Food allergies in cats are the result of an over-reaction of the immune system in response to an antigen in food. As humans, it is not known why some cats suffer from allergies and others don’t. Cats cannot develop a food allergy unless they have been exposed to the food first and allergies can occur at any time during your male or female cat’s life. Using a hypoallergenic cat food is one way in which you could eliminate or reduce your cat’s food allergy symptoms.
Consumers can often misunderstand food intolerance as an allergy because both can produce similar symptoms.
A cat that has a food allergy will often have prolonged itchy skin affecting the head, stomach, groin, armpits, legs, and paws. This will usually result in over-grooming, causing additional wounds and hair loss later on. Other symptoms can include vomiting, flatulence, diarrhea, ear problems, coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. It is worth noting that most true allergies seen in pets with skin disorders are due to fleas, dust mites, grasses, pollen, and other environmental issues. If the immune system is truly compromised, flea insensitivity and dermatitis can be triggered.
Food intolerance symptoms are usually less serious and are mostly associated with digestive problems.
Veterinary practices will be able to offer allergy testing in order to try and identify the potential causes for the symptoms they present with. For food allergies, the vet will suggest a food trial where your cat is given a special food not containing any proteins that your cat has previously been exposed to. This can last up to 2 months. For more information on this contact your local vet.
Hypoallergenic cat food uses ingredients that are kinder to those pets that suffer from food sensitivity. They are usually grain-free and free from wheat, beef, and dairy.
WCF has the following hypoallergenic cat foods available to buy online.
Our Naturally Devoted range is a new recipe containing rice and oats for easily digestible sources of energy that is free from wheat, gluten, artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives. It is specially formulated for cats with sensitive stomachs and is an all-natural solution for your pet's diet. Available in fish or turkey.
WCF Super Premium in chicken or salmon is a complete feed for adult cats. This hypoallergenic, omega cat food recipe is packed full of flavour and contains high levels of easily digestible proteins. It provides all that’s needed for a happy, healthy cat whilst also maintaining healthy skin and coat.
It is essential to introduce any new food gradually (usually 2-3 weeks) as it takes time for your cat’s digestive system to fully adjust. If you change the food too quickly it could cause an adverse reaction. Do not expect to see any reductions in symptoms immediately as the change will be gradual.
If you are unsure about what food is best to feed your cat, always contact your vet for advice. See the PSDA website for more advice on food allergies in cats.