Cat Allergies: Gluten Intolerance

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Okay STAHP! We can see you rolling your eyes from here. Gluten intolerance is a thing, and it could be affecting your cat.

That kitty kibble could be giving your cat allergies

Cats are real carnivores. Not like your friend who says they couldn’t be a vegetarian because they could never give up bacon. Like actual carnivores. Cats need high levels of meat proteins to survive, and their teeth are designed to tear – not chew. Their digestive systems are short with specific enzymes for digesting meat and fat. Unlike cats, us humans have long intestines. These long intestines are good for breaking down veggies, grains, and other non-protein nutrients. Biology tells us that gluten is not natural to a cat’s diet. They can’t process it and get no nutritional value from it.

So why is gluten in cat food?

One main reason: it’s cheap and it sticks. Sticky gluten helps to bind the food together into the kibble pieces that hold together in the bag. Which doesn’t seem like a very good reason to us. Especially when your cat can’t even process the stuff. Veterinarian Karen Becker suggests avoiding cat foods with any kind of gluten since the filler has no nutritional value and is hard to digest.

Gluten allergies or intolerances in cats

Like people, many cats can eat gluten without any issues. But for some cats (and people), gluten can cause some pretty unpleasant health problems.

Symptoms of gluten (or other food) allergies in cats:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Feline asthma
  • Severe irritable bowel syndrome
  • Allergic skin reactions (itchy/dry skin, hot spots, excessive hair loss)

If you suspect your cat has a gluten allergy, you can confirm this or rule it out by a food elimination trial. To be clear, a true gluten allergy in a cat is rare. It is more likely that your cat would have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance. Either way, if it is affecting your cats quality of life it is worth looking in to.

Get to the bottom of it

It is important to note that there are many things in your cat’s food that could be causing allergy symptoms. Many cat allergies can come from beef, dairy, and/or fish in their food. An elimination trial is going to be crucial in helping you to determine the cause of your cat’s symptoms.

Dr Maggie’s Skin & Coat Formula can help with the allergic skin reactions that go along with food allergies for many cats.

Amber Bahm
Amber Bahm
Amber came from a small town in Saskatchewan where she grew up with horses, a cat, and her dog Willow. When she moved out West to Kelowna she brought Willow along and has since adopted a rescue dog from Mexico named Chica. Amber combines her love for animals with her knowledge of design, computers, and technology while working at NaturPet.

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