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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,
I'm mom to two wonderful felines, Sunny who is 13.5 yrs (see avatar) and my baby Buddy who is 6.5 months old now.

Buddy has a food allergy and I am trying to figure out exactly what food is causing his itching. I have a radar-dish collar on him so he doesn't scratch is eyes/ears bloody. The vet tested him for ear mites, bacteria and infection in his ears. (No mites and minimal bacteria). She suggested food allergy but said he was a little young for that, (although he was five months at the time and within range).

So I immediately took him off the Whiskas seafood and put him on Newman's Own catfood (wet). He also had access to Wellness kitten, dry, and some Royal Canin HE which he'd steal from Sunny. Within 3 days all the hives and scabs on his ear flaps healed up... But he's still itchy.

After two weeks of being fish-free and hive-free, Buddy was still itchy and I went back to the vet. Now we are trying some Hill's z/d, wet and dry. I've been transitioning him over to z/d, and I no longer let him have any of the HE. Buddy doesn't like the z/d.... it's been about 10 days or so.

Now I'm eyeing some of the other anti-allergy foods folks have been talking about. The rabbit & pea, and veil & pea. But when I look at the ingredients they both have fish products in them. One has salmon oil, the other anchovy. That doesn't sound very non-allergenic to me. How can it be a "unique protien" if it has fish stuff in it?

Any advice?
Virginia
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Well I guess I didn't figure out how to do an avatar, but I'll attach a photo here, and one of Buddy (shopping for mice).

Went back to the vet. She agreed, the rabbit and pea, or veal and pea formulas are not for kitties allergic to seafood because of the fish oils in them. Now I'm trying Hill's d/d venison because it's a single protien source as well as a unique one. For now I'm going with the theory Buddy is allergic to seafood and something else, since the itching hasn't stopped.

Virginia
 

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Welcome!

Cute kitties!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks!

I'm about ready for a new vet now.... Just looked at the lable on the d/d venison can. It ALSO has fish oil in it. I can't imagine why she didn't mention that earlier; we had been talking about the rabbit and pea... Maybe she didn't know? Anyhoo, now she says she will consult a nutritionist.

:fust

Virginia
 

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Love the username! We call one of our cats "El Gato" as a nickname a lot.

Anyway, it can be hard to narrow down a precise allergy since there are so many possibilities. I'm going through the same thing right now with my younger kitten (who is also 5 months), who was having loose stools. In her case, it's looking like she has trouble digesting grain.

The problem with foods claiming to be allergy-friendly, is they may only be targeting certain allergies, like corn, while ignoring others, like fish. If your cat happens to be allergic to the one that is in the food, obviously it'll do no good.

I wouldn't worry about trying to find a specific food that claims to be for allergies. Your best bet is just to check the ingredients of the food he's been eating and see what common ingredients are in all of them. If the allergy has persisted through all those food changes, it's likely something present in all of them. Then try buying a food that doesn't contain that specific ingredient in any form. If it's a protein allergy, be careful of foods that don't clearly name their protein sources, as you may not know what things like "animal digest" or "animal by-product" or "chicken flavor" are specifically made of. "Chicken flavor" could really be made of tuna. And you have no idea what unspecified meats are.

In general it's best to feed cats food with clearly-named protein sources as the first (or first several) ingredients, with little grain in general. If you do buy food with grain in it, try to stick to things like barley, brown rice, or oats. Avoid things like corn, soy, and wheat/gluten, as those can be very common allergy triggers for cats (not to mention corn is a cheap, simple carb filler that's very high in sugar and really not great for cats).

I've read that the most common meat allergies in cats are fish, beef, and egg, but it could be none of those things. It could even be chicken. It's hard to know, every cat is different.

Your best bet would probably be to see if there are any ingredients common to any of the foods he was on while the itching has been happening. I.e. something that is in Whiskas, both the Hills brands, and one of the foods he was eating before Hills (since he had some variety during that period of time, it may have only been one of the foods, not necessarily all of them).

It's worth noting that according to the ingredients listed on their website, the d/d venison (wet and dry) does still contain fish oil.
 

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It occurred to me this might be helpful for you. When trying to figure out the foods I wanted to feed Athena, I created a spreadsheet. Maybe it'll help you find a good food for your cat?

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0All0A08nNWeMdHcyVU9uaVB5T0J5ZHB2ZVBmUjMyUkE&hl=en&authkey=CJvi09MO
Some notes to explain what's going on here:

  • This is a list of all the foods I personally feel comfortable feeding my cat based on her needs. They're all high-quality foods with named protein sources. They're also all grain-free, which is what I wanted to feed Athena. If your cat is fine with grains then your options aren't necessarily limited to this list, but this list does contain a lot of the brands I'd recommend regardless.
  • The price listings are just for my benefit. They're what prices I've been able to find at my local pet stores so I can shop around for the best deal.
  • The protein sources (meats) in each are listed. I also listed ingredients to watch for. Don't feel like you have to avoid all of these. I list these only so I can keep an eye on potential allergens/stomach irritants in case a problem develops and also so I can avoid feeding my cats too much of the same thing all the time. So far my cats have not shown any problems with anything listed there, but I thought it would be useful to have that info down just in case. You'll probably find the "fish" listings there the most useful, if fish is what your cat's allergic to.
  • The nutritional info is also just for my own reference so I can just see what my cats are getting. You'll notice a lot of those fields are blank. Since labels usually only list min/max percentages of this stuff in their products, I was only able to fill out those fields for foods where the specific values were actually available.
I hope that helps you a bit! At least maybe the allergen column will give you some ideas of good fish-free foods to try.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, saitenyo! Good ideas; I didn't know that about the corn, soy and wheat/gluten being common allergens. I will try checking all the indgredients of the foods Buddy has eaten and look for what they have in common.

I've just found the nutritional forum and was reading about homemade recipes. A lot of great information there. I don't know if I will go that route but it's a relief to know about that option.

Update on d/d: The vet called back and said she talked to a dermatologist about it. Said that Hill's tests their fish oils and makes sure they are 'pure'. That is, they have the proteins removed which makes them non-allergenic. So, being allergic to seafood, Buddy should still be able to have the d/d. But I'm still going to compare the ingredients of the other foods...

Thanks!
 

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No problem! I'm a bit scatterbrained so making a spreadsheet was just the easiest way for me to keep track of all of this for my cats.
 

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I'm going through now and making the allergen/irritant section a bit easier to read by giving each its own category and color-coding. Should be done soon.
 

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Wow, you are so organized, it looks really great! The colors make it easy to see right away what's what... Nicely done. Thanks for all your help!
 

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Hi El Gato - Franklin has a protein allergies as well. I went through the z/d trials and tribulations as well. Not only is it really expensive, but it was making Franny, my other pal, fat! Natural Balance has a line of Limited Ingredient Diets designed for allergy issues. It is far less expensive than z/d and both of my guys eat the duck & green pea canned. There are also chicken and venison formulas. There are dry chicken and duck formulas as well. Here are the ingrdients for the duck, chicken and venison cans. All are fish free.

Duck:
Peas, Duck, Pea Protein, Canola Oil, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Taurine, Methionine, Choline Chloride, Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Chicken:
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Pea Flour, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Salmon Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Sodium Chloride, Flaxseed, Parsley, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Cranberries, Carrageenan, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin, Vitamin A Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement

Venison:
Venison, Venison Broth, Venison Liver, Pea Flour, Venison Meal, Salmon Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Kelp, Flaxseed, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Methionine, Taurine, Parsley, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Sodium Chloride, Dried Cranberries, Carrageenan, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin, Vitamin A Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you kwarendaorf for the recommendation. I went by the pet store and bought a can of the venison and pea formula. I haven't given it to him yet; I'm waiting for a response to the email I sent Natural Balance over concern about the salmon oil. I want to make sure the proteins were removed from the oil, otherwise Buddy will be allergic to it.

In the mean time I'm trying to get Buddy used to the d/d venison.... I wonder how these companies taste-test their foods. Do they introduce new flavors to a pack of starving alley cats, or do they have a large panel of finicky eaters? ("Yes! Nine out of ten finicky eaters recommend X-brand cat food". Ha ha!)
 

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I'm pretty new to the cat world (2 years) but I've been dealing with pet food companies and vets my whole life (family raises dogs).

Hills is *not* a good food company. Really. I know your vet pushes it but as alot of people on here will agree it's because the majority of vets are provided with wonderful incentives by Hills to push their product.

There are TONS of posts on here about food allergies and wet vs dry food as well as the preferred brands. I combed through them all and checked out all their formulas/ingredients

My guy has a Chicken/Turkey/Corn allergy so I feel your pain.

Here are some threads where food is discussed that you may findhelpful:
http://www.catforum.com/forum/38-health-nutrition/137928-canned-food-chicken-tuna-diet.html

http://www.catforum.com/forum/38-health-nutrition/137957-vet-wants-put-enzo-sd-w-d.html

http://www.catforum.com/forum/38-health-nutrition/137762-food-allergy-related-questions.html

http://www.catforum.com/forum/38-health-nutrition/137356-looking-high-quality-dry-cat-food.html

http://www.catforum.com/forum/38-health-nutrition/136724-best-quality-foods-available-today.html

http://www.catforum.com/forum/38-health-nutrition/136652-perfect-wet-dry-food-combo.html

http://www.catforum.com/forum/38-health-nutrition/136277-yay-canned-food-woes-may-gone.html
 

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MowMow, your kitty reminds me of my Sunny a little... the markings. Thank you for the links; I browsed through them. Actually it's not the first time I've heard someone say Hill's isn't a good food. Searching the internet I haven't found loads of scientific papers on the subject of 'good' vs. 'bad' cat foods, or kickbacks, (yet). We need a Michael Pollan for pet foods! A whole other topic I'm afraid.
 

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