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Author Topic: Cat with Allergies, Need Advice  (Read 4308 times)
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« Topic Start: November 13, 2007, 07:39:10 am »

My poor cat has developed food allergies. She constantly scratches herself and spends all of her time in hiding.

The vet strongly suspects the fillers in cat food to be the culprit.  The vet gave her pills but they only made her loopy and didn't help. The problem is finding out which fillers are making her itchy, the poor thing has scratched her neck to pieces.  A neighbor said her cat was allergic to tuna, I tried cutting that out but it didn't help.

Right now I am making her fresh chicken parts (no canned or dry cat food) and she seems to be doing a little better. I don't know how long until all the toxins are out of her system.

Does anyone else have a cat with food allergies? If so what did you do about it and what were the allergies due to? Anyone know of any cat food free of fillers?

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« Reply #1: November 13, 2007, 10:44:27 am »

My poor cat has developed food allergies. She constantly scratches herself and spends all of her time in hiding.

The vet strongly suspects the fillers in cat food to be the culprit.  The vet gave her pills but they only made her loopy and didn't help. The problem is finding out which fillers are making her itchy, the poor thing has scratched her neck to pieces.  A neighbor said her cat was allergic to tuna, I tried cutting that out but it didn't help.

Right now I am making her fresh chicken parts (no canned or dry cat food) and she seems to be doing a little better. I don't know how long until all the toxins are out of her system.

Does anyone else have a cat with food allergies? If so what did you do about it and what were the allergies due to? Anyone know of any cat food free of fillers?



Hopefully Drunementon will see this and come in.

I know Gunner (the Russian blue I lost a year and a half ago) had developed some food allergies (the main one was to whitefish which is a common protein additive) and we played hell finding foods without them. We finally ended up on a canned food after carefully reading the label.

It's going to depend on the filler, though I think corn is the primary culprit for a lot of food allergies. If you're not sure what the allergen is, it comes down to feeding nothing but one food (like chicken) and then adding things back in. I know I looked into a raw food diet for Gunner and it's something I would never, ever do. The cooked food diet, I would have been much more comfortable with for a short term tool.
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« Reply #2: November 13, 2007, 12:11:07 pm »

My poor cat has developed food allergies. She constantly scratches herself and spends all of her time in hiding.

The vet strongly suspects the fillers in cat food to be the culprit.  The vet gave her pills but they only made her loopy and didn't help. The problem is finding out which fillers are making her itchy, the poor thing has scratched her neck to pieces.  A neighbor said her cat was allergic to tuna, I tried cutting that out but it didn't help.

Right now I am making her fresh chicken parts (no canned or dry cat food) and she seems to be doing a little better. I don't know how long until all the toxins are out of her system.

Does anyone else have a cat with food allergies? If so what did you do about it and what were the allergies due to? Anyone know of any cat food free of fillers?



I'm really sorry to hear about the kitty allergies, it's very stressful when your cat isn't well and you need to change her diet.  We have a cat who isn't allergic, exactly, but he developed digestive issues that the vet didn't help with and it's tied to something in the food.  I switched him over to Wellness Core Fish & Fowl dry food and Wellness Grain-Free wet food.  He gets about 70% wet food and 30% dry now.  We've seen dramatic improvement in just a few weeks. 

You might want to look into brands that don't use grain fillers and see if there's any improvement while you're working with your vet.  They're expensive, but it might be worth it.  This page had some helpful articles when I was doing research.  http://cats.about.com/od/catfoodandnutrition/Cat_Food_and_Nutrition.htm

Good luck to you guys!

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« Reply #3: November 13, 2007, 12:45:12 pm »

I know I looked into a raw food diet for Gunner and it's something I would never, ever do. The cooked food diet, I would have been much more comfortable with for a short term tool.

I've been cooking the chicken, but at this stage I am just trying to find out the allergens, so hopefully it won't be long term (it's a pain!) The raw diet sounds like an even bigger deal, so I am with you there.


Thanks for the site, it had some helpful ideas, but I won't go so far as to try the frozen baby mouse route - ew. LOL!

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« Reply #4: November 14, 2007, 10:53:28 pm »



Does anyone else have a cat with food allergies? If so what did you do about it and what were the allergies due to? Anyone know of any cat food free of fillers?



cat food allergies are usually caused by corn, soy , or sometimes even the chicken meal in dry food that is just basically the junk parts leftover from the chicken. I worked as a rep. for a dog/cat food company called BlueBuffalo and their food is made entirely out of ingredients that are rated "Human Grade" . My cats love it and are both very healthy....one of them, for awhile, had allergies, but this food has really helped him with that....plus you feed them less food b/c it keeps them fuller longer with whole grains.

ok...before sounding too much like I still work for them I will just leave a web address : http://www.bluebuff.com/products/cats/index.shtml

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« Reply #5: November 14, 2007, 11:15:28 pm »

cat food allergies are usually caused by corn, soy , or sometimes even the chicken meal in dry food that is just basically the junk parts leftover from the chicken. I worked as a rep. for a dog/cat food company called BlueBuffalo and their food is made entirely out of ingredients that are rated "Human Grade" . My cats love it and are both very healthy....one of them, for awhile, had allergies, but this food has really helped him with that....plus you feed them less food b/c it keeps them fuller longer with whole grains.
ok...before sounding too much like I still work for them I will just leave a web address : http://www.bluebuff.com/products/cats/index.shtml

Thanks for the tip and the web site - I will be heading off tomorrow to my local pet store, I will check out that brand (among some others that people have recommended) Thanks!
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« Reply #6: November 19, 2007, 02:23:00 pm »

My poor cat has developed food allergies. She constantly scratches herself and spends all of her time in hiding.

The vet strongly suspects the fillers in cat food to be the culprit.  The vet gave her pills but they only made her loopy and didn't help. The problem is finding out which fillers are making her itchy, the poor thing has scratched her neck to pieces.  A neighbor said her cat was allergic to tuna, I tried cutting that out but it didn't help.

Right now I am making her fresh chicken parts (no canned or dry cat food) and she seems to be doing a little better. I don't know how long until all the toxins are out of her system.

Does anyone else have a cat with food allergies? If so what did you do about it and what were the allergies due to? Anyone know of any cat food free of fillers?

I have a cat with serious allergies.  If you are feeding cooked food, you need to talk to your vet about getting a taurine/vitamin additive to include with her food, because cooking can reduce tauine levels dangerously low (cats go blind without taurine).  You'll also need to be careful about the amount of liver or kidney you are feeding, if any (you say "parts" but don't specify)...  too much of these and you can cause serious vitamin overloads.

The previous posters are right:  first culprits in food allergies are grains and most specifically corn and wheat.  You'll have to read the labels very carefully:  in addition to corn and wheat, look for phrases like gluten, corn flour, flour, unspecified fibre content etc.  Any of these can represent hidden grain. 

The second most common allergens are protein-based:  common protiens such as chicken or fish are the biggest culprits there.  If it isn't chicken look for food that list chicken as chicken or human-grade chicken:  anything that says chicken meal or chicken parts are less desirable.  Fish is a lot more tricky:  you'll generally find its presence in the lower end of the ingredients list and its virtually impossible to avoid in dry food because it is a favored choice for adding taurine.  You'll find it listed by type of fish, as fish meal or fish oil. 

If it is a protein allergen, you'll need to look at a food that has "novel" or uncommon protein:  lamb, venison and duck are the most common choices.  Whatever diet you choose, she will have to be on it exclusively for 4-6 weeks before you see a marked improvement.  I'm also thinking that if she's not showing a big improvement on homemade chicken food, you may have a protein rather than a grain allergy and sometimes cats have both.  Also, overall, the biggest culprit seems to be dry food.  If you can feed her 100% or 75% wet or homemade, it may help her immensely.

It is also possible that this isn't food at all, but is an environmental allergy or a combination of the two.  If you cat's scatching is not continuous (ie/ it's worse at some parts of the year than others), then you likely have a seasonal/environmental allergy and changing food will be of limited help.  The big culprits her are dust and pollen, and they tend to be worse in spring and/or fall, and during the winter when the heat is on (the biggest dust factory in a house).  Humidifiers, giving the cat Omega fatty acids, and using air purifiers can help.   

There are a couple of drug choices:  I'd be interested to know what your vet prescribed.  Generally, the drug of choice is prednisone, basically used to reduce the histamine reaction.  Benadryl can also work in some cats.  Since stress can also be a factor, some vets will try tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline or clomicalm. 
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« Reply #7: November 19, 2007, 05:51:28 pm »

I have a cat with serious allergies.  If you are feeding cooked food, you need to talk to your vet about getting a taurine/vitamin additive to include with her food, because cooking can reduce tauine levels dangerously low (cats go blind without taurine).  You'll also need to be careful about the amount of liver or kidney you are feeding, if any (you say "parts" but don't specify)...  too much of these and you can cause serious vitamin overloads.

The second most common allergens are protein-based:  common protiens such as chicken or fish are the biggest culprits there.  If it isn't chicken look for food that list chicken as chicken or human-grade chicken:  anything that says chicken meal or chicken parts are less desirable.  Fish is a lot more tricky:  you'll generally find its presence in the lower end of the ingredients list and its virtually impossible to avoid in dry food because it is a favored choice for adding taurine.  You'll find it listed by type of fish, as fish meal or fish oil. 

If it is a protein allergen, you'll need to look at a food that has "novel" or uncommon protein:  lamb, venison and duck are the most common choices.  Whatever diet you choose, she will have to be on it exclusively for 4-6 weeks before you see a marked improvement.  I'm also thinking that if she's not showing a big improvement on homemade chicken food, you may have a protein rather than a grain allergy and sometimes cats have both.  Also, overall, the biggest culprit seems to be dry food.  If you can feed her 100% or 75% wet or homemade, it may help her immensely.
It is also possible that this isn't food at all, but is an environmental allergy or a combination of the two. 
There are a couple of drug choices:  I'd be interested to know what your vet prescribed.  Generally, the drug of choice is prednisone, basically used to reduce the histamine reaction.  Benadryl can also work in some cats.  Since stress can also be a factor, some vets will try tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline or clomicalm. 

I have her on canned food again, this time from a pet store. I found some organic speciality food that had no grain or fish (rather expensive though) and she does seemed to have improved a little. I did notice that I couldn't avoid the fish in dry food. I bought some but have been giving it sparingly.

At this point I guess I just have to play the waiting game to see she will continue to improve. 4 -6 weeks you say?  I was hoping for faster results.  Sad  But, I will keep her on this diet and if she doesn't improve I will look into the chicken as a cause.

The vet did say there could be household reasons, but I haven't changed any cleaning habits or detergents or anything. She is mostly itchy around her neck, which is why I think he thought it might be food related.

She is on Prednisone, he started her off on a whole tablet and cut her down to 1/2 a tablet and now she is on 1/2 tablet every other day. (It was really making her loopy)

She isn't hiding as much and actually woke me up when she wanted her breakfast today. But she still has a long way to go to being her old self again.
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« Reply #8: November 19, 2007, 06:06:39 pm »


She is on Prednisone, he started her off on a whole tablet and cut her down to 1/2 a tablet and now she is on 1/2 tablet every other day. (It was really making her loopy)


I'm going to interject something here.

Vets love to give Pred for these non-specific allergy problems. And they do work, but you need to be very, very careful how much she's getting. And I mean that over the long term. A couple of mgs here or there for a few days isn't going to be a problem for the short term, but it can get to where that is the only treatment some vets will use.

If that happens, find another vet. I can't stress that enough. Even if it's only for a second opinion. Steriods can solve a lot of problems, but they can also mask them and they can also create others. They're an absolute godsend when used right. Used wrong and you can wind up with more problems or, worse yet, a dead animal.
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« Reply #9: November 19, 2007, 07:00:02 pm »

I'm going to interject something here.
Vets love to give Pred for these non-specific allergy problems. And they do work, but you need to be very, very careful how much she's getting. And I mean that over the long term. A couple of mgs here or there for a few days isn't going to be a problem for the short term, but it can get to where that is the only treatment some vets will use.
If that happens, find another vet. I can't stress that enough. Even if it's only for a second opinion. Steriods can solve a lot of problems, but they can also mask them and they can also create others. They're an absolute godsend when used right. Used wrong and you can wind up with more problems or, worse yet, a dead animal.

Yes, I am with you. I am not big on long term drugs for pets (or people for that matter) unless it is absolutely necessary.  I did have a dog once that had to be on heart meds.

My vet is out of town for the holiday week, but kittly goes back in for a re-check next week. I wanted to be able to document the foods I was giving her and hopefully be able to narrow down the possible cause/causes and get more input from the vet as well.
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« Reply #10: November 20, 2007, 09:53:38 pm »

I'm going to interject something here.

Vets love to give Pred for these non-specific allergy problems. And they do work, but you need to be very, very careful how much she's getting. And I mean that over the long term. A couple of mgs here or there for a few days isn't going to be a problem for the short term, but it can get to where that is the only treatment some vets will use.

The biggest problem with allergies in cats is that there really isn't anything else the vets can turn to once the allergies have progressed beyond a certain point. 

Basically, the success of antihistamines like Diphenhydramine (trade name Benadryl) depends on whether the cat is having a reaction to H1 or H2 histamine receptors.  For example, Diphenhydramine works if it's an H1 reaction, and not at all if it's an H2 reaction.  So its effectiveness with cats (just like humans) can be very hit and miss.  Plus, Benadryl is not approved for use in cats by the FDA so it's an off-label (or exprimental) use of the drug.  This is not necessarily a reason not to use it, but it is a bit of a problem in terms of tracking potential adverse reactions.  Other common antihistamines used are Hydroxyzine (Atarax),  Clemastine fumarate (Tavist) and Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton).  All of these are off-label as well. 

The reason why vets don't generally prescribe antihistamines for cats has to do with the difficulty of dosing, since there's been no research on most antihistamines.  Cats have odd metabolic systems and drugs can have very prolonged effects...  there is research going on, and hopefully there will be more choices available in the future. 

By far and away the best treatment for cat allergies is avoidance, and even that is hit and miss.  Using Omega fatty acids and Biotin can also provide relief.  But when nothing else works, vets have very little choice but to use pred.  I use it for Tum's allergies, but sparingly.  Like any drug (including antihistamines and virtually anything we give to ourselves or cats) pred can have serious side effects and must be used with caution.
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« Reply #11: November 20, 2007, 10:03:10 pm »

My vet is out of town for the holiday week, but kittly goes back in for a re-check next week. I wanted to be able to document the foods I was giving her and hopefully be able to narrow down the possible cause/causes and get more input from the vet as well.

If you think it could be environmental (ie/ if changing food has little effect), you will want to talk to your vet about intradermal skin testing, if the expertise is available in your area (and budget).  Basically, it's the same test as a human would have...  a small amount of allergen is injected under the cat's skin.  If the cat is allergic, a bump appears (or redness).  It's worth the money if you have it because it can identify the specific environmental agent that the cat is allergic to (such as dust, mold, pollen etc.). 
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« Reply #12: November 20, 2007, 10:26:47 pm »

The biggest problem with allergies in cats is that there really isn't anything else the vets can turn to once the allergies have progressed beyond a certain point.

Oh tell me about it. That was one of the problems we had with Gunner. And, unfortunately, breaking the "itch cycle" on a cat is much more difficult than it is with a dog.

What concerns me, though, is that there are vets who rely primarily on Pred to treat these things without ever looking at the cause of the problem. I know the vet we had would have happily drugged Gunner up to the eyeballs with Pred while never once mentioning food allergies or ways to track down the source of the problem. We were pretty much left to our own devices (and yours LOL) while trying to narrow down the problem.

Quote
By far and away the best treatment for cat allergies is avoidance, and even that is hit and miss.  Using Omega fatty acids and Biotin can also provide relief.  But when nothing else works, vets have very little choice but to use pred.  I use it for Tum's allergies, but sparingly.  Like any drug (including antihistamines and virtually anything we give to ourselves or cats) pred can have serious side effects and must be used with caution.

Bingo. But at least your vet doesn't just dole out the pills without helping you guys try and locate the source of the problem.
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« Reply #13: November 20, 2007, 10:36:43 pm »

Oh tell me about it. That was one of the problems we had with Gunner. And, unfortunately, breaking the "itch cycle" on a cat is much more difficult than it is with a dog. What concerns me, though, is that there are vets who rely primarily on Pred to treat these things without ever looking at the cause of the problem. I know the vet we had would have happily drugged Gunner up to the eyeballs with Pred while never once mentioning food allergies or ways to track down the source of the problem. We were pretty much left to our own devices (and yours LOL) while trying to narrow down the problem.Bingo. But at least your vet doesn't just dole out the pills without helping you guys try and locate the source of the problem.

I know all about crappy vets, LOL!  If we hadn't stumbled on the cat whisperer, we would never have known that Tum's tendancy to loose bowels was food allergies.  I'm in total agreement with you that a good vet is paramount.  Even the cat whisperer, as good as she is, hadn't heard of hyperesthesia (Chuff's problem), but when I mentioned it to her as a possible source of his aggression, she contacted Tufts and got all the info she or I would ever need on it and was able to confirm it.  A lot of other vets would have dismissed me and just passed it off to him being an alpha male.  We are so lucky to have her.     
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« Reply #14: December 06, 2007, 11:38:03 am »

My poor cat has developed food allergies. She constantly scratches herself and spends all of her time in hiding.
Does anyone else have a cat with food allergies? If so what did you do about it and what were the allergies due to? Anyone know of any cat food free of fillers?

Just wanted to let everyone know that my cat is doing soooo much better now!  I tried a few brands that everyone here suggested and she seems to do the best on the Blue brand, (fish and wheat free.)

I had her off her meds for several days but she is starting to itch again so she is back on for awhile.
She managed to get some of the other cats food and I am pretty sure that is what brought it back on.

But all in all she is greatly improved!
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