Allergy-Proofing Your Kitten

Head off allergies before they start by feeding your young cat a high-quality diet with few ingredients.

If you have a new kitten in your home and want to protect it from developing allergy problems, Phillip Raclyn, DVM, recommends feeding a good natural diet, supplemented by omega-3 (not omega-6) fatty acids such as fish oil, along with a good multivitamin.

“Look for a commercial food with as few ingredients as possible,” he says. “For example, look for a food that has only one protein source (e.g., lamb) and only one type of grain (e.g., rice). That way, if the cat does develop an allergic reaction to it, it’s easier to switch to a food where the ingredients don’t overlap.”

Dr. Raclyn also recommends your kitten’s food be free of artificial preservatives like BHA or BHT, and contain no by-products or artificial flavors or colors. A high-quality diet will help protect your cat’s immune system and prevent it from reaching the “low allergy threshold” that triggers scratching and hair-pulling.

Keep kittens indoors from the start, Dr. Doering adds. “There are just fewer problems that way. Also, you don’t have to worry about a neighbor feeding the cat something that causes a reaction.”

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