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There Is Something Fishy About Your Cat's Allergy Symptoms: Why Her Seafood Pate Could Be The Culprit

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From kitty cartoon drawings to catnip filled toys in the pet supply shop, it is evident that fish are as naturally paired with cats as mice when it comes to the domesticated feline's prey of choice. If you browse the menu of gourmet cat foods, you will find that tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel, shrimp, crab and other delectable gems of the sea are popular ingredients in canned food, dry kibble and tasty treats. For many cats, however, their preferred dining option can lead to allergic misery. Find out if your cat may be reacting to her fishy fare and how it can affect her health.

Histamines In Fish

Histamines become abundant in your cat's body when it shifts into defense mode to combat certain invaders, such as allergens, and this results in the presentation of allergy symptoms. Your body reacts similarly, which is why may reach for the antihistamine products in your medicine cabinet when your runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes kick in after your exposure to soaring pollen levels. Fish also produce histamines, and the level of histamines escalates after the fish have been caught. Improper cold storage and preservation of the fish results in high levels of histamine that end up in your cat's food. Once consumed, those histamines end up in your cat's body and have the potential to bring out allergy symptoms.

Symptoms of Food Allergies

Fish is among the top offenders when it comes to food allergies in cats. Other protein sources, such as beef, can also incite food allergies, as can some carbohydrate sources, such as wheat. While human allergy symptoms lean toward respiratory signs, feline symptoms are primarily dermatological in nature. If your cat is experiencing a food allergy, you may observe any of the following symptoms:

  • Excessive scratching and licking at itchy skin
  • Scratching at the ears
  • Hair loss
  • Small bumps on the skin, which are filled with fluid
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

If your cat exhibits any of these signs, a visit to your veterinarian is in order to pursue relief for your cat.

New On the Menu

Determining whether your cat is allergic to fish or to another ingredient in her food can be tricky. Many foods may be labeled as one protein source, such as chicken, but you may discover fish as well on the ingredient list. Your veterinarian may prescribe a specific diet to feed exclusively for a trial period of a few weeks. The hypoallergenic diet will contain a limited list of ingredients that include a protein source that is not typically found in most commercial cat foods. Instead of noshing on fish, your cat may be introduced to rabbit, venison, kangaroo or duck. If the allergy symptoms abate after she has been on her new diet, then your veterinarian will confirm the food allergy diagnosis. 

No matter what food your cat eats, always stick to premium quality brands of cat food when you go shopping. If your cat is lucky enough to enjoy fish without allergic consequences, then allow her to partake and indulge her craving. Although many cats are drawn to the aroma of fresh fish and come running at the sound of the tuna fish can being opened, their ancestors did not likely dine on fish. Today's domesticated cats evolved from the wild cats that hunted in the eastern desert regions, where bodies of water that teemed with fish were not at all plentiful. Perhaps your cat's palate is sending you the message that she loves seafood, but you should pay attention if her body is telling you that fish should not be part of her natural diet.

For a pet supply store, contact a store such as Mid Cape Pet and Seed Supply, Inc.