This past year has seen a surge in pet ownership. Everyone is home more, socializing with humans less, and searching for a furry companion to help you through the lonely nights. I get it; I adopted two adorable kittens last spring! When I went to start buying supplies for my furry friends, though, I started finding tons of hidden gluten in cat supplies! In this article, I'll warn you of places gluten and other food allergens like to hide and my recommendations for the best products that are allergy safe!
This one probably seems obvious. Just like gluten (or any of the other top 8 allergens) finds its way into human food for no good reason, companies like to pack it into pet food to save money too. A great way to find gluten free pet food is to search for "grain free" options. These are popular because cats aren't really meant to eat tons of grains, so many owners seek out this option for non-allergy related reasons. If you don't mind grains as long as they aren't gluten, most pet websites also have a "gluten free" filter you can use.
So which brands are the best? I based my search off of recommendations from my vet. She recommended Fancy Feast, Wellness, or Weruva. For kitten food, I stuck with Wellness because their kitten food also didn't have dairy or eggs, common ingredients in food for kittens. Now that my girls are older, they love Weruva the most for wet food, Wellness for dry food, and the occasional treat from Fancy Feast.
If you have any food allergies, I highly recommend purchasing pet food that is "allergy safe" for you. While it may be more expensive because you are limited to specific brands, you can maintain an allergy safe household, prevent cross contamination of your dishes, and reduce your stress regarding mealtime for your furry friends. I can't tell you how many times I've heard of people "glutening" themselves from their pets after taking all the precautions. It simply isn't worth the risk!
Once social media figures out you are even thinking about getting a cat, you'll start to get tons of targeted ads for the all the cool, new brands offering products for your cat. From toys to grooming supplies to fancy litter boxes, these new products all claim to be the miracle you need. Clicking on some of these ads, I found out that some of the newer cat litter options are WHEAT based. Eek! Who would have thought you need to read the ingredients of your cat's litter?
To avoid this issue, I recommend using clay based litter. While it can be a bit dusty, it is old school tried and true. I personally have had success with Tidy Cats or Clump and Seal, but there are tons of brands out there that work well for people. If you have seasonal allergies like me, give an unscented brand a try that uses activated charcoal to absorb the smells. In my experience, the smells is obviously there immediately after your kitty does their business, but it doesn't linger!
Just like the medication you take, prescription medication for cats doesn't have the ingredients listed out for you on the packaging. This means you need to do a bit of research or talk to your vet to find out if there are hidden allergens in your cat's medication. For an acute issue your cat experiences, it may be unavoidable to administer a medicine to your cat that has your allergens. However, for a medication you need to administer frequently, I'd recommend working with your vet to find a version that is safe for you to be handling.
Congrats on your new addition. By checking your pets food and other supplies like you do your personal supplies, you can reduce your stress about cross contamination and make sure the memories with your furball are positive!