Much like a human, your feline family member can be allergic to anything in his diet. From chicken and fish, to wheat and soy, your fluffy friend may experience a slew of side effects if he’s allergic. If your kitty scratches excessively, has irritated skin, throws up or has runny eyes after eating, let your veterinarian know immediately. These symptoms are just a few of the issues associated with a food allergy.
Overall itching and scratching are typical signs of any allergy. With food allergies, symptoms can happen at any point during the year. They’re not seasonal, as with pollen allergies. For felines with food allergies, scratchy spots tend to be worse around the head. If your cuddly pal seems to be constantly itching at his ears, head and neck, or shaking his head -- particularly shortly after eating -- he’s likely allergic to his food.
Irritated skin is a major problem associated with food allergies. Initially, your prancing companion could have redness, bumps or swelling around his mouth. As the allergy progresses, he might develop hives anywhere on his body. In addition, you may not see him actually scratching himself excessively, however, you could see bald spots or redness associated with excessive scratching. Eventually, these spots can open up and ooze, ultimately increasing his chances of having an infected open sore on his skin.
Your four-legged buddy probably won’t be able to hold his food down if he’s allergic to it. If he throws up undigested food, it might be a signal that it’s unusually irritating for his system. Or if the allergy-causing food does make it through his digestive tract, it can irritate his bowels, leaving him with bouts of diarrhea or watery stools. In some cases, this can cause him to have accidents outside of his litter box.
Food allergies can cause your playmate to sneeze when he eats, or shortly afterward. It’s also possible for his eyes to tear up and his eyelids to swell. These symptoms might not start immediately after he eats his kibble. Listen to him breath, when possible. If he’s suffering from an allergic reaction, his throat can become inflamed. This leads to snoring while he’s sleeping, or possibly wheezing while he’s going about his daily activities. Lastly, keep an eye on his ears. If your fur-covered buddy has a food allergy, his ears likely will be inflamed and excreting an abnormal discharge. See your veterinarian to determine if allergies are the culprit and for alternative food choices.
mercedes rancaño/iStock/Getty Images
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.