How a Sensitive Stomach Affects Cats

Written by Kirsten Thorstensen, vet
Food Intolerance in cats

Around two-thirds of all cat owners think that their pet suffers to a greater or lesser extent from a food intolerance that has an impact upon its general state of health and predominantly the quality of its skin and fur. However, only in around a quarter of cases does an intolerance towards a food or certain ingredient manifest itself in the form of repeated vomiting and/or diarrhoea. It's important to differentiate intolerance from a real allergy, i.e. a reaction triggered by the immune system.

Intolerances

Intolerances are mostly when the body is unable to correctly digest one or more ingredients. One factor frequently misunderstood by cat owners is lactose. Adult cats are often unable to digest lactose, leading to heavy diarrhoea. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to give adults cat milk.

Age-related phenomena

Owners are generally stunned when cat food that their pets have always digested well is no longer tolerated. This can be an age-related process, as in the case with lactose, or a slowly developing intolerance due to changing enzyme activity in the digestive tract. In other words, certain substances can no longer be utilised correctly. Sometimes consuming the substance that triggers this reaction just once is enough to cause an undesirable response from the body.

Changing the food too regularly

Changing the consistency of the food between wet and dry regularly or even daily is often poorly tolerated, resulting in recurring diarrhoea. You should try to stick with one type. In order to confront the sweet tooth of many cats, it's worth changing the flavour every now and then.

Go to the vet in severe cases

Generally, the owner's despair regarding itching or regular diarrhoea is as great as their helplessness in seeking suitable countermeasures. If there are severe symptoms, it's essential to seek out a vet. In less serious cases, you should go through the listed criteria or create a “feeding log” in order to gather reference points and be able to adapt the diet.

Less well-tolerated sources of protein

When providing commercial food for cats with a sensitive stomach, the most important step is choosing a food with only one or a maximum of two sources of proteins that can be easily digested, cause few allergies and if possible aren't familiar to the organism. For instance, Hill’s Feline Sensitive Stomach fulfils these criteria, containing chicken as the sole source of protein. Carbohydrates are provided by easily digestible rice. This means that the body isn't overloaded with a wide range of different proteins and uses vitamin E as an anti-oxidant to support its immune defence.

 

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