All pet owners know that health care for your cat can be the most expensive part of pet ownership. Vet bills are never cheap, and pets have a knack for getting sick right when we can never afford it. Thankfully, while emergencies and accidents will always happen, by investing in your cats’ health with a strong preventative health program, as well as proper diet and effective nutritional supplements, you can ward off one of the most destructive and disruptive medical problem in cats- allergies.
Allergies and Cats- a Destructive Cycle
A great many cat owners are familiar with the painful and disruptive effects of feline allergies. Chronically irritated or itchy skin, chronic sneezing, wheezing and coughing, runny eyes and nose, chronic vomiting and diarrhea and even self-mutilation are just some of the symptoms of allergies in cats.
Just as in humans, an allergic reaction in cats occurs when the immune system begins to overreact to a seemingly normal substance or material. Often times, a cat can become allergic to a substance suddenly, after being exposed to it with no problems for months or even years prior.
Flea and Skin Allergies
Flea allergies are one of the most common types of allergies in cats. In “normal” cats, fleas and flea bites may cause minor irritation and itching, which often will resolve quickly once the fleas are removed. Cats with flea-bite allergies have a much stronger reaction, with intense itching causing hair loss and open sores- even from just one flea bite.
The typical signs of flea-bite allergies in cats are the presence of fleas, intense itching, and sores and scabs on the skin. These sores, caused by repeated itching and chewing, can lead to a skin infection.
If you take your cat to the vet, typically it will be treated with anti-inflammatory medication (steroids) and antibiotics for several weeks. While this route may solve the immediate problem of the skin infection, it does nothing for the underlying cause- the fleas and the allergies- leaving your cat open to future allergies and repeated courses of unhealthy steroids and antibiotics, both of which can contribute to a weakened immune system, and therefore increasing the occurrence of allergies.
The other choice is to use natural alternatives such as herbal anti-inflammatory and a soil-based probiotic. And while these are both highly effective and non-toxic, instead of treating skin allergies and the resulting skin infections after they occur, you can prevent severe allergic flea reactions in your cat by removing the source of the allergies (fleas), and by preventing your cats’ immune system from overreacting.
Prevention requires proper supplementation to improve the quality of your cat’s immune system.
Oil based nutrients, common in the human natural health spectrum as fatty acid supplements are equally vital to feline health, and especially in the case of skin and coat problems. A proper lipid supplementation, based from one of the most potent antioxidants known to science, Krill Oil, as well as other essential lipids can help to supplement your cats’ immune system, reduce the severity of allergic reactions, improve the condition of your cat’s skin and reduce healing times.
Food allergies in cats are one of the most frustrating allergies to deal with. Many times a cat may develop a food sensitivity or allergy to a type of food despite being fed, even though your cat may have eaten that same food for many years with no problems. Further complicating the diagnosis of food allergies are the myriad of ingredients that typically make up most of today’s commercial cat foods.
Cats typically manifest food allergies in two different ways- chronic digestive problems (i.e. vomiting and diarrhea that occur more than 3 times a week) and through skin allergies, such as itching, scratching and losing hair.
Cats can be allergic to any component in their food. The more common cause of food allergies in cats is the highly processed, grain based nature of commercial cat food. It is the protein in these grains that cause allergies in the form of skin rashes, digestive problems, and even problems with stiff joints and arthritis.
Feeding the Way Nature Intended
Cats are carnivores by nature. Their systems require meat. In order to be healthy, cats must eat a diet that mimics the one they would eat in the wild- namely whole prey. In the wild, cats eat virtually the entire content of their caught prey. Their protein comes from the bulk of the kill, most of their water intake comes directly from the water in the body of the kill, and the only grain they ingest is that which is in the stomach of their prey.
Unfortunately, commercial cat foods do not place the same emphasis on pure protein that the cat needs to survive, substituting low levels of grains and carbohydrates. Meat by-products (the parts of the animal unfit for human consumption), rendered meat, plant matter and carbohydrates, are the staples and fillers of commercial cat foods. They have very little nutritional benefit to cats, and, in fact, cause a myriad of their own health problems as a result.
The natural prey of cats consists of at least 65% water, and historically cats evolved from the desert, where they had to rely on their prey as a primary source of water. Cats do not naturally drink much supplemental water, yet by feeding dry food to cats with negligible water content, it requires cats to increase their water consumption, or else become chronically dehydrated.
Cats typically manifest food allergies in two ways- chronic digestive problems (such as chronic diarrhea and vomiting) and skin problems, such as chronic itching, recurring skin infections, yeast infections and ear infections. All of these symptoms of allergies are uncomfortable and damaging to your cat’s health, and typically require repeated courses of steroids, antibiotics and other medications. Unfortunately, by continuing to feed the same food, the causative factor of the allergy-food that is nutritionally indigestible and virtually “foreign” to the cats system-the allergies will continue to reoccur.
Instead of creating a revolving door of allergy symptoms, vet visits, medications and cost, preventing allergies through a proper diet and nutritional supplementation is the more cost effective, and more importantly, the much more healthy alternative for your cat.
Home and commercially prepared raw diets seek to mimic the cats’ natural diet- wild prey-, by eliminating the foreign carbohydrates and grains that are the causes of so many food allergies. This alone will go a long way to restoring his or her health. Be mindful that raw meat, fowl, or fish is not sufficient by itself.
In addition to feeding your cat a nutritionally sound Raw Diet, proper supplementation insures that all of your cat’s nutritional, probiotic, vitamin, mineral and fatty acid requirements are being met, and properly assimilated by the body.
Cats and Asthma
Of all the types of allergies in cats, asthma can be the most heartbreaking to watch your cat endure- and in severe cases, it can even be deadly.
As in humans, asthma attacks in cats are caused by an allergic reaction of the respiratory tract to particulates in the air. The precipitating cause stimulates the mucosal lining of the throat and airway to secrete mucous and swell, leading to difficulty breathing, wheezing and coughing. In severe cases, the breathing difficulties can lead to respiratory distress, an abdominal effort to breath, and the swelling may become so severe that the airway becomes totally obstructed, leading to death.
Typically, treatment of cats with chronic asthma is managed through long-term steroid therapy, to suppress the immune system and prevent airway swelling. Unfortunately, steroids only mask the symptoms; long-term use atrophies your cats’ natural immune response. Many health problems are directly related to the long-term steroid use.
In addition to the cost of veterinary visits associated with treating asthma flare ups and medication to treat it, chronic steroid use can lead to other health problems such as liver dysfunction and even failure, kidney failure, chronic dehydration and lessen the body’s ability to fight viruses, bacteria, simple infections and even cancer.
By treating the underlying cause of your cat’s asthma, you can prevent the life-long cycle of steroid administration, continuing respiratory problems and more severe health problems down the road.
As asthma, at its core, is an allergy caused by a heightened immune system, every effort must be made to remove potential allergens from the cats’ environment. Changing your asthmatic cat’s food to a Raw Diet can help to eliminate further allergens from your cat’s system, giving the immune system less irritants to react to. In addition, by proving a carefully balanced probiotic, vitamin, mineral, lipid (oil) and amino-acid supplements to your cat, you are insuring that your cat’s body utilizes the full potential of the raw diet.
In addition, the powerful anti-oxidant effects of soil-based probiotics, fatty acids, vital lipids and essential enzymes are scientifically proven to naturally reduce inflammation.
Moreover, they support and create a healthy immune system capable of dealing with emerging health crises, while preventing the terrible immune system overreactions that cause asthma attacks.
Save Money… and Save Your Cat
Conventionally speaking, allergies in cats are expensive to treat. Modern medicine has yet to provide us with a cure to allergies. Instead, veterinary medicine often provides little more than a “band aid” for treating your cat’s allergies. Failure to address the actual cause- a dysfunctional immune system reacting to the unnatural way that domestic cats have been fed and kept leads to repeated courses of medications that can do more harm than good.
By addressing the core of your pet’s health through a proper diet, as nature intended, and supplementing and supporting the immune system, you can save your cat years of suffering from allergies, create a healthier cat from the inside out, and save money on repeated treatments that don’t work, and cause more problems than they solve.