Feline food may cause different adverse reactions in pets. Food intolerance is not uncommon and may be due to different ingredients. Food intolerance is different from food allergies and may be detected in the symptoms displayed by the cat.
Food Intolerance and Food Allergies
The main difference between food intolerance and food allergies is that in the food allergies the immune system plays an important role. In food intolerances, only the digestive system is affected and the immune system is not involved.
The symptoms of food allergies differ from the symptoms of food intolerance. Food allergies will cause skin itchiness, inflammation of different areas such as the paws or the face, and hair loss due to itching.
Food Intolerance Causes
The main causes of food intolerance may be common ingredients such as chicken, eggs, beef, soy, wheat, dairy products, preservatives, or other additives.
Cats may lack certain enzymes, such as the enzyme in charge of digesting lactose and this will result in food intolerances.
Food Intolerance Symptoms
Food intolerance may occur typically after the age of 2; cats may develop food intolerance in time and start displaying symptoms only after years of eating a certain ingredient.
The typical symptoms of food intolerance include:
- Skin rashes
- Abdominal pain
These symptoms may indicate other health problems also; if these symptoms are only present for up to 2 days, you don’t need to visit the vet; however, if these symptoms are persistent, this may point that the cat has a medical problem or food intolerance.
While the cat displays the food intolerance symptoms, it is important to keep your pet hydrated.
Diagnosing Food Intolerance
Food allergies are difficult to diagnose; the diagnosis of food intolerance is even more difficult. Food trials will be needed.
The cat will receive a diet that contains one source of protein and one source of fibers he hasn’t eaten before (i.e. duck meat and corn). This diet should be kept for 8 to 12 weeks. The cat shouldn’t receive any other foods or supplements. If the cat doesn’t display food intolerance symptoms during the food trial, the diagnosis is clear. After the 8 to 12 weeks of food trial, you may start introducing a few ingredients (1 ingredient every 2 weeks). This may help to identify the exact ingredient that causes food intolerance. If you introduce the culprit ingredient, the cat will develop food intolerance symptoms.
However, some cats may be allergic to additives and preservatives in the food, so detecting the intolerance may be difficult.
Treating Food Intolerance
The best way to treat food intolerance is to avoid the food that causes food intolerance symptoms. You can get some prescription foods that contain organic ingredients and natural preservatives; you may also cook the food at home, thus ensuring that there are no artificial flavors in the food.
During the food trial, it is important to keep the cat away from any other foods; if the cat eats any other foods, the results of the test may be compromised.