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Everything you need to know about hypoallergenic cat food

Grey cat next to food bowl advice © Shutterstock

Hypoallergenic cat food is becoming quite popular because cat owners want to take care of their cats. Learn more about it in this cat parent guide!

By Daniel Mar

Surely, you have heard the word “hypoallergenic” at some point in your life! Humans normally eat it when they are affected by several food allergies. But can it be fed to cats as well? You may be surprised but there is, in fact, hypoallergenic cat food! Like humans, other mammals (like cats) can suffer from all kinds of allergies. Allergens like dust and pollen or certain foods can cause allergies. In this article, you will learn a great deal about hypoallergenic cat food!

What is a food allergy?

First and foremost, do not confuse a food allergy with food sensitivity! These concepts are not the same! The symptoms of food sensitivity are diarrhoea and vomiting. If your cat has a food allergy, he may experience these symptoms as well, but the most dominant symptom for food allergy is a skin problem.

If your cat has a skin problem, and you are absolutely sure that he is not suffering from reactions to grass, pollen grains or fleas, there is a high chance that he is allergic to some ingredients in his food. Once your cat behaves abnormally, and you have been feeding him dairy products, beef, lamb or even whitefish, it’s time to consider a food allergy. If this is the case, get hypoallergenic cat food!

How can you tell if your cat is allergic to food?

Some animals, like humans, can develop allergic reactions to some foods. When a cat suffers from a food allergy, his organism starts to generate antibodies to protect himself from the pathogen. This will result in the typical symptoms of a food allergy.

In cats, food allergies can manifest after two years of age. If you notice that your cat is scratching, he has diarrhoea and vomiting, and/or he begins to lose fur and develops dermatitis, goes to the vet. Food allergies in cats are more common than what you think. About 30% of the cat population can suffer from this disease. If your cat has fallen victim of a food allergy, it is time to start feeding him hypoallergenic cat food!

How to diagnose an allergic cat?

The first thing you have to do when treating a cat with a food allergy is to take him to the veterinarian with a detailed list of the food it takes. Your vet will find out if the symptoms that your cat is displaying match those of a food allergy or any other health problems.

During the examination process, the veterinarian will seek to feed your cat on several diets and watch closely every reaction that each of the diets causes to your pet. After finding out the ingredients that are causing the allergy, you can avoid in the future and stick to hypoallergenic cat food.

What is hypoallergenic cat food?

A hypoallergenic cat food reduces the probability of your cat from suffering an allergic reaction. Vets have identified some known ingredients that can cause intense allergic reactions to your cat if they eat them. Here are some of the ingredients which will most likely cause your cat an allergy:

  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Beet Pulp
  • Sugar

Common ingredients of hypoallergenic cat food

The manufacturers of the hypoallergenic foods use only one source of proteins. Generally, it is lamb, duck or fish. Likewise, the amount of fibre used is minimal. If you manage to identify the ingredient that causes your cat to suffer from allergies, you can feed her with a hypoallergenic cat food which completely cuts off such ingredient.

Your vet can help you come up with a personalized hypoallergenic cat food diet that will suit your cat’s condition. Also, to make the diet transition smooth, you can make the process gradual by mixing a little of the new diet with the old one. This way, your cat will get used to the new kind of food without problems. With time, you can increase the quantity of the new diet.

Hypoallergenic food is a lifesaver! If you have an allergic cat, it can do a lot of good! Just remember to vary the ingredients when composing the diet so that you achieve a balanced and complete diet. Finally, keep your vet nearby in case you need any further help!