Showing posts with label allergies in cats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label allergies in cats. Show all posts

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Veterinarian approved notes on cat food allergies which may help

I was reading a Miami Herald article by Sheah Rarback who is a registered dietician and nutritionist in private practice in Miami, Florida, USA. She's written an article about her cat being allergic to 'something'. She provides a couple of useful pointers - thank you - but no detail.

She was told by her veterinarian I believe that she should try different sorts of meat protein for her cat such as ostrich, rabbit, venison and kangaroo because perhaps the starting point for identifying food allergies and intolerance is that most food allergies in both cats and humans are proteins which produce an immune response.

Hydrolysed protein

And she adds that she was instructed to consider a hydrolysed protein formula. She gives these formulas to her human clients. It is a formula in which the protein is broken down to basic peptides and doesn't cause an allergic reaction and it is easier to digest. The product is expensive.

So in round terms that is what she is advising and I would like to add a little bit extra having dipped into the best book one can have on the topic of delivering good cat health.

Some more

The book I have is written by four veterinarians and therefore this advice is veterinarian approved. We know that cats can become allergic to certain foods or substances in foods. They can also become allergic to things in the air and the environment.

Regarding food, the most common food allergens are chicken, fish, corn, wheat and soy but cats may also develop a food allergy to beef, pork, dairy products or eggs.

Gluten and lactose

At this juncture I would like to say that I am semi-vegan and I eat gluten-free breads and cakes and I drink oat milk to avoid cows' milk as I am lactose intolerant to a certain extent.

Gluten is inflammatory as is lactose or they both can be in some people.

I'm digressing but perhaps these might be compounding factors as the veterinarians mention wheat and milk as sources of an allergy to foods.


A food allergy produces symptoms including an intensely itchy rash on the head, neck and back. It might be accompanied by swollen eyelids. There could be hair loss and oozing sores because the cat scratches themselves.

Sometimes the ears are inflamed and cats scratch them, injuring themselves. I can remember many years ago my mother having a Siamese cat with this exact problem and we had no idea what it was. My mother did nothing about it and looking back I still feel guilty about that.

Sometimes a food allergy results in diarrhoea or vomiting.


So what's the treatment? Perhaps the hard part is diagnosis. It is feeding your cat a diet without the suspected food for at least 4 to 6 weeks. The next step is to expose the cat to a suspected food and watch to see if there is a reaction. And there are numerous hypoallergenic diet available.

My veterinary book tells me that there are special diets be limited protein sources always contain treated proteins and which can be prescribed by your veterinarian. Prescription diets for this problem include Eukanuba Response LB Feline, Royal Canin Hypoallergenic HP Feline, Royal Canin Neutral Formula Feline, Royal Canin's Ltd Ingredients with duck, lamb, rabbit or venison as the meat protein. Science Diet Feline d/d with duck, rabbit or venison as the meat protein, and Science Diet z/d ULTRA Allergen Free Feline.

Perhaps you might take your cat off all the foods that she is currently eating and buy for her a hypoallergenic diet and put her on that. If it clears up the symptoms of a food allergy you can then try different foods that she was on previously at different times to see whether any produces an allergic reaction.

A food allergy is in effect food intolerance and you have to get to the bottom of this by trial and error. My book also tells me that "grains, especially wheat and corn, are common culprits". Often cat food has grains in it to pad it out. They confirm that "cats may also develop an intolerance to a specific protein source such as chicken or fish".

The diarrhoea may be watery, mucus-like or even bloody.  Of course, you would be advised to see a veterinarian who might carry out some tests in the clinic to test for an allergic reaction in order to isolate the allergen.

Prompt action

Bearing in mind what I said about my mother's Siamese cat, if there are any signs of an allergic reaction to food or an environmental allergen, the owner should take prompt steps because these are very distressing to a cat. 

It's no good just looking at your cat and thinking what's going on. That's exactly what my mother and I did all those years ago. You've got to take your cat to a vet or at least immediately put your cat on a high quality hypoallergenic diet to see whether that improves things.

Environmental or food?

You may have to take into consideration whether the allergen is in the environment or in the food. This is why I think isolating the allergen can be difficult.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Cats can be allergic to humans just as humans can be allergic to cats

Cats can be allergic to human dander. I think this is something which we should recognise. The problem is there is little knowledge about the actual allergen in human dander which causes an allergic reaction in a human. There is more on dogs being allergic to humans than for cats which is pretty typical because dogs are always much better represented in medical research than cats.

I'm looking at a study right now (link - don't bother clicking on it as there is nothing there 😉) about perennial indoor allergens among them house dust mites and moulds. Human dander is an important constituent of house dust and house dust is a major cause of allergic reactions in dogs and I would suggest also in cats from time to time. We don't know how often human dander in house dust causes an allergic reaction in cats.

This sort of allergic reaction would fall under the category of an environmental allergen. That's because the human dander is in the air inside the home and lying around on the floor and furnishings.

In addition to environmental allergens, there are food allergens and flea allergens. Flea allergy dermatitis can occur in cats.

The problem with cats being allergic to humans is that we don't know much about it! And when cats are allergic to humans, the human caregiver might not know about it either! That's because the symptoms or signs of the allergic reaction might be slight just as they often are for humans when they are allergic to cats.

Normally when a dog or cat is allergic to humans the reaction will be atopic dermatitis commonly known as eczema. Eczema in cats and dogs can be brought about by human dander. For the sake of clarity, human dander is dead skin cells and bits of hair which have flown off the human or humans and end up in the environment including on furnishings.

Apparently, of the one in five dogs (20%) suffering with symptoms of an allergy, half of them will be allergic to human dander.

Atopic dermatitis is not uncommon cats but little is known about how frequently it is caused by human dander.

Sometimes cats can be allergic to several allergens at the same time one of which might be human dander.

The treatment of allergies in cats is complicated. It's going to require specialist analysis by a qualified veterinarian and/or scientist. Sometimes a veterinarian will prescribe antihistamines but I don't want to get into treatments because I'm not a qualified veterinarian.

The purpose of this post is to highlight the possibility that your cat might be allergic to you!


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Sunday 19 September 2021

CAT ALLERGY #shorts (funny video)

A cool little video about cat allergies. It's funny; the mix up is very easy to make. When we speak of a 'cat allergy' it can mean two things: a person who is allergic to cats or a cat who is allergic to certain things like food or environmental allergens.

So, if you say something like: I am looking for a treatment for a cat allergy it's not really clear what you mean. You have to rephrase it like this:

'I am looking for a treatment for my cat who suffers from allergies to unknown allergens'.


'I am looking for a treatment for my allergy to cats'.

It's boring, I know. But the jokey video is based on this weakness in the English language which is ambiguous on the issue of cat allergies!

Cat allergies video
Cat allergies video. Screenshot.

Sunday 4 July 2021

Picture of bumps and scabs on a cat's ear caused by an allergic reaction

This picture of the external part of the ear of a domestic cat, called the pinna (ear flap), might be instructive to somebody. It shows bumps and some bloody areas. You might be able to guess what happened. The cat has scratched his ears because they were itching. This sort of condition is often caused by an allergy to something. 

Allergies are caused by allergens and there are a wide range of allergens in very many areas of the life of a domestic cat including in the air and environment generally, in their food, and household items, in chemicals around the house which you don't necessarily know exist and so on. It can be difficult for a veterinarian to work out which allergen is causing an allergic reaction in a domestic cat. They have to run a lot of tests.

I have a particular interest in this sort of ear flap damage as my late mother's Siamese cat, Suki, suffered from the same problem. She did not deal with it properly and promptly which irks me to this day knowing that it caused her cat so much distress.

Picture of bumps and scabs on a cat's ear caused by an allergic reaction
Picture of bumps and scabs on a cat's ear caused by an allergic reaction. Photo: the cat's owner who remained anonymous.

The symptoms are distressing for a domestic cat because of intense itching. The cat scratches which breaks the skin. This may lead to a secondary bacterial infection and more problems. It's a case of self-mutilation. It's why cat owners need to act promptly to deal with allergies like this. It is called otitis externa: the external part of the air is inflamed in the form of bumps. It is not the whole area but just small parts of it.

A veterinarian diagnosed this condition online through the photograph. As this cat developed the problem during the summer months when he was outside in Atlanta, USA the veterinarian decided that it was a seasonal allergy caused by allergens such as pollen and grasses. She was able to discount other allergens such as those in food and around the house because of its seasonal nature.

But it might have been caused by a flea bite as some cats are allergic to flea bites. Or it might be caused by food and so on. It is just that it was possible to pin this one down more accurately because of its seasonal nature.

A secondary possibility was that the cat had been bitten by flies because he also had bumps on his nose. Fly bites are going to be seasonal as well for obvious reasons.

The picture is quite instructive because I think allergies which manifest themselves on a domestic cat's ear flaps are quite common. They look rather benign and not particularly important but they are. They cause itchiness which is very distressing if that itchiness is present all the time 24/7. Think about it and how it might feel if you had a persistent and powerful itch on your ear all the time.

Please deal with these sorts of illnesses quickly and see a veterinarian because it can be very difficult to self-diagnose domestic cat illnesses and conditions accurately. This condition is dealt with through a topical steroid cream which your veterinarian can provide recommend. 

But of course, the best treatment is proactive, namely to prevent your cat coming into contact with the allergen or allergens which cause the condition. In this instance it would probably be wise for the owner to keep her cat inside during the summer months which would be very difficult because he's got used to being outside enjoying the sun.

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