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It is not unusual for cats to suffer from food allergies and intolerances. If your cat is presenting with food allergy symptoms, your vet may advise you to start it on novel protein cat food to eliminate potential allergens from its diet. We’ve got you covered on all you need to know about novel proteins and how they can help your cat.
A ‘novel’ protein simply means a ‘new’ protein that your cat has never ever eaten before. Most cat foods contain chicken or beef as main proteins. While there is nothing wrong with these protein sources, some cats develop food allergies to these mainstream proteins.
If your cat has developed an allergy or an intolerance to its regular cat food, you can substitute a less common protein to eliminate the food that is causing the allergic reaction.
Novel proteins are usually found in high quality cat food. Limited ingredient cat food, grain free cat food and sensitive stomach cat food are sometimes used to describe novel protein cat food. Double check all labels and see if the novel protein cat food does not contain common protein sources such as chicken.
Your cat can only be allergic to food that it has previously been exposed to. So if your cat seems to be having a food allergy, it is most likely caused by something that it has eaten. Common sources of proteins in regular cat food are often the culprit.
As novel proteins are proteins that your cat has not eaten before, it cannot be allergic to it. As such, your vet may recommend a novel protein diet if your cat presents signs and symptoms of food allergies. Your cat may have a food allergy if it is constantly scratching, or suffering from frequent diarrhea and vomiting.
It is important to address food allergies and intolerances so that it does not develop into inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD involves inflammation in the intestines with gastrointestinal symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, and weight loss. Novel protein cat food can reduce the probability of allergies and help your cat overcome IBD.
If your cat has a suspected food allergy or intolerance, your veterinarian will most likely recommend a hypoallergenic diet that is free from allergens that your cat might be sensitive to. Novel protein cat food or hydrolyzed protein cat food are usually the go-to solution in cases such as these.
If you decide to use novel proteins, you will need to restrict your pet to one specific novel protein for about 8 to 12 weeks in order to evaluate if your cat’s health improves and allergies subside. This will indicate if something in your cat’s original food was triggering your pet’s immune system.
If there is improvement, your vet may recommend specific diets to ensure that the allergies do not flare up again.
It is important to read all ingredient labels to ensure that only one protein source is listed if you are using novel proteins on a food allergy trial. Sometimes other proteins may be included in the food in lesser amounts. This can interfere with the food trial results. For example, if your cat is allergic to chicken, even a small piece of chicken or a chicken meat byproduct can cause an allergic reaction.
These days, there are numerous novel protein cat food available over the counter. Choose a high quality and trustworthy brand. It is important to ensure that the food is balanced and contains all the nutrients that your cat needs. If you are unsure, check with your veterinarian for the best types of protein to give your cat. You should also consult your vet before making any changes to your cat’s diet.
Here are some novel proteins that you can let your cat try:
Most cats will love lamb. However, lamb has high fat content which can cause problems for some cats. It’s best to rotate lamb with other proteins to avoid the problems that might arise. Petcube’s raw lamb is specially formulated to ensure that your cat has improved digestion, and increased energy.
Duck is a good alternative for cats who are allergic to common ingredients such as chicken and grains. Petcubes’ raw duck is made with fresh gourmet duck with no artificial flavours and preservatives.
Venison is a good choice for a novel protein as most cats would not have been exposed to it before. Petcubes’ raw venison is made from air flown venison from New Zealand and designed for cats with food sensitivities.
Unless you are living in Australia, it is most likely that your cat has not tasted kangaroo meat before. This makes it perfect to be used as a novel protein if your cat has food allergies. Petcubes’ raw wild kangaroo is made from 100% wild kangaroo and formulated for those who are prone to allergies.
If your cat was living in the wild, rabbit would be part of their natural diet. However, domesticated cats have rarely been exposed to this protein, making it suitable for a novel protein diet.
While it’s probably not a good idea to give your cat ham and bacon as cured meats have a high salt content, pork is actually a good alternative protein that you can let your cat try if it has food allergies.
Food allergies and intolerances can be a source of great discomfort in your cat. Novel protein cat food can help alleviate allergies and help your cat heal. However, it does not remove the fact that your cat is still allergic to certain proteins. You will have to continue to be vigilant about the foods that your cat eats and take steps to ensure that it is not getting food elsewhere to prevent the allergies from reoccurring. Always check with your vet before making any changes to your cat’s diet.
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