Just like we human beings, cats also suffer from different allergies and the reasons behind it may vary regarding the symptoms it shows. And, one of the allergies that are common in cats is food allergies. Food allergies in cats are caused due to the allergic reaction to a specific protein found within food. So if you noticed that your cat is itching and scratching more frequently than before then he may have food allergies. It is hard to diagnose as the symptoms the cat shows aren’t usually specific. And there are no allergy specific tests available which can find the cause of food allergy quickly. So, to know it, we must be aware of the most common food allergies found in cats.
Most Common Food Allergies In Cats
The exact reason for developing an allergic reaction after consuming food by your cat for some time is still unknown to us. But simply we can control by examining the most common food allergies in cats.
1. Corn products
Corn products are used more often in cat foods. But most of the cats are allergic to all forms of corns and start showing signs of food allergy like itchiness, dry skin, etc.
2. Artificial coloring
Most of the food brands sometimes add artificial color to make the product attractive for the customers. Though the product may seem good outside, it may harm the cat when it is consumed.
3. Beef, chicken, and seafood
Beef, chicken, and seafood are that food that cat loves a lot but it’s also the common proteins that lead to the food allergies in cats.
4. Dairy products
Most of the cats don’t have enough Lactase enzymes to digest dairy products properly and develop allergies to the lactose found in dairy. So make sure to check the food products you used for your cat.
Sometimes, eggs are added to cat foods to increase the protein in it. But unfortunately, it may bring food allergies in cats.
6. Meat Byproducts
Meat byproducts are generally used in cat foods and it’s cheaper than meat. It includes organs that humans don’t eat and provides less nutrition to cats. And most of the cats are allergic to it as it contains the protein that the cat isn’t used to.
Signs and Symptoms of Food Allergies in Cats
As food allergies in cats are difficult to diagnose and treat, your first responsibility is to recognize the signs and symptoms of cat food allergies.
Cats with food allergies mostly suffer from ear-round itching and skin inflammation which makes them scratch at the skin with their paw or lick and bite more often at themselves. Due to excessive itching and scratching, it affects mostly in the face, ears, belly, armpits, and paws. Similarly, they over-groom themselves so frequently that it caused hair loss in cats and also develop both ear and skin infections.
Whereas in some cases, food allergies in cats also develop gastrointestinal signs along with or instead of itchy skin like vomiting, diarrhea, gas, decreased appetite, and weight loss. Similarly, sometimes there might be a respiratory problem due to food allergy but it’s rare though.
Well after recognizing the symptoms that your cat shows, don’t make a decision quickly and also never start treating the allergy yourself by changing the diet of your cat because other allergies like flea infestation also show similar signs and symptoms. So, you must consult with the veterinarian and should talk about the symptoms that your cat shows. Then only after making sure of food allergy, its treatment should be started as per your vet recommendation.
Food Allergies in Cats – Treatment
Like other allergies, food allergies can’t be cured but it can be avoided by the exclusion of allergic food in a cat’s diet. So, first as per the vet recommendation we need to start a food trial in which the protein is less in food and can’t cause the allergic reaction.
The exclusion diet should be continued for a fixed period of time depending on your cat’s symptoms. Like if your cat is having a skin problem, for them the food trial will be longer or for 4 to 12 weeks.
Whereas, those cat having gastrointestinal problem shows the improvement more quickly so for them the food trial is shorter. Well, you have to make sure that during food trials you mustn’t give a treat to your cat or shouldn’t provide the food that your vet doesn’t recommend otherwise it won’t be effective. And, it’s better to keep your cat indoors during the trial.
After the end of the trial period, if there is any improvement then the allergy in the cat is because of the food allergy. Then you should slowly reintroduce the protein to his diet one by one and be attentive towards the response that your cat gives. If the same symptoms return then you will find the food ingredient which causes the allergy.
It’s quite a relief for you when you find the cause of food allergy. Well avoid the component in your cat’s diet or continue the diet you used in food trial which suits your cat only then food allergies in the cat can be treated fully.