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Cracking the Case: Food Allergies in Cats

Food Allergies in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and PrevalenceCats are no different from humans when it comes to allergic reactions. In fact, just like people, cats can develop allergies to various substances, including food.

Although food allergies are not as common in cats as in dogs, they can still occur and cause discomfort to our feline friends. This article will explore the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of food allergies in cats, as well as their prevalence.

Causes of Food Allergies in Cats:

Cats can develop food allergies to any ingredient in their diet, but some are more common than others. The most common allergens in cat food include beef, fish, chicken, wheat, corn, dairy, lamb, egg, barley, and rabbit.

When a cat’s immune system sees these ingredients as a threat, it can cause an allergic reaction, leading to symptoms of a food allergy. Symptoms of Food Allergies in Cats:

The symptoms of food allergies in cats can vary widely but typically involve the skin and digestive system.

Some common symptoms include itching, scratching, overgrooming, biting, miliary dermatitis, redness, papules, ulcerations, plaques, diarrhea, and vomiting. If your cat consistently exhibits these symptoms, they may be suffering from a food allergy.

How Veterinarians Diagnose Food Allergies in Cats:

If your cat is showing symptoms of a food allergy, a visit to the veterinarian is necessary. The vet will start by taking a detailed diet history and ruling out other potential causes of the symptoms.

To diagnose a food allergy, they will put your cat on a hypoallergenic diet, which typically contains a novel protein or hydrolyzed diet. If symptoms improve, your cat likely has a food allergy.

If not, the vet may use symptomatic treatment to manage your cat’s symptoms. Prevalence of Food Allergies in Cats:

Although food allergies are not as prevalent in cats as in dogs, they are still a significant concern for some cat owners.

According to recent studies, about 1% of all cats have food allergies, while 15% of itchy cats may have a food allergy. In some cases, up to 42% of cats with both itching and gastrointestinal symptoms have a food allergy.


In conclusion, food allergies are a real concern for cats and can cause significant discomfort. Knowing the common causes and symptoms of food allergies in cats can help identify the problem and provide much-needed relief for your feline friend.

If you suspect your cat has a food allergy, visit your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. With proper care, your cat can live a happy and healthy life, even with a food allergy.

Treatment and Management of Food Allergies in Cats: Prescription Diets, Recovery, and Lifelong Management

In our previous article, we discussed the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and prevalence of food allergies in cats. If your cat has been diagnosed with a food allergy, it’s crucial to understand the different treatment options and long-term management strategies.

Prescription Diets for Food Allergies in Cats:

Prescription diets are an essential part of managing food allergies in cats. These diets typically contain a novel protein source or hydrolyzed protein, which is less likely to trigger an immune response in cats with food allergies.

Here are some of the most commonly prescribed diets for cats with food allergies:

– Royal Canin rabbit, duck, or venison

– Hills D/D (duck or venison)

– Blue Buffalo NP (alligator-based)

– Purina HA (soybean-based)

– Royal Canin Ultamino (poultry feather-based) or HP (soybean-based)

– Hills Z/D (chicken liver-based)

– Blue Buffalo HF (salmon-based)

It’s essential to work with your veterinarian to determine which prescription diet is best for your cat based on their specific food allergy and nutritional needs. It’s worth noting that some prescription diets can be expensive, but the benefits of managing your cat’s food allergy far outweigh the cost.

Recovery and Management of Food Allergies in Cats:

Once your cat is on a hypoallergenic diet, they should start to show improvement in their symptoms. However, in some cases, your cat may also have secondary bacterial or yeast infections, which require additional treatment such as antibiotics or antifungal medication.

Additionally, lifelong dietary management is necessary for cats with food allergies. This involves feeding your cat only the hypoallergenic food prescribed by your veterinarian and avoiding any treats or table scraps that contain their allergens.

It’s also essential to avoid giving your cat any supplements or vitamins unless advised by your veterinarian, as some of these may contain ingredients that your cat is allergic to. It’s crucial to ensure that your cat is receiving a balanced and complete diet, even on a hypoallergenic diet.

If you have any concerns, consult with your veterinarian about the best way to supplement your cat’s diet to ensure they are receiving all the necessary nutrients. Finally, it’s worth investigating other causes of your cat’s symptoms, such as environmental allergies or other medical conditions.

Your veterinarian can help rule out other potential causes and ensure that your cat is receiving the best possible care. Conclusion:

Food allergies in cats can be a challenging and ongoing problem for some pet owners.

However, with proper treatment and management, cats with food allergies can live a happy and healthy life. If you suspect your cat has a food allergy, don’t hesitate to speak to your veterinarian, who can provide you with a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

By working together to manage your cat’s food allergy, you can help ensure they live a long and comfortable life. In conclusion, managing food allergies in cats is crucial for their wellbeing, but it can be a challenging and ongoing process.

Prescription diets, secondary infection treatment, lifelong dietary management, and investigation of other causes of symptoms are essential components of managing food allergies in cats. Although food allergies in cats can be an ongoing issue, they can be effectively managed with the proper diagnosis and treatment from a veterinarian.

By staying vigilant, following the recommended treatment plan, and working closely with your vet, you can help ensure your cat lives a long, happy, and healthy life, even with a food allergy.

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