You, as a cat parent, must have experienced your kitty dealing with stomach issues after eating a particular food, and you assumed it to be a food intolerance or food allergy. Felines reacting with specific food and vomiting are pretty common, and many cat parents complain about how sensitive their kitty's stomach is. Food allergy can be caused due to many reasons, from allergy to a specific ingredient to having environmental factors contribute to it.
Many things inside a cat's stomach may react with food or the environment at large and irritate the cat. As the cat tries to combat this discomfort, you may notice many symptoms that you call allergy. An allergic reaction can affect felines in the long run. Allergies, however, are not limited to food but can be related to many conditions.
As a cat parent, you want your fur baby to be happy and healthy, and any allergy needs to be ruled out. But before we find effective treatments for how to take care of these conditions, let us understand food allergy first.
What Is Food Allergy?
Food allergy is an abnormal immune system reaction to an antigen in the food. It is a kind of reaction that a body goes through right after having a particular food. Irrespective of the amount of allergy-causing food is consumed, it is bound to cause discomfort. In some worst situations, the one consuming can experience suffocation or damage to organs.
However, the reaction is caused not by a type of food or dish but by one particular ingredient that your cat might have issues with. This kind of reaction is not common or limited to cats alone but everyone.
That said, not every cat needs to suffer food allergy from one particular ingredient. Some cats do not suffer food intolerance or allergy at all. But then why do some cats have allergic reactions to foods? The following section is all about that.
What Causes Food Allergies In Cats?
Food intolerance or food allergy may take months and years to develop within a cat. However, when it happens, your cat will start reacting to that particular ingredient that she is allergic to, whether taken that ingredient alone or used in some food. The reasons of food allergy in cats happens due to these factors-
- Damage to the digestive system
The digestive system is a powerful part of the body, and most of the problems in the body occur when there is an issue within the digestive system. Infection, inflammation, some medications, or maybe surgery can irritate the digestive system and, at worst, cause damage, making it weak and unable to digest particular food or ingredients. When such food or ingredients are eaten by your kitty and cannot be digested, it shows allergic reactions on the outside or inside the body.
- The food itself
Different food or ingredients can upset the stomach and react to food allergies for the cat. Most cats are intolerant of beef, fish, and milk products. Although it might surprise you since these are one the known cat favorite foods of all times. But the properties present in this food may not go well with the cat's digestive system.
Besides the ingredients, some other factors contribute to food allergies in cats. These include:
Artificial food coloring – most inexpensive cat food brands use artificial food coloring or cheap quality dyes to color the food and appeal to them. These dyes also cause food allergies in cats.
Dairy products - It might surprise you that most cats are lactose intolerant as they don't have enough enzymes to properly digest the dairy products in large quantities and suffer allergies. It begins with diarrhea and vomiting.
Preservatives - Pet foods are often laden with preservatives to add more shelf lives to them. Adding these preservatives mix many chemicals to the food, and your cat might react badly to that. Food preservatives like BHT and BHA are some preservatives widely used in cat foods and can food reaction to cats.
Corn and corn products - Corn is widely utilized in the pet food industry as cheap fillers, and most pets suffer digestive issues from corn-based food, resulting in itchy and flaky skin.
Byproducts of meat – meat byproducts are another ingredient used majorly in pet food as cheap fillers. These byproducts are waste that humans don't consider worth eating and hence are used by pet food companies to produce meat-based pet food. These meat byproducts are low on quality and contain proteins that are not stomach-friendly for your furry baby.
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Depending on the breed of the cats, some cats are easily prone to food allergies than others. Most cats with long hair have allergens trapped on their hair or coat, and the germs spread wherever they lose hair. Some of these breeds include Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat, Cymric, or Persian. If you own any of these breeds, you need to be extra cautious about their food and the environment in which they live.
4. Environmental factors
Since cats are not frequent bathers, you must keep the house and the surroundings clean. Cats love spending time rolling on the couch or carpet. Regular cleaning and dusting of these are essential, and the dust, pollen, or germs breeding in these surfaces can quickly get into the skin of your cat and cause skin reaction to her. Make sure you do not use harsh chemicals to wipe the floors, as the remnants of the same can be very dangerous for your kitty's skin.
Does My Cat Have Food Intolerance?
Food intolerance, as now we know, can happen to any cat and at any age. Therefore it is crucial for you as a cat parent to be careful of the food, the environment, and the cat's health to make sure she remains healthy for the rest of her life. But how do you know if your cat is suffering from food intolerance or allergy?
Here are a few symptoms that you need to watch out for in your kitty:
- Sneezing, coughing, and wheezing
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Runny eyes
- Swollen paws
- Red and inflamed skin
- Constant scratching and hair loss
- Ear pain and other ear-related issues
- Poor health and slow growth in younger cats
What Can You Do About Food Allergy In Your Cat?
Even though food allergy in cats is common, yet not treating them on time can become a problem for a lifetime for the cat. If you have discovered that your pet is suffering from a food allergy, you should contact us. Your furry baby needs to get fully diagnosed to see what went wrong. Observe your kitty's behavior and keep a note of the things you have been feeding her in the last couple of days so that when one of our team asks questions, you know the answer and we can come to a conclusion to provide an effective solution.