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5 Best Cat Foods for Hyperthyroidism

October 2, 2019

5 Best Cat Foods for Hyperthyroidism

There’s only one cat food on the market that can treat hyperthyroidism. That food is Hill’s Prescription Diet Thyroid Care. Though it can’t prevent disease progress, its low iodine content helps to limit the amount of thyroid hormones that flood your cat’s body.

Beyond opting for this prescription food, we can only speculate about which foods are best for hyperthyroid cats. No other foods have shown ability to slow the disease’s progression or control its effects on the body. But when given in conjunction with appropriate treatments, an all-around great diet can help your cat to feel healthier before and after medical intervention.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Inhibits excessive thyroid hormone production
  • Cats like the way the food tastes
  • A good option for cats who can’t take any other treatment routes
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  • Made from highly-digestible protein for maintained muscle mass
  • Gives you access to a team of nutrition experts
  • Each meal is portioned out for your cat’s needs
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  • One of the best values on the market
  • Doesn’t contain soy or other ingredients that might worsen thyroid function
  • Rich in nourishing animal protein
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  • Rich in highly-digestible protein for maintained muscle mass
  • Free of any ingredients associated with thyroid disease
  • Limited ingredient recipe is a good choice for sensitive cats
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  • Addresses multiple conditions common among senior cats
  • Rich in highly-digestible animal protein for sustained muscle mass
  • Low carbohydrate content is ideal for insulin-resistant cats
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What Is The Best Cat Food For Hyperthyroidism?

When a cat has hyperthyroidism, his body produces too much thyroid hormone. This sends the metabolism into overdrive, burning up fuel faster than your cat can take it in. As a result, you get a hungry, skinny, and overactive cat. The central nervous system, GI system, heart, liver, and other organs become overworked and overtired. The best food for hyperthyroidism either controls the release of thyroid hormones or helps to counteract an overactive metabolism.

The Best Cat Food For Hyperthyroidism Is Rich In Highly-digestible Protein.

Hyperthyroid or not, senior cats need more protein and calories than they did in middle age. In fact, senior cats may need as much protein as growing kittens. Without enough protein to satisfy that elevated metabolism, cats’ muscles weaken and deteriorate. Hyperthyroidism turns that metabolic fire into an inferno and emaciation is almost inevitable.

Ideally, a hyperthyroid cat should eat a diet composed of 50% or more calories from protein. 

Protein sources should be high-quality and highly-digestible. Generally, this means it’s best to avoid animal, poultry, and fish by-products along with any high-protein plant ingredients like corn gluten meal and pea protein.

The Best Cat Food For Hyperthyroidism Is Less Than 10% Carbohydrate On A Dry Matter Basis.

No cat should eat a high-carbohydrate diet. Those with hyperthyroidism are particularly sensitive to sugar. The condition raises blood glucose levels, decreases glucose tolerance, and is frequently associated with insulin resistance.

Keep this situation under control by restricting carbohydrate content to 10% or less on a dry matter basis.

The Best Cat Food For Hyperthyroidism Is Not Fish-based.

We know that fish-based diets are associated with an increased risk of developing hyperthyroidism. We don’t know whether that’s due to the presence of toxic chemicals in ocean fish, the iodine content of seafood, or something else. Though the details are foggy and it’s unclear if fish-based foods can worsen existing thyroid issues as well as contribute to their development, it’s safe to say that hyperthyroid cats shouldn’t eat fish-based food.

The Best Cat Food For Hyperthyroidism Is Packed In A Bpa-free Container.

Like those who eat fish-based food, cats who eat canned food are at an increased risk of developing thyroid conditions including hyperthyroidism. Canned cat food is frequently contaminated with BPA, a chemical that alters thyroid function.

The Best Cat Food For Hyperthyroidism Is Soy-free.

Avoiding soy never hurt any cat and it could help to control hyperthyroidism. The connection between soy and hyperthyroidism isn’t clear, but we know that soy consumption may have a significant effect on the amount of thyroid hormone a cat’s body produces.

Best Cat Food For Hyperthyroidism: Our Top 5 Picks

Overall Best: Hill’s Prescription Diet Thyroid Care y/d Feline Canned Cat Food

Product Info:

  • Protein: 6.5% Min – 9.5% Max
  • Fat: 6.5% Min
  • Fiber: 2.0% Max
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Type: Wet/Canned
  • Made In: United States

Pros:

  • Inhibits excessive thyroid hormone production
  • Cats like the way the food tastes
  • A good option for cats who can’t take any other treatment routes

Cons:

  • Low protein content doesn’t help to maintain muscle mass
  • Excessive carbohydrate content
  • Only effective if the patient doesn’t eat anything else

Hill’s Pet Nutrition has developed the only cat food that’s marketed as an alternative to lifelong medication, radioiodine treatment, or a thyroidectomy. The diet works by depriving the thyroid of iodine and thereby reducing its ability to produce thyroid hormones. As long as the patient doesn’t eat anything else for the rest of his life, this iodine-deficient diet can control hyperthyroid symptoms as well as traditional treatment routes.

Yet while the diet can control symptoms, it can’t slow down the growth of a thyroid tumor. The tumor will continue to grow and may become a carcinoma. This isn’t the food’s only flaw—it’s also nutritionally incompetent in general. It’s a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet that runs counter to your cat’s basic dietary needs.

The food’s low protein content isn’t appropriate for any cat, much less a senior with a muscle wasting condition. And considering that the diet only works if you feed nothing else, reliance on it makes it harder to treat other common conditions like diabetes and kidney disease.

It’s a valuable option for cats who can’t undergo other treatments, but Hill’s Prescription Diet y/d is ultimately not a complete answer to the problem of hyperthyroidism or a nutritionally sound choice.

Best Non-Prescription: NomNomNow Chicken Chow Meow Cat Food

Product Info:

  • Protein: 56% Min
  • Fat: 34% Min
  • Fiber: 0.8% Max
  • Life Stage: All Life Stages
  • Type: Fresh
  • Made In: United States

Pros:

  • Made from highly-digestible protein for maintained muscle mass
  • Gives you access to a team of nutrition experts
  • Each meal is portioned out for your cat’s needs
  • Doesn’t contain any ingredients associated with thyroid disease

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Only available with a subscription

In contrast to the first two foods on this list, this NomNomNow food won’t treat your cat’s hyperthyroidism, but it’s an all-around good food that can support general health. It’s protein-rich with highly-digestible ingredients that help to support lean muscle mass and keep your cat strong.

The food’s low in carbohydrates, making it appropriate for insulin-resistant hyperthyroid cats.

But what really sets this food apart is something that’s not on the ingredient list—it’s the customer experience. Being a NomNomNow customer means access to a team of animal nutrition experts who can give personalized advice, even communicating with your vet to help you find the right food for your cat. NomNomNow even invites customers to send in their cats’ latest bloodwork and medical history.

Best Affordable: Wellness Complete Health Pate Chicken Entreé

Product Info:

  • Protein: 10.5% Min
  • Fat: 7.0% Min
  • Fiber: 1.0% Max
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Type: Wet/Canned
  • Made In: United States

Pros:

  • One of the best values on the market
  • Doesn’t contain soy or other ingredients that might worsen thyroid function
  • Rich in nourishing animal protein
  • Low carbohydrate content

Cons:

  • Uses thickeners heavily

Between surgery, medication, and vet visits, caring for a cat with hyperthyroidism can clear out your wallet. Prescription and premium foods are also pricey. This food allows you to feed your cat well for about the price of Fancy Feast. It’s made with easily-digested protein from chicken and turkey, doesn’t contain any no-go ingredients, and is low in carbohydrates to accommodate diabetic or prediabetic cats.

Though the food can’t treat your cat’s hyperthyroidism, it’s nutritionally robust enough to help him maintain lean muscle mass and feel his best.

Best for Sensitive Stomach: Hound & Gatos Rabbit Formula Canned Cat Food

Product Info:

  • Protein: 11% Min
  • Fat: 7.0% Min
  • Fiber: 1.0% Max
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Type: Wet/Canned
  • Made In: United States

Pros:

  • Rich in highly-digestible protein for maintained muscle mass
  • Free of any ingredients associated with thyroid disease
  • Limited ingredient recipe is a good choice for sensitive cats
  • Extremely low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for diabetic and prediabetic cats

Cons:

  • Some cats dislike the flavor

Here’s another non-prescription food that won’t treat your cat’s hyperthyroidism, but which can support overall health.

It’s primarily made from rabbit, a highly-digestible, readily bioavailable source of the protein your cat needs. It’s 98% meat, so it’s a good source of nutrition without a lot of fluff. Such a simple recipe is a good option for cats with food sensitivities, allergies, and digestive issues.

Hound & Gatos assures customers that their foods are packed in BPA-free cans.

Best for Senior Cats: Feline Natural Chicken & Venison Feast Cat Food

Product Info:

  • Protein: 9.0% Min
  • Fat: 5.0% Min
  • Fiber: 0.2% Max
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Type: Wet/Canned
  • Made In: New Zealand

Pros:

  • Addresses multiple conditions common among senior cats
  • Rich in highly-digestible animal protein for sustained muscle mass
  • Low carbohydrate content is ideal for insulin-resistant cats

Cons:

  • Expensive

This food doesn’t directly address hyperthyroidism, but it has several features that set it apart for senior cats—the group most often affected by thyroid issues.

It’s a highly-digestible, muscle-fueling recipe that emphasizes the things seniors need most. It’s loaded with muscle meat, organs, blood, and sources of omega-3 fatty acids to fight inflammation. From muscle wasting to arthritis, this food can help your senior feel his best.

This food is an all-around star in most respects, but that quality comes at a price. Feline Natural foods are some of the most expensive you can buy.

Even the best cat food for  is no substitute for radioiodine treatment, thyroidectomy, or medication.

Prescription or not, food is not a cure for hyperthyroidism. Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s y/d prescription diet is revolutionary in its ability to reduce disease symptoms, but it’s not a complete solution to thyroid disease. Likewise, a good old-fashioned diet can help your cat maintain or regain muscle mass, but it will do nothing to put out the hyperthyroid fire. Hyperthyroidism is a progressive and eventually fatal condition, so it’s vital to explore other treatment routes in addition to giving your cat the best food you can find.

Click here to learn more about treating your cat’s hyperthyroidism. 

Mallory Crusta

Mallory Crusta is a blogger and adventurecat enthusiast who brings you the facts about cat products, wellness, and care. She's the co-founder of Wildernesscat, a resource for savvy cat guardians who want to give their felines richer, healthier lives. Visit Wildernesscat for product reviews, radically natural nutrition tips, and lifestyle inspiration
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