Allergies in cats – Signs and treatment

Allergies in cats – Signs and treatment

Allergies in cats are quite common, especially among pet cats. They are a reaction of your pet’s immune system when it comes into contact with potential allergens. The immune system treats these allergens as foreign invaders and responds by releasing histamine. This causes inflammation or digestive irregularities, resulting in visible allergic reactions. From types to symptoms to treatments, here we’ve summed up everything you need to know about allergies in cats.

Types of allergies in cats
There are generally four types of common allergies in cats, which may affect your pet differently. Let’s find out what they are.

Environmental and seasonal allergies
Like humans, environmental substances such as pollen from grass, trees, or weeds and dust are strong allergens for cats. Other substances are mold, mildew, fungi, and in some cases, it could also include perfume, cigarette smoke, plastic, certain fabrics, some laundry detergents, and house-cleaning products. These substances cause allergic reactions when they are inhaled or through direct skin contact. These types of allergies are commonly inherited in pets.

Food allergies
Some cats may experience allergic reactions after consuming certain foods. Such allergies can cause skin itchiness, along with common digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. It can be caused by a single ingredient or several or can develop over time. You need to detect the food causing the allergy with the help of your vet before changing your pet’s diet.

Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD)
This is one of the most common types of allergies in cats. Flea bites can cause very irritating allergic reactions in cats. The saliva of the flea can affect the entire body of a cat, not just the affected area.

Atopic dermatitis
One of the most common signs of an allergic reaction is a skin condition known as atopic dermatitis. Your cat may develop hair loss, scabbing, redness, and skin sores.

Warning signs
Just like humans, allergies in cats come with visible symptoms. Also, some allergic reactions cause changes in behavior or habits. So, you need to keep an eye out for any changes that your pet may be exhibiting. Look out for the following common warning signs to detect allergies in cats:

  • Sneezing, wheezing, and coughing
  • Ear infections
  • Skin wounds that do not heal
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Snoring
  • Vomiting or diarrhea, or other digestive symptoms
  • Excessive licking or grooming
  • Swollen or sensitive paws
  • Bumps, hives, swelling, rashes, bad patches, or scabs on the skin
  • Scratching more than usual
  • Red or dry skin, especially on the face, head, neck, ears, belly, and limbs
  • Fur or hair loss, also causing hairballs

Treatment
Unfortunately, allergies are not entirely curable but can be prevented and treated. Here are a few preventive measures and home remedies you can try to relieve the symptoms of an allergic reaction:

  • Keep your cat indoors. Keep the windows closed to avoid outdoor environmental allergens, especially if your area’s pollen count is high.
  • Keep your home clean from dirt and dust, and change air filters regularly.
  • Use dust-free cat litter and wash your cat’s bedding at regular intervals.
  • Provide your cat with a healthy diet, with skin supplements such as probiotics or omega fatty acids.
  • Avoid smoking around your cats.

After developing an allergic reaction, your cat needs to be treated properly through medication under the guidance of a veterinarian. Here are a few treatment options for allergies in cats:

  • After consulting your vet for a safe dose or formulation, use antihistamines such as BENADRYL®.
  • It’s challenging to bathe a cat. But bathing and applying skin ointments or lotions can soothe the irritated skin and relieve itching. Always check with your vet first for safe dosage, as the grooming habits of cats can put them at risk of ingesting creams, ointments, or shampoo residue.
  • Use itch medicines such as Cortisone pills.
  • Use ear drops or eye drops.
  • Use vet-approved flea prevention products.

Allergies in cats are frustrating for both you and your pet. However, with proper consultation with your vet, patience, and vigilance, the right treatment can relieve your furry feline friend from the irritating and sometimes painful symptoms of an allergic reaction.