What’s the hype about hypoallergenic cat food?

Cat food allergies are a pesky issue because of the limited number of solutions you can try. You can avoid feeding your feline with a specific brand or type of food (such as wet or dry), but what if the allergen is a prevalent ingredient in most cat foods? There must be a way to help your sensitive kitty without compromising the variety in their diet. 

You might have come across the term hypoallergenic cat food, but what kind of food is it exactly? Does this tailor-made cat food help allergic felines, and are there any other benefits? Untamed zooms in on hypoallergenic cat food to find out whether the hype is justified.

Is your cat struggling with a food allergy or food intolerance?

Food allergies and intolerance have very similar symptoms and can be confused for one another. That’s why we need to learn how to recognise the issue and opt for the appropriate solution.

What is the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance?

The main difference between a food allergy and food intolerance is that a food allergy affects the skin and stomach, while an intolerance disturbs the latter only. An occasional scratch here and there might not seem suspicious, but if your cat is persistently clawing their skin, they might be struggling with allergies. 

Other than itchy skin, there are different symptoms you can observe to differentiate a food allergy from food intolerance. Let’s learn how to distinguish the two conditions:

Condition

Details

Food intolerance

Symptoms occur at any age. They show up after each consumption of the food your feline is intolerant to and include:

Food allergy

Allergies develop in the period between years two and six. The symptoms require several exposures to the allergen to show up and include:

  • Bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Severe shedding
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dry, red, and flaky skin
  • Itchy bottom

Even though they are a more evident sign that your kitty is struggling health-wise, gastrointestinal symptoms are only present in around 10–15% of allergic felines. Whenever you’re snuggling with your cat, make it a habit to check their skin and ears since most allergies show up as dandruff, red skin, and loss of hair in those areas.

My human has been asking for too many cuddles this week. What is going on?! 

Image (c) Untamed

Foods that cause trouble

Your kitty’s stomach can be throwing hands with various chemicals and animal products. The usual culprits behind a cat’s nervous tummy are:

Category

Ingredients

Meat

  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Chicken

Animal products

Grain

  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Rice

Vegetable products

  • Sugar
  • Beet pulp

Additives

Artificial colouring and flavouring

Are you saying I might not be able to eat some of these? Oh, man! 

Image (c) Untamed

Are food allergies curable?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for cat food allergies yet, but there are ways we can prevent our kitties from suffering severe allergic reactions.

If you suspect that your cat has a food allergy, you should take them to the vet. The vet will conduct a food trial to determine the particular foods your feline’s organism reacts to and suggest appropriate treatment, such as:

  • Antihistamines (medicine designed to stop allergy symptoms)
  • Special hypoallergenic diets

How can a pawticular diet help cats battle food allergies?

Hypoallergenic diets are designed to help your cat build immunity or avoid common allergens and life-threatening allergic reactions. If the vet discovers that your kitty is struggling with food allergies, they could suggest a trial with one of the following hypoallergenic diets:

  • Novel ingredient diets—Novel foods are those your cat has never tried before, which, depending on your cat’s diet so far, can be:
    • Fish
    • Veal
    • Duck
    • Venison
    • Kangaroo
  • Hydrolysed ingredient dietsHydrolysed cat food contains ingredients processed in such a way that they do not trigger allergic reactions

The pawsitive side of hypoallergenic diets for cats

A hypoallergenic cat diet is a godsend if your cat has digestive problems caused by foods containing multiple protein sources. 

Our cats’ great ancestors didn’t have buffet breakfasts—wild cats usually ate one type of protein per day, so evolution had no reason to provide felines with the means to digest proteins from multiple sources. 

Switching to hypoallergenic cat food with a single source of protein can calm your kitty’s tummy and make mealtime enjoyable again.

The downside of hypoallergenic cat food

Since not so many cats were exposed to meals that included rice and lamb, these ingredients were essential in the production of hypoallergenic cat food when it first made its entrance on the market. As time went by and felines adjusted, rice and lamb became a common ingredient in regular cat diets, making them not-so-novel and potential allergens. Specialists warn that fish and potatoes could meet the same fate.

When do the benefits of a hypoallergenic diet for cats become visible?

Your cat’s organism needs anywhere between 10 and 12 weeks to get rid of allergens entirely, but some benefits become noticeable much earlier:

  • Two to four weeks—Gastrointestinal symptoms slowly disappear
  • Ten weeks—The itchiness of the skin subsides gradually as your cat grows new skin cells

If your cat isn’t showing progress after 12 weeks of dieting, you should consult your vet about the possibility of misdiagnosis and instructions on what to do next.

What could compromise the success of a hypoallergenic cat diet?

A hypoallergenic cat diet is only successful if you ensure your kitty follows through, which means you must:

  • Avoid leaving allergenic food somewhere your cat can reach
  • Buy food the vet recommends or double-check the contents of other options you want to try
  • Steer clear of treats of any kind
  • Watch out for hidden ingredients (for example, fish oil in biscuits that don’t have fish meat in them)
  • Ensure your kitty doesn’t steal from another pet’s bowl
  • Inform friends and family members about the diet so that they don’t give treats or any other food to your furry friend
  • Continue trying even if you slip one day
  • Watch out for any dropped food around the house, especially if you have little kids

Sneaky cats find their way to the food they want. Make sure all potentially allergenic food is out of paw’s reach.

Image (c) Untamed

How to switch to a hypoallergenic cat diet seamlessly

The key to changing your cat’s food is patience and persistence. To make your kitty switch to hypoallergenic cat food successfully, you need to do it gradually. Sudden changes would stress out your cat and make them avoid eating at all. 

You should switch the contents of your cat’s meal by 10% per day for the best outcome. Check the table below for instructions:

Day

Old food (in %)

New food (in %)

One

90

10

Two

80

20

Three

70

30

Four

60

40

Five

50

50

Six

40

60

Seven

30

70

Eight

20

80

Nine

10

90

Ten

0

100

Choosing pawsome hypoallergenic cat food—options for a sensitive feline

Finding food that is both tasty and suitable for your feline’s sensitive tummy can be challenging, but it’s not impossible! If you have been looking for hypoallergenic cat food, you must have stumbled upon the following recommendations:

  1. Dry
  2. Homemade
  3. Raw
  4. Wet

What is the best dry cat food for allergies?

The best hypoallergenic dry cat food for your feline will be the one that doesn’t include:

  • Ingredients your kitty might be allergic to
  • Vague ingredient labels which might contain contaminants your kitty should avoid (for example, animal by-products, animal derivatives)
  • Vegetable derivatives
  • Grain
  • Unnecessary chemicals, such as artificial colouring and flavouring

Your cat might get bored of eating the same meal over and over again—try mixing dry with wet food or switching the type of food each meal to provide your kitty with enough variety. Keep in mind to cut down on the portion as dry food is typically richer in calories than other kinds of cat food.

Homemade hypoallergenic cat food—pros and cons

Is homemade hypoallergenic cat food the right choice for your kitty? Let’s find out:

Pros

Cons

  • You know the exact contents of your kitty’s food
  • Homemade cat food typically has higher moisture contents than commercial cat foods
  • Homemade cat food goes through less processing, which preserves all of the ingredients’ natural nutrients
  • Homemade cat food can take a long time to make (especially for bigger batches)
  • Fresh ingredients can be expensive in comparison to prescription or commercial cat foods
  • You need to make sure the food contains enough necessary nutrients, which are:
    • Protein
    • Fat
    • Vitamins and minerals
    • Amino acids (such as taurine, arginine, histidine, and more)
    • Fatty acids
    • Carbohydrates (a small amount of fibre to get the bowels going)
  • Storage might pose an issue if you’re making bigger batches of food

If you decide to cook for your furry friend, you should:

  • Consult your vet for recipes and meal sizing
  • Buy meat from a trusted supplier
  • Keep the kitchen as sterile as possible to prevent meat contamination
  • Ensure you have enough storage space
  • Never cook more than your kitty can eat before spoiling

Is raw food hypoallergenic?

In theory, raw food might help avoid adverse allergic reactions, but only when a cat is allergic to grain or dairy products. In every other situation, switching to a raw diet can cause more trouble than good. Raw meat, if stored improperly, can carry various bacteria and parasites, such as:

  • Escherichia coli
  • Salmonella
  • Toxoplasma
  • Sarcocystis

Those troublemakers can infect not only our precious furry friends but us, cat parents, too!

Hypoallergenic wet cat food is the optimal choice for your sensitive cat, and here’s why

Some of the numerous reasons your cat will fall in love with hypoallergenic wet cat food include:

  • Pleasant taste and palatability
  • High moisture content
  • Hydrolysed meals (your kitty can eat the ingredients they love most with less risk of an allergic reaction)

You will also notice many benefits, such as:

  • Easier storage
  • Longer shelf life
  • Pre-portioned meals

If you’re looking for the perfect hypoallergenic wet cat food for your kitty, Untamed has got your back! All of our recipes undergo minimum processing and are formulated in a way that ensures no common allergens cause a stir in your cat’s belly. If your furry friend is extra sensitive, we have two aces up our sleeves—our two single-source protein meals:

  • Chocka Chicken
  • Tuck-in Tuna

Forget about fishy brands and foods with our Tuck-in Tuna!

Image (c) Untamed

My picky cat is causing me more trouble than their allergies—help!

Suppose your cat is struggling with allergies, and you finally laid your hands on what seems like good cat food. You serve it for mealtime, but alas, your kitty won’t even look at it. There are four potential reasons as to why your cat is fussy:

  • They dislike the food
  • The feeding area is too close to the litter box
  • They aren’t hungry or prefer eating out of the designated schedule
  • They are used to a variety of food and find it hard to stick to a hypoallergenic cat diet throughout the trial

Whichever the reason, a fussy eater can be discouraging and typically means that you’re about to try a variety of solutions before you find the right one. If your cat is picky, you can try to:

  • Move the bowl further from the litter box
  • Offer several different kinds of hypoallergenic cat food (it’s best to consult your vet before introducing other foods)
  • Pour some water or broth over the biscuits 
  • Warm up the food to around 36°C

I tried all solutions, but my cat still won’t eat

In some cases, cats avoid food due to issues such as:

  • Having been overfed in the past 
  • Having been offered too many options

Those situations will require you to be a little stubborn and take the following approach:

  1. Take out food at the designated mealtime
  2. Leave the food out for 15 minutes
  3. Remove the food if the cat won’t eat
  4. Repeat the process for two more meals

If your kitty still won’t eat, it’s time to take them to the vet since food rejection can be a sign of various medical issues, such as kidney disease, acute respiratory infection, inflammatory bowel disease, and more. If your cat doesn’t eat for two or more days, organ failure can occur.

Tame your cat’s allergies!

Choosing the right hypoallergenic cat food is important to get rid of persistent allergic reactions. Here at Untamed, we understand that, which is why we have single-source protein meals in our arsenal. Our goal is to provide paw-licking good meals that help improve your cat’s health—tin by tin, from kittenhood to adulthood.

We believe that transparency is the best policy—if you check our meals’ labels, you will notice that Untamed provides homemade-level quality with the convenience of home delivery. Fresh, human-grade ingredients go through minimum processing—enough to reduce their allergenicity and lock in all of the natural nutrients and flavours.

Our pack approves, and you can become part of itall you need to do is pick up our starter box! You won’t regret switching—toe bean promise!

Untamed won the hearts of the pickiest of eaters—and here’s how

One time, our beloved cat, Sian, became terribly ill and was recommended a whole meat diet by his vet. After witnessing the lack of quality meals that are somewhat appealing to a picky feline’s taste, we knew we had to take action. With a bit of imagination and a lot of love, we came up with recipes that would help Sian get back on his feet and provide the means for many more kitties to do the same!

Our mission further expands to:

  • Providing quality packaging that doesn’t harm our home, the Earth
  • Ensuring every kitty gets a personalised meal pack according to their preferences and physique
  • Raising industry standards regarding cat food

Vets approve Untamed, and your cat will, too!

I disapprove of this box! You told me I would get food, human!

Image (c) Untamed

Join our pack and never look back!

If you want to change your cat’s diet for the better—furever—here’s how to do it:

  1. Order our starter kit
  2. Make changes to your plan according to your cat’s expert opinion
  3. Schedule regular deliveries
  4. Sit back and watch your cat flourish

Many cat parents, including those of allergic cats, report the following improvements in their felines’ health after trying Untamed:

Timeline

Improvements

Day one

  • Fewer unpleasant surprises in the litterbox
  • Better mood due to easier digestion

Two months

Higher energy levels due to a high-protein whole meat diet

Four months

  • Shinier coat
  • Fewer hairballs

Forever

  • Natural weight control and maintenance
  • Long-term health benefits from a diet that mirrors that of a wild feline

How to store hypoallergenic cat food

The way you need to store hypoallergenic cat food depends on the type of food. Some general storing rules apply to all kinds of hypoallergenic cat food, as follows:

  • Remove food that’s been sitting in the bowl for too long to prevent food spoiling
  • Avoid storing the hypoallergenic cat food near an allergen you’re trying to avoid
  • Keep the food in a cool (less than room temperature) and dry place

How long can I keep homemade hypoallergenic cat food before it spoils?

Any cooked cat food has a maximum of 72 hours before it spoils. You should keep homemade cat food in the fridge and heat small portions before serving. You can also make cat food in advance and freeze it, but that might impact the taste and texture of the food.

What is the shelf life of dry hypoallergenic cat food?

The shelf life of hypoallergenic cat food, and all types of food, depends on the ingredients’ processing and can vary from three months to four years. That being said, an opened bag of dry food spoils much quicker. Whenever possible, opt for airtight packaging or buy smaller bags of dry food to keep it from spoiling or changing texture (which your cat will never forgive you for).

Storing wet hypoallergenic cat food

Wet hypoallergenic cat food is a blessing because of its longer shelf life and convenient packaging. Most canned cat foods have a shelf life of around one year. If the package is big and your kitty doesn’t eat a whole tin during one meal, you can cover it with plastic foil and keep it in the fridge. Bear in mind that your kitty might not be too eager to eat a cold meal, but you can:

  1. Pour the wet food into a plastic bag
  2. Hold the bag under warm running water without getting the water inside the bag

The meal will be room temperature, and your cat will be much happier to munch on it.