The Best Hypoallergenic Food For Your Cat
Like any animal or human, cats are known to have allergies- although some more than others. To combat this problem, pet food brands have begun making hypoallergenic cat food, and while this definitely a great idea, it does bring up one question: which of these brands makes the best hypoallergenic cat food?
WHAT EXACTLY IS HYPOALLERGENIC CAT FOOD?
Before figuring out the best hypoallergenic cat food to buy, perhaps it is important to first define what that means. Essentially, hypoallergenic foods are anything made with limited or alternative ingredients. For example, a cat food that is grain-free would be considered hypoallergenic just as a cat food that does not use chicken or soy products would be as well.
If a cat has a reaction to quite a few ingredients, it's especially crucial to pay attention to what products and additives may be substituted in when another is taken out. In general, hypoallergenic cat foods can vary in what they include and what they do not, and because of this system, pet owners are often able to find the pet food that will suit their feline's needs.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A CAT WITH AN ALLERGIC REACTION?
A pet owner who has never been around a cat who has allergies may be unsure as to what to symptoms may be pointing directly to their feline having an allergic reaction. Some of the biggest indicators would include hair loss, sneezing, itchy and irritated skin, vomiting, diarrhea, and swollen paws.
If these behaviors are noticed, the next step would be to schedule an appointment at the vet and have your cat examined. Not only will this confirm the diagnosis of an allergic reaction, a vet can help isolate what specific ingredient(s) may be causing it and help determine if a hypoallergenic cat food will help.
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WHAT AND WHAT NOT TO LOOK FOR IN A HYPOALLERGENIC CAT FOOD
As mentioned before, hypoallergenic cat foods can vary in what they contain, but in order to find the one best suited for your needs, it's vital to pay attention to exactly what ingredients are listed and how these substances may interact with your cat. A big turn-off in searching for the most suitable kind of food would be a brand that promises no meat or very limited meat products.
Studies have shown that cats are carnivores, and their digestive systems work best when breaking down high levels of protein. In fact, without enough protein, the organs and muscles of a cat would start to break down instead (Feline-Nutrition). In this case, hypoallergenic cat foods that do make promises of using plant-based substances as an alternative to meat-based products should be regarded carefully as these brands could have negative effects on your feline.
HOW TO SWITCH YOUR CAT OVER TO A HYPOALLERGENIC DIET
Once finding a hypoallergenic diet for your cat, another important factor to consider is how to make this switch. Rapidly changing an animal's diet within one day could upset a cat's digestive tract and cause negative side effects like vomiting and diarrhea. It is recommended that at least a week or more--depending on how finicky the cat is--should be designated to gradually switching the feline's diet (PetMD).
The most effective way to do this would be to start by mixing a little of the new food in with the old diet, and day by day, continually add more of the new food until that is purely what the cat is consuming.
One of the things that is most underestimated by cat owners is the resistance they will face from their pets. Cats can be very picky eaters, and they do not always transition to a new diet smoothly. Although a week is what is typically recommended for making this switch, it's not uncommon for it to take longer.
The most critical thing to remember about this transition process is not to try and starve your feline into eating their new food, and if you do notice they have stopped eating, then you need to cut back on the amount of the new diet that you are adding to the old one.
In the worst case, the cat could even develop hepatic lipidosis, which results from a period of starvation longer than twenty-four hours--and if this not treated, this disease can lead to death.
FINDING THE RIGHT DIET MAY TAKE SOME TIME
While some people may find the right hypoallergenic cat food on the first try, this is not always the case. Cats, like humans, have their own unique body chemistry and what may work perfectly for one feline may yield limited results for another. Even if a cat has been successfully introduced to a new brand of pet food, you will not see their symptoms resolve immediately. Typically, you should wait a few weeks to see if there's a difference before switching to another brand.
Top 5 Best Hypoallergenic Food For Your Cat
The focus of this particular brand of hypoallergenic cat food is to help cats who may have a hard time digesting nutrients properly and to promote healthier skin and fur. Like with any product, there are both advantages and unique features with this brand, but also a few shortcomings as well.
- Omega 6-Fatty Acids and Vitamin E are added to the food in order to promote healthy skin and fur in cats. This is particularly great for cats who have been having an allergic reaction and as a result, suffered hair loss or irritated skin from excessive itching.
- The skin rice and egg recipe used has been developed by over two hundred different professionals that range from veterinarians to food scientists.
- Vitamin C and a blend of amino acids have also been added to this brand in order to boost the immune system. For a cat who becomes frequently ill or has a weak immune system, this could be a great added benefit.
- In some cats, increased vomiting was seen as a side effect.
- Because this brand contains chicken, lamb, and salmon--which are common cat allergies--felines who do have allergies to these ingredients would react negatively and be most likely unable to consume it.
The focus of this particular hypoallergenic cat food is to provide your feline with a high protein diet full of both meats and vitamins that will work to prevent them from developing any serious health issues. If your vet has recommended that your cat switch to a higher protein diet, this product might be perfect.
- This brand is both chicken grain free and contains sources of Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, and B9. While Vitamin C will work to boost the immune system, these other vitamins are known to help promote better digestion.
- For cats allergic to wheat, soy or corn, this product contains none of it.
- If an animal is not getting enough carbs, this could be a good food to try: this brand specifically contains sweet potatoes, which is a complex carbohydrate.
- A percentage of cats developed struvite crystal stones after consuming this food, and this side effect has shown to be associated specifically with the Blue Buffalo brand.
- Some cats have also shown an increase in digestive issues when eating this cat food. Because of the high protein and carbohydrate content in the food, it could be very likely that some cats do not respond as well as others.
The goal of this hypoallergenic option is to target cats who may multiple allergies or particularly sensitive stomachs. By limiting the number of ingredients that your cat is exposed to, the animal has less of a chance of having an allergic reaction.
- By using duck as one of their main ingredients, the Natural Balance brand is able to give cats both protein with a blend of different of vitamins that promote healthy skin, fur, and muscles. For indoor cats who may not have as much activity as an outdoor cat, having good muscle tone is especially important.
- Natural Balance tests their products and publishes the findings of these studies on their website so potential buyers can see how effective the product is and how well other cats may have liked it.
- The biggest issue with this brand is consistency. There are reports of pet owners who receive "bad batches", and as a result, must switch their pets over to another brand while still dealing with undesirable side effects during the transition process.
- Because of the unusual ingredients in this food--such as duck--, there were some cats who did not eat this food at all and could not be convinced--no matter how slow the transition.
For this brand, the main goals are wide-spread and designed to target the varying needs that different cats may have spanning from digestion, skin, and allergic reactions.
- The hydrolyzed, soy formula is made to especially be low reactive for an animal that has a sensitive stomach and easily reacts poorly to other foods. If you have a cat that vomits or has diarrhea excessively, this could be worth considering.
- For a cat who has issues with itchy and irritated skin, this product contains amino acids and Vitamin B--which will not only help promote better skin health but also heal this damaged skin and fur as well.
- One thing that has proved to be great about this product is that its simple ingredients do work well for cats that have food allergies. Not only are the ingredients made to be low reactive, but it also uses rice starch and soy as a source of protein and carbohydrates in order to lower the risk of future allergic reactions.
- Compared to other hypoallergenic cat food options, this one is on the more expensive side of the spectrum. Depending on how well your cat reacts to it, this could prove to be a good or poor investment.
The focus of this particular brand is to target cats with highly sensitive stomachs and food allergies. This is done by limiting their ingredients and cutting out common foods that trigger allergies in cats.
- Unlike many other brands, there is only one source of protein--turkey. This means that a cat who has multiple food allergies or just struggles to digest other foods will have a high chance of being able to consume this one without issue.
- Since some cats refuse to eat certain brands of food, Nature's Variety has added a green tea extract coating and aroma to make their food extra appealing.
- There are added vitamins and amino acids to promote good skin health
- An issue that was found with this brand is that there seem to be repeated incidents of some people receiving "bad batches" and even a switch to a different formula that caused some cats to refuse to eat it or struggle with digesting it. While this is not a completely widespread issue, it could be cause for concern if you have a cat that is highly sensitive and finicky when it comes to the specific kind of food they will eat.