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What is Chicken Allergy?

Most symptoms related to a food allergy will be related to the skin or gastrointestinal tract. A chicken allergy can show up at any age in cats and in any breed, including mixed breed cats. Once your cat is diagnosed with a chicken allergy you will want to avoid feeding any food that contains chicken protein or chicken fat as these will also cause problems for your cat.

Many times cats will develop food allergies or will not be able to tolerate certain foods. Several of these foods are found in the ingredients of commercial cat food. The most common food allergies or intolerances are chicken, fish, beef, lamb, dairy and eggs.

Symptoms of Chicken Allergy in Cats

Cats do not usually show that they are feeling poorly until they become very ill. Generally, if your cat has developed a food allergy, such as an intolerance to chicken, they will exhibit skin related or gastrointestinal related problems. If you notice your cat acting oddly or sickly, contact your veterinarian for an appointment.

  • Excessive scratching, especially around the neck and face
  • Rash around the face and ears
  • Excessive licking, especially the paws, stomach or legs
  • Red and/or itchy ears
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Causes of Chicken Allergy in Cats

A chicken allergy in cats can develop for a number of different reasons. When your cat has a healthy response to the ingredients in their food their body is able to break down the food into amino acids and the nutrients are then properly absorbed into the body. The gastrointestinal tract is vital to keeping out indigestible things that cats eat as well as nutrients that are only partially digested, or not properly broken down into single amino acids. 

If the gastrointestinal tract fails to filter the partially digested foods and those particles enter the body, your cat’s immune system will detect these nutrients as foreign invaders to the body and begin attacking them. This triggers an allergic reaction. The more chicken or chicken products your cat eats the more intense the allergic reaction.

Your cat has leaky gut or more appropriately dysbiosis; this means that your cat will have the same immune response every time they eat chicken or some other food that they have become intolerant.

Diagnosis of Chicken Allergy in Cats

If you suspect your cat has developed an allergy to their food, in particular chicken or chicken by-products, your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary dermatologist for further testing and to rule out possible skin conditions. 

Your veterinarian will begin by doing a thorough physical examination of your cat, noting the visible symptoms. They will also ask about your cat’s diet and if the symptoms seem to intensify after eating. Intradermal skin tests can be done as well as blood allergy tests. These tests are reliable when trying to pinpoint some allergens but are not accurate when trying to pinpoint a protein allergy, such as chicken or fish. 

Your cat will be put on a prescription diet for about 12 weeks; usually this diet is exclusively a hydrolyzed protein diet. No treats or flavored medications can be given during those 12 weeks to ensure that your cat is not getting an allergen from an outside source. This prescription diet will be free of potential allergy causing ingredients that are common in cats. Ideally, this diet will contain ingredients that your cat has not been exposed to before. Once the symptoms have disappeared while on this diet your veterinarian will begin reintroducing old foods one at a time to see which ones are causing the allergic reaction.

Treatment of Chicken Allergy in Cats

Treatments can begin even before the food allergen is properly diagnosed. With general treatments, your cat’s symptoms can be treated and give them some relief while they are starting their prescription diet and allergy testing. 

Steroids are used to relieve itching and rashes from food allergies. The most common steroids given are prednisone and prednisolone. These are given orally in tablet form. Injectable steroids can be given if the allergic reaction is severe. 

Hyposensitization therapy can be used, although it is not common to do so in cats. This therapy requires that you know the precise allergen. The substance, in this case chicken, is purified and diluted then injected into your cat’s system. By doing this, the immune system will begin to recognize the allergen as not harmful and having no need to attack it when it is present in the body. These injections need to be given every one to three weeks for several months.

There is a new aspect of Hyposensitization therapy that does not involve injections, but rather giving the diluted substance sublingual or under the tongue. Results begin to show within 30 days using this approach. 

Prescription diets are also available for your cat. There are even over the counter foods that are specifically formulated and do not contain certain common foods that cause allergies in cats.

Recovery of Chicken Allergy in Cats

Once the chicken allergy has been diagnosed and the symptoms treated, your cat has a good prognosis of recovery provided you avoid chicken and chicken by-products in their diet. Your veterinarian will recommend a quality food that your cat can eat without having an allergic reaction to chicken. Be sure to read the labels carefully on your cat’s food and treats to ensure that they are not exposed to chicken.

Chicken Allergy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

8 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

over grooming

Medication Used

steroid shots

My cat has an allergy to chicken (we think) which causes her to mow. She hates fish and will not touch it. We have changed her litter to corn based, we have taken her off all treats and canned food and are presently giving her Science diet for sensitive skin and stomach but as soon as her steroid shot wears off she starts licking again. I am looking for a food that does not contain poultry or fish. Help please.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
888 Recommendations
Food is not commonly the cause for overgrooming in cats, and is not a common problem for them. Flea allergies and environmental allergies are much more common, as are behavioral causes for overgrooming. There are many effective allergy medications that Missy might benefit from, and your veterinarian would be able to discuss those with you. If you and your veterinarian do decide that food may be the cause, there are many limited antigen diets available by prescription from your veterinarian. I hope that everything goes well for her.

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7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms


My Cat is allergic to Chicken, duck, potato, salmon, lamb, beef, pork, tuna, turkey and Ostrich!

Where food contains a small amount of these ingredients (salmon oil, chicken fat for example) would you expect a reaction? Struggling to find suiatble food

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2334 Recommendations
It is possible to get a reaction from a small quantity of any allergen; it can be difficult to find a suitable diet for a cat which is allergic to so many different protein sources (have you tried venison?). I would recommend that you try either a restricted ingredient diet or consult a company like PetDiets which have Veterinary Nutritionist which will be able to work with you to find or develop a diet for Izzy. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Maine Coon
12 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Skin Crust

My vet has my cat on perscription food to treat what she thinks is a chicken allergy. And I give him benedryl every day. When I don't the skin condition flares up. Any suggestions for how to give him benedryl? Currently it's a struggle as I shove it down his throat. It's hard on both is us!

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
888 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. There are liquid forms of Benadryl that your veterinarian can have compounded to taste like a more pleasant flavor - most compounding pharmacies can make medication in chicken, beef, or liver flavor, and it may make medication Tyler much easier. Your veterinarian will be able tot tell you more about what is available from the compounding pharmacy that they use.

My Maine Coon is on antihistamine daily for allergies. However, I CANNOT get a pill into her. So, my vet has a compounding pharmacy that makes a transdermal formula for her. You just rub into the inside of the ear flap (Pinna) and it is absorbed through the skin.

be careful with Benedryl. my ragdoll ended up being allergic to it and it gave him seizures. once i took him off of it he had no more seizures!

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7 mos
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Gas loose stool
Gas loose stoo

Medication Used

Special diet
Loose stool

My cat does have chicken allergy
Currently only getting Hydrolized HA dry food
He has bad gas and loose stool very smelly and messy
What can I give him to eat for his gas and loose stool?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2334 Recommendations
There is no simple answer to this, it is really a case of trial and error to find a diet which is suitable for Lenny’s gastrointestinal tract. Look out for high quality protein sources and alternative sources of carbohydrate; you just need to find what works for Lenny. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nothing was helping my cat's diarrhea. I tried high quality & limited grain options. Once I suspected intolerance to chicken, as a last ditch effort I tried Purina One Purposeful Nutrition Sensitive Systems, with Turkey as the main ingredient. After over two months of gut problems, this food started to turn her around within 24 hours. Today is 5th day on it and poop is becoming more formed with each passing day, and she is barely scratching her face at all anymore. Ideally I would have liked to have had all the boxes checked on what I wanted for her, non-GMO, no corn, wheat or soy, etc., but after months of both of us suffering, I am just glad to see her doing better. She is on probiotics too, but nothing significantly helped before this food. Best of luck to you. (The food is dry food, reasonably priced, found right at Walmart).

Go to : askariel for an holistic approach to the food allergies or any other allergy. It helped my kitty tremendously. It may help yours too

My kitty has a chicken allergy and we feed Holistic Select Adult Health Rabbit Meal and Chickpeas Grain Free food that we get from We feed this to both our cat with a chicken allergy and our cat with diabetes. All the rest of the cats try to sneak a bit whenever they can! When I first ordered it, I was disheartened at the cost, but I've found one bag feeds two cats twice a day for over a month, so the expense really isn't that much. Good luck with little Lenny! I hope he's feeling better soon!

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