We get many questions about whether our feed can be used as an allergy feed. Here we explain some concepts about allergy, what types of allergy food are available and explain why an insect-based food might work well for food allergic cats. Remember that if you have cat that is on allergy food, hypoallergenic food or is under allergy investigation, you should always consult your veterinarian before making changes to the cat's food and routines.
In this article we will talk about:
- What are the most common allergies in cats?
- What symptoms can be caused by allergies?
- What is an allergy investigation?
- What is the difference between hydrolyzed feed and hypoallergenic feed?
- Why might petgoods insect-based feed work?
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON ALLERGIES IN CATS?
Allergies in cats can be simply divided into two categories: food allergy or atopy. Atopy is an allergy to something in the environment, such as pollen, grass, mites or mold. We will only go into food allergy here, but keep in mind that the cat can have both food allergy and atopy at the same time, or just one. This sometimes makes it difficult to get a diagnosis of exactly what the cat is reacting to.
When it comes to food allergies, it is most common for the cat to be allergic to one or more protein sources. According to a study by Mueller et al (2016), the most common dietary allergens are beef, fish, chicken and wheat. In these situations, an allergy food or a hypoallergenic food may be appropriate for the cat.
WHICH SYMPTOMS CAN BE CAUSED BY ALLERGIES?
The most common symptoms in cats are dermatological symptoms such as itching, rashes and skin irritation. It often shows up through excessive grooming where the cat washes away fur, or gets sores and rashes around the neck, ears or face.
WHAT IS AN ALLERGY INVESTIGATION?
If you suspect that your cat is allergic, it is recommended that you start an allergy examination with a veterinarian. If it is suspected that your cat has a food allergy, an elimination diet is a step towards finding out what your cat is allergic to. In these diets, allergy food with hydrolyzed protein is often used. The goal is to find out if your cat is allergic to food, and if so, which allergens the cat reacts to.
If your cat is undergoing an allergy investigation and specifically is on an elimination diet, do not change the food without first consulting your veterinarian!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HYDROLYZED FEED AND HYPOALLERGENIC FEED?
A hydrolyzed protein is a protein that is broken down into tiny tiny pieces. Thanks to this, the allergic cat's immune system does not react to it. This means that allergic cats can often tolerate different types of hydrolysed allergy food, and these are therefore used in elimination diets.
A hypoallergenic protein is a protein that is from a more unusual source of protein. Because the cat has not been exposed to the protein before, the immune system usually does not react to it with an allergic reaction. These foods are called hypoallergenic foods.
WHY MIGHT PETGOODS INSECT-BASED FEEDS WORK?
Insect protein falls into the second category above - it is a new, unusual source of protein. Because the cat has not encountered the protein source before, the risk of the allergic immune system reacting to the insect protein is lower. Our feed does not contain any other animal protein sources. In other words, the food is free of common allergens such as beef, chicken, dairy products, wheat, lamb, eggs and soy. The food is a standard diet and meets the nutritional needs of both healthy cats and cats with allergies.
There is no food that works 100% of all allergic cats, because all cats are unique and have different needs. According to current research on dogs, there is a risk of cross-reactions between insect species, which means that dogs with mite allergies can also react to insects. This is an area that is still being researched, and a lot of data is still missing on cats, but cat owners of cats with mite allergies should be aware that there is a risk that they will also react to an insect-based diet.
And last but not least, we always recommend you with an allergic cat to consult your veterinarian before making any changes in treatment, allergy food to the cat or other routines. 🐱❤