In general, hypoallergenic diets that include new sources of protein, such as deer, rabbit, or duck, or hydrolyzed protein diets in which protein has been broken down into smaller molecules that the immune system is less likely to recognize as allergenic, may be effective for cats with food allergies. There are few things more frustrating than trying to help your cat when it has an allergy. The cat itches and scratches and obviously feels uncomfortable. Very soon you will start looking for the best food for cats with allergies so that your cat's life and yours can return to normal.
But before you bring home several bags of new cat food, let's talk a little more about cat allergies and how you can make sure that food is really the culprit. This dry food is specially designed for adult cats with skin and gastrointestinal sensitivities. Tracing the source of your cat's specific allergy can be tedious and expensive. To simplify, start with your vet.
They can help you find out exactly what is making your cat sick. It might not even be an allergy. For example, bacterial or fungal infections can cause skin irritation. The Banfield study found that allergic reactions to fleas and to environmental chemicals are on the rise, while food allergies are stable and relatively rare, affecting only about 0.1 percent of cats.
The study, based on 500,000 cats treated at Banfield clinics the previous year, concluded that “food allergies in our pets are rare and other causes of certain skin conditions must be investigated before a diagnosis of food allergy is made. We spoke with Dr. Bruce Kornreich, director of the Cornell Feline Health Center, who told us that when cats have food allergies, it's most often an allergy to a protein. But the only way to prove that a cat is allergic to food is to selectively eliminate components from the diet and see how the cat is doing after a food test.
While you'll see rapid tests for cat food allergies being advertised online, the Cummings Veterinary Center at Tufts unequivocally states that they don't work. If your vet suspects that your cat has a food allergy, he may ask you to completely switch him to a special prescription diet, called a hypoallergenic diet, for up to three months. The hypoallergenic diet consists of cat food composed of hydrolyzed proteins, the proteins have been broken down so that the cat's immune system cannot detect any allergenic components. If the allergy symptoms go away with the hypoallergenic diet, but they reappear when the cat returns to its usual diet, it's quite clear that your cat is allergic to food.
At that point, your vet may ask you to alternate between the hypoallergenic diet and several foods with limited ingredients (see below) to try to figure out which protein was to blame for the allergic reaction. If your cat has food allergies, you'll likely try an elimination diet to find out what foods are causing them distress. This is where a limited-ingredient diet (LID) comes into play. While many popular cat foods mix several types of protein and fat (chicken and fish oil, beef and chicken, etc.).
Your vet may ask you to try a food that contains beef but not chicken or fish, or one that has fish but no beef or chicken. Sometimes, your vet may suggest a “novel” protein, a less common food ingredient for cats, such as deer, duck, alligator, or rabbit. The idea is that your cat probably didn't ingest those proteins and it's unlikely that he developed an allergy to them. Whether you're testing your cat with limited-ingredient cat food or limited-ingredient cat food with novel proteins, it takes time and commitment.
To help you, we analyzed the market for hypoallergenic and dietetic foods with limited ingredients for cats with food allergies and we have created dry and wet food from several well-known brands. Keep in mind that for hypoallergenic hydrolyzed protein formulas, you'll need to provide a prescription or your veterinarian's contact information to purchase them. Your veterinarian may prescribe this food for adult cats with skin and gastrointestinal sensitivities. In addition to easily digestible hydrolyzed soy proteins, it includes omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and a blend of fibers.
Deer meat is the unique animal protein in this dry food for cats with allergies and sensitivities. Natural Balance also offers a venison based formula similar to that of canned wet foods. As with other novel proteins, venison is a good alternative to meats that your cat might be reacting to in a different way. Deer meat is the only animal protein in this grain-free dry food recipe, rn If you want to see how your cat is doing on a diet free of protein triggers, this diet food with limited ingredients offers an alternative to duck and potato.
Does not contain chicken, beef, dairy, eggs, cereals, gluten, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives. This duck-based food contains no chicken, beef, or dairy. For cats who love the texture of pâté and need to try a diet limited in ingredients without poultry, beef or fish, this novel farm-raised protein rabbit could be the answer. This recipe is also made without dairy, eggs, grains, potatoes, corn, wheat, or soy.
Available in 3 ounce and 5.5 ounce cans. This food with limited ingredients is rabbit with an attractive pâté texture. You can feel good about giving your kitten some of this nutrient-packed cat food from Purina. Made with limited ingredients, this healthy option includes real salmon, blueberries, brown rice, and egg.
It's a solid choice for both sensitive and normal felines. The limited ingredients make this formula a winner among sensitive felines. This food with limited ingredients for indoor cats is rich in protein from fish and easy to digest carbohydrates from potatoes. It includes LifeSource Bits, the company's combination of selected antioxidants, minerals and vitamins necessary for feline health.
A fish-based recipe with limited ingredients and easy to digest potatoes. The chicken proteins in this diet food prescribed for cats with allergies are hydrolyzed to prevent the cat's immune system from reacting to them. This formula contains the amino acids, minerals and supplements necessary for your cat's health. This prescription food for cats is formulated with highly digestible proteins to minimize any digestive reaction.
You'll need a prescription from your vet for this hydrolyzed protein diet suitable for adult cats and growing kittens. Low in allergens, it is designed for cats that have gastroenteritis or allergic dermatitis to food, food intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis. Prescription food minimizes allergens to reduce skin or digestive problems. Fancy Feast now has a line of cat treats with limited-ingredient recipes.
You can buy beef, beef and crab and salmon. This meat-flavored treat formula includes liver flavor, beef fat, and brewer's yeast. Treats for your cat on a beef diet with limited ingredients. Hydrolyzed protein treats are safe for many cats with restricted diets.
Karen Anderson is a Seattle-based freelance writer who specializes in technology and lifestyle issues. Her hobbies include dancing, gardening, sci-fi, and taking care of pets for friends and neighbors. He is a member of the Cat Writers Association and shares his home with a charming group of quirky rescued cats. This Natural Balance wet food is included in our list because of the variety available for cats from a respected brand.
The fact that this feature stands out among the others is a definite reason to include this company and this product in this list, simply because there aren't many others that offer more than one flavor option and, at the same time, have foods full of omega 3, fatty acids and other essential vitamins and minerals. This dry cat food can be purchased as a one-time purchase option or with automatic shipping, with an additional savings of five percent for pet owners. Autoship is not a subscription service and can be canceled at any time. It comes in 4-pound bags and 8-pound bags.
In any case, once you've found a diet that works for your cat, you'll need to continue that diet for the long term, avoiding cat treats and other foods that contain the ingredient that triggers an allergic reaction. With careful dietary monitoring, the prognosis for cats with food allergies is generally good. Atopy tends to occur differently in each feline patient and with a veterinary exam it can only be determined based on the cat's health history. As mentioned earlier, you should try to identify and then buy cat food that doesn't have the specific ingredients your cat is allergic to.
Some cat foods available in retail stores may promote that they are “limited ingredients” or that they do not contain the ingredients your cat is allergic to, but it's important to note that, unlike veterinary diets, retail pet foods are not manufactured following extreme health and safety protocols to avoid cross-contamination. If your cat is allergic to food, then you should consider changing your food to one of the best hypoallergenic cat foods, as they contain a minimal and very small proportion of common allergens. In the wild, cats get their moisture mainly from their food, so a high-moisture food option is very healthy for your cat, right from the start. It's a fact that the best hypoallergenic cat foods are often more expensive than the usual cat foods available on the market.
The physical symptoms of cat food allergies that cats experience can often mimic other symptoms, so it can often be difficult to determine which food allergy the symptoms are coming from. If your cat has a food allergy, it's a good idea to start giving them hypoallergenic cat food that is better suited to their specific symptoms. Some cats can react dramatically even to minute levels of a harmful allergen, requiring carefully controlled hypoallergenic foods, while other cats may have greater tolerance and achieve good results with a specific diet with novel proteins. Not to be confused with a food allergy or a flea allergy, this type of allergy is a common seasonal allergy that can affect your cat's skin and is a reaction that some cats may have to inhaled allergens.
In addition to offering pet and cat owners a variety to satisfy even the most demanding purring palates, Natural Balance contains the right essential nutrients and vitamins in its wet cat food with limited ingredients to ensure that cats get what they need to maintain a healthy weight, body and coat. Hydrolyzed protein cat foods are the best for treating allergies in cats because they are produced in a way that makes them easier for your cat to digest. Hypoallergenic cat food is a special type of cat food formulated for cats that suffer from food allergies or sensitivities. Purina ONE Indoor Advantage is an excellent hypoallergenic food choice for cats, especially for cats that stay predominantly indoors.