Best cat food for allergies. Is your cat scratching itself, has itchy eyes, ear infections and maybe even sneezes and coughs often? Your cat may be suffering from allergies.
Is your cat allergic to anything, perhaps its food? How do you find out if your cat is actually suffering from allergies ?
This is a detailed guide on how to figure out whether your cat is suffering from allergies and also the best cat food for allergies that you can actually give your feline friend.
- What triggers allergies in cats?
- Symptoms of cat allergies due to food
- How to find if your cat is allergic to food?
- What ingredients in cat food cause allergies?
- What are hypoallergenic cat food?
- Important features of hypoallergenic cat food
- Hypoallergenic cat food
- How to feed your cat hypoallergenic cat food?
What triggers allergies in cats ?
When a certain substance, normally called an allergen, gets inside a cat’s body, the immune system will produce antibodies. These antibodies then signal other immune cells to attack the allergen even if it is not actually harmful or toxic.
Cats can have allergies due to three main things. These are food, fleas and environmental substances such as pollen, dust, cleaning solutions, fabrics and even cat litter. Sometimes cats can have multiple allergies at once.
Food allergies are somewhat uncommon when compared with other allergies. It affects only about 0.1% of cats. Food allergies are the third most common type of allergy seen in cats.
What causes an allergy to develop is not exactly clear, but the cats who have one will develop it between ages 2 and 6. Both male cats and female cats seem to be affected equally, while certain breeds may have greater risks developing them.
Symptoms of cat allergies due to food
Cats show certain symptoms when they are allergic to food. Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Dull looking coat
- Foul smelling skin and coat
- Excessive scratching and itching
- Dry, flaky, red, inflamed and irritated skin
- Sneezing, coughing, wheezing, snoring and other respiratory signs
- Runny nose and eyes
- Frequent chewing at paws
- Fatigue, lethargy and low energy
These symptoms of food allergy should not be confused with the ones due to food intolerance. While an allergy stimulates a specific immune system reactivity and the main symptoms are related to the skin, food intolerance leads to gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.
How to find if your cat is allergic to food
Diagnosing an allergy can be somewhat difficult. There is no specific test to help find out what exactly is causing an allergic reaction in cats.
The best thing to do is contact your vet and get help to determine the cause. Most of it will come down to trial and error. You can remove certain food items from their diet and see how it affects them.
This eliminating diet can help you determine what affects them. Sometimes certain ingredients can be added to the diet as well.
Once you determine the ingredient, remove that from their diet and never give them that again.
What ingredients in cat food cause allergies ?
- Certain ingredients and proteins are most likely to cause allergic reactions than others.
- Grains in cat food can cause allergies and intolerances as the digestive system of cats are unable to digest these properly.
- Cats did not eat grains in the wild, being obligate carnivores.
- Their digestive system has evolved to digest meat proteins and grains such as corn can become common triggers for food allergies in cats.
- Dairy products are the next most common culprit for food allergies in cats.
- Adult cats lack the enzyme lactase to digest the lactose sugar in milk. This can lead to allergies.
- Some parts of meat that people discard such as fat tissue can be used in making cat food. These can trigger allergic reactions.
- Seafood is another common allergen in cats.
- Artificial fillers and preservatives found in commercial cat food can also cause food allergies.
What are hypoallergenic cat food ?
- The foods that contain ingredients that do not normally lead to allergic reactions, lowering the chance of developing an allergic response in cats, are known as hypoallergenic food.
- There are no 100% hypoallergenic cat food as cats can be allergic to any one of the common ingredients found in many cat foods.
- Most hypoallergenic cat foods contain hydrolyzed proteins.
- Thus the proteins are broken down into a form that is easy to digest, which will not be recognized by immune systems of most cats.
- So, most cats will not develop an allergic reaction.
- Many hypoallergenic food or limited ingredient food will be minimally processed.
- This means a lot of heat or other processes that can affect the food quality are not used.
- However, hypoallergenic cat food tends to be a bit more expensive than regular cat food. But the added cost is worth it if your kitty’s suffering is reduced.
Important features of hypoallergenic cat food
- Certain important features have to be considered when selecting a proper hypoallergenic cat food.
- Here are some of the things to consider when selecting the most suitable hypoallergenic cat food for your beloved pet.
- Once you have determined what foods cause allergic reactions in your cat, these should be avoided at all costs.
- Check the ingredients in the brand of hypoallergenic cat food you wish to buy.
- If the trigger ingredient is included, avoid buying it.
- Remember that cats are different just like humans and what is safe for one cat can be not so for another.
2. Source of protein
- Most allergies are caused due to proteins and can vary depending on the source.
- Cat food varieties generally specify the type of proteins they contain and also in what amounts.
- This makes it easy to choose the types that exclude the specific protein sources that cats react to.
3. Hydrolyzed proteins
- Hydrolyzed proteins have been broken down into their constituent components, amino acids.
- This makes it easier for cats to digest and helps cats with digestive issues, which are commonly mistaken as allergic reactions.
4. Wet vs. dry food
- Cat food are normally available as wet and dry food.
- Dry hypoallergenic food is convenient as it is easy to store and not messy.
- Wet cat food on the hand can help keep cats hydrated.
- Cats are not fond of drinking lots of water and tend to take their water through the food they eat.
- So, wet food can help resolve problems with regard to a cat’s urinary tract health.
- These can also help solve problems of the digestive system.
- The preference of the cat also matters as some will love wet food while others prefer the dry ones.
Hypoallergenic cat food
Now that we know what hypoallergenic cat food is let’s take a look at some commercially available cat food that can be given to your cat.
- Royal canin feline hypoallergenic hydrolyzed protein
- This product uses hydrolyzed soy protein which is ideal for cats with sensitivities to meat or fish.
- It also contains a blend of vitamin B and amino acids that help improve the condition of the cat’s skin and coat.
- This product is most suitable for cats with digestive issues such as IBS.
2. Hill’s prescription diet hypoallergenic feline treats
- These treats also contain hydrolyzed protein which have been partially broken into their constituent amino acids, making it easier for cats with sensitive stomachs to digest.
- Each treat also contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids that help keep their coat and skin in good condition.
- Antioxidants are also contained which help healthy skin.
- Most cats love the taste and crunchiness and is a better option than standard treats for cats with food allergies.
3. Instinct original natural wet canned cat food
- This is a grain free cat food that comes in a wide variety of flavors.
- The flavors include chicken, salmon and duck.
- It contains flaxseeds, peas and carrots which help cats to stay energized without digestive problems.
- The bulk of the food comprise whole meat with a mix of fruits and vegetables.
- It is also free from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.
4. Blue buffalo wilderness dry cat food
- This dry food does not contain corn, soy or gluten and is free from artificial preservatives.
- It contains sweet potatoes and real meat along with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- This is an easy to digest product with a flavor loved by cats.
5. Natural balance L.I.D dry cat food
- This food contains a combination of salmon and green peas and is completely grain free.
- It contains a blend of high quality protein, carbohydrates and vitamins essential for a cat’s body.
- This food helps in digestion and also keeps the coat and skin in good condition.
- It is also free from artificial flavors colors or preservatives.
6. Halo natural dry cat food
- This product is free from soy, wheat and processed meat.
- It is made using whole meat and also some fruits and vegetables.
- This is an easy to digest product produced as naturally and as ethically as possible.
7. Blue buffalo basics natural dry cat food
- This is a grain free product with strictly limited ingredients which helps avoid any possible allergens.
- It contains white fish with pumpkin and pea and also omega-3 oils to promote healthy skin and coat.
- A wide range of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C are included to enable healthy functioning of the cat’s body.
8. Blue basic limited ingredient diet wet cat food
- This wet food contains whole duck meat with peas, potatoes and carrots.
- It is a light grain free carbohydrate source that can be easily digested by cats.
- The vitamins and minerals needed are provided through a mixture of fruits and vegetables.
- It is also free from artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.
How to feed your cat hypoallergenic cat food ?
- Changing your cat’s diet suddenly can affect the cat drastically.
- Hence certain steps have to be followed if you intend to introduce hypoallergenic cat food to your cat.
- Here’s how to feed hypoallergenic cat food and help your cat avoid allergies.
- The first thing to do is gradually mix a little of the hypoallergenic cat food with their regular food, increasing the amount with time.
- You can also contact your vet to find a better method and sometimes the food package will also contain instructions.
- After you have started giving hypoallergenic food only, no other food should be given to interfere with their transition.
- Provide them enough clean water, placing several bowls all over the place to lap up whenever they are thirsty.
- Remember to refill these daily with clean water.
- Medicine should not be mixed with this food. It should be given separately.
- Consult your vet for further instructions if these instructions do not work out.
Cats can suffer from allergies due to fleas, environmental conditions as well as food. When the immunity system of the cat acts against a certain food item even though it may be harmless, allergic reactions can occur.
These can be scratching, itching, inflammation, runny nose, eyes, coughs, sneezes or vomiting and diarrhea in severe cases. Consult your vet to find out the exact problem and also treatment.
It is most likely to conduct elimination diets as specific tests to determine food allergies are unavailable. The most common food allergens are grains, dairy products, meat by products, seafood, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors.
As a solution to food allergies, hypoallergenic foods are made available instead of the regular cat food that can contain ingredients triggering food allergies in cats. These foods are also known as limited ingredient foods and have less chances of causing allergies.
These are made by several brands and you can choose the ones that do not contain the ingredient your cat is allergic to. Remember, there are no such things as 100% hypoallergenic cat food.
Different cats can be allergic to different food items. Thus select carefully among the many available brands. Introduce these foods gradually and observe for any change. Consult your vet for further advice as well as medication if necessary.
Hey guys, want to how to fatten up a cat ? Click here