Food Allergy and Food Intolerance in Cats

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My cat has been vomiting periodically for quite some time. I have spent a great deal of time and money on vet bills but all tests so far have not been able to pinpoint the problem. Sometimes it seems that the problem arises when I introduce a new food. Could this be a food allergy?

Food Allergy and Food Intolerance in Cats

There is a distinct difference between food allergies and food intolerance in cats. Allergies trigger specific allergic reactions, generally involving skin and itching problems. Food intolerances manifest themselves in episodes of vomiting and diarrhea.

Allergies should be considered if the cat has the problem year round rather than seasonally. Parasitic or skin infections should be ruled out first. Allergies can sometimes be diagnosed with blood tests. Consult your veterinarian regarding that procedure.

The best way to determine whether or not food is the culprit with either allergies or food intolerances is to put the cat on a severely restricted diet for an extended period of time to see if the symptoms resolve themselves. The food combination fed during this period should be consistent and something the cat has not had before. Both Hills and Purina make a canned mix just for this purpose.

In the case food intolerance, you should see very quick improvement and the vomiting should clear up. It may take much longer for allergic reactions to disappear.

Once you determine the problem to be food related, gradually try a normal diet. If the symptoms resume, give it up for a few days and then try something else. Once you have found a balanced and complete food that the cat tolerates well, stick with it.



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