Cats can have seasonal allergies just as we do. It is noticeable that during certain times of the year it can appear that our feline friends have a runny nose, slight eye discharge, cough or sneeze. Open windows or AC units and humidifiers that use a dirty filter can all exacerbate these issues. Supplements added to the food that can help are immunity boosters, such as Lysine. Anti-histamines can also decrease or eliminate all allergy symptoms. However, it is also possible that your cat's symptoms are really from an upper respiratory cold that may go away or need antibiotic help. Of course, a vet is the best way to rule out the difference. Please remember to tell your Vet that the antibiotic of choice for Bengals is Clavamox.
The most common sign of food allergies is increased scratching which can eventually lead to loss of hair, scratches, and skin irritation. With a case of increased itching, it is always best to go to the Vet and rule out other causes, such as skin mites, fleas, or other parasites, which can be easily tested for with skin scrapings. There are also blood and skin allergy testing that's available to see which environmental and/or common food ingredients your cats are allergic to. Treatment can include anti-histamines and limited ingredient diets. "Hypo-allergenic" food has a lot of hype and expense to go along with it and it doesn't always work. It means taking ingredients which your cat is allergic to and denaturing them to the point the body should not recognize them the same way. This is not natural and sometimes the body still recognizes the allergy regardless.
Why are Food Allergies becoming more and more common?
Brand Loyalty Myth:
Allergies can become an issue when you're exposed to the same food ingredient repeatedly over a long period of time. Pet food companies started campaigns a while back to increase brand loyalty by starting a myth that you must stick to the same brands to avoid dietary upset. This false campaigning has indeed become quit lucrative because even after food allergies become prevalent due to the same diet over the lifespan they can then make even more profit with their "hypo-allergenic" versions as well.
Over-Use of Chicken:
Another reason behind the rising trend in food allergies can be understood when you see what ingredients are the biggest allergen culprits, Chicken, Salmon, and Pork. To understand why these 3 proteins are what's causing the issues all you have to do is go to any pet food store and start reading the ingredients on every product. You will quickly find that no matter what meat is being advertised on the front of the package, you will always find Chicken and to a lesser degree, Salmon or Pork in everything! This is because it is more economical to sell Pet Food that advertises a more expensive or unique meat and use it sparingly and yet get most of the protein content from the cheaper Chicken sources. This over-utilization of Chicken for all protein sources in all Pet Food is alarming! Unfortunately, the only way to combat this prevalent problem is to use (LIDs) "limited ingredient diets." Although the selection found within stores is dismal and only slightly better online, these LIDs will use only a single protein source which is listed and a few other ingredients to lower the incidence of overusing any particular ingredient. While this is the best solution to avoid food allergens in cats that have an already established Food allergy, LIDs can also help to prevent Food allergies altogether! My recommendation is to incorporate LIDs into your animals diet NOW before any allergy presents itself. You do not need to restrict yourself to using only LIDs if you're trying to prevent an allergy but do incorporate some LIDs to limit the over-use of Chicken.
"Limited Ingredient Diets" prevent the Over-Use of Chicken