Is your cat scratching itself all the time? If you have checked and treated for fleas and your cat is still scratching, it may be time to look at the food you are feeding. Food intolerances are becoming more and more common in cats.
Is It A Food Allergy or a Food Intolerance?
A food allergy is your cat’s immune system response to ingesting an allergen. The first time your cat eats something they are allergic to, their body will produce immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. You won’t notice anything on the outside, but on the inside your cat’s body has already started fighting against the allergen. The next time your cat ingests that same food or allergen, the antibodies that were produced earlier will bind to the allergen and start the inflammatory reaction. This is the body’s way of telling your cat that this allergen is not okay. Once the inflammation begins, it moves from the inside of your cat to the outside of your cat, producing things like itching, scratching and dandruff.
A food intolerance looks just like a food allergy. Without doing expensive and often inaccurate food allergy testing, there isn’t a way to know for sure if your cat is experiencing a food allergy or a food intolerance.
The easiest way to find out if it’s your cat’s food causing the problem is to switch your cat’s food. Find a food that has limited ingredients that are different from what you’re currently feeding. After a few weeks, your cat’s itching should be diminished and eventually should clear up altogether. You may need to try a few different cat foods before settling on the right one. Sometimes putting together a food journal can be a helpful way of keeping track of what your cat has eaten in the past and what reaction your cat had to the food.