How can I check if my cat has food sensitivities?
If your cat begins experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, like hives, digestive upset, or skin irritation, it could have a food sensitivity or allergy.
You order a tasty burrito and it’s lined with tons of delicious ingredients, like veggies, meats, grains, spices, and more. Suddenly you get a little itchy and a rash develops, but where did it come from? What caused it to happen? Since there are so many ingredients involved in this one meal, it can be very difficult to figure out what caused the reaction.
The same thing goes for a cat that has been eating a traditional kibble or canned food diet. Like the burrito, it’s loaded with ingredients. Some that you know upfront, and others that you may have never heard of. Since these foods can contain upwards of 30 ingredients, it’s hard to point a finger at which one is to blame. They include everything from multiple meat sources, carbohydrates, preservatives, and additional flavourings that could be the culprit. Luckily, there are ways to get to the bottom of it.
Elimination diets for your cat.
You may have heard of elimination diets for people. Well, the same thing exists for cats and other pets, too. Elimination diets are one of the most effective ways to determine if your cat has a food sensitivity or allergy by zeroing in on specific proteins. This is a great way to explore the best cat food for allergies.
You begin by feeding your cat a single-protein diet over a period of time while removing all others. This way, it becomes easier to identify the food source triggering the allergic reactions.
You should continue an elimination diet for 8-12 weeks. We know it may seem like a long process up front, but it takes time for an allergy to present itself. Once you’ve begun the diet, if symptoms appear within 14 days, your cat is allergic to the ingredient you’ve been feeding and you should avoid that protein moving forward. From here, it becomes trial-and-error with the proteins you are feeding. It can take up to 10 weeks for certain symptoms to resolve themselves but by the end of this period, you should discover the best cat food for your little pal.
Over time, you can begin introducing new animal proteins into your cat’s diet and if no reactions appear, you’re in the clear!
It is also important to note that when feeding your cat an elimination diet, you must be strict and not add anything else into the mix. This means no additional treats (even if they’re good) because they may trigger food allergies.