Salmon Allergy in Cats

Salmon Allergy in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Salmon Allergy?

Allergies to specific items, including food, are very common ailments in cats. Salmon allergy occurs when a cat’s immune system reacts to this type of fish and attacks the proteins found within the fish, thus causing a reaction. There are several types of reactions a cat can show when affected by a salmon allergy. The most serious type of allergy is considered an anaphylactic shock, and this is when a cat’s throat and tongue become very swollen to the point where the feline is unable to breathe. Immediate veterinary attention is needed when this occurs. Even if a cat begins to show signs of a mild to moderate allergic reaction after consuming salmon, this can turn into a more serious situation in a short amount of time.

Salmon is a very popular large fish and is typically called Atlantic Salmon of the genus Salmo. It is a member of the family Salmonidae. There is also a type of salmon known as the Pacific Salmon from the genus Oncorhynchus. Various species of salmon are used in many cat foods, both wet and dry. Salmon may also be included as an ingredient in popular cat treats.

There are several types of meat and fish that occur in cat food. In order for your cat to get the right amount of protein in his diet, cat foods contain these ingredients for him to stay healthy. Cats can be allergic to any popular source of protein, including salmon, and an allergic reaction can occur in males and females of any breed.

Salmon allergy in cats occurs when cats consume this popular fish, either alone or within a variety of foods and treats, and then suffer an allergic reaction due to sensitivity in their immune system.

Symptoms of Salmon Allergy in Cats

The symptoms of a salmon allergy in cats may vary from mild to severe. A severe allergy with the swelling of the throat or difficulty breathing must receive emergency attention. Symptoms of salmon allergy in cats include:

  • Itching of the skin
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling of the throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Reddened and irritated skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Dermatitis


Many cats suffer from food allergies, including allergies to salmon and other fish. Different types of food allergies in cats may include:

  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Seafood
  • Dairy
  • Wheat gluten

Causes of Salmon Allergy in Cats

There are several different causes of salmon allergy in cats. Specific causes of this food allergy may include:

  • Salmon contains materials that are difficult to digest in some cats
  • An over reactive immune system will fight proteins and chemicals which make up the salmon
  • Immune system builds a defense against certain molecules within salmon and salmon-containing cat foods
  • A reaction in varying parts of the body, such as the respiratory system or gastrointestinal system

Diagnosis of Salmon Allergy in Cats

If you suspect your cat has an allergy or is showing symptoms which are alarming to you, make an appointment with your veterinarian. If your cat ate salmon for the first time and suddenly is having an allergic reaction, emergency attention will be needed. 

Once you take your cat to the veterinarian visit, he will begin an examination by conducting blood work, urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile. These preliminary tests will be performed to rule out any other health conditions. Your medical professional will take any other baseline data he feels are necessary in order to gather information about your pet’s condition. He will also ask you for information regarding his symptoms, overall health, diet, any changes to his environment or foods, or other questions to help him get an idea of what may be causing his symptoms.

If your medical professional suspects food allergies, he may want to suggest an elimination diet for your cat. This consists of only feeding him specific food, recommended by your veterinarian, and water to drink for 12 weeks. Once this 12 week period of time is over, your veterinarian will instruct you as to what food to introduce back into your cat’s diet. When one ingredient is introduced at a time and your cat has symptoms return, the offending food can be easier to identify. Your veterinarian will explain to you specifically how to perform the elimination diet in order to get the best results and a definitive diagnosis on what your cat is allergic to. Also, if you have multiple felines, it will be important to feed them the exact same items as your affected cat in order to not have any food sharing issues or any confusion between the foods.

Treatment of Salmon Allergy in Cats

If your cat has been diagnosed with food allergies, specifically a salmon allergy, the only method of treatment is avoidance. Ways to avoid salmon are:


If your cat is to no longer consume any salmon, it will be important to monitor your cat’s diet at all times. You will need to become knowledgeable of food ingredients and find a specific cat food, either wet or dry, that your cat will eat that does not contain any traces of salmon whatsoever. Keeping him on this diet for the long-term will be the definitive way your cat will be able to avoid salmon. Also, when cooking salmon in your home, you must be careful to not allow your cat to come into contact with the fish.

Know the Signs

Now that you know the signs of a food allergy, you will be able to identify if your cat is having an allergic reaction. If your cat has an allergic reaction to another food item after he has avoided salmon, it will be important to make another appointment with your veterinarian and find the source of this allergy as well.

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Recovery of Salmon Allergy in Cats

With a salmon allergy in cats that has been treated by avoidance, your cat will recover and live a healthier life salmon-free. Your veterinarian will give you instructions and advice on how to manage your loved one’s salmon allergy, and will alert you as to what to expect on any symptoms to watch for in the case of any other food allergies. 

Once your cat is on his new diet, it will be important to be patient as he adapts. If there are other cats in the home, they should also be fed the same diet so the food does not get shared from cat to cat. Avoiding treats that contain salmon will also be something that will need to be done in order to be sure your cat remains free of this fish for life.

Salmon Allergy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals





Eleven Years


3 found this helpful


3 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
I gave my male cat a small piece of salmon. Since eating it he will vomit pink fluid. Like it was the salmon. Was this a allergic reaction?

Sept. 26, 2020

Answered by Dr. Michele K. DVM

3 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It is difficult to say if your cat has a food intolerance, or if the salmon upset his stomach. If he is still having problem, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 16, 2020

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Tortious shell tabby




14 Years


4 found this helpful


4 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Vomiting, Loss Of Weight!
14 year old cat started vomiting violently. No issues until 2 months ago. Had blood test, all normal. I think I've narrowed it to salmon products. Has lost a lot of weight. Maybe thyroid? I dont know.. Keeps vomiting this mustard yellow yuk!

June 18, 2018

4 Recommendations

If you’re suspecting a salmon allergy, you should remove fish and fish oils from the diet to see if there are any improvements; there are plant based sources of omega oils in some diets, you should speak with your local pet shop about this. However, there are many other causes for vomiting in cats which may need to be ruled out by your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 18, 2018

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