Humans aren't the only ones who deal with allergies. Like people, cats can be allergic to all kinds of different things. Allergies can leave a cat feeling itchy and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are things that pet parents can do to ease their cat’s discomfort and improve their quality of life.
What Are Cats Allergic To?
Cats can be allergic to all kinds of different things. Allergies occur when a cat's immune system overreacts to a substance, or allergen. The reaction occurs as a result of the body trying to get rid of the offending allergen. The most common types of allergies include environmental, food, and flea.
Like their pet parents, cats can be allergic to several different types of inhaled substances. They may suffer from seasonal allergies, experiencing reactions when pollen is high. Other environmental allergens that may affect cats include:
- Cleaning products
- Fragrances (such as perfume and air fresheners)
- Cigarette smoke
Cats can be allergic to a variety of different foods. Some of the most common foods that cause reactions include dairy, beef, chicken, and fish. While genetics often play a role in developing these types of allergies, any cat can be allergic to certain foods. Other food allergies may include corn, wheat, and other additives or preservatives.
Testing for food allergies generally involves an elimination diet. If they suspect their cat may be allergic to something in their food, their vet may recommend an elimination or hypoallergenic diet. Pet parents may have to feed their cat a diet of ingredients they’ve never had before and eat this new diet for several weeks to make sure all old foods are out of their system. If their cat’s symptoms begin to improve, a vet or pet nutritionist can help make a proper diagnosis. Following the elimination diet and not providing any treats or human foods is essential for making sure the results of the test are accurate.
Flea bites are uncomfortable for cats and dogs alike. Most cats experience minor skin irritation when these annoying insects bite them. Some cats – and dogs – may have a more severe reaction though. They may be allergic to the flea's saliva, which can then trigger intense itchiness. As a result, the cat scratches and bites incessantly.
Symptoms of Allergies in Cats
Symptoms of allergies in cats may vary depending on the type of allergy they have. Some symptoms may include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Ear infections
- Dry, red, flaky skin
- Excessive biting, licking, or scratching
- Digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting
When pet parents notice these symptoms consistently, they should consult with a veterinarian. The vet can perform an exam and run tests to get to the root of the issue. If they diagnose the cat with an allergy, they can then recommend a treatment plan that can provide relief and help pet parents manage their cat’s symptoms.
Treating Allergies in Cats
Unfortunately, allergies can be a lifelong issue. However, pet parents can take steps to manage their cat's symptoms, keeping them healthy and comfortable. The exact treatment plan may vary depending on the specific allergy.
For environmental allergens, pet parents should avoid the offending allergens. For instance, pet parents can change to a more natural cleaning product if their cat is allergic to ingredients in their current supplies.
Some allergens, such as pollen and dust, can't be completely avoided, but they can be minimized. Pet parents may need to limit an outdoor cat's time outside and wipe them down when they come inside. They can dust and vacuum more often to limit the amount of dust in the home.
Cat allergy and skin and coat supplements can support moisturization, respiratory health, and a healthy immune system to assist in combating environmental pollutants.
When it comes to food allergies, diagnosing the exact ingredient causing the issue can be challenging. If diagnosed with a food allergy through diet eliminations, pet parents can change their cat’s diet. They should read ingredient labels on all foods and treats before buying anything for their cat.
As for flea allergies, keeping the cat indoors can help to reduce the risk of flea bites. Whether a cat goes outdoors or not, and regardless of whether the cat has a flea allergy or not, pet parents should also use regular flea prevention. If a cat does get fleas, getting rid of them as quickly as possible is essential.
Manage Allergies and Keep Cats Comfortable
While pet parents might not be able to eliminate their cat's allergies, they can manage them. Fuzzy members can consult with the Fuzzy Veterinarian Support Team 24/7 to help get to the root of the issue and get the tools they need to keep their cats happy and healthy.