You know it from your own experience: If you eat something that doesn’t suit you, your stomach rebels, nausea breaks out and digestion gets out of control for a short time. But cats can also be sensitive to food and react with very similar symptoms. Then it’s up to you to identify the source of the discomfort and offer nutritious alternatives.
How do I deal with food sensitivity?
First of all, it should be noted that a food sensitivity is different from a food allergy. An allergy is the activation of the body’s own defenses against components in the environment that have been incorrectly identified as hazardous substances. Symptoms are mostly excruciating itching, rashes and occasionally swelling of the mucous membranes. An allergy takes place via the immune system.
In the case of food intolerance, on the other hand, a fight between bacteria takes place in the cat’s intestine, figuratively speaking. Supported by the components of high-quality feed, the body’s own so-called lactobacilli ensure the formation of vitamins and nutrients, regulate the excretion of nitrogen and strengthen the intestinal walls in such a way that defense against harmful bacteria in the intestinal flora takes place. If these get the upper hand, they produce toxins and gases, trigger digestive problems, and damage the general condition and immune system of the cat.
The fact that more and more cats are developing hypersensitivity to food is also a consequence of the industrial production of food of dubious quality. A long-term supply of inferior cat food can quickly take revenge: synthetic vitamins, flavor enhancers, animal by-products, hidden sugar, and much more damage the healthy intestinal flora and can lead to over-sensitive reactions in the animal. Cats in particular are extremely sensitive to the quality of food. So don’t save in the wrong place and always make sure there is high-quality food in the bowl. You should also ensure a certain variety because even one-sided food impairs the cat’s health in the long run.
What are the specifics of grain intolerance?
Cats are not grain-eaters. Grains are not part of their natural diet. Nevertheless, processed grain is usually easily digestible for cats and is found as an additive in many ready-to-eat foods. Cereals are suppliers of valuable carbohydrates. Common varieties in cat food are wheat, rye, oats, barley, or corn. But some cats are like humans: the animals are sensitive to gluten. Signs of grain intolerance include diarrhea, shaggy fur, and a conspicuous, cramped posture. Be sure to have the veterinarian clarify whether these symptoms mean that a serious illness can be ruled out. If it is “only” a food intolerance to cereals, switch to appropriate types of feed – specialist shops offer a wide range of grain-free types. There are also feed preparations to which non-allergenic, gluten-free cereals such as rice or amaranth have been added. You also ensure the supply of valuable carbohydrates by regularly giving the animal alternatives such as potatoes or vegetables as a side dish.
Can my cat get indigestion from stress and travel?
Sudden hypersensitivity to food with associated digestive problems can actually have psychosomatic causes in a cat. Cats, being creatures of habit, react very sensitively to disturbances in their usual routines: a change of food or stress caused by restlessness or strangers in the “cat area” can trigger symptoms that are very similar to nutritional sensitivity.
Holidays are particularly stressful: Many cats don’t like staying in an animal boarding house while people are on holiday. The unfamiliar surroundings, unfamiliar conspecifics, and the unfamiliar daily routine can literally give the house tiger a stomach ache. If possible, you should therefore arrange for a cat sitter to look after the animal at home for the duration of the trip. If it is unavoidable to take your velvet paw with you on another journey – be it the trip to the holiday destination or a move to a new home – it helps the cat’s stomach to receive sensitive food before departure and on the way. If the cat is used to its travel box and car journeys, this stress factor has already been minimized, foreign smells, climate changes, and the hustle and bustle can still stress the animal so much that stomach problems arise.