5 Best Cat Foods For Hyperthyroidism

Cats May 12, 2022
Written by | Updated May 13, 2022
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cat food hyperthyroidism

5 Best Cat Foods For Hyperthyroidism

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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.

At a Glance: Best Cat Foods For Hyperthyroidism To Buy

We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Compare Best Cat Foods For Hyperthyroidism

Overall Best
Hill's Prescription Diet y/d Thyroid Care with Chicken Canned Cat Food

1. Hill's Prescription Diet y/d Thyroid Care with Chicken Canned Cat Food

Premium Pick
Smalls Fresh Smooth Bird

2. Smalls Fresh Smooth Bird

Best Affordable
Wellness Complete Health Pate Chicken Entree Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

3. Wellness Complete Health Pate Chicken Entree Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Best For Sensitive Stomach
Hound & Gatos 98% Rabbit Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

4. Hound & Gatos 98% Rabbit Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Best For Senior Cats
Feline Natural Chicken & Venison Feast Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

5. Feline Natural Chicken & Venison Feast Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Protein
8% Min
Protein
21% Min
Protein
10.5% Min
Protein
11% Min
Protein
9.0% Min
Fat
6% Min
Fat
8.05% Min
Fat
7% Min
Fat
7.0% Min
Fat
5.0% Min
Fiber
1.5% Max
Fiber
0.4% Max
Fiber
1% Max
Fiber
1.0% Max
Fiber
0.2% Max
Life Stage
Adult
Life Stage
Adult
Life Stage
Adult
Life Stage
Adult
Life Stage
Adult
Type
Wet/Canned
Type
Fresh
Type
Wet Food
Type
Wet/Canned
Type
Wet/Canned
Made In
United States
Made In
United States
Made In
United States
Made In
United States
Made In
New Zealand

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.

Our Top Picks For The Best Cat Foods For Hyperthyroidism

Overall Best
1.

Hill's Prescription Diet y/d Thyroid Care with Chicken Canned Cat Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 8% Min
  • Fat: 6% Min
  • Fiber: 1.5% Max
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Type: Wet/Canned
  • Made In: United States

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 8%
Crude Fat: 6%
Crude Fiber: 1.5%
Moisture: 84.5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 51.61%
Fat: 38.71%
Fiber: 9.68%
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.
Premium Pick
2.

Smalls Fresh Smooth Bird

Product Info

  • Protein: 21% Min
  • Fat: 8.05% Min
  • Fiber: 0.4% Max
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Type: Fresh
  • Made In: United States

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 21%
Crude Fat: 8.05%
Crude Fiber: 0.4%
Moisture: 66.1%
Ash: 2.25%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 61.95%
Fat: 23.75%
Fiber: 1.18%
Carbs: 6.49%
Pros
  • Fresh chicken thigh as the first ingredient
  • Nearly 50% of calories come from protein
  • Highly digestible and energy-dense
  • Automatic shipments sent to your door
Cons
  • Only available by subscription
  • Meals aren’t individually portioned
Hyperthyroidism can throw your cat’s metabolism out of whack, so he needs plenty of calories to keep up. Smalls Fresh Smooth Bird is a rich source of animal-based protein and wholesome nutrition, making it a great option. Nearly 50% of its metabolizable energy comes from protein and over 45% from fat, making it very energy-dense for your cat.

This particular recipe features fresh chicken thigh as the main ingredient with chicken breast and chicken liver for supplemental protein. Additional nutrition comes from chicken heart with wholesome veggies like green beans, peas, and kale for support.

In addition to being packed with protein and healthy nutrients, this fresh food is highly digestible which means nothing wasted. Your cat gets the quality protein and balanced nutrition he needs to keep him strong and well.
Best Affordable
3.

Wellness Complete Health Pate Chicken Entree Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 10.5% Min
  • Fat: 7% Min
  • Fiber: 1% Max
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Type: Wet Food
  • Made In: United States

Guaranteed Analysis

loader
Crude Protein: 10.5%
Crude Fat: 7%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 78%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 47.73%
Fat: 31.82%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 15.91%
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
4.

Hound & Gatos 98% Rabbit Grain-Free 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

Guaranteed Analysis

loader
Crude Protein: 11%
Crude Fat: 7%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 78%
Ash: 2.5%

Dry Matter Basis

loader
Protein: 50%
Fat: 31.82%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 2.27%
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
5.

Feline Natural Chicken & Venison Feast Grain-Free Canned 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

Guaranteed Analysis

loader
Crude Protein: 9%
Crude Fat: 5%
Crude Fiber: 0.2%
Moisture: 82.5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 51.43%
Fat: 28.57%
Fiber: 1.14%
Carbs: 18.86%
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. 

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5 Comments
  1. April

    There are clearly iodine sources in some of these. Just look at the ingredients in Wellness and Feline Natural. Please revise this list.

    • We're All About Pets Editorial

      Hi April, Thank you for commenting, we'll take a deeper look at this with the editorial team

  2. Kate Barrington

    Hi April, your concerns are valid! I've sent an email to Feline Natural to inquire about the iodine content of that recipe and it looks like the Wellness formula contains 0.83% iodine as fed. If you're concerned about iodine worsening your cat's hyperthyroidism, you may want to consider the "Dietary Therapy" section in this article from the Cornell Feline Health Center: "Certain studies suggest that in some hyperthyroid cats, limiting the amount of iodine in the diet may be a viable option for treating this disease. This may be particularly useful in cats with medical conditions that make other treatment options impossible. Dietary restriction of iodine is, however, somewhat controversial because of concerns about the effects of long-term iodine restriction on overall health and the possibility that such a diet may actually backfire and worsen hyperthyroidism. Research into this potential treatment option is ongoing. Discuss these issues with your veterinarian when considering dietary iodine restriction as a treatment for hyperthyroidism in cats." There's no consensus about whether dietary restriction of iodine is advisable, so it's best to talk to your vet to see what your specific cat needs. Best of luck to you and your kitty!

  3. Feline lover

    My cat was recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and is showing signs of muscle atrophy. I need a good food packed with protein to help him rebuild lost muscle tone, along with the medication to counteract the increased production of Thyroxine.

    • Kate Barrington

      So sorry to hear about your cat, Feline Lover! I'd recommend a high-quality wet food. These foods tend to be higher in protein and lower in carbs than dry food, plus the higher moisture content will help keep your cat hydrated. Here are a couple recommendations: Ziwi Peak canned food (lots of recipes) and Raised Right fresh (frozen) food. If you have a limited budget, Authority wet food from PetSmart is a great choice. Good luck!

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