable for every cat. Consult with a veterinarian before switching your cat to a limited ingredient diet to ensure it addresses your cat’s unique needs.


What are common protein sources in Limited Ingredient Cat Foods?

Common protein sources in LID cat foods include novel proteins like venison, rabbit, duck, or turkey. These are chosen because cats are less likely to have been exposed to them and, thus, less likely to develop allergies.


Are Limited Ingredient Cat Foods nutritionally complete?

Yes, reputable LID cat foods are nutritionally complete and meet the dietary requirements of cats. They are carefully formulated to provide essential nutrients while minimizing the potential for allergic reactions.

In summary, Limited Ingredient Cat Foods are specialized diets that serve as a valuable option for cats with dietary sensitivities. These foods simplify the feline diet by using a minimal number of ingredients, often single protein sources, and are best adopted under veterinary guidance to ensure they meet your cat’s specific needs.



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