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Does anyone have a cat with allergies (food?). Could really do with some advice!

(9 Posts)
NeatFreak Wed 08-Jun-11 19:59:08

We adopted a cat from an independent rescue last September and she is the most beautiful, lovely cat ever. Brilliant with the dc, never has any accidents inside, keeps off worktops, doesn't scratch carpets and has never scratched, hissed or bitten anyone.
Only downside is she has a skin allergy of some sort, to the extent that she licks all her fur off and it gets infected then she doesn't want to come in the house or have any interaction with us. We've been giving her steroid injections and antibiotics, which help for around a month before it flares up again. Our insurance won't cover us so we've paid for it up to now but the rescue centre are now using their vet to help us out. He thinks it is a food alergy, for which there is no allergy testing so she is on a protein only diet atm. She has eaten nothing but chicken for the past three weeks and her skin is OK but it isn't time for the steroids to wear off yet...

She definitely doesn't have fleas and we have a feliway diffuser, which hasn't made any difference. She is constantly grooming herself and the worst areas are her back legs and stomach.

Any previous experiences or tips would be much appreciated. We are going back to see the vet again next week to assess progress and I am determined to make her better! Long term effects of steroids are to be avoided but if we can't work out what the allergy is there isn't really any other option (unless anyone can suggest anything!)

NeatFreak Thu 09-Jun-11 11:09:11

Shameless bump!

Lizcat Thu 09-Jun-11 13:33:14

Firstly there is some testing for food allergies and it is relatively easy, but not cheap. It just involves a blood test for your cat. This is the company that we use www.animal-allergy.com.
The IgG and IgE levels give you indicators of what foods not to feed. I have one cat patient who has had this testing done and is now doing very well on her special diet and has not had steriods for three years now. We do it a lot in dogs and we have many many dogs whose skin is a lot better through finding the right food.

NeatFreak Thu 09-Jun-11 16:12:06

Thanks, that's really useful. She was on hills science plan for sensitive skin but that had no effect. I don't think we could afford allergy testing sad

MrsSchadenfreude Thu 09-Jun-11 22:03:40

My last cat had a gluten allergy. We fed her on lamb, rice and scrambled egg for a few weeks, and then she went onto some extortionately expensive little tins of Hill's gluten free from the vet. We gradually weaned her back onto Hills (which our vet said was rice based rather than wheat based) and she was OK again.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 09-Jun-11 22:35:24

Ours has a maize intolerance, he has aldi premium pouches and applaws biscuits cos there potato based.

1Catherine1 Fri 10-Jun-11 01:58:03

Do they know it is a food allergy or is it just an educated guess?

My eldest cat suffers with this very problem and the vets originally suggested it may be a food allergy so we used a variety of different foods and she was on a special diet for a long time but it had no effect. I eventually paid out the couple of hundred pounds for the allergy test to find out she is allergic to cotton hmm. As a house cat it is near impossible to remove cotton from her environment so I am stuck to managing it and accepting vet bills as only of my ongoing expenses.

Be prepared to accept it might just be something you have to live with. Be aware of your alternatives though. The injection (if it is the same one as my girl has) should only be given every 2 months but in fact only works well for about 6 weeks. Overdosing your cat on this can cause problems. My cat developed a lump as a result of the constant cycle (steroids - infection - antibiotics - steroids) which led to a very expensive cancer scare - she didn't have cancer but it cost me over £600 to find this out. Now I stick to the tablets which I prefer as I have more control over how much she gets - they also cost less.

As far as being able to pay for the allergy testing - I wouldn't bother personally. After spending the £300 to get it done myself I found it was a complete waste of money. Had it have been something I could eliminate then maybe it could have been worth it but with a bit of careful observation and trial and error you can have a good guess at it yourself over time. In my experience I should have worked out that it was a household product when I lived with my parents. My cat had to live in the conservatory and the back garden with little exposure to cotton, she managed a good 6 months with no drugs.

NeatFreak Fri 10-Jun-11 12:27:20

I think the food allergy is an educated guess as its definitely not fleas. I'm going back on Monday so might get some more news then. She is happy eating just chicken and her skin is ok (4 weeks post steroids) but I can't imagine its good for her long term!

1Catherine1 Fri 10-Jun-11 13:09:56

You're right it isn't. Prolonged use of steroids can have serious side effects. Kidney damage and diabetes are two things my vet has mentioned as portabilities. My vet and I had a conversation about quality of life though. My girl is very unhappy when living wearing a cone on her head or with red raw skin. Which would you rather another 6 happy years or another 7 or 8 unhappy ones? (My cat is 10 years old now)

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