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7 Best Cat Foods for Firm Stools in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat eating

7 Best Cat Foods for Firm Stools in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

cat eating_Lenar Nigmatullin_Shutterstock Because we scoop out the litter box, we’ll notice if our cat’s stool is runny. Sadly, some cats have weaker digestive systems than others, causing them to develop runny stools more often.

What a cat eats plays a significant role in how firm their stool will be. If a cat eats something that upsets their stomach, they can have diarrhea. Fortunately, some cat food formulas can help keep your cat’s stool firm, even if your cat is more prone to diarrhea.

Of course, some brands are better than others in this regard. In this article, we created reviews of the best cat foods for firm stools for your feline.

A Quick Glance at Our Favorites in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Smalls Fresh Bird Recipe (Human Grade Fresh Cat Food Delivery) Smalls Fresh Bird Recipe (Human Grade Fresh Cat Food Delivery)
  • Rich in animal protein and low in carbohydrates
  • Formulated to meet AAFCO Nutrient Profile for all life stages
  • Made from USDA certified ingredients
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Purina ONE Sensitive Skin Dry Cat Food Purina ONE Sensitive Skin Dry Cat Food
  • High in protein
  • Inexpensive
  • Meat as the first ingredient
  • Third place
    Hill's Prescription Digestive Care Dry Cat Food Hill's Prescription Digestive Care Dry Cat Food
  • Designed for digestive problems
  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Multiple fiber sources
  • Hill's Prescription Diet Digestive Care Canned Cat Food Hill's Prescription Diet Digestive Care Canned Cat Food
  • Chicken and pork liver included
  • Designed for digestive issues
  • Royal Canin Feline Digestive Care Dry Cat Food Royal Canin Feline Digestive Care Dry Cat Food
  • Prebiotics included
  • Ring-shaped kibble
  • Designed for sensitive stomachs
  • The 7 Best Cat Foods for Firm Stool

    1. Smalls Fresh Bird Recipe (Human Grade Fresh Cat Food Delivery) – Best Overall

    a tabby cat eating smalls pet food

    If you are hunting for cat food that can’t be beaten in terms of health and will also help harden your cat’s stool, Smalls Human Grade Fresh has the food for you. We chose the Fresh Bird Recipe from Smalls as our pick for best overall since it’s primarily made of chicken thigh and chicken breast, which is perfect for your little meat-eater.

    Smalls is high in moisture and low in carbohydrates, exactly what your cat needs to thrive. If anything will help them balance their system and return to normal, it’s high-quality fresh food that is balanced perfectly for their needs.

    This subscription service may turn some away, but the convenience and personalization may even make the wariest owners rethink their stance. Fresh food can get a little pricey and may take up storage space in the refrigerator or freezer, but many owners find it’s well worth it.

    Smalls only uses USDA-certified ingredients that are fit for human consumption, and each recipe meets AAFCO standards for pet food nutrient profiles for all life stages. As for the Human Grade Fresh line, you can choose whether you want a “smooth” or pulled” texture with each recipe for the most finicky eaters.

    • Rich in animal protein and low in carbohydrates
    • Formulated to meet AAFCO Nutrient Profile for all life stages
    • Made from USDA-certified ingredients
    • High moisture content
    • Pricey
    • Needs to be stored in a freezer or refrigerator
    • Subscription service is not for everyone

    2. Purina ONE Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Cat Food – Budget Buy

    Purina ONE sensitive skin cat food_Chewy

    The Purina ONE Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Cat Food is designed for sensitive stomach and digestive systems, which may help improve your feline’s stools. It is also inexpensive. Turkey is the first ingredient, which is a high-quality option. Chicken by-product meal is the second ingredient and adds extra protein and fat to the formula. It is better than high amounts of grains or vegetables.

    Rice flour, corn gluten meal, and soybean meal follow the meat ingredients. These are lower-quality options. The rice flour is unnecessary, but it keeps the dry food from separating. It doesn’t do much for your cat, nutritionally speaking, however. Corn gluten and soybean meals are added to increase the protein content.

    However, they add plant-based protein, which is sometimes difficult for cats to digest fully. Unlike dogs and humans, cats cannot always absorb and use the contents of plant-based vitamins and minerals.

    Purina ONE has a slightly higher-than-average protein content than other foods on the market. However, it is essential to remember that much of this protein is from plants. Higher protein content is not an indicator of meat level. Omega fatty acids are included to support your cat’s skin. There are also included antioxidants to support the feline immune system. Overall, Purina ONE is the best cat food for firm stools for the money.

    • High in protein
    • Inexpensive
    • Meat as the first ingredient
    • Added antioxidants and omega fatty acids
    • Some lower quality ingredients
    • Much plant-based protein

    3. Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food

    Hills Prescriptoin Diet Chicken flavor cat food_Chewy

    If your cat has serious digestive problems, you may want to consider using Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food. This digestive diet may be helpful for felines with food allergies, lack of digestive enzymes, or other digestive issues. It is explicitly designed to improve digestive health and stool quality.

    Chicken is included as the first ingredient, which is somewhat surprising considering that most prescription diets include lower-quality ingredients. However, the rest of the ingredient list is relatively low-quality. Cracked pearled barley is the second ingredient, followed by a list of other grains.

    Cats don’t need grains in their diet and don’t get much out of them. Other, more nutritious options would be better for most cats. This food has multiple fiber sources to improve your cat’s gastrointestinal health. Antioxidants are also added to control cell health and prevent oxidation.

    • Designed specifically for digestive problems
    • Chicken as the first ingredient
    • Multiple fiber sources
    • Large amounts of grain
    • Expensive

    4. Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew Canned Cat Food

    Hills Prescription canned cat food_Chewy

    Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d Digestive Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew Canned Cat Food is a wet food formula. It does require a prescription and is designed for digestive problems in felines. However, many owners may not find a wet diet suitable for their cats with runny stools, as it can make their stools worse. Some cat owners find it effective, but it depends on your cat and the severity of their condition.

    Water is the first ingredient in this food. It is necessary to make the wet food wet and doesn’t add calories or nutrients. It’s only there to keep the moisture level high. Chicken and pork liver come next. Both are high-quality ingredients that provide plenty of protein and fat for your cat.

    However, there are several lower-quality ingredients as well. Wheat gluten is the fourth ingredient, with rice starch as the fifth. Neither of is exceptionally high-quality. The wheat gluten adds quite a bit of protein to the formula. However, it is a lower-quality protein because it comes from plants. Cats may be unable to take advantage of these nutrients like a meat-based protein.

    • Chicken and pork liver included
    • Designed for felines with digestive issues
    • Some low-quality ingredients
    • Expensive

    5. Royal Canin Feline Digestive Care Dry Cat Food

    Royal Canin digestive care cat food_Chewy

    For many cats, their runny stool is caused by digestive problems. Sensitive stomachs can produce smelly stools that aren’t precisely firm. However, the Royal Canin Feline Digestive Care Dry Cat Food is formulated to support your feline’s sensitive stomach. It has ring-shaped kibble to slow down your cat’s eating since fast eating can cause digestive upset and stool problems.

    We recommend using this food alongside a slow feeder. This makes the kibble especially effective. However, the ingredients in this gastrointestinal food for cats are pretty low-quality. Brewer’s rice is the first ingredient, followed by wheat gluten. These are both grains that your cat doesn’t necessarily need.

    The chicken meal finally appears as the third ingredient. This is a high-quality option, but it appears further down on the list than we would like. This food is packed full of prebiotics and fiber to help your feline’s digestive tract. If your cat isn’t particularly impressed by the flavor, you can combine this dry food with the company’s wet food option.

    • Prebiotics included
    • Ring-shaped kibble
    • Explicitly designed for sensitive stomachs
    • Low-quality ingredients

    6. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Turkey, Sweet Potato & Spinach Recipe Cat Food

    Purina canned cat food_Chewy

    For cats with minor digestive problems, Purina Beyond Grain-Free Turkey, Sweet Potato & Spinach Recipe in Gravy Canned Cat Food is exceptionally high-quality and relatively inexpensive compared to other foods out there. For this reason, it may help a cat’s digestive tract simply with its higher-quality ingredients.

    The first ingredient is turkey broth. This is to help the food stay moist because it is a canned food. It also adds a few nutrients to the cat food. Turkey, chicken, and liver are also included. These are all high-quality ingredients and provide plenty of nutrients for felines. Our only complaint is that the liver’s source is not named, so you don’t know what kind of liver it is.

    Dried egg whites are included a bit further down on the list. Eggs can provide many of the nutrients that a feline needs to thrive. However, most of these are in the yolk. It seems that egg whites were added to this food to improve the protein content.

    Purina Beyond includes plenty of prebiotic fiber, which improves your cat’s digestive system and supports their gut biome. There is no poultry by-product meal or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. No corn, wheat, or soy are included either.

    • High-quality ingredients
    • Inexpensive
    • Not designed specifically for digestive health
    • Doesn’t include probiotics

    7. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Selected Protein Adult PD in Gel Canned Cat Food

    Royal Canin adult canned cat food_Chewy

    For cats sensitive to specific meats, the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Selected Protein Adult PD in Gel Canned Cat Food may be a suitable option. It includes water as the first ingredient, which is to be expected from a wet food. Duck and duck liver are the following two ingredients. Duck is counted as a novel protein because it isn’t typically found in cat foods.

    Both ingredients are nutritious sources of protein and fat for your feline, especially if they’re allergic to the more common meats used in cat food. There are lower-quality ingredients on this list as well. For instance, pea flour is the fourth ingredient. This adds a decent amount of carbohydrates to the food without providing many nutrients. Cats aren’t good at absorbing nutrients from plants.

    Royal Canin isn’t designed for digestive problems in particular. It has a unique protein source, but you can find many other limited-ingredient cat foods that are much cheaper. Plus, they don’t require a prescription from your vet.

    • Duck included
    • Limited-ingredient
    • Extremely expensive (with similar, cheaper options available)
    • Requires a prescription
    • Not specifically designed for digestive health

    cat paw divider

    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Best Cat Foods for Firm Stools

    When your cat has a sensitive stomach and runny stools, choosing a food can seem stressful. It requires a bit of digging and searching to find foods that are suitable for cats with runny stools.

    Furthermore, not all formulas for sensitive stomachs suit all cats with runny stools. There are many reasons that a cat may need to firm up their stool. Some foods only treat one or two of these reasons.

    We can help you figure out the best food for your feline. Here are common reasons for runny stool and how food can affect the stool’s quality.

    Causes of Runny Stool

    Figuring out why your cat doesn’t have firm stools is essential to fixing the problem. There are many reasons that your cat’s digestive system may be off-center and need a little help.

    Change in Diet

    feeding cats_Dora Zett_Shutterstock
    Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

    A change in diet can affect your cat’s stool. Their new diet may contain ingredients that they are not used to yet. This is not a sign of the food’s quality. High-quality foods can cause more digestive changes initially, as they often include more decadent ingredients.

    It’s the difference between eating a burger and a piece of toast. The high-quality food is more nutritionally complete for your feline, but it will likely cause more digestive upset than their old low-quality food.

    However, this should not persist for more than 2–3 days. If it occurs for longer, there is likely another cause involved.


    Some medications may cause diarrhea, including antibiotics. They can upset your cat’s digestive tract and cause diarrhea in cats. However, most cats need antibiotics to get better. Choosing quality food with probiotics may help prevent diarrhea and clear it up sooner after your cat stops the antibiotic treatment.


    grey cat's gaze
    Image Credit by: Hulki Okan Tabak, Pixabay

    Stress can cause digestive problems for felines, similar to people. Acute stress is usually the cause, such as a move or having too many visitors over at once. Treating your cat’s stress by giving them somewhere to hide and feel safe is often the best option. Specialized food doesn’t help much in this circumstance.


    Parasites can cause diarrhea and irritate your cat’s digestive system. This is more common in kittens, whose digestive tracts are smaller and can irritate more easily.


    Many infections can cause digestive problems. Viruses are a bit more complicated, and sometimes, supportive therapy is all you can do. High-quality food can be helpful in this circumstance because it can support your cat’s healing body and keep their gut biome healthy.

    Metabolic Diseases

    fat cat_Andreas Almstedt_Pixabay
    Image Credit: Andreas Almstedt, Pixabay

    Pancreas and thyroid imbalances can cause digestive problems. Often, they are not curable. Supportive therapy is often used instead to keep your cat healthy. Sometimes, synthetic hormones are provided to ensure your feline’s body is as balanced as possible. Quality food can support your cat’s gut biome and prevent unnecessary issues.

    Inflammatory Disorders

    Many inflammatory disorders affect the digestive tract. This can cause your cat to develop diarrhea. Of course, these problems often aren’t curable. However, high-quality food can keep their digestive tract in tip-top shape and encourage healthy stool firmness.


    Cat poops_Stefano Garau, Shutterstock
    Image Credit: Stefano Garau, Shutterstock

    Though it may seem counterintuitive, many cats with constipation also have diarrhea because they have a blockage and can only pass liquids through. This often makes it appear like they have diarrhea, and it is especially common in older cats.

    You can treat constipation with high-quality food in many cases. Medication is also sometimes necessary, but dietary changes work best in the long term.

    What to Feed a Cat With Diarrhea?

    Decades ago, it was recommended to withhold food from a cat with diarrhea to let the intestines find their balance again. However, we now know that the intestines need nutrients to repair themselves. The question is which nutrients are best.

    Fiber is always a solid option. It works as a great regulator and is helpful for diarrhea and constipation. If your feline constantly has loose stools, they likely need more fiber. While most cat foods have the minimum amount of fiber that a cat needs, some cats need more. We recommend choosing a high-fiber food for practically any feline that has problems with their stool consistency.

    You can choose a food that is higher in fiber in general, usually by adding starches and indigestible plant protein. Or you can add extra fiber to their food, such as canned pumpkin. Of course, if you do this, you should be careful to read the ingredient list thoroughly. Many foods have additives like sugar and extra sodium, which are unsuitable for your feline.

    Besides fiber, what your particular cat needs will probably differ. For instance, some cats thrive on high-quality meat products. However, other cats don’t do well with rich foods. They often need a plainer diet. Some cats are sensitive to specific proteins, like chicken or beef. If they eat them, they may develop health problems, like loose stools.

    Formulas that contain more digestible ingredients, like lean meats, are often better for many cats. They don’t irritate the digestive tracts quite as much, which can be beneficial for cats that already have digestive problems. You may want to avoid meats like salmon, which are high in oils that may upset the digestive tract. You may also want to avoid vegetable-based fats, like vegetable or canola oil. They can sometimes upset a cat’s digestive system.

    Of course, you don’t want to avoid fats and oils altogether. In moderate amounts, they are suitable for cats. Those with sensitive stomachs may need fewer oils than others, as their digestive system may be unable to handle it. For this reason, we recommend reducing the amount of oil your cat consumes if they have digestive problems.

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    Other Things to Consider

    Cats thrive on a diet that is high in protein and fat. They evolved to live off of meat protein and what they should be eating even when domesticated. Usually, this means plenty of high-protein ingredients in their food, including meats and other animal products. Typically, animal products are high in fat and protein.

    You may also want to check for probiotics in your cat’s food. If they aren’t eating probiotics, you may want to switch foods or provide them with a separate supplement. However, talk to your vet before adding a supplement or changing your cat’s diet. Not all probiotics are made equal, and your cat may benefit from some more than others. Generally, the higher the probiotic count, the better.

    3 cat face divider

    Final Verdict

    Several cat foods on the market may help your cat’s stool become firmer. Usually, the unfirm stool is caused by a sensitive stomach or digestion problem. Smalls Human Grade Fresh has the food for you. The Fresh Bird Recipe from Smalls is our pick for best overall, as it is primarily made up of chicken thigh and chicken breast, which is perfect for your little meat-eater.

    Purina ONE Sensitive Skin & Stomach Dry Cat Food is ideal for cats with digestive problems. It’s also much cheaper than other brands, making it ideal for owners on a budget.

    Diet plays a huge role in your cat’s stool. A change in diet often results in a change of stool. If your cat has chronic diarrhea, a change in diet is likely called for. However, changing your cat’s diet may worsen the problem. We recommend trying the new food for at least 3 months before deciding if it is working or not, as well as consulting your vet.

    Featured Image Credit: Lenar Nigmatullin, Shutterstock

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