Looking after allergic pets

While famous for giving people itchy eyes and sodden handkerchiefs, cats can suffer from allergies too. If your cat's been diagnosed with a food allergy, there's only one thing to do: make sure she doesn't eat the offending food.

The elimination diet

If you don't know which food is causing the problem, your vet will be able to help you come up with a special 'elimination diet'.

You'll need to provide a list of foods that your cat eats regularly. Using this list, the vet will give you a new diet made up of foods she's never eaten. While she's on the diet, you can help get to the bottom of the allergy mystery by following a few guidelines:

- Follow the vet's diet carefully!

- If your cat's been prescribed medicine, make sure you follow the guidelines on the pack carefully.

- Make sure her water bowl is always full and clean.

- Milk and other fluids (apart from water) are out. (You should never feed milk to your cat, other than Whiskas® Cat Milk, as cats cannot digest the lactose in cows' milk and it can cause diarrhoea).

- Keep your cat at home throughout - you never know what she might eat outside.

- Keep her away from any other pets in the house during feeding times.

- Be patient. You may have to keep her on the elimination diet for up to 10 weeks to make sure no allergic signs are presented.

- Watch your cat closely for remission, or for less severe symptoms, while she's on the diet.

- Let your vet know about any improvements, or reactions to certain foods.

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