If you are someone that suffers from seasonal allergies or other such ailments as a food or environmental trigger, you know how they can impact you. Mood changes, scratchy eyes, skin irritation, stuffy nose, and other physical symptoms are par for the course dealing with allergies. You might be surprised to know that our feline companions are also susceptible to allergies for various reasons and will experience similar but differing symptoms to those of humans.
Knowing the signs and what your cat is allergic too, will go a long way to helping avoid triggers that will set off allergies in your feline and possibly even veterinarian visits for treatment. Of course, learning first that your cat, if there is no history of allergies, is allergic to some factor in your home, food, or other environmental factors can be tricky and a bit alarming the first time it occurs.
If your feline is susceptible, you can do things to lessen symptoms and make them more comfortable over time, but this onset will require quick action, diagnosis, and change of some trigger in food, environment, or other contributing factors. Here is a great list of symptoms to look for of the various kinds of allergies that cats can have, what can cause them, and actions you can take to minimize the possibility of your cat being impacted.
Symptoms of Allergies in Cats
Allergies in felines will exhibit much as they would in people in a mostly external fashion. Irritation of the skin is one of the most common symptoms. You will find that your feline is itching, scratching or biting at their fur in an attempt to assuage some irritant. Snoring that suddenly starts occurring can show congestion when breathing and be a precursor to an allergy diagnosis. In some more extreme situations, vomiting, bathroom habits, and even changes in behavior can be signs of something being wrong with your feline. Documenting changes in environmental stimuli such as perfume, cleaning supplies used, new home, or other airborne items indoors and out is worth examining should this occur. Changes in diet recently may warrant considering a food allergy if they can’t keep food down or show signs of sickness after meals.
And of course, fleas or other household issues such as mould can immediately prove to be an allergen to your feline. Atopic dermatitis is one of the external exhibitions of allergies that may present with hair loss, redness, sores, and scabbing – this should immediately warrant a visit to your vet for investigation and decision on the best course of treatment. Now we know what to be on the lookout for as a symptom of allergies in your feline, let’s take a further look at the causes of allergies in cats.
Environmental Allergies in Cats
Have you ever walked through a department store where perfume testers are spraying and had a sneezing attack? Welcome to the world of some felines. Manufacturers of many feline products add heavy perfumes added to their litter box liners, sprays for the home to mask pet odors, and scented litter to make humans forget there are pets in a home. Unfortunately, this masking perfume we enjoy can trigger allergic reactions in the cat themselves. Unscented, allergy-sensitive brands and other options can help overcome these items that make up their environment and don’t cause irritation to their body.
Additionally, certain pollens in trees, weeds, and grass that are part of their daily outdoor routine can cause allergic reactions. Stay attuned to your feline, watch their daily routines, grooming habits, eating routines, and even their coats and bathroom output for signs of discomfort, irritation, and possible seasonal or situational allergens in the environment around them. Sure this can be more like a game of Where’s Waldo to figure out the exact cause of your cat’s allergies and feel overwhelming. Remember, you know your cat best and are the only advocate they have in place to help ease allergies they may be experiencing. Through a process of elimination, limiting certain activities outdoors and the like can help provide clues to environmental allergies, but still, a blood or skin test may, in the end, be the best, more conclusive answer to what ails your feline.
It should be mentioned that additional things like cigarettes in the home can cause pet allergies. Along with the smoke being an irritant, ashes in food and on the floor that your feline can consume can cause allergies and irritations. Some cleaning products you use to maintain a clean home facade can cause issues for your feline. Cats walk on your floors, lick surfaces, and climb up and over furniture and other items. This leaves a residue of some chemicals on their skin, paws, and fur that can exhibit allergic reactions. When selecting cleaning supplies, furniture cleaners, and other chemicals for use in the home, doing your due diligence ahead of time can prevent allergic reactions. If you start using something that causes itching, scratching, irritation, or congestion in your pet, immediately stop use, of course, and consult a veterinarian to find allergens to avoid for your pet.
Cat Allergies to Food
By far, fish, beef, eggs, and wheat are the most common food allergies that felines can experience due to their being fed these items. You look at the list and wonder why these naturally occurring items cause the concern with felines that they do – it is believed that the proteins in these do not always agree with feline bellies. While some symptoms such as skin irritation or ear infections might signal food allergies, normally vomiting, diarrhea, and other such advanced signs will point to intestinal issues after feedings. Items such as duck, potato, and other foods may need to be employed as “trial diets” to see if this change alone can ease the allergies. It is critical rather than just through trial and error changing their food to consult a veterinarian as these symptoms can become life-threatening if left too long. Diagnosis for food allergens will normally include a specific food regimen to diagnose truly, and then decisions on diets that can meet nutritional needs and not trigger their allergies.
Cat Allergies to Bugs
Fleas can be a nuisance but produce heavy skin irritation and other health concerns when your feline has an exposure. These nasty critters lay eggs, and once they infest, they can be very difficult to get rid of. Additionally, some of the chemicals in shampoos and other treatments can further irritate your cat’s already sensitive skin. Ensuring you consult a veterinarian who knows your pet’s medical history for the right treatment options is critical. Remember that this will include deep cleaning and possibly environmental bomb-style treatments to rid your home of lingering eggs to eliminate these horrible critters.
We know you think fleas are the best and not an allergen from this information, not so in reality. Many allergens live in flea saliva that can cause a flea bit to turn into an allergic reaction in your feline. Frequent scratching, biting of fur, and raised bumps on dermatitis (skin) can signify that your feline is experiencing an allergic reaction to a flea bite. When this happens again, following veterinarians’ reactions to rid yourself of the fleas can be compounded by additional treatments for your feline’s allergic reaction.
Cat Household Allergies
Household bi-products such as mould, dist, and even mites can cause allergies and skin ailments in your feline. Through frequent cleaning, the use of air filters, and another such measure, you can make your home a haven for yourself and your feline. If your best efforts biting at their fur, excessive licking, or scratching do occur, it is important to have your feline seen. Blood tests and skin testing can be done to the home in on allergens for your feline that you should address to cut back on their physical symptoms. Unfortunately, prevention of these may not be enough in this day and age, and much like humans, antihistamines and other medical interventions may be necessary to keep your cat comfortable while dealing with allergins in your household.
Just like humans can experience seasonal or year-round allergies to certain environmental pollens, smells, and items – so can felines. Early detection of your cat’s issues can help minimize the irritation and speediness of recovery and containment of said allergies. Of course, seasonal factors can also play into when pollen or environmental concerns might peak and warrant keeping your pet inside. Even when you have multiple felines in a house, the behaviors and reactions to certain items in the home or environment will be different from cat to cat. Watching, observing, and noting when changes trigger any of the common allergy symptoms will poise you to react quickly and help to ease the discomfort of your feline. While allergens might still find a way to make your cat unhappy, you, as the good pet parent, will swoop into action to help rectify what you can and treat the rest to provide Tabby with a long, happy, and healthy life.