Allergies in Cats: Symptoms and Causes
When it comes to allergies cats are quite similar to people, they can contract different allergies quite easily and it is a really common occurrence. So, if your cat starts sneezing don’t panic! Allergies are a result of their immune systems becoming sensitive to allergens in their surroundings (i.e. pollen). It’s important to be able to diagnose the symptoms that your furry friends may have and to know how to treat them.
What are the most common allergies for cats?
There are three main categories of cat allergies: flea allergy, environmental allergies and food allergy. Flea and environmental allergies are the ones that cause “hay fever” symptoms in humans and are the most common in cats. Cats will often have more than one allergy, so it’s always a good idea to take them for a check-up at the vets. There are so many different causes for these allergies:
•Pollen, grass, plants, mildew, mould
•Flea or flea-control products
•Household cleaning products
•Various cat litters
If your cat is showing signs of sensitivity, then it would be a good idea to evaluate all of these factors and see if anything can be changed.
What are the symptoms?
If your cat is acting strange or seems a little bit miserable, then they may be suffering with allergy symptoms. Allergic kitties are often really itchy and have skin problems. Some of the most common symptoms are:
•Vomiting and diarrhoea
•Sneezing, coughing, wheezing and asthma like symptoms
•Swollen, itchy or sensitive paws
These symptoms can make your kitty grumpy, miserable and act strangely. This strange behaviour can lead to them lashing out at you or running away. If your pet is showing these signs, then it’s important to be patient, understanding, and to treat the allergies swiftly. If your cat does run away in discomfort, then they are almost sure to return. But always make sure that they are micropchipped , as if the worst should happen and they become lost , then you will have a much greater chance of finding them.
How can I treat them?
Treatments and solutions to allergies are quite straightforward, either remove the allergens from your kitty’s environment or seek advice and medication from your vet. For instance, if your cat is allergic to their litter, then replace it with a dust-free alternative. When it comes to organic substances (i.e. mould, mildew, dust) then bathing your cat a couple of times a week can stop the allergies – seek a good hypoallergenic shampoo from your vet to stop their skin from drying out.
Food allergies can be quite tricky, as it’s difficult to identify what ingredient your cat is allergic to. Vets can provide your cat with a prescription diet to keep them healthy, or alternatively, you can make them home cooked meals.
Medication is sometimes prescribed to cats when the allergens cannot be removed from the environment, for example in Summer if your cat is allergic to pollen. Cortisone, steroids or allergy injections are often used for airborne pollens.