The Best Cat Food for Older Cats That Vomit: 8 Different Kinds to Try

long-haired cat eating hard food out of heart tin

What is the Best Cat Food for Older Cats that Vomit?

It’s natural for pet parents to get concerned when their animal throws up, and like with other animals, cats can throw up for many reasons. It can be even more distressing when an older cat throws up as they often have more severe health issues.

But excessive throwing up is a significant concern for cats of any age. The key is figuring out what is wrong so you can fix the problem and eliminate vomiting because it’s not healthy for cats to throw up often. 

This blog post provides some common reasons cats vomit, how to treat your cat if he’s throwing up, eight types of the best cat food for older cats that vomit, and more.

close view of cat on table

Regurgitation vs. Vomiting

First, it’s important to know the difference between vomiting and regurgitation in cats. Regurgitation occurs when food simply pops out in a cigar shape or is undigested, and it’s a  passive process.

Vomiting is an active process. It involves heaving, retching, and stomach noise before your cat’s body throws up the food.

What Causes a Cat to Throw Up?

Cats can throw up for many reasons. Here are some of them.


You’ve probably noticed that your cat grooms himself quite often; in fact, you should be worried when he’s not, as it’s a serious sign that something is wrong. When your kitty grooms, they ingest a lot of hair, and most cats can pass fur through their digestive tract, where it’s eliminated in their stool.

But some cats can’t, and it grows in their stomach, irritating it until they throw it up. If this is the case with your cat, the vomit will look like throw-up mixed with fur.


It’s common for overweight older cats to get diabetes, which causes excessive thirst. You may notice that your cat drinks more water over short periods, leading to vomiting. 

Food Sensitivity or Intolerance

Digestive issues are another common issue associated with older cats throwing up. Food allergies are pretty common in cats, and they occur when your cat is allergic to either the carbohydrate or protein in their food.

Dr. Kristel Weaver, in the article cited above, explains that if your older cat starts throwing up whenever he eats a fish-based food, then consider eliminating fish and putting them on turkey-based cat food. Talk to your vet if you think your cat has food allergies so they can advise you what food to try feeding him. 

My mom had a cat that continuously threw up, and we thought it was because she ate too fast (which can be an issue), but it was actually because she was allergic to the dyes in the cat food. Unfortunately, it took her a while to figure this out.

Sometimes cats throw up after they eat human food, and that’s because certain human foods are toxic for felines. Read this article I wrote on what food can my cat eat before your feed your cat food meant for people or consult your veterinarian.

cat laying down red background

Eating too Fast

Sometimes kitties can be little piggies, and gorging on food can make them regurgitate it. This issue occurs because eating too fast triggers a stretch reflex in their stomach.


So, a quick story here. One of the reasons I didn’t get a cat for a VERY long time as an adult was because I didn’t want to deal with the death of a pet. So, my first pet was a one-year-old American Short Hair named Bandit.

One day, he started throwing up, which he did about 12 times in one day, which was very bad. Long story short, I took him to the vet, who referred me to a specialist the same day, and they diagnosed him with Pancreatitis! And unfortunately, the vet said it’s next to impossible to know what causes it in cats as compared to dogs. 

Now he has to eat expensive prescription food for the rest of his life (which he is not happy about). He was two at the time, but now he is 3.5 years old and doing well. 

cat laying down outside

Ingesting a Foreign Object or Something Else They Shouldn’t

Another common problem associated with vomiting is when your cat ingests dirt or some other type of foreign body like a cat toy, plastic tie, hair bands, etc. Sometimes your cat will vomit it up, and other times your pet may need surgery. This issue was what they thought was wrong with my cat when they sent him to the specialist after x-raying him. 

Other Health Problems

There are many other health issues where vomiting is a side effect, and there are types of cat food that address some of these, like the best cat food for cats with IBD or inflammatory bowel disease. There’s even the best cat food for kidney disease out there.

Other health problems include cancer, toxins, metabolic disease, a urinary tract infection, liver disease, and other illnesses. Sometimes all your pet needs is a cat food for senior cats with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues. 

When You Should Be Concerned

So, when should you be concerned when your cat throws up? Occasional vomiting isn’t necessarily an abnormal thing, and your vet will likely recommend feeding your cat a bland diet for a couple of days. 

You should consult your vet ASAP if they vomit multiple times in one day, your cat is losing weight, not eating, lethargic, or there is blood in his vomit. 

best cat food fr older cats that vomit white cat on table

How Do You Treat Throwing Up in Cats?

The first step is to consult your vet if you haven’t already, as they may want x-rays or do blood work to diagnose the problem and treat what is causing the issue.

Your vet will likely prescribe a bland food diet(like the kind my cat hates), tell you to feed your cat smaller portions more frequently, or even give you nausea medicine for your kitty. 

Your vet may even give you a recipe for homemade cat food for vomiting cats or tell you where to find one.

What to Look for in the Best Cat Food for Older Cats That Vomit

If you’re looking for the best cat food for vomiting and diarrhea, you want the food you choose to have as many of the following things as possible. In general, the fewer the ingredients, the better it is for your cat.

High-Quality Ingredients

High-quality ingredients are essential for every cat’s digestive health, and they also promote coat health too.

best cat food for older cats that vomit older siamese cat

A Healthy Source of Protein

Whole meats like real chicken, beef, or fish are high-quality ingredients and provide the best protein source for cats as they are obligate carnivores. They are easier for felines to digest, while meat by-products and meat by-product meals can make your kitty feel sick. 


Antioxidants help support a healthy immune system in older cats as they help repair any cellular damage there. They can be found in fruits like blueberries and green leafy vegetables. Bonus points if you can find a senior cat food that has tiny bits of food with higher levels of antioxidants.

Omega Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids don’t just help cats maintain a shiny coat and healthy skin; they relieve inflammation in the digestive tract and promote a healthy immune system.


Fiber is critical to help regulate your cat’s digestive system, especially if they have digestive issues. It helps push through the body just like in humans and prevents constipation and an upset stomach.

Whole Grains

Natural ingredients like whole grains are also vital for your cat’s health. Whole grains like white or brown rice, corn, soy, or wheat are the best. Of all those, your cat’s digestive system breaks down rice the easiest.

best cat food for older cats that vomit cat with yellow tag

Ingredients to Avoid in the Best Cat Food for Older Cats That Vomit

Here are some foods you should avoid in your senior cat’s food. 

  • Processed wheat, soy, corn, or other grains – i.e., corn gluten meal
  • Meat meal
  • Feed-grade grains
  • Food dyes
  • Artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors
  • Rendered fats
  • Contaminants

What to Feed an Old Cat that Throws Up

If your old kitty has a sensitive stomach and vomits, here are some great options for the best cat food for indoor cats that throw up as well as outdoor cats. You’ll find some wet and dry cat food options that ensure your senior kitty has a balanced diet.

Best Dry Food for Cats That Throw Up

Many cats love dry cat food or kibble. So, here are some options of the best cat food to prevent vomiting in senior cats.

royal canin nutrition neutered appetite

Royal Canin Appetite Control for Spayed/Neutered Cats

Once a cat is spayed or neutered, it can affect its hormone levels. This and the fact that they are less active is often why you’ll see older cats gain weight. This Royal Canin Appetite Control food keeps your senior cat fit and helps him maintain or lose weight. 

It’s also some of the best cat food for older cats that vomit because the protein used is based on L.I.P. digestive science. Royal Canin Appetite Control is great for cats with sensitive digestive systems. It’s chocked full of vitamins and minerals with high levels of vitamin C.


  • High-quality ingredients with natural flavors
  • Royal Canin uses L.I.P. digestive science for this formula
  • Contains essential vitamins and minerals
  • Ring-shaped kibble is known to slow digestion down


  • Some customer said that it didn’t seem to control their cats’ appetite

Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe

Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe includes deboned chicken, brown rice, chicken meal, barley, and oatmeal. Some cats prefer kibble to wet food, and this Blue Buffalo is an excellent option for the best cat food for older cats that vomit. 

This sensitive stomach formula also contains probiotics and prebiotics, which help with digestion. Probiotics are live strains of bacteria that increase the population of good bacteria and control the growth of the bad in your cat’s digestive system. Prebiotics are a special plant fiber that feeds good bacteria (probiotics) and stimulates their growth. 


  • Contains real deboned chicken
  • Made from natural, high-quality ingredients
  • Provides your cat with a balanced diet with kibble that’s easy to digest
  • Contains probiotics and prebiotics


  • The recipe contains some gluten (barley)
  • It’s not a single protein cat food
purina sensitive stomach formula adult

Purina ONE Sensitive Systems

Purina ONE Sensitive Systems is another great cat food for older cats that vomit. This cat food recipe is easy to digest and contains real turkey, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The Purina ONE Sensitive Systems formula provides your cat with all the digestive support he needs.

It’s rich in antioxidants to combat chronic inflammation and support a healthy immune system. It has 36 grams of protein in every cup. Purina ONE Sensitive Systems gives your cat a well-balanced meal.



  • Easily digestible formula
  • Has Omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat health
  • Veterinarian recommended
  • No artificial ingredients or fillers


  • May cause gas
  • Could be a long transition period from old food to this one
Halo Natural Chicken Recipe 6 Pound

Halo Holistic Chicken and Chicken Live Recipe – Grain-Free for Senior Cats

Halo Holistic Chicken and Chicken Liver dry cat food is perfect for preventing vomiting in cats. It’s made from chicken, sweet potatoes, dried peas, Tapioca, and dried potatoes. This Halo recipe is formulated specifically for your kitty’s digestive healthier as it’s made from wholesome ingredients and no by-product meal or rendered meat meals.

This food is perfect for senior cats with slowing metabolisms. It provides your cat with the right amount of digestible protein and antioxidants that help neutralize chronic inflammation and support a strong immune system in cats. Halo is also humane and gets its meat from certified cage-free farms and non-GMO vegetables and fruits.


  • Made from wholesome ingredients with no by-products or meat meals
  • Uses non-GMO vegetables and fruit and cage-free meat
  • Highly-digestible
  • A crunchy and tasty recipe for the pickiest eaters
  • Contains omega-3 fatty acids for coat and skin health


  • Expensive compared to some other cat food on this list
hills science diet sensitive stomach

Hills’s Science Diet – Sensitive Stomach and Skin Chicken and Rice – Grain-Free

My cat actually eats Hill’s Science food that requires a prescription, but it’s pretty easy to get one from your vet. This most significant drawback is the price as it is the most expensive food on this list.

This recipe promotes healthy skin and coat because it has omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin E. Plus, the vitamins combined with the antioxidant blend ensure your cat has a healthy immune system. 

Hill’s Science also has a Diet Dry Cat Food for Adults 11+ Seniors. It promotes bladder and kidney health to prevent stones and contains taurine for heart health.


  • Supports heart and urinary health
  • Contains essential vitamins, high-quality protein, antioxidants, and omega-6 fatty acids
  • No preservatives or artificial ingredients
  • The kibble is small and breaks down easily


  • It might be too bland for some cats (mine got used to it, but he was not happy initially).
  • Expensive
gray cat eating wet food

Best Wet Food for Cats That Throw Up

Wet cat food has higher water content, so it’s perfect for a cat’s weight maintenance or loss. It’s usually high protein and low carb too.

Smalls Human Grade Cat Food

Smalls is a great healthy option for fresh food made from human-grade ingredients. The human-grade means that it’s made with the same meat you’d buy from the grocery store for your family. It’s high quality with natural ingredients like 92% chicken breast and thigh, 6% liver, and 2% heart.

It comes in pate or smooth and is the best cat food for vomiting and diarrhea. You can get beef, chicken, or turkey flavors. This cat food has limited ingredients, which is great because the fewer ingredients, the better it is for your pet.


  • All-natural ingredients
  • More digestible nutrients for a better smelling litter box
  • Gives your cat’s fur a silky shine with less shedding and fewer hairballs
  • A high-protein diet that cats need
  • No artificial ingredients


  • While it’s probably some of the best-wet cat food you can give your older cat, it’s a bit pricy. 
royal canin aging slices variety

Royal Canin Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy Variety Pack

This Royal Canin feline food is excellent for kitties that get bored eating the same thing, as this variety pack gives your plenty of options. My cat will only eat pate, but some cats like the thin slices. This wet food is easy for your cat to eat and digest.

It contains fatty acids for healthy skin and coat and also helps keep your cat’s joints lubricated. Royal Canin Aging 12+ includes the right amount of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that make it tasty. It also contains the right amount of phosphates for bladder and kidney health. This cat food brand is very popular and favorite digestible pet food for owners with older cats.


  • Royal Canin wet cat food is highly-digestible food
  • Promotes bladder and kidney health
  • Fatty acids promote a healthy coat and skin and joint health
  • The food is thin slices in tasty gravy


  • Some cats may not like the slices
  • The food may have a strong smell
purina pro plan classis salmon

Purina Pro Plan Senior with Canned Salmon and Tuna

This wet cat food is a great option for the best cat food for older cats that vomit. Purina Pro Plan Senior has the essential ingredients cats need for a healthy immune system. With 25 vital nutrients and vitamins, it’s great for your feline’s overall health.

It contains high-quality proteins and a moderate amount of fats for healthy fur and skin. This recipe is also great for your cat’s dental health as it leaves no tartar or plaque. Purina Pro Plan wet food also combats stomach upset and is specially designed for cats 11 years and older.


  • Essential ingredients that support a healthy immune system and healthy coat and skin
  • High-quality ingredients with the right amount of healthy protein
  • The recipe was created for older cats with an inflamed and sensitive digestive tract.
  • Promotes dental health


  • Not suitable for cats allergic to fish
  • It may have too much salt for older cats.
cat laying on pavement

FAQs on the Best Cat Food for Older Cats that Vomit

Why is my senior cat throwing up food?

Cats who eat too much or too fast can vomit food; typically, it’s undigested food in a tubular shape. They can also vomit food if they become nauseous shortly after eating, if a foreign body obstructs the food from moving into the small intestines, or if they have a food allergy.

Consider these things when trying to figure out why your older cat is vomiting:

  • Have you changed his food recently?
  • Is your cat an outdoor or indoor cat?
  • How often is your can throwing up, and what does it look like?
  • Is your cat still eating at all?
  • Is your cat taking any over-the-counter or prescription medications?
  • How long has your feline been throwing up?
  • Does your cat have any other symptoms like weight loss or diarrhea?

While occasional vomiting happens, contact your veterinarian if your cat starts throwing up a lot in one day. 

cat laying on purple rug

Why is my 15-year-old cat vomiting up?

Throwing up can be a sign of several critical health problems like cancer, kidney failure, diabetes, Pancreatitis, food poisoning, your cat’s swallowed a foreign object, and more.  But it can also be from hairballs or your cat eating too fast.

That’s why it’s important to contact your vet when your cat vomits more than usual and when looking for cat food for senior cats with sensitive stomachs.

Final Thoughts on the Best Cat Food for Older Cats That Vomit

Finding the best cat food for older cats that vomit can be challenging. It’s essential to ensure that the primary ingredients are healthy, like real meat, whole grains, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants. 

The best cat food for older cats that throw up promotes healthy digestion, provides a balanced diet with a blend of vitamins, essential nutrients, and protein. 

Now you have some ideas for the best cat food for vomiting and diarrhea with several dry and wet food options.

You may need to try a couple of different types and brands to find the cat food that works best for your senior cat, as his health and nutritional needs are of the utmost importance.

cat laying down white background

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The Best Cat Food for Older Cats that Vomit – Now You Know great options to Try

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