Cats can develop common cat food allergies at any time in their life, although generally they will usually develop a food allergy between two, and six years old if they are going to develop an allergy, although it has been known for cats to develop a food allergy as old as twelve years of age. Food allergies in cats are not specific to a certain breed either, any breed of cat can develop a food allergy. That said, males and females, spayed, neutered or intact cats can also develop food allergies too. Therefore, let us take a look at some of the common cat food allergies, and how to treat them, as well as what to look for by way of signs to identify that our cat may have a food allergy.
Difference between common cat food allergies and cat’s food intolerance
First let us look at the difference between a food allergy, and a food intolerance, because a food allergy is something in the food that the cat is allergic to, and one that gives traditional allergic signs, like itching, losing hair, or other skin type problems. However, a food intolerance is where the cat doesn’t show basic signs of being allergic, but may get diarrhea, or may start vomiting with a particular ingredient. Food intolerance is a little like if we eat something that gives us an upset stomach, even though we may like it, it doesn’t agree with us.
1. Allergies caused through food coloring additives
Many food allergies in cats come from a lot of by products, and artificial additives, so it can be a long drawn out process locating exactly what ingredient, or food your cat is allergic to in their diet. Having said that, one common cat food allergy is to artificial colors, and oddly enough artificial coloring serves no real purpose apart from a visual perspective for us, yet a good amount of cats are allergic to this. The solution is to be sure to check the ingredients, and buy a cat food that doesn’t use artificial coloring like so many of the cheaper brands.
2. Allergies to corn
A lot of cats are allergic to corn in any form, and will develop dry or itchy skin, yet many cat foods have corn as a filler, and there are some vets that believe there is a link between filler foods and diabetes in cats. Buying a cat food that is free from corn, cornmeal, or gluten meal will ensure your cat does not suffer from this allergy to corn. Moreover, cats do not eat that much in the first place, so it is wise to go with a slightly more expensive, or better quality cat food, which is natural than one that is full of unnatural products that could end up costing you more in the long run with vet bills for medicine, treatments and sometimes even surgery.
3. Allergies to artificial preservatives
Some experts believe that artificial preservatives may be carcinogens that can cause allergies in cats, and many pet food companies often use artificial preservatives like BHA, and BHT in their cat food. If, your cat has developed allergies, and you are using a food that contains artificial preservatives you may want to try a homemade food mix to see if that clears it up. Also, many pet foods contain meat by products that even humans don’t eat, like hoofs, skin, and pieces of tail, which has little to no nutrition and could possibly be a cause for allergies.
4. Sources of protein to avoid or minimize
Eggs and dairy products are often found in our cat food as a source of protein, but many cats can also be allergic to lactose, and some are allergic to egg yolks. Trying a cat food that does not contain egg may help, and lactose is not only found in milk, but also cheese and milk powder. Therefore, it is important to watch the ingredients on food you buy in the pet store, or supermarket for your cat. Seafood is another cause of many cat allergies, and if you think your cat may be allergic to fish you could try a food that contains venison or duck, especially if your cat, like so many others, is allergic to beef too.
5. Avoid food containing soy and wheat products
Cat food that contains soy food should also be avoided, because although it is added for protein, it is a plant, and quite unnecessary to a cat’s health. In addition, wheat gluten in the ingredients should also be avoided due to many cats being allergic to wheat products, yet companies often use it as a filler food. It is said that over half of the food allergies in cats are possibly caused by beef, dairy, and seafood, so switching to a cat food that contains venison, or duck with peas or potatoes can give good results to many cats that are allergic to certain ingredients.
6. Trial and error testing
The only true way to detect what your cat is allergic too regarding food is trial and error, switching food ingredients until you find a food that seems to work better for his symptoms. There is no blood test that your cat can take, which will identify a food allergy, and many vets have said that blood tests for a food allergy would be a waste of time and money.
The only way to identify properly a food allergy is with a food trial over a period of several months, and this could be done by eliminating certain ingredients or foods, or you can start with a homemade food, which is easier to take ingredients out, and put different ingredients in as you see an improvement. Here is a short YouTube video with the title of ‘Control Your Pet’s Food Allergies’ which will help you understand this problem:-
Elimination of the ingredient that your cat is allergic too is the only true method of treating the problem long term. Short term relief may be gained by use of steroids, antihistamines, or fatty acids and there are various treatments your vet can prescribe for the individual itching, rashes, and soreness that an allergy can produce. Using a food that is as natural as you can with less filler foods, and artificial additives will help narrow the search down for the culprit ingredient that is giving your cat his food allergy.
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