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4 Best Foods for Cats with Feline Leukemia in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Ed Malaker

Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

orange cat eating on an orange bowl

4 Best Foods for Cats with Feline Leukemia in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

orange cat eating on an orange bowl Feline leukemia is an infectious virus that affects your cat’s immune system and is transmitted to other cats through their saliva, usually occurring through grooming. You can help your pet manage the disease through a program of vaccinations, medication, and a proper diet. We’ve chosen several brands of cat food to review for you to help you select one for your cat. We give you the pros and cons of each one and tell you if our cats liked it so you can make an educated decision.

Disclaimer: The foods reviewed here were chosen because they have certain characteristics that might help with some of the causes or consequences of this medical condition. However, they are not a medical treatment or a substitute for medical treatment. Keep in mind that each medical case is different and what works for some pets may not work for others. Your veterinarian is the right person to advise you on the best diet for your pet’s individual case.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Smalls Fresh Cat Food Smalls Fresh Cat Food
  • Rich in protein
  • Available in three proteins and two different textures
  • Vet formulated
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    IAMS Proactive Health Dry Cat Food IAMS Proactive Health Dry Cat Food
  • Contains natural fiber
  • Prebiotics
  • Omega fats
  • Third place
    Purina Pro Plan Weight Management Food Purina Pro Plan Weight Management Food
  • Proprietary blend
  • Live probiotics
  • Includes vitamin A and taurine
  • CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Cat Food CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Cat Food
  • High protein
  • Grain-free
  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • The 4 Best Foods for Cats with Feline Leukemia

    1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food – Best Overall

    Smalls Fresh Cat Food - on box with cat

    First Ingredient: Turkey / Chicken
    Bag Size: Tailored
    Type: Human-grade fresh food

    Our best overall food for cats with feline leukemia is Smalls Fresh Cat Food. When your cat is suffering, you want to be assured that you’re giving them only the best, highest quality food to ensure their quality of life.

    Smalls offers three proteins in their fresh food line: turkey, chicken, and beef. It uses high-quality ingredients and does not include preservatives or artificial colors, and the recipes are rich in protein and available in two textures. Smalls’ formulas are developed with your cat’s tastes and health needs in mind. Plus, it’s been reported that even the most finicky of cats enjoy the taste of Small’s fresh cat food.

    As a subscription service, Smalls delivers your order to your door monthly, so you don’t even have to leave the couch. The only drawback to Smalls fresh cat food is that it takes up room in your freezer and takes 24 hours for the meals to thaw. In addition, it has been reported that the company has poor customer service options.

    Pros
    • Rich in protein
    • Available in three proteins and two different textures
    • Convenient subscription service
    • Vet formulated
    Cons
    • Takes up room in the freezer
    • Poor customer service has been reported
    • Meals take 24 hours to thaw

    2. IAMS Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food – Budget Buy

    Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Original with Chicken Dry Cat Food

    First Ingredient: Chicken
    Bag Size: 22 pounds
    Type: Dry Kibble

    Iams Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food is our pick as the overall best food for cats with feline leukemia for the money. It contains several ingredients that can help your pet stay healthy. Natural fiber will help balance the digestive system by regulating the amount of fluid in the intestines, reducing the frequency of constipation and diarrhea. Prebiotics help feed the gut’s good bacteria (probiotics). This bacterium works with the fiber to digest food quickly while extracting more nutrients. Important vitamins and minerals like calcium and potassium help your pet stay healthy and develop strong bones and muscles. Omega fats will help reduce swelling and can help promote a strong and healthy coat. Even with all of these ingredients, there are no artificial colors or chemical preservatives.

    We felt good about providing IAMS to our pets, and it seemed to help them. The only problem we had with it was that some of our cats didn’t like it, and it took several weeks to get them adjusted to it.

    Pros
    • Contains natural fiber
    • Prebiotics
    • Omega fats
    • Vitamins and minerals
    • No artificial colors or preservatives
    Cons
    • Some cats don’t like it

    3. Purina Pro Plan Weight Management, High Protein Cat Food

    Purina Pro Plan With Probiotics, Grain Free Weight Management Dry Cat Food

    First Ingredient: Turkey
    Bag Size: 12.5 pounds
    Type: Dry Kibble

    Purina Pro Plan Weight Management, High Protein Adult Dry Cat Food & Wet Cat Food is another great choice for cats with feline leukemia. The proprietary blend helps extend the life of older pets by providing plenty of vitamins and minerals, including taurine and vitamin A, which cats need for growth. Live probiotics help boost the good bacteria in your cat’s gut, which helps the cat digest food more completely, extracting more nutrients. This brand also provides your pet with plenty of protein (38%) which will provide plenty of energy, help your pet feel full longer, and will help it build strong muscle.

    Our cats loved this brand, and more of our cats ate it than the others. The biggest downside to Purina Pro Plan was that it has a lot of calories at more than 600 per serving. It can quickly cause your cat to gain weight if you don’t watch the serving size carefully. We also noticed that the kibble is extremely hard and can give some of the older cats problems chewing, especially if they have dental problems.

    Pros
    • Proprietary blend
    • Live probiotics
    • Includes vitamin A and taurine
    • High protein
    Cons
    • High in calories
    • Hard kibble

    4. CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food

    Crave with Protein from Chicken & Salmon Indoor Adult Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    First Ingredient: Chicken
    Bag Size: 10 pounds
    Type: Dry Kibble

    CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food comes in many sizes, and you can get a package as small as 2 pounds if you need it or are on a budget. It contains chicken as the main ingredient and provides your pet with 40% protein per serving. There are no grains like corn or soy that can cause your pet to gain weight, and there are no artificial colors or chemical preservatives that might harm your pet.

    The biggest problem we had with CRAVE was that the ziplock for resealing the bag is flimsy and is either broken or doesn’t work on three out of four bags, making it difficult to keep fresh. Another problem we had was that some of our cats wouldn’t eat it very easily.

    Pros
    • High protein
    • Grain-free
    • No artificial colors or preservatives
    Cons
    • Some cats don’t enjoy the taste
    • Hard to reseal

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    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Food for Cats with Feline Leukemia

    Probiotics and Prebiotics

    When choosing a food to help your cat with feline leukemia, one of the first things we recommend checking is that the brand you are serving contains probiotics or prebiotics. Probiotics are better because they are the good bacteria that the stomach can use to help break down food and fight off bad bacteria. Many experts believe that much of the immune system resides in the intestines. The probiotics in the gut will help strengthen, providing your pet with a powerful tool to fight feline leukemia.

    Prebiotics are the food that probiotics eat. While not as good as probiotics, prebiotics allow you to nurture the probiotics already present in your cat’s gut. The process will be slower, but the result is the same. Finding a brand with both nutrients is the fastest way to a healthy gut and a stronger immune system.

    Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
    • NO MESS - The 360° tray on this cat food and water bowl set has a raised design to catch and...
    • WHISKER FRIENDLY - Shallow and wide metal containers with flat bottoms ensure your kitty can enjoy...
    • CHEW-SAFE MATERIALS - Kittens and cats love chewing on silicone and soft rubber - but it's a choking...

    Feeding your cat a high-quality diet is important for keeping them healthy and happy. But it goes beyond the food you choose; the dishes they use also matter. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite for its unique, five-star design that protects from whisker fatigue and promotes good posture which also aids in better digestion. As an added bonus, it’s beautifully crafted and offers a modern take on the traditional cat bowl that fits seamlessly with all home stylings. Learn more about the NomNom by clicking here.

    At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

     

     

    Vitamins and Minerals

    We recommend looking for brands that contain vitamin and mineral fortification.

    Vitamin C

    Some vitamins, like vitamin C, are powerful antioxidants that can help remove free radicals and promote better health.

    B Vitamins

    B vitamins are essential for providing your cat with energy. Cats with plenty of energy are better able to fight disease and more likely to eat the food they need to stay healthy.

    Potassium

    Potassium is also important for a calm stomach, reducing the risk of diarrhea, which can rob your cat of important nutrients. Potassium, along with sodium and chloride, can combat dehydration and improve kidney function.

    Calcium and Magnesium

    Calcium will help build stronger bones and teeth, and magnesium will help make sure it’s absorbed.

    Artificial Dyes and Chemical Preservatives

    We recommend avoiding foods that contain artificial coloring because several colors can cause an allergic reaction in your already compromised cat. Luckily the number of dyes in cat foods is declining, but they are still present in some of the most popular foods. Chemical preservatives like BHA and BHT can also cause additional health problems for your cat, creating tumors and preventing blood clotting.

    Supplements

    Besides the foods on this list, you can also add supplements to your pet’s food to help boost the immune system. Some claim to detoxify the lymphatic system and encourage your pet to eat using only all-natural herbs that are safe for your pet.

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    Conclusion

    When choosing food for a cat with feline leukemia, we highly recommend our pick for the best overall cat food, Smalls Fresh Cat Food. When your cat is suffering, you want to be assured that you’re giving them only the best, highest quality food to ensure their quality of life. Another smart choice is IAMS Proactive Health Dry Cat Food, an option with natural fiber and prebiotics without additional fillers.

    We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and found a brand you would like to try out with your cat. If we have helped your cat feel a little better, please share this guide to the best food for cats with feline leukemia on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Featured Image Credit: Okssi, Shutterstock

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