Cats are strictly carnivorous mammals. Despite the fact that everyone thinks that cats love fish, this is an urban legend as well as “they better take I think”. This type of food contains many components for which the feline’s digestive system is not prepared and can cause food allergies.
What causes a food allergy in cats?
In nature, cats have to procure their own food. When felines live freely in the city or in the countryside, they hunt for their own food, basing their diet mainly on rodents, birds, sometimes reptiles, and on rare occasions they feed on insects.
When kittens have to hunt, they eat practically all their prey, basing their diet on a high protein percentage; 85 percent is meat, which we divide between muscle, viscera, fat and sometimes bones or feathers, and the remaining 15 percent is based on vegetables, bones, feathers and remains that are found inside the stomach of their prey.
Given that their original diet is based on these foods, we can deduce that anything that comes out of this diet is susceptible to producing an allergic reaction to kittens. For this reason, you should pay special attention to the feeding of your cat:
- Since its original diet is based on animals; carbohydrates, vegetables, greens, and grains are out of your regular diet. This means that their digestive systems are not prepared to assimilate or digest these types of foods.
- The feeds usually have a composition partially based on carbohydrates, cereals, vegetables and meats. However, the total meat percentage is always lower than the rest of the components.
- Additionally, most of the prepared foods, whether wet or dry, contain additives, colorants and / or preservatives of some kind, which are often the ones that produce the allergic reaction.
How do I know if my cat has a food allergy?
When a cat is completely healthy, it is a majestic animal, with a clean, soft, shiny and lush coat. This is in part because your digestive system is working properly and assimilating the nutrients it needs. In addition, they will have good digestion and their stools will be shaped, have a normal color and will usually be in their litter box.
When a cat begins to have allergy problems, these factors are altered, since they go in a chain. You will be able to observe the following symptoms:
- Digestive symptoms: Your cat begins to have heavy digestions, and may even cause loss of appetite in your kitten due to discomfort. This is sometimes accompanied by vomiting after eating food (with undigested food), other times we can see that the stools of our cat companion are softer or may even have diarrhea.
- Dermatological symptoms: in cats, these symptoms appear mainly on the face and neck areas. They can start with redness, dryness, hair loss, or peeling of the facial skin. These symptoms are often accompanied by generalized itching, causing them to scratch constantly.
As the kitten is in contact with the allergen, the symptoms worsen and we continue with respiratory or even neurological symptoms such as seizures.
If you discover several of these symptoms by observing your cat companion, it is important to go to the vet to try to diagnose the health problem, and if it is a food allergy, start the appropriate treatment.
What to do about a food allergy in cats?
Once the necessary tests have been performed and an allergy has been diagnosed, the treatment must be determined by the veterinarian.
Most treatments for food allergy in cats are symptomatic, that is, they fight the symptoms produced by the allergic reaction but do not cure it. Therefore, the most effective treatment in this case is a good prevention of the reaction.
If what we want is to prevent our cat from having more allergic reactions, we must choose a good food ; a feed that suits your needs, a specific wet diet or a homemade diet.
How to choose the best food for your cat?
If you decide to give him food for the allergy, the most effective treatment is to choose it mono-protein, without cereals, or commonly known as grain free. If you can, make sure it doesn’t contain any of the allergens that harm your kitty, even if this protein is hydrolyzed.
Whether you choose a dry food, a wet food or if you decide to cook for it, it is best to try to provide them with a natural diet as much as possible, and that its composition has the highest proportion of meat possible.
In conclusion, when it comes to fighting a food allergy in cats, the most appropriate treatment is one that does not expose them to the foods that cause harm and go to the vet so that he can tell us what our cat is allergic to and what is the best diet for your cat companion.