Your cat is suddenly particularly sensitive to his usual food, loses hair, has rashes, suffers from digestive problems or vomiting? These symptoms can have many causes. If your cat is allergic or in pain food intolerances , you must absolutely avoid ingredients containing allergens and adapt to your specific needs, for example by turning to sensitive cat food .
What are the causes of cat allergies?
You have surely already seen the labels of certain ranges of cat food bearing the words ” sensitive cat “. These types of cat food are indeed particularly suitable for sensitive cats. But how can you tell if a cat is sensitive?
For millions of years, the cat fed on products mainly obtained from hunting. Thus, the cat’s diet was made up of natural nutrients, such as muscle flesh , offal , possibly some plants from the gastric contents of prey or even some bones . Preservatives and sugar were therefore not part of the components of their diet. With the success that ready-made pet food meets today, such as croquettes or boxes , feeding your cat just got easy. In the past, farm cats as well as domestic cats ate table scraps. Today’s pet food, specific to the needs of each hairball, is therefore much more suitable, because it is richer in vitamins and minerals!
However, so that cat food can be stored for months, certain additions are made during the manufacturing process. If previously it was mice and small birds, now it is the meat of turkeys, beef or other large animals that are found in the bowl of our cats. However, our little hunters are not a priori used to eating the flesh of these animals! Most felines have no difficulty digesting these types of meats. However, there are exceptions: sensitive cats may suffer from food allergies. They therefore do not support traditional croquettes and boxes.
Cats can only consume a small proportion of carbohydrates . As carnivores, cats need protein , which is their main source of energy. Carbohydrates and vegetables were not present in their original diet. It is precisely these substances that affect the cat’s body and cause food allergies in sensitive cats. However, for obvious production reasons, cat food is made up of a high proportion of vegetable matter. The majority of cats tolerate them very well, although many of them are allergic to grains. Moreover, soy is a well-known allergen in cats!
Plus, ready-made cat food rarely contains the same nutrients that were found in the original diet of feral cats. Ideally, your cat’s meal should be 85% meat, mostly from muscle meat. The plant elements represent the remaining 15%. The mouse, the cat’s prey par excellence, has an ideal composition for this die- hard hunter . Indeed, a balanced cat food should consist of 50-60% protein , 20-30% fat and 3-8 % carbohydrate .
Some additives are usually added to preparations, such as animal or vegetable by-products. Warning ! Not all by-products are bad, because ultimately the mouse has a heart, lung, liver, and other organ meats, which the cat consumes after killing its prey. Their proportion must however remain reasonable. According to the European Ordinance on animal feed, it is authorized for food manufacturers to add hooves, horns and feathers to preparations. However, these components are of no interest, since they have no nutritional value for cats and even harm their digestive system. This sometimes results in allergic reactions. These are caused by a reaction of the cat’s body, which protects itself from potentially harmful or unknown substances. When cat allergies are caused by ingredients, then it is a question of food intolerance. Itching, vomiting or rash are typical symptoms of an allergy to certain food components.
The preservatives such as synthetic antioxidants, often with unpronounceable names such as ethoxyquin, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), and propyl gallate help maintain the nutritional value of the meat, even at room temperature. Only, you can imagine, they are not healthy for our animals! Laboratory tests prove that cat allergies are caused by these chemical additives and preservatives.
The food mites can also cause food allergy to your cat! They nestle in your feline’s food if you don’t store it properly.
How can I find out which component my cat is allergic to?
Do not panic ! Even if your cat reacts very sensitive to his usual food, you can still continue to feed him ready-made cat food. The most important thing is to find the trigger for your allergy in order to avoid these ingredients in the future.
The easiest way to do this is through elimination, following an exclusion diet . To follow such a diet, your cat will only have to eat meats that he has never eaten before, and which have therefore never caused him an allergy. Gradually, you will be able to reintroduce foods that your cat is familiar with, such as potatoes, rice, cereals … During the six to eight weeks of the diet, the symptoms should subside. If the symptoms return, it means your cat has consumed the allergenic ingredient. So you will eventually find out what your sensitive cat is allergic to.
Sensitive cat food
If you are convinced that your cat is allergic to offal, to a particular meat or to soya, then you must now look for a suitable diet for sensitive cats. Fortunately, there is a wide choice of food for sensitive cats that excludes typically allergenic ingredients like soy , gluten or grains . This type of diet is usually made up only of easily digestible protein and carbohydrates. In addition, these croquettes contain all the vitamins and minerals essential for good health.
Unlike some low-consumption diets intended for humans, hypoallergenic cat food is quite appetizing and appreciated by our companions. It is available in different varieties, inorganic quality or in box .
We wish you good luck with your cat!