Does my cat have allergies? This is a question asked by many pet parents at one time or another. Unusual behaviour such as overgrooming or constant scratching could be a sign your kitty has some type of allergy. While allergies are commonplace in humans, many people don’t realise their pets can have allergies as well.
Keep reading as I uncover the truth about allergies in cats and how you can help your furbaby feel better. We’ll look at some common causes, as well as signs to look for. Plus, you’ll also discover a few powerful solutions that really work.
Signs your kitty may have an allergy
The way cats react to allergens is very similar to us. Runny eyes, sneezing, itchy skin, and diarrhea are common signs, depending on the allergy. Just as in humans, allergies aren’t age related. If your cat loves the outdoors she may be more likely to develop a sensitivity to pollen. Though both indoor and outdoor kitties can develop flea allergies.
Common causes of allergies in cats
Flea allergy in cats
There are many reasons why your kitty develops an allergy. Just as with people, they can start at any age, whether young or old. Most can be managed very successfully, and your kitty doesn’t have to suffer unpleasant symptoms. We’re taking a look at some of the most common causes of allergies here, but no doubt there will be many more!
One of the most common allergies in cats is fleas. If your cat starts scratching and overgrooming you need to check her fur for fleas or ticks. Sparse patches of hair near the tail or back area are sure signs your cat has an allergy.
There are many ways to kill fleas safely on cats, but you also need to treat the affected skin. Dermatitis as a result of a flea allergy can be very sore. The best way to treat it is with a topical cream such as PetO’Cera. Always make sure any cream or lotion you apply to your cat’s skin is specially formulated. Never use any of your own skin products as it could damage your kitty’s skin and poison her. You don’t want to end up paying a fortune in vets bills!
Does your kitty have a food allergy?
More people are developing allergies to certain foods, and similarly cats can also develop allergies. Signs to watch for include vomiting, diarrhea, or skin problems. For your kitty to become intolerant to a food, she has to be exposed to it first. Whether a reaction to certain types of meat, additives, or dairy, your cat will show signs only after she’s eaten at least two servings.
It’s always a good idea to stick with just one or two brands of cat food. Your cat doesn’t need variety like you do, and though it may seem boring, your kitty is perfectly happy eating the same food every day.
The only way to find out the cause of your cat’s allergy is by elimination. You’d need to remove all treats and only feed one brand of cat food. Once you’ve found the culprit, obviously make a note of it. The best food to feed your cat is additive free. Even better, try making your own cat food.
Many more pet owners are discovering the benefits of home made food, and it’s not as hard or time consuming as you think. Ask your vet’s advice on feeding your cat if you’re unsure. He may recommend certain prescription diets depending on your cat’s age and health.
Environmental allergies in cats
Spring and early summer can be a nightmare if you’re a hay fever sufferer, but believe it or not, your kitty can suffer as well. Though not as common as food allergies, your cat can develop an allergy to certain pollens. This can start at any stage in your kitty’s life, but may also be inherited.
Hay fever in cats develops over a period of several years, and symptoms can be fairly similar to that suffered by people. Runny eyes, sneezing, or coughing are a few you should be aware of. Your kitty may also have sore patches of skin with missing patches of fur. Diagnosing it early can help prevent upper respiratory infections. Flat faced breeds of cat such as persians can suffer badly if they develop hay fever.
You can’t stop your cat coming into contact with allergens. Wandering in grassy areas is natural to a cat, and you shouldn’t stop her from going outside. However, your vet can do an allergy test to find the cause. Your kitty may be prescribed medication to help alleviate symptoms.
These could include antihistamines or steroids. You could also try natural solutions such as fish oil supplements, but ask your vet first. If your cat’s allergy is fairly mild you may find natural products work, but don’t let things get worse.
Your cat could also be sensitive to dust mites. These thrive in carpets, bedding and mattresses. Keeping a clean dust free home is beneficial not only for you, but your cat as well. Use a vacuum cleaner with a hepa filter, and consider getting an air filter for your home as well.
Many household cleaners contain harmful toxins which could affect your cat. Respiratory problems or itchy skin are signs to look for. If your cat is sensitive to chemicals, avoid spraying perfume or air fresheners near her. Try and use natural products whenever possible.
Allergy to certain medications
Allergic reactions to certain medications are quite common. I know many people who can’t take antibiotics or penicillin and suffer terrible side effects. Well, believe it or not, it’s also possible for our pets to suffer as well. If your cat develops an infection your vet will probably prescribe some type of antibiotic. Chances are your kitty will be fine, but if you notice any adverse side effects such as difficulty breathing, rashes, or swelling, you need to get urgent treatment.
Is it an allergy or something else?
As your cat can’t tell you what’s wrong, you have to work it out for yourself or get her examined by a vet. Symptoms of cat flu could possibly be mistaken for hay fever. Runny eyes and sneezing in a cat should never be ignored. Though not serious in healthy cats, it can be fatal in kittens, or those with health conditions. If your kitty hasn’t been vaccinated and allowed to to come into contact with other cats, there’s always a risk.
Itchy skin, rashes or sparse patches of fur are most likely to be an allergy to fleas, but in a few cases it could indicate something more serious. If flea treatment hasn’t worked, try another brand. However, if nothing works and your cat starts showing other symptoms it’s time to see the vet.
In this post we’ve looked at signs of allergies in cats as well as causes and treatments. Every cat is different and what may work well for one, may not for another. I hope I’ve helped answer the question “does my cat have allergies?” as well as how to treat them. If home remedies don’t work, get advice from your vet.
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Wishing you a purrfect day:)
6 thoughts on “Does My Cat Have Allergies And What Are The Signs?”
What a good read about cats. I don’t own one myself but it’s good to learn that cats go through some medical conditions such as us humans. Taking good care of your cat and paying attention the same way we do our kids should help the owner notice when the cat is not its normal self and seeking the medical advise as soon as possible will safe the cat the unnecessary suffering. Thank you for sharing this information with us. It really has opened my eyes.
Thank you Maggie, yes, it surprises many people that cats share similar medical problems to us humans. I agree that looking after our pets should be as important as taking care of our kids. After all, they’re part of our family and we have a duty of care. I’m glad it’s helped you understand a little bit about allergies in cats:)
Extremely informational. Love the article.
Thank you Ysaac, glad you found it useful 🙂
Great stuff. My cat is strictly a house-bound pet, but even so he was sneezing a couple of weeks back and we figured he has a little cold or he was sensitive to some of the essential oils we were diffusing, like peppermint for instance. We changed what we were diffusing to cat-friendly essential oils, like lavender, after some research. But the research findings weren’t real clear – maybe you could address essential oil “do’s” and “don’t” relative to feline sensitivities in a future article?
Hi Ted, yes, even cats are susceptible to colds, but sounds very much like the oils were too strong for him. Yes, definitely stick to oils specifically for pets. Thanks for your suggestion, and I will do a post addressing the use of essential oils for cats very soon:)