All You Need To Know About Allergies In Cats

Has your kitty been rather itchy of late? And have you found her licking that one paw constantly? Your kitty may be having an allergic reaction to something in her environment or food. Her immune system has probably identified
something in her environment as dangerous, and is now trying to fight it off.

These substances (the allergens) may be very common and seemingly harmless to most animals, but your cat may have an extreme allergic response to them, as her body tries to get rid of them.

Symptoms Of Allergies

Common symptoms of allergies in cats include an extremely itchy and irritated skin, ear infections due to it, swollen paws, vomiting and diarrhea. Your cat may even have symptoms like sneezing, coughing or wheezing if it has asthma.

What Can My Cat Be Allergic To?

A few common allergens in cats include – Dust, Pollen, Trees, Grass, Weed, Mold, Mildew, Fleas, Flee-control Products, Perfumes, Cleaning Products, Cigarette Smoke, Fabrics, Rubber and Plastic.

Can Her Food Be Causing These Allergies?

If your cat has a food allergy, the symptoms will usually be restricted to a severe itch around the head and neck accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. Food allergies can develop at any age and all cats are equally susceptible to developing one.

How Are They Diagnosed?

The first course of action that you need to take if you suspect that your cat may be having an allergic reaction, is to seek an appointment with her vet. Your vet will take your cat’s complete history and after he conducts a physical examination, should be able to identify the source of your cat’s allergic reaction.

If not, he will then recommend a battery of tests or an elimination diet, to figure out what the root cause of the allergic reaction is. If your kitty has itchy and irritated skin, it’s important to see a veterinary dermatologist. He may do a skin test to determine the allergen, as blood tests are mostly unreliable.

Your cat may then be put on an exclusive prescription diet of hydrolyzed protein for up to 12 weeks. This diet is free from potential allergens and has ingredients that your cat has had no prior exposure to. Once all the symptoms of the allergy disappear, you will then need to begin reintroducing old foods to see which ones might be responsible for the allergic reaction.

Many cats who’ve been diagnosed with a food allergy may require home-cooked meals, which you’ll need to work with your vet on, as the meals need to have special proteins and be carefully balanced.

What’s The Treatment Like?

The treatment of allergies involves removal of the allergens from the cat’s environment. Here are a few things to consider:
1. Use a good flea treatment for all pets before the season starts. Your vet should be able to guide you on this.
2. Always use dust-free and fragrance-free litter. The smell may appeal to us, but your kitty may be allergic to it.
3. If your cat is allergic to dust, your pet’s bedding will need to be cleaned at least once a week and vacuumed twice a week. You may also need to vacuum rugs, curtains and other surfaces that gather dust.
4. What can also help is bathing your cat twice a week to remove pollen and other allergens causing an itchy skin. Since frequent bathing can dry the skin, seek your vet’s help in identifying a shampoo that keeps the skin moisturized.
5. If your cat is diagnosed with a food allergy, she will need to be put on a hydrolyzed protein diet followed by a home-cooked diet.

Can Kitty’s Allergies Cause Asthma?

Cats that are sensitive to pollutants, pollen and stress can get asthma attacks. Your vet may prescribe medicines that’ll open up your kitty’s breathing passages. A longer course of treatment may involve the use of corticosteroids.
What needs to be remembered is that cigarette smoke exposure isn’t good for cats, especially if she’s asthmatic.