Foods That Cause Hives in Cats

Hives, also known as urticaria, can be caused by different external factors and also by food. The severity of hives can vary from a slight irritation to severe swelling that can affect the respiratory tract and may be deadly. Common foods that cause hives in cats must be identified to modify your pet's diet and make sure he won't experience urticaria any longer.

Dairy Products and Eggs

Dairy products are the most common foods that cause hives or allergic reactions in cats. The cat should not receive milk, cheese, yogurt or fermented foods. These all contain lactose, which is the allergen. Avoid any product that mentions lactose on the label. Eggs can also be the cause of hives. If you suspect that eggs may cause irritation, remove these from the cat's diet.


Even though fruits are believed to have a lot of benefits for felines, there are a few cats that can develop hives following fruit consumption. Not all fruits cause hives. Only acidic fruits cause the occurrence of urticaria. The group of acidic fruits includes oranges, lemons, grapefruit, plums, cranberries or other types of berries. The cat can still eat fruits that have a low acidity including bananas, pears, watermelon, peaches or nectarines.


A lot of cats may be allergic to wheat and wheat products. Many cat foods may contain wheat, so make sure you check every label and choose a diet that doesn't contain wheat.

Acidic Foods

Acidic foods can interact with the cat's immune system and cause hives. The acidic foods are a large group of foods including corn, meat products (all except for chicken), beans, liver and some fruits and vegetables. Not all acidic foods cause hives, so you will have to perform a few trials to detect the ones that cause a hives outbreak.

Seeds and Nuts

A lot of seeds and nuts are beneficial for the cat's skin health and will provide immune system support, but these foods can be equally detrimental for the cat's health, causing an urticaria outburst. You should monitor your pet and isolate the nuts or seeds that cause a negative reaction. After identifying the culprit allergens, you will need to pay attention to food labels. Some foods may contain only traces of nuts or seeds, but these can be sufficient to cause hives.


A lot of commercial cat food is made using seafood. Cats typically respond well to seafood and this ingredient will also provide the necessary proteins for felines, but some cats may be allergic to seafood. The seafood can interact with the digestive system, causing vomiting and diarrhea, but hives may also occur.

Preservatives and Colorants

Cats that are sensitive may develop hives in reaction to the preservatives and colorants used in commercial cat foods. The alternative would be to switch to homemade food or to commercial foods that contain natural ingredients only.