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15 Best Fish-Free Cat Foods

Fish is a popular ingredient in cat food, but is it really what cats want?

According to experts, fish is not a natural part of a feline diet; your cat's predecessors were mostly desert felines who subsisted on mice, birds, and other small creatures.

Though fish was probably not part of your cat's traditional diet, it is an excellent source of animal protein and omega-3 fatty acids. The problem is that some cats are allergic or sensitive to fish.

Fortunately, pet food producers are becoming more conscious of the possibility of food allergies in cats, and many have made attempts to include single-protein and innovative protein formulas in their product range.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has compiled a list of the best fish-free cat foods to assist you in finding the best one for your picky feline.


Canned Ziwi Peak Lamb Recipe Cat Food

Despite being on the higher end of the price scale, Ziwi Peak is a premium pet food brand.

Their recipes are packed with premium animal proteins and have a very low carbohydrate content, making them a perfect alternative for cats with dietary sensitivities or allergies.

This Ziwi Peak wet food mix has lamb as a single source of animal protein, which is unusual for many cats. It contains 92% animal materials, which include muscular flesh, organs, and bone.

Chickpeas are the only significant source of additional carbohydrate in this dish.

This ingredient is mentioned sixth, after fresh lamb and multiple lamb organs, indicating that it is not a big component of the formula.

It doesn’t take away from the recipe’s incredibly low carbohydrate level.

While this product contains shellfish in the form of New England Green Mussel, cats that are sensitive to fish will not necessarily be allergic to shellfish.

It’s still a good idea to keep a watch on your cat after adjusting his diet to look for signs of sensitivity.

Overall, this recipe is quite species-appropriate, since it is high in animal protein, low in carbs, and high in moisture to help your cat stay hydrated.


  • Made with a single new animal protein source
  • Muscle meat, organs, and bone from the proper species are included.
  • Artificial ingredients are completely absent.


  • Fairly costly
  • Contains extraneous plant components


Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken In Chicken Consomme Grain-free Recipe Canned Cat Food is a premium pick

A basic, protein-rich diet can help cats with food allergies. Tiki Cat is an expensive option, but it’s packed with species-appropriate nourishment and high in moisture to aid digestion.

Tiki Cat’s recipe has only three basic ingredients. Fresh chicken is a high-protein food that can be supplemented with chicken broth for moisture and flavor.

Sunflower seed oil is a plant-based fat source, however it contains omega fatty acids and is high in vitamin E. Vitamin E is very good for cats with skin problems, including those caused by food allergies.

This is the only plant element in the mix, so it is carbohydrate-free.

This formula is high in animal protein yet low in fat and calories. This could be beneficial for cats who need to lose weight, but it’s important to consider the daily feeding volume as well as the greater per-ounce cost.

Overall, this Tiki Cat diet is high in species-appropriate animal protein, low in fat, and has no added carbs.


  • Contains animal protein from the relevant species
  • Carbohydrates are completely absent.
  • Moisture-rich to help your cat stay hydrated


  • Fairly costly
  • Plants are the primary source of fat.


Kirkland Signature Chicken And Rice Dry Cat Food is a good value

Premium cat food can be costly, and while we all want to provide the best for our cats, not everyone can afford the best.

Kirkland Signature is affordable and digestible, and it is offered in huge 25-pound bags for added value and convenience.

The principal ingredients in this Kirkland Signature maintenance formula dry food are fresh chicken and chicken meal. The primary source of fat is chicken fat, which is supplemented with omega fatty acids from flaxseed.

Whole grain brown rice and ground white rice are two of the top five components, and they both add significantly to the recipe’s overall carbohydrate content, which is approximately normal for a reasonably priced dry cat food.

It’s also worth remembering that dry cat chow has very little moisture. To help your cat stay hydrated, we recommend supplementing dry food with wet food or another moisture-rich food topper.

Overall, this formula has a high protein and healthy fat content, as well as a low moisture and high carbohydrate level. Its key advantages are its low cost and shelf-stability.


  • As the first and second constituent, there are two sources of animal protein.
  • Chicken fat is a good source of vital fats.
  • Priced reasonably and sold in huge 25-pound bags


  • Contains extraneous plant components
  • It does not supply the moisture that your cat requires.


Nulo Freestyle Minced Turkey & Duck In Gravy Canned Cat & Kitten Food is the best choice for kittens

If your kitten cannot accept fish, you must continue to give him fish-free cat food until he reaches adulthood.

This Nulo canned food mix is designed to suit the nutritional needs of both kittens and adult cats, sparing you the trouble of transitioning.

This canned food mix, made with protein-rich turkey, turkey liver, egg, and duck, is a species-appropriate choice for your developing kitten. Turkey and duck are both novel proteins for many cats, and the recipe contains no fish.

While this formula has a lot of animal protein, it also contains a few superfluous plant additives. Dried ground peas may contribute to the protein content of the formula, although not much given that they are the eighth component on the list.

This recipe offers a moist source of animal protein with a moderate fat content and a very low total carbohydrate load.


  • Made with two new animal protein sources
  • Moisture-rich to aid hydration
  • Designed for both adult cats and kittens.


  • Several unneeded plant components are included.
  • Guar gum is used as a thickening.


Wellness Core Signature Selects Shredded Boneless Chicken & Chicken Liver Entrée In Sauce is best for senior cats

Balanced diet is crucial for all cats, but as they age, many cats become picky or have difficulty eating owing to dental difficulties.

This chicken-flavored wet food from Wellness CORE has a chewy texture and a tasty sauce that even the pickiest eater will find appealing.

The main ingredient in this formula is shredded chicken breast, with additional protein from chicken liver and eggs. It has a single source of animal protein and a small number of plant elements.

Having said that, the first five components list two starchy plant additions. These components are most likely included to thicken the sauce, but they give little nutritional value to your cat.

Overall, the recipe’s ingredient list is short, and the total carbohydrate level is extremely minimal. It is also high in moisture, which helps your cat stay hydrated.

This is especially crucial for senior cats that are predisposed to diabetes.


  • Made with a single animal protein source
  • Moisture-rich to aid hydration
  • Free of synthetic additives and plant proteins


  • Contains a number of starchy plant components.
  • Guar gum is used as a thickening.


Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-free Real Duck Pate Canned Food is best for sensitive stomachs

If your cat isn’t allergic to fish but has delicate digestion, a limited ingredient diet with a single source of protein may be a good option. This recipe uses fresh, deboned duck as the only source of animal protein, and it’s a unique one at that.

A shorter ingredient list implies fewer things to which your cat may be allergic or sensitive. This recipe is easily digestible because it begins with high-quality animal protein. The high moisture content aids digestion and keeps your cat hydrated.

This Merrick LID is high in animal protein, but it also has some plant protein. Pea protein is a protein concentrate derived from plants that is not considered a complete protein for cats.

Overall, this recipe offers a unique supply of animal protein with moderate fat and protein levels and a very low carbohydrate content.


  • The main ingredients are listed in a very brief order.
  • Duck deboned as a single source of animal protein
  • Artificial ingredients are completely absent.


  • Plant protein concentration is included.


Cats in the Kitchen Weruva Pumpkin Soup with Pumpkin Lickin’ Chicken

Primary Components

  • Chicken Stock
  • Meat from chicken
  • Pumpkin
  • Tapioca Flour
  • Oil from Sunflower Seeds

The use of a basic meat-based formulation accounts for the popularity of this fish-free cat food. Weruva is a cat food that is strong in protein and does not contain fish oil, fish meals, or fish meat.

However, the fact that its primary protein sources are chicken may be off-putting to cat owners on a limited ingredient diet.

Chicken is one of the most common allergies in cat food. These products are made from boneless, skinless chicken breasts that have been shredded and set with pumpkin protein.

This product also has the most carbohydrates of any wet food on the list. Pumpkin and tapioca starch are used to add to the 17% carbohydrate content.


  • Produced with chicken
  • It is still fully fish-free.
  • There are no artificial ingredients.
  • Carrageenan is completely absent.


  • When compared to other canned cat foods, it has a fairly high carbohydrate content.

Is Fish Harmful to Cats?

You’re undoubtedly aware that cats are obligate carnivores by now. Without getting too technical, this simply implies that their bodies have a biological need for a meat-based diet.

Wild cats primarily feed on tiny prey such as rodents, birds, and reptiles. Big cats, of course, will hunt larger prey such as deer.

Certain types of cats that live near water may consume fish as well as other aquatic animals such as frogs and crayfish.

Fish, being an animal-based protein source, is not intrinsically hazardous to cats. It simply isn’t a significant part of their ancestral diet.

Fish is a complete protein source, supplying your cat with all of the key amino acids he requires as well as healthy fats.

It has a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which help your cat’s skin and coat health, as well as healthy joints and a robust immune system.

While most cats are totally safe with fish, the possibility of fish allergy cannot be overlooked.

Food allergies in cats are infrequent, according to Hill’s Pet Nutrition. When they do arise, popular proteins such as chicken, fish, beef, and dairy are most likely to cause them.

Symptoms of Cat Fish Allergy

A food allergy is a hypersensitive immunological response to an antigen found in specific foods.

To put it another way, the immune system reacts unfavorably to a certain protein in food. It is unknown why food allergies arise or why some cats have them while others do not.

A cat must be exposed to the food in order to acquire an allergy. A cat, for example, cannot develop a fish allergy if it has never eaten fish.

Food allergies can arise at any age or stage, even if the cat has been consuming the food for months or years with no problems.

Food allergies in cats can cause the following symptoms:

  • Skin irritation that is ongoing
  • Skin itch
  • Overgrooming
  • Skin cancer lesions
  • Loss of hair
  • Ear infections that reoccur
  • Gastrointestinal distress

While some cats experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, chronic skin problems are a more prevalent sign of food allergy.

Working with your veterinarian to complete a food trial is the best approach to diagnose a food allergy.

While your veterinarian may propose testing to rule out other possible reasons of your cat’s symptoms, a food trial is usually required to confirm an allergy.

This simply entails adjusting your cat’s diet for 6 to 8 weeks to determine if the allergy symptoms improve.

You must select a food that comprises a protein source to which your cat has never been exposed. If you’ve been feeding your cat fish, switch to a beef or chicken meal.

Foods prepared with novel proteins, such as venison and lamb, are also suitable for food experiments.

If your cat’s symptoms improve during the food experiment, you can reintroduce the previous food for a few days. If your cat’s symptoms return, you can be certain that anything in the food is to blame.

How to Choose Fish-Free Cat Food

Once you’ve verified that your cat is allergic or sensitive to fish, you must immediately eliminate fish from your cat’s diet.

More than merely excluding fish in recipes, you should ensure that the new formula is species-appropriate and prepared from high-quality ingredients.

Here are some characteristics to look for in a fish-free cat food:

  • It should be high in animal protein

Even if your cat cannot eat fish, he requires animal protein. As a beginning point, try chicken, turkey, or beef.

Recipes that rely too heavily on plant-based proteins, such as pea protein or potato protein, should be avoided. Cats simply cannot digest or utilize carbs as effectively as animal components.

It’s advisable to stick to a single protein formula in case your cat develops an allergy to the new protein. Instead of experimenting with several proteins, it will be easy to identify the problem immediately and make the appropriate switch.

  • It must not include any fish ingredients

Check the list of ingredients before purchasing a new cat food. The absence of fish in the recipe name does not necessarily imply that the product is fish-free.

To achieve protein recommendations, several pet food producers incorporate multiple protein sources in their recipes.

Look for fresh fish like salmon and tuna, as well as concentrated fish ingredients like fish meal, on the ingredients list. Fish-based lipids, such as fish oil, are unlikely to cause fish allergies in cats, but it’s never a bad idea to avoid them just in case.

  • It should have a short list of ingredients

If your cat is allergic to fish, he may also be allergic to other components. Cats with sensitive stomachs may find it simpler to handle limited ingredient diets (LIDs). They’re also an excellent choice for doing food testing.

When selecting a restricted ingredient cat food, avoid components with unclear names that could include a combination of different proteins.

For example, a poultry supper could include both chicken and turkey. You should also avoid animal byproducts and stick to a single source of protein.

  • It should not contain any artificial additives or low-value plant foods

Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives have no place in a good cat food. These components not only have little nutritional value, but they also pose a danger of bad health impacts.

Carbohydrates should not be a staple in your cat’s diet, and it is especially crucial to avoid plant elements with low nutritional value.

Fillers like corn, wheat, and soy products should be avoided at all costs, and your cat’s food should have a total carbohydrate content of less than 20%. We prefer recipes with 10% or less carbohydrates.

  • It Should Provide Nutrition Appropriate to the Species

Every cat owner’s primary focus should be their pet’s nutrition. Keeping in mind your cat’s status as an obligate carnivore, select a meal that is based on animal-based foods and contains few to no carbohydrates. Make sure the recipe you chose is also appropriate for his stage of life.

Now that you know why you might want to consider a fish-free meal for your cat and what to look for, let’s look at our top selections for the best cat food for cats with fish allergies.


Is fish oil safe for cats who are allergic to fish?

Proteins in the offending item usually cause food allergies in cats.

According to the Feline Nutrition Foundation, you may be permitted to feed your cat fish oil as long as it is absolutely free of fish protein.

It’s still a good idea to acquire your veterinarian’s approval beforehand.

Can cats who are allergic to fish eat shrimp?

A fish allergy may not always imply a shellfish allergy, such as shrimp. Similarly, just because your cat is sensitive to shrimp does not mean he is allergic to fish or other types of seafood.

If your cat is allergic to fish, introduce new proteins one at a time and monitor for the start of symptoms that could signal a second allergy.


Based on our research and testing of the products listed above, Canned Ziwi Peak Lamb Recipe Cat Food and Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken In Chicken Consomme Grain-free Recipe Canned cat food and kibble are the two most dependable and well-known products.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) hopes that our list of the best fish-free cat foods was useful in assisting you with your quest!

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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