It’s not uncommon for cats to get bored of their food, or to grow finicky about what they eat—especially as they age. However, there’s nothing more frustrating than to feed your kitty a balanced diet, only to discover your cat has a food allergy.  Just like people, cats can be allergic to certain ingredients in their food too. Not sure if your cat is allergic to their food? Cat in a Flat explains how to recognise an allergy and the best feline foods to relieve those symptoms. 

What is a food allergy in cats? 

A food allergy is when your kitty’s immune system reacts negatively to certain ingredients—usually proteins—in their food. The immune system sees these types of food as dangerous and triggers an adverse reaction. Symptoms can range from irritated skin to tummy problems. These will appear every time your fur friend eats something they’re allergic to.

signs of feline food allergy

Signs my cat is allergic to their food

It’s not always easy to know when your cat is allergic to their food. However, there are some symptoms you can watch out for. 

  • Itchy skin — If you’ve treated your kitty for fleas but they’re still constantly scratching, it could be signs of a food allergy. 
  • Over-grooming — Felines spend a significant part of their waking hours grooming. However, if Mr Whiskers is losing fur, has patchy bald spots, or is grooming the same area again and again, these may indicate a food allergy. 
  • Diarrhea — Your furry friend’s toilet habits can tell you a lot about their overall health. If your cat frequently has soft stools or loose motions, one cause could be food allergies. 
  • Vomiting — Being a great feline parent is accepting that kitty vomit is a normal part of life. However, if your cat is vomiting after every meal, or vomiting multiple times throughout the day, this could be signs of a more serious issue. 

How vets diagnose feline food allergies

If you notice any of the above symptoms, be sure to take your cat to the vet for a check-up. If left untreated, your cat’s food allergy symptoms—especially itchy skin—can get worse quickly. 

Once your vet rules out other possible causes for your kitty’s symptoms, they may decide to conduct a food trial. During a food trial, you will stop all your cat’s usual foods and feed them a specific diet for 12 weeks. If your cat’s food allergy symptoms improve, this means they are reacting to something in their usual food. Your vet will then recommend the proper foods to feed your cat. 

Cat sitters: Take note of your individual furry client’s dietary requirements and ask questions if something isn’t clear. Bringing treats along on visits can make you very popular with your kitty clients, but you should never assume it’s okay for every cat to indulge. Always check with their fur parents first before feeding your cat client anything that’s not a part of their usual diet. 

What to feed a cat with food allergies

As mentioned above, you should always take your cat to the vet if you suspect they are suffering from a food allergy. Your vet can provide a diagnosis and show you how to manage your fur friend’s diet. 

Not all foods will be appropriate for all cats. Each feline is unique and has different allergies and sensitives. Therefore, before you feed your cat a new diet, check with your vet. They can tell you if the ingredients in your kitty’s new food are well-suited for their particular needs.

Here are a few tried-and-tested foods for kitties with allergies: 

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolysed Protein Dry Cat Food: This dry food is well-suited for kitties suffering from itchy skin and gastrointestinal sensitivity. The hydrolysed protein keeps allergies at bay and also boosts skin and coat health! 

Specific Feline FDW Food Allergy Management: It’s important to feed Mr Whiskers a balanced diet of both wet and dry foods. This wet food will alleviate vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive issues caused by food allergies. 

Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d Food Sensitivities: This kibble brand is a popular choice for cats with food allergies as it provides overall relief for all allergy symptoms. It also is low on carbohydrates, which means your kitty will stay healthy and trim too! 

Untamed Cat Food: If you’re not sure what food is best for your cat, why not try customising their diet? Input your kitty’s dietary requirements and Untamed will curate a wet food meal plan just for them! (Note: check with your vet first before opting for any meal plan)

Wellness Kittles Natural Grain Free Cat Treats, Tuna & Cranberries: Just because Mr Whiskers has food allergies doesn’t mean he needs to give up on treats! These treats are budget friendly and well-suited for most restricted diets. Not only are they grain-free, but they’re chock-full of healthy ingredients like peas, blueberries, and cranberries! 

food for allergic cats

Looking for other ways to help keep your kitty happy and healthy? Check out our blog posts with tips on how to prevent feline diabetes, and how to know if your cat is overweight.