Grain-free diets for cats have quickly grown in popularity among pet owners, veterinarians and manufacturers today as more and more cats develop allergies.
The primary ingredients found in many brands of cat food contain corn, wheat, and rice – all of which are types of grain. In some cases, cats are allergic to a certain grain found in their food. In very rare instances, a pet can be atropic with multiple sensitivities – having allergies to more than one ingredient.
What happens to your cat’s body when he develops food allergies is his immune system is responding to some of the proteins that he’s eating – stomach enzymes (strip) the proteins down to amino acids. Some immune cells absorb proteins that haven’t been broken down (presenting) them to the immune system. When the immune system detects the harmful proteins, a reaction occurs.
Interestingly, it could take years for the dysfunction to occur in your pet’s system after eating the same food. Other cats experience allergies right away. Every pet is different.
If your pet does have allergies, you might notice symptoms like bumps, rashes, sores, swelling, hair loss, inflammation, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Some pet parents have responded by reading labels, doing research and choosing more natural food options. If you suspect your pet has allergies, contact your vet to have an elimination trial done. This helps determine what your cat is allergic to and the types of food to Introduce to his diet.
Grain Free Pet Foods
Unlike regular pet foods, grain free products usually do not contain wheat, corn gluten meal or rice. But that doesn’t mean grain free cat food is also gluten free. Some manufactures add ingredients that contain gluten as a substitute for grains like peas, apples or potatoes. And according to experts, these products may have the same levels of carbohydrates as regular pet food or higher. They could also be higher in protein and fat.
Be sure you’re feeding your cat only as much as he needs. If you’re unsure about the proper portion size for your cat, talk to your veterinarian about your cat’s diet and what brands he recommends.
Gluten Free Pet Foods
Gluten free cat products do not contain protein from barley, wheat, and rye. But they could contain other types of grains. There are very few instances where a cat requires a gluten free diet and for those that don’t, experts say that some gluten is useful for providing proteins. Keep in mind that most of your pet’s protein needs come from small animals like mice, birds, and rats.
Whatever food you choose, it’s a good idea to research the ingredients in a brand before you buy it.
Research shows that while many cats are diagnosed with allergies, very few are allergic to glutens. Your vet can tell you if a gluten free diet is your best option.