Humans aren’t the only ones affected by allergies. Like you, your adult cat can suffer from allergic reactions to any number of things in the air, on her skin and in her food. Allergies must be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian, but first you must know what to look for.
The Most Common Cat Allergies
Four of the most common types of allergies that might affect your cat are inhalant, food, contact and flea allergies.
Inhalant allergies in cats are caused by the same common allergens that affect you: dust, grass, trees, mold, pollen, ragweed and so on. They can be seasonal or persistent, and while some breeds may experience the same sniffly, sneezy symptoms humans often suffer, skin reactions are most common. Inhalant allergies can often be treated with the same medications you take, but please don’t treat your cat’s allergies without veterinary supervision.
Food allergies in cats can be the most difficult to diagnose and manage. Treatment involves a hit-or-miss approach involving a restricted diet and the gradual reintroduction of possible allergens to determine the culprit. Skin reactions to food allergies are common in cats, but frequent vomiting or diarrhea also can be a sign. Keep in mind that if your cat’s diet changes (or she just ate something she wasn’t supposed to), she may experience an episode of vomiting or diarrhea. This doesn’t necessarily mean your cat has an allergy. Watch and see if it becomes a persistent problem before scheduling a trip to the vet.
Contact and Flea Allergies
You might be surprised to learn that most cats are only vaguely bothered by fleas. But those that are allergic can suffer — and so can their owners. Contact and flea allergies generally cause skin irritation in cats and are treated topically. Cats with contact and flea allergies often chew their skin raw, leading to hair loss, odor and infection, so fastidious flea control is a must.
Signs of Allergies in Cats
The most common allergy symptoms in cats are skin reactions, regardless of the cause, and they can appear at any age. Just because your cat didn’t have allergies as a kitten doesn’t mean she won’t have them as an adult. If your cat suffers from any of the following symptoms, take her to the vet for a consultation:
- Persistent scratching, licking and skin chewing
- Face and ear rubbing
- Inflamed skin patches, hair loss and foul odor
- Coughing, sneezing, watery eyes and runny nose
- Frequent vomiting or diarrhea
Allergies can vary from cat to cat, so it is important that you work with your vet to make sure your cat gets the best possible treatment. You’ll both be happier as a result.
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Understanding and learning how to decipher kitten food product codes will help you choose the right kitten food. While selecting the right ingredients is important, making sure those ingredients are fresh is just as vital to your young cat. Learn how to read the product codes of kitten food packages and cans with our handy guide.
What Is a Product Code?
A product code is a series of numbers and letters printed on the outer package of each product a manufacturer produces. This code provides information about when and where the kitten food was made.
As part of the product code, IAMS™ products include a “Best Used By” date, or the date at which the product is no longer considered fresh and should no longer be sold. This date is expressed in “ddmmyy” and “ddmmmyy” formats.
The second line of the product code represents company internal information for use in traceability and inventory control.
Line 1: (ddmmyy) (ddmmmyy)
Example: 040220 04FEB20
Line 2: 60351111## QQQQQQQ
This product should be used before February 4, 2020.
Depending on the production line, pouch products* may have code date information in a single or double line. By recognizing and understanding these codes, customers can make sure they are receiving a fresh product.
What Is Shelf Life?
Shelf life is the duration, measured in months, during which a properly stored kitten food product maintains its freshness. This means if a product has a 16-month shelf life, it is fresh for up to 16 months from the date of manufacture.
The shelf life for IAMS dry kitten foods is 16 months. All canned formulas have a shelf life of 24 months.
How to Properly Store Dry and Wet Kitten Food
Unopened dry kitten food products are best stored off the floor in a cool, dry place. Open bags of kitten food should be stored in a clean, dry container with a tight seal. Dry kitten food products may also be frozen without loss of nutrients.
Opened wet kitten food products are best kept refrigerated in tightly sealed containers for no more than three days after the container has been opened. Wet products should not be frozen in unopened cans. However, wet kitten foods can be frozen if removed from the container, packed in freezer containers and frozen immediately.
*IAMS has no kitten pouch products at this time.
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