Food Allergies in Cats

Food Allergies in Cats

Like humans, cats can also suffer from various allergies. However, most of the time, the allergies result from pollens, mould, or mildew. Still, some cats can be allergic to specific foods, but the food is only the culprit approximately 10 percent of the time. Consequently, it can be difficult for even your vet to diagnose. So, how can you tell if your cat has food allergies?

Read on to learn the symptoms of food intolerance and common food allergies in cats.

Symptoms of Food Intolerance in Cats

Before adjusting your cat’s diet, you must first understand the symptoms associated with an allergic reaction to food. Here are some common signs that indicate food allergies:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Constant sneezing, wheezing or coughing
  • Swollen paws
  • Inflamed throat (marked by snoring)
  • Dull fur
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Paw chewing

If your cat is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, take your kitty to the vet. Your vet will rule out environmental allergies first, and if it’s a reaction to any food, you will need to put your cat on an elimination diet. It helps identify food allergies in cats. The next time you feed your cat, you can avoid ingredients that cause these allergic reactions.

What is an Elimination Diet?

An elimination diet helps identify potential allergens and is also used to prevent allergies in the future. There are two options you can use.

Introduce a raw or home-cooked novel diet containing protein and taurine. The second option is to use a commercial diet prescribed by your vet. These diets contain hydrolysed ingredients too small to trigger a reaction from the immune system.

How Cats Develop Food Allergies

The main reason cats develop allergies is because of a negative response from the immune systems. Generally, beef, chicken, fish, or dairy can cause cat allergies. However, the cat must first be introduced to the protein. When a protein that the cat might possibly be allergic to is added to the diet, the body tries to eliminate the protein, resulting in an adverse reaction. But in some instances, even if a cat has consumed a protein for several years, they can still develop allergies in the later phase of their lives.

Common Food Allergens

Now that you’re aware of the symptoms of allergic reactions and their cause, let’s look at some common foods that can trigger cat allergies.

1.      Corn-Based Products

Cornmeal is commonly used in various cat foods as a filler because of its low cost. However, corn-based products can harm a cat’s health and cause numerous side effects, such as itchiness or flaky skin. Still, some cats are immune to corn and can consume them without any reactions. But it is better to avoid using corn-based products in your cat’s diet.

2.      Meat Byproducts

There are many parts of cows, pigs, and chickens that humans don’t consume. The leftover byproducts from these protein sources are generally used in cat foods. The byproducts can be any excess fat, tissue, or organ. However, if they are sourced from unsupervised quality control, it can often cause allergies in cats as the body rejects these proteins.

3.      Dairy

Contrary to common belief, cats are lactose intolerant. They don’t have enough lactase enzymes to digest milk or other dairy products fully. Of course, small quantities don’t cause side effects, but it is better not to introduce dairy products into regular diets. Indigestion can lead to severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

4.      Seafood

Cats love to eat seafood, especially tuna. But there has been a spike observed in seafood allergies in cats, including tuna. But if your cat is already consuming seafood without any issues, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

5.      Artificial Colouring

Artificial dyes and colours are commonly added to wet and dry foods to make them more appealing to us. While they may be pretty to look at, they can cause severe allergies in cats. It’s best to choose a brand that doesn’t use any artificial colouring or preservatives. Or better yet, consider introducing a homemade diet.

6.      Preservatives

Like humans, cats can also be allergic to common preservatives used in canned or packaged foods. BHT and BHA are the two most widely used preservatives responsible for triggering cat allergies.

The Bottom Line

Instead of sticking to dry or wet foods available on the market, the best way to prevent food allergies in cats is by feeding them home cooked or raw food. If you don’t have the time to make food, you can always purchase raw feed for cats from online stores.

Raw Paw Emporium Limited offers the best raw diet, healthy treats, and more for cats and dogs. Call 01707 952160 or email for more details.

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