Cats are like humans in some respects. When people have food allergies, cats can also be allergic to their food. If you don’t understand cat food well or you don’t know 5 Common Food Allergies Your Feline Friend May Have, the foods you give your cat can actually lead to food allergies for your cat. In some cases, you may not even know your cat has a food allergy. That is why I will list Signs Your Cat May Be Allergic to Their Food to help cat owners gain more experience in taking care of their cats in general and choosing cat food in particular. Don’t miss it because it’s essential! 

Signs Your Cat May Be Allergic to Their Food

1. Understanding food allergies in cats 

Cats can suffer from different types of allergies, and food allergies are the third most common. You might confuse a cat food allergy with food intolerance. Food allergies and food intolerances occur when the immune system overreacts to a certain food, precisely a specific ingredient, usually a protein.

Signs Your Cat May Be Allergic to Their Food
Cre: Felice Wölke

Sometimes, ‘adverse reaction to food’ (unusual reaction to food or food additive) is another name for this problem. Adverse reactions fall into two categories: those involving the immune system (food allergy); and those without an immune component (food intolerance).

Thus, cat food allergy and food intolerance are similar but not the same. Allergies involve the immune system. Essentially, the body reacts to an ingredient (or ingredient) in a cat’s food as if it were an invading microorganism, and then the body creates an immune response to fight that agent.

In comparison, food intolerance is a problem of the digestive system when the digestive system’s inability to process a particular ingredient in the normal way. We use the term food allergy to describe an abnormal immune-mediated response to an antigen in a food.

In other words, a food allergy refers to an allergic reaction when the immune system overreacts to a particular protein present in a certain food. Food allergies develop over a long period, sometimes lasting months, years, or may persist for a lifetime.

2. Signs Your Cat May Be Allergic to Their Food 

The symptoms of food allergies in cats are quite variable. They can represent varying severity of food allergies. Cats can be allergic to their food when they have one of the following: 

  • Skin irritation or lumps, appearing in patches on the skin 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Flatulence 
  • Weight loss or hair loss 
  • Dull, dry hair, no longer shiny as before 
  • Hair loss 
  • Ear infections 
  • Anorexia 

Cats with allergies often present with chronic year-round itching and dermatitis. This itch usually appears on the face, ears, abdomen, groin, armpits, and legs/feet. These cats are so itchy that they can cause significant trauma (wounds, scratches) and lead to hair loss. 

Cats with food allergies can also develop infections in both their skin and ears. In some cats, this may be the only sign of a food allergy. 

Some cases indicate gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting or diarrhea are also present in cats with food allergies. In addition, frequent urination or straining to defecate is also a sign you need to pay attention to. 

If you notice your cat regularly exhibiting any of these symptoms, your cat is likely suffering from a food allergy. Specific symptoms, if not addressed promptly, can threaten your cat’s overall health. Furthermore, these symptoms could indicate that the cat has some other serious problem. Therefore, it is best to take your cat to the veterinarian for specific examinations. 

3. Why do cats have food allergies? 

In fact, veterinarians don’t know exactly why cats are allergic to certain foods. Your cat’s allergic reaction to a particular food can take place after several months or years. However, once he has an allergy, it will be almost impossible for him to eat that food again because of the negative reactions.

Cre: duan wen

In many cases, an allergic reaction in response to a food is triggered by a specific protein found in meats such as beef or lamb. Corn can also be the cause of food allergies in some cats. Other potentially allergenic foods include soy, rice, gluten, potatoes, and dairy.

In addition to being allergic to a particular food, cats can also be allergic to artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives found in some commercial foods. Food allergies can appear at any time during a cat’s life. It happens to both male and female cats. In other words, male and female cats are equally likely to develop food allergies. The occurrence of food allergies does not appear to be related to the cat’s breed, age, or sex.

4. What is the solution in case the cat has a food allergy?

If you suspect your cat has a food allergy, the best thing you can do is take your cat to the vet to be examined and find the cause. Changing your cat’s diet is often the way to treat food allergies in cats. Veterinarians will find the right food to which your cat is allergic by recommending that you gradually eliminate the suspected allergenic foods from your cat’s diet to see if symptoms are improving or not. This process can be time-consuming and requires a lot of patience. During this time, strictly adhere to the diet that your doctor prescribes to get the most accurate results. 

If your cat has a severe food allergy, your veterinarian may prescribe an antihistamine for immediate relief of symptoms. Food allergies, like other allergies, cannot be cured. Instead, abstaining from allergenic foods is the only long-term solution to prevent symptoms from recurring. That means once you’ve identified the allergen, you must make sure to eliminate it from your cat’s diet permanently. 

To prevent food allergies from occurring in the first place, try to develop a diet that works best for your cat. In general, a diet is suitable for cats when it includes low carbohydrates and lots of good quality protein. Avoid low-quality protein sources like hooves or beaks or grain-based fillers (because they don’t have many nutrients that are good for cats). It is best to consult a nutritionist for advice when formulating your cat’s diet. Once you’ve found a diet that works for your cat, you’ll need to continue it long-term. Be careful with new foods and avoid cat junk food and other foods that can trigger an allergic reaction.

Final thought

Cat food allergy is an issue you cannot ignore as it affects your cat’s health and quality of life.

If you notice Signs Your Cat May Be Allergic to Their Food as above, you should take your cat to the veterinarian for treatment instructions. Although mild allergies will not affect the cat’s health much, severe cases can make cats tired and reduce health. Check to see if your cat is allergic to food!

And lastly, pay attention to your cat as much as you can!

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