Cats usually develop allergies when exposed to some food ingredients. There are several options to deal with a cat experiencing allergic reactions with its food.
There are hypoallergenic cat foods available in the market today. Hypoallergenic cat foods contain hydrolyzed proteins that is the proteins that have been broken down so that the immune system does not recognize them as allergens.
Alternatively, you can try feeding your allergic cat on different types of food so as to find out the allergy – causing food. These are known as the limited ingredient diets. They are effective in combating allergies in cats. The food suspected to cause the allergy is identified and excluded from the cat’s diet.
What are the signs of allergy in cats?
The common indicators include: recurrent ear infections, hair loss, itching, chronic diarrhea and vomiting.
According to popular belief, cats love meat, fish and milk, and it’s all good for them. It appears, the statement not absolutely true. Rather often cats have an allergy to fish, wheat, beef, corn, chicken and dairy products.
What should I consider when choosing the best hypoallergenic cat foods?
The choice of the best hypoallergenic cat foods is based on the following:
The Carbohydrate Content
The cat is an obligate carnivore and it requires a meat-based diet for good health. It is for this reason that the cat develops allergies for some carbohydrates. The hypoallergenic diet should contain tolerable carbohydrates levels. Higher carbohydrates levels usually upset the cat’s digestive system leading to such conditions as diarrhea. It is recommended that carbohydrates should not exceed 6% of the total cat food ingredients.
The Protein Content
According to a study carried out in 2006, it was established that the most common allergens are most frequent food ingredients, such as meat.
Common food allergens in cats (percentage):
Dairy – 14.6
Lamb – 6.7
Fish – 13
Poultry – 4.5
Beef – 20
But still the dry food for cat should be high in animal protein and less in plant protein, because for cats is suited to digesting animal protein. Research has shown that wheat/barley/corn/rice 4.5% is a possible allergen too.
Reading the ingredients found in any cat food formula for possible allergens which could appear in several forms. For example, to prevent the chicken from the diet of your cat, you probably will explore the description of hypoallergenic cat food. But the lack of an ingredient in the description does not always mean that it is not there. Studies say that in fact 70% of dry food still contains chicken, even in small quantities. A thorough research is therefore required to eliminate the possibility of the allergens in the chosen hypoallergenic diet.
The results of the cat’s tolerance results to a hypoallergenic diet. It is important to adopt a hypoallergenic diet basing on the tolerance test results which is usually carried out for about two weeks and switched back to the original cat’s diet and observe the progress of the symptoms conditions. If the symptoms reduce choose the hypoallergenic cat food in question. Though involving, this process helps find the best hypoallergenic diet for your cat hence optimal health.