Hypoallergenic Cat Food

by Michael

Good Food?

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Good Food?

This is my second attempt at writing about hypoallergenic cat food. I have never had to give it to my cats. But then they have not shown signs that they might be hypersensitive to some cat food ingredients. Feline allergies can be caused by a range of allergens and some of them are in cat food. Sometimes they might be caused by a cat parasite such as a flea.

Cats can become allergic to certain foods or the ingredients in certain foods (food intolerance). These are commonly soy, wheat, corn, fish, eggs, milk, chicken, beef and pork (book 1).

An allergic reaction produces a (non seasonal) itchy rash around the neck, head and back. This may result in hair loss and sores from over grooming of those areas, poor quality coat. Other symptoms might be ear infections, flatulence and poor stool quality (some breeders swear by homemade cat food based on a raw food diet because they see an immediate improvement in stool quality). Indeed a hypoallergenic food should replicate to a large extent a natural raw food diet. Perhaps the best solution is to convert to homemade cat food as a lot of the problems arise from the manufacturing process of making cat food.

In other words the cat is, for example, allergic to processed "chicken" in cat food but not raw chicken (the favorite raw meat used in homemade cat food).

Sometimes it is said that an allergic reaction can cause behavioral problems. Royal Canin say that hypoallergenic food can be used to manage: Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) and constipation that did not respond to a high fiber diet.

It may take a long time for the allergic reaction to develop and it may not necessarily be linked to a recent change in diet. Also the symptoms for food allergy overlap with other illness so a food allergy will need to be indicated before a elimination diet is started.

I would always seek good veterinarian advice (ones that don't declaw) and treat what the commercial cat food manufacturers say with caution. American vets who don't declaw will be more likely to think about cat health than vet profit!

The allergic reaction can cause diarrhea and/or vomiting as well.

The treatment is to find out what the allergen is and remove it from the diet. The way to find out what the allergen is, is to expose the cat to it and watch the reaction.

This testing is conducted by removing all possible allergens by feeding your cat with hypoallergenic cat food for about eight weeks (note: a fairly slow process so patience is the byword). This can be home made or commercially made. Accordingly, hypoallergenic cat food is cat food that does not contain ingredients that are likely to cause an allergic reaction.

If the symptoms do subside (e.g. diarrhea stops) then the task would begin to discover which cat food produced the reaction. Or the cat could remain on the diet. That may be a simple solution as hypoallergenic cat food would seem to be both designed for testing (food elimination trial) and permanent use. For example James Wellbeloved say that their cat food is hypoallergenic (all of it) as it does not contain beef, pork, soya, wheat, diary, eggs.

It is said that this sort of cat food has modified proteins that might have caused a possible allergic reaction but are rendered unrecognizable by the cat's immune system.

As various cat foods are added to the hypoallergenic diet the reaction is checked and the offending cat food eliminated.

Here is a short list of some hypoallergenic cat foods commercially available (all open in new tabs/windows, please note):

  • James Wellbeloved
  • Royal Canin - wheat gluten and lactose (milk) free
  • Arden Grange - their hypoallergenic food does not contain wheat, beef, soya, diary products, artificial colourings etc. This is a UK cat food. Arden Grange do not animal test
  • Purina Veterinary Diet Feline HA (but Purina is alleged do animal testing)
  • Hills hypoallergenic treats

These are just a selection, obviously. As I said if we have the time and commitment making proper homemade cat food with care ensuring the supplements are in place is probably the best solution. After all it is the cat food manufacturers who often cause the problem with their manufacturing processes then they claim to resolve it with more hyped products.

Associated posts:

Cat Food Recipe

From Hypoallergenic Cat Food to Best Cat Food

Comments for
Hypoallergenic Cat Food

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Dec 08, 2009 Thanks
by: Michael

Thanks for the info, Dorothy. I may well take action on this. I am currently watching and waiting. Charlie is settling in well (except for a time share type stray cat cat who comes in!)

Dec 08, 2009 Itchy begone
by: Dorothy

Hi Michael,

The shot was Depo Medrol 20mg/PER ML. It is an anti-inflammatory Glucocorticoid. Sort of a spooky big name. So far, so good.

I hope Charlie finds some relief. Sweet boy.


Dec 07, 2009 Pleased
by: Michael

Hi Dorothy. I am very pleased Bigfoot has stopped scratching. When Charlie scratches I feel for him because it must be uncomfortable.

If you can find out what your vet gave him (without too much effort) that would be great.

Do you think the hypoallergenic cat food will continue to protect him from what seems like a food allergy?

I am glad you like the articles. Not everyone likes my ideas!

Dec 07, 2009 How Is Charlie?
by: Dorothy

Hi Michael,

I wanted to report to you that it has been over a month since Bigfoot had his shot for itching. It seems to have done the trick. He hasn't shown any signs of itching, and the over-grooming has ceased as well. I am still feeding him the hypo-allergenic cat food (Hills Z/D) and he seems happy with it. He is becoming such a well adjusted little guy, though still shy with the two other 'giants' living in the house. I'm so glad he isn't so scratchy. If you want the name of the medicine he was given let me know and I'll find out.


PS Thanks for all the wonderful blogs.

Nov 29, 2009 Charlie
by: Michae

Your useful comment has made think about my "new" cat Charlie (my mother's cat) who scratches a lot more than he should. I flea comb him three times daily and his coat is really good and clear despite being a visitor to the outdoors. So I am not sure if it is fleas that make him scratch.

It might be some sort of allergy, possibly a food allergy. I'll have to look into that more carefully.

Nov 28, 2009 Hypoallergenic Cat Foot additions
by: Dorothy

Hi Michael,

I enjoyed this post. The elimination diet is good idea.

My Bigfoot has allergies. I'm sure he is part Maine Coon. I tried changing his food twice, and kept him on it for at least 3 weeks, but his scratching didn't stop. Finally, my vet and I agreed that a long acting allergy shot (in the steroid family) would be the best bet and with winter here, maybe it would nip it in the bud so to speak.

Well, it was like turning off a light switch. He's much happier now. I'm keeping him on Hypoallergenic cat food (Hills Z/D). I had some leftover Halo brand food (produced in the USA with some components from Canada) that he really enjoyed, so I mixed the two. He's been fine now for almost a month. Since he was an outdoor cat without a home when he came to us, I'm hoping he was having an 'ID' reaction to whatever was getting to him, and that this will be the one and only shot he will ever need. It might be hopeful thinking, but we'll see.


Central Coast, California

Nov 28, 2009 Response to last comment
by: Michael

Hi, the concept is, I believe, to clear out all possible food allergens in foods or ingredients by giving hypoallergenic food as a total diet. If that works (the allergy disappears) the cat probably has a food allergy but then the problem is to discover what particular food caused it.

That can only mean feeding the cat a range of foods (perhaps in addition to the hypoallergenic food and ticking them off until one fails.

Nov 28, 2009 Animal Testing
by: Anonymous


If animal foods are supposed to be hypoallergenic to the animal they are being fed, how do the commercial food makers know they are hypoallergenic if the food is not fed to the animal (aka tested)?

Hypoallergenic foods are only effective on food allergies and not environmental allergies, such as fleas and pollens.

Allergies are actually an immune system deficit. If you boost the immune system with species-specific foods and do not over-vaccinate, there would be fewer allergies.

3 thoughts on “Hypoallergenic Cat Food”

  1. My cat has had several shots for allergies every three months,tried several expensive types of food recommended by the vet nothing worked. Put her on a all natural pet food and she is showing progress it’s been almost 4 months since her last shot. I was not liking the food she was on because of the size, seems to me if a pet food company had your cat’s best intrest at heart they would make them a size that they could bite into and help with their teeth cleaning.The Hills Z/D is so small she was eating it whole. It was 40.00 canadian for 4lbs. The food she is doing well on for the first time in two years is Wholesome Blend Naturally Fresh Canadian Source 17.00 for 5lbs and big enough that she has to bite into it.

  2. Hello there, I found your blog by means of Google even as searching for a similar matter, your website came up, it seems to be good. I have added to favourites|added to my bookmarks.


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