Food allergies in cats – recognize and treat

“>Allergies are on the rise – this also applies to cats. The body’s defense reaction is often directed against certain contents of cat food. In the following you will find out what a food allergy is and how it can be recognized and treated in cats.

What is a cat food allergy?

“>In the event of an allergy, the immune system of the cat reacts e with a fierce defense against a substance that would normally be recognized and tolerated by the body as harmless.

The Defense cells first form antibodies against this substance, which then react to a overreaction when they come into contact with the trigger again. and lead to different and sometimes severe symptoms in the cat.

Basically, any substance or stimulus that the cat is exposed to in its environment can lead to such an allergic overreaction.Even against substances with which the animal has come into frequent contact, the immune system can develop an allergy suddenly and without recognizable reason .

Even if an allergic reaction can theoretically occur at any time, cats are particularly in the phase of life between one and a half and six years affected by the problem. Older animals only rarely develop allergies.

Allergies to a cat food can come on suddenly

“>In the case of a food allergy, the overreactive body defense is directed against a very specific ingredient in the cat food This is usually a protein or carbohydrate source that has been processed in the feed.

Especially in animals that have been fed the same type of feed for a long time, such an intolerance to the diet can suddenly occur overnight and lead to problems.

Difference between food allergy and food intolerance

“>Not in every case, however, it is actually an allergy. This must be differentiated from the food intolerance in the cat.

While for an allergic reaction the immune system is always responsible, which forms antibodies against a feed ingredient, indicates a food intolerance of the cat indicates the body’s inability to process or digest certain food contents.

This is often the case, for example, when the organism lacks the right enzymes , such as the enzyme lactase, which is required to process milk sugar. In such a case, one speaks of lactose intolerance. However, the signs can be very similar .

Possible causes for Food allergies in cats

Cats can suddenly develop allergies to certain meats, grains, soy or corn “>The most common allergy triggers in cat food are certain proteins (= proteins), but also carbohydrates can trigger the body’s defenses.

Must be on every food packaging the ingredients used are declared so that the following list of the most common allergens can help you with your selection:

Protein suppliers with high allergy potential:

Beef Chicken meat Lamb Fish Soy products Milk Dairy products such as quark or yoghurt Egg

Carbohydrate suppliers with high allergy potential :

The fact that an ingredient has an increased allergy potential does not mean that cats should not be fed it under any circumstances, at least as far as meat and fish are concerned.

What you should avoid is cat food with grain, soy, corn or dairy products. Because plant-based ingredients should make up the smallest proportion (1-3%) of cat food anyway, with the focus being on dietary fiber and not carbohydrates or plant-based protein.

Symptoms in a Food allergy in cats

Frequent scratching is particularly often a symptom of a food allergy in cats “> By far the most common symptom of a cat’s food allergy is constant and severe itching , primarily on the head, neck and/or abdomen.

The animal is scratching or licks itself persistently, rubs on pieces of furniture or rolls over carpets and lawns to combat this itching. Expressions of displeasure such as meowing or hissing can also occur, some cats change their character due to the constant stress and become aggressive, for example.

Lack of sleep and the stress-related disorder of feed intake can lead to emaciation.

As a result of the constant scratching, there is hair loss, redness, scaly skin and skin irritation.

Secondary germs such as bacteria or Fungi penetrate, leading to sometimes severe and extensive skin inflammation, resulting in the formation of pus and crusts. Also to Ear infections it can happen in the context of a food allergy in the cat, which is noticeable by frequent shaking of the head.

But with some cats, the allergic reactions lead also to digestion problems such as diarrhea with abdominal pain and bloating or vomiting. And asthmatic breathing problems can also be the result of a cat’s food allergy.

How is a cat food allergy diagnosed?

“>Many symptoms caused by an allergy are unspecific at first and could also indicate other diseases. Therefore, in most cases, an attempt is first made to rule out these diseases as the cause using classic examination methods such as blood tests.

Very important for the diagnosis is an m Preliminary report as accurate as possible by the cat owner:

What symptoms occur in the cat? When did the symptoms appear for the first time? Does the cat show the signs constant or only in certain situations or at certain times (e.g. seasonal itching due to pollen allergy)? What food gets the cat? What will additionally lined (treats, table scraps, supplements, etc.)? Were there any Changes around the cat? Are still other pets affected by the symptoms (which makes an allergy rather unlikely)? “>Blood tests or an intracutaneous skin stimulation test have so far not proven themselves for the diagnosis of a food allergy.

Therefore, to secure the Diagnosis on the one hand the existing symptoms and the preliminary report is used, on the other hand, a so-called exclusion diet for the cat designed to identify the actual trigger of the allergic reaction.

In an elimination diet, monoprotein feed such as RyCat organic duck is used “> Over a defined period of several weeks, the cat is fed exclusively with a diet food consisting of well-defined components, each containing only a single source of protein and carbohydrate.

It is important to choose a source of protein or carbohydrates that the animal has never had before. So if the previous feed consisted of beef or poultry meat and rice, these types must be avoided completely.

As particularly low allergenic applies, for example, to types of meat such as horse, deer or kangaroo. The use of insect protein also poses a very low risk of allergies.

It is important that a feed with only a single source of protein is used, i.e. a so-called monoprotein feed.Potatoes or sweet potatoes, for example, can be considered for the supply of easily digestible, high-quality carbohydrates .

Important: Carry out the diet consistently

“>For the success of an elimination diet, it is absolutely necessary that the cat is really only fed with the diet food for the specified time.

Any treats, treats or other food supplements would negate the success of the diagnostic diet and must be consistently removed from the velvet paw’s reach.

It is therefore particularly important that all people who have contact with the cat are informed about the dietary measures and stick to them consistently.

Also belonged to other cats or other household animals, it must be ensured that the sick cat cannot nibble on their food have to stay in the house for the duration of the diet, otherwise it is not possible to check what the house tiger eats on the way.

If the cat’s allergy symptoms have disappeared after about eight weeks, the Diagnosis of a food allergy confirmed, but the actual trigger has not yet been found.

In a so-called Provocation test successively added other feed components to the diet – if one of them triggers the symptoms again, you now know which allergen it is actually acts and can avoid this problem in the future.

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Treatment of food allergy in cats “>A cure for food allergy in the cat is not possible, so treatment can only consist in consistently avoiding the allergy trigger.

A complete Changing the cat’s diet is therefore the right therapy.If the house tiger tolerates a different food with a new source of protein or carbohydrates, the skin inflammation usually heals and the animal gains a new quality of life.

If the symptoms such as itching and inflammation are very pronounced at the beginning of the treatment, the cat can be brought through this very strenuous and acute phase with antipruritic and anti-inflammatory medication.

Is finally a compatible cat food found, usually no further medication needs to be administered.

Can a food allergy in cats be prevented?

“>Because allergic reactions of the immune system to certain triggers develop suddenly and are difficult to predict, it is difficult to prevent food allergies in cats.

However, by feeding high-quality wet food with clearly defined ingredients and without added synthetic aids such as coloring or flavorings, sugar and preservatives, a great deal can be contributed to the general health of the cat.

It is of course also important to signs of a feed allergy as early as possible, so the elimination diet can be started quickly and the cat’s suffering is reduced.

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What is a food allergy in cats? “>In the event of an allergy, the cat’s immune system suddenly reacts with defensive measures against a substance or stimulus that was previously tolerated as harmless. If certain ingredients in cat food are responsible for this immune reaction, this is referred to as a food allergy. How can a food allergy be diagnosed? “>The safest method for detecting an allergy to food components is a so-called exclusion diet. For this purpose, the cat is fed only a very small number of specific food components for several weeks until the symptoms have receded.

Image sources:

Featured image (top): AnnaStills / 2nd from top: Piti Tangchawalit / 3rd from top: Pixel-Shot /

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1680885842964 Hello! My name is Dominik Hollenbach, I’m the founder of Katzenkram.

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