What if your cat develops an allergy to a certain food or something around it, such as pollen. Or can begin to fight a disease like diabetes or kidney disease. Or he can be stressed and his digestive system is attacked.
Unfortunately, your cat is unable to tell you about any particular ingredient that is causing upset stomach, appetite or itchy skin like crazy. He feels miserable. You feel miserable and a little baffled and certainly frustrated.
How can you help a cat with feeding problems? One strategy that is becoming increasingly popular responds to the initials LID, which stands for Limited Ingredients Diet.
By definition, LID usually contains a single source of protein that is usually new, like duck, rabbit, or game. And it only contains a carbohydrate or two, like sweet potatoes or peas, as well as limited fats.
There comes a question: When it comes to what you are feeding your cat, is less more? Or better? And how many and which ingredients does your cat need for a nutritious and balanced diet?
The answer: It’s complicated. We know that food is fuel and it strengthens our cats and ourselves. Choosing the right food for your cat depends on these key factors: your cat’s age, breed, health and activity level.
“If a cat has a medical problem, such as diabetes, your veterinarian will recommend that the diet be tailored to meet that cat’s needs. However, if your cat does not have a medical problem it can be beneficial to expose them to a wide variety of ingredients, ”says Dr. Lowell Ackerman, a federally recognized veterinary dermatologist and author from Westborough, Massachusetts.
Food allergies are tricky
LID often occurs when your cat’s eating habits and general health deteriorate. Your cat has the following symptoms:
✔ chronic vomiting
✔ chronic diarrhea
✔ itchy, inflamed skin
✔ frequent ear infections.
In these situations, your vets may recommend a low-ingredient diet as a first step in order to identify a possible food allergy as the culprit. It may or may not solve the problem.
“Over time, allergies to things your cat has been introduced to can develop,” says Dr. Ackerman. “As a result, a cat can develop an allergy to cat food that you have been feeding it for years. If you were only eating cod, would that be a good idea? It’s much better to balance a diet with more ingredients for you or your cat. “
Elizabeth Colleran, DVM, former president of the American Academy of Feline Practitioners, which operates the Chico Hospital for Cats for cats only in Chico, California, weighs in.
“Cats are attracted to certain foods by three factors: mouthfeel, smell, and taste,” she says. “Diversity can provide a way to easily change one’s diet if this is necessary for health or other reasons. But cats that lose interest in food they previously preferred should always be screened for an underlying medical cause or environmental stress. “
“Cats are attracted to certain foods by three factors: mouthfeel, smell and taste,” says Dr. Elizabeth Colleran.
Good quality protein is a must
Dr. Colleran adds that adult cats need a diet that contains at least 40% protein for general health, muscle tone, and energy. Cats are obligatory carnivores, a fancy term used to proclaim that their bodies depend on plenty of high quality protein to thrive.
“Loss of muscle in the spine, skull, or hind limbs is the number one sign of inadequate nutrition,” she says. “Insufficient fat or protein affects a cat’s skin and coat quality, and a high-carb diet creates a terrible obesity problem.”
I pay close attention to their general eating habits and health in my cats. I feed them Weruva canned food because of its limited ingredients and because the company has never carried out a food recall. As for treats, I now hand out low protein treats like those made by Whole Life Pet and Simply Treats for Cats so I can tell my vet exactly what ingredients my cats are consuming should a health issue arise.
Some high-quality LID products are grain-free and contain vital nutritional supplements such as omega-3 and omega-6 to promote healthy skin and coat.
Farewell tip: Always read the list of ingredients on the label. Choose the ones that contain real meat and no chicken meal. Look out for additives or food colors, preservatives, or artificial flavors like monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Food allergies and intolerances are much more complicated than it seems. Work closely with your veterinarian and with a little patience and determination the cause of your cat’s health can be identified and properly addressed.
A few limited-ingredient feeds & treats for your cat
Easy treats for cats $ 5.99; simplefoodproject.com
Weruva Meow Luau with mackerel & pumpkin in sauce $ 37.99 / 3-oz. Case of 24; chewy.com
Whole Life Pet Single ingredient whole food for cats $ 7.99 / 1-oz. Bag; chewy.com