Like humans, cats can experience allergies to all kinds of different stimulants called allergens. If you notice that your cat seems to be feeling under the weather and is constantly scratching herself or sneezing, it could be a sign that she’s experiencing allergies.
If you happen to be an allergy sufferer yourself you’ll know just how miserable she must feel!
Fortunately, feline allergies are very treatable. Once the allergen is identified it’s simply a matter of removing it from your cat’s environment or treating it with medication.
Allergy symptoms in cats are quite similar to what humans experience. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your cat, she could have feline allergies:
- Frequent coughing and sneezing
- Itchy or runny eyes
- Itchy or inflamed ears
- Ear infections
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Swollen paws or paw chewing
It’s not uncommon for cats to exhibit some of these symptoms sporadically, but if they are ongoing contact your veterinarian.
The first step to alleviating your cat’s allergies is figuring out what is causing them. A visit to the vet is the easiest way to narrow down your cat’s allergy stimulus, but generally speaking, cat allergies fall into one of 3 categories:
- Food allergies
- Environmental Allergies
- Flea Allergies
Cat food allergies can result in vomiting and diarrhea as well as itchy skin, particularly around the head and neck. In severe cases, this type of allergic reaction may even cause your cat to lose patches of hair.
Environmental allergies may have many different triggers, including pollen, mold, and plants. This type of allergy may also be triggered by something like cleaning products or the perfume found in certain types of cat litter. Usually, environmental allergies in cats will present in the form of coughing, sneezing, itchy skin, swollen paws, or ear infections.
Flea allergies in cats can be triggered by the flea bites themselves or the medication used to treat the fleas. The most common symptom for this type of allergy is excessive itching. If you notice your cat scratching frequently, or chewing on her fur, particularly right above her tail, it’s probable that she is allergic to fleas.
Your vet will be able to help you develop a treatment plan to remove the allergens and ease the symptoms. After taking a detailed medical history, your vet may use blood tests and skin scrapings to help determine the allergen your cat is reacting to.
Often, once the allergen is identified, removing it from your cat’s environment will relieve the symptoms and your furry friend will go back to normal. In some cases, such as pollen allergies, that may not be as easy to do.
To determine the cause of cat food allergies, you will have to put your furbaby on an elimination diet, and slowly reintroduce food elements until you can identify the offending allergen. Once you know which food ingredient is causing the allergic reaction it’s just a matter of avoiding it!
If your cat happens to have an allergen that cannot be easily eliminated from her environment (say, dust or pollen) there are still ways to help her feel better. Bathing your cat regularly can help alleviate the itching caused by environmental allergies, such as pollen.
There may also be medications that you can give your cat for these hard-to-avoid allergens. Antihistamines, cortisone, or steroids can be used to relieve allergy symptoms in cats. Ultimately, your vet will be able to determine the best treatment option for your furbaby!
None of us want to watch our furry friends suffer from allergies, and we certainly don’t want our wallets to suffer as we treat them. A pet insurance plan can help cushion the cost of your cat’s medical expenses throughout her life.
Looking for more ways to protect your kitty? Consider investing in a cat insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1 Get your free quote today.