by Susan Paretts
Allergies are no fun for anyone, including your cat — when their immune systems overreact to something in their environment, cats can experience an allergic reaction, just like people do. These reactions can occur from things like certain foods to pollen in the air and can cause symptoms like itchy skin, watery eyes and upset tummy issues.
If you suspect that your cat has allergies, there are many symptoms you can look for and discuss with your veterinarian. They can then help you narrow down what could be causing your cat’s allergies and how to make your furry friend more comfortable when dealing with feline allergies.
Symptoms of a Cat with Allergies
Allergies can cause many unpleasant symptoms in your cat. A cat with allergies may experience one or more symptoms, including:
- Dry and itchy skin.
- Watery eyes.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Ear and skin infections.
- Irritated paws.
- Diarrhea and gas.
- Runny nose, sneezing and wheezing.
Many cats with allergies may scratch and bite at their skin due allergies, leading to additional symptoms like hair loss, excess shedding, redness and even bacterial skin infections.
What Do My Cat’s Allergy Symptoms Mean?
Figuring out what’s triggering your cat’s allergies takes a little detective work. That’s because food allergies tend to manifest themselves in symptoms like an upset tummy or itchy ears and skin. So, if you notice your cat scratching excessively at their face and ears, a food allergy could be to blame. But skin allergies are also caused by things in your cat’s environment, like pollen and chemicals, so it’s important to see a veterinarian to determine the cause.
My Cat Has Allergies: But What Kind?
If a cat has allergies, there could be a variety of causes. Some cats even suffer from more than one kind of allergy.
Cat Skin Allergies
Cat skin allergies cause uncomfortable itching and irritation due to something in the kitty’s environment. One of the most common culprits that cause cat skin allergies are fleas. Flea allergy dermatitis is caused by an allergic reaction to flea bites and more specifically, the proteins in a flea’s saliva. Just one bite from a flea can cause intense itching that can last for days in allergic cats.
Cat Food Allergies
Food allergies in cats are caused by something in your feline friend’s diet, usually a type of protein. That protein could include beef, chicken or fish. Feline allergy diets are formulated with limited ingredients and novel proteins that your cat hasn’t encountered before like lamb, venison, rabbit or elk. You’ll also find diets that contain hydrolyzed proteins, which are broken down into tiny pieces that won’t trigger an allergic reaction when eaten.
Just like people, cats can be allergic to things in their environment like pollen, cigarette smoke, dust, mold, harsh cleaners, deodorizers, perfumes and other potential irritants lurking on surfaces and in the air around them. That’s why it’s so important to regularly dust and vacuum your home. When cleaning and deodorizing your home, always use natural and unscented products like those included in the Skout’s Honor Cat Happy at Home Kit. Also, switch your cat’s current litter to an unscented, dust-free kind because scented litter can also trigger allergic reactions.
How to Treat a Cat with Allergies
To figure out whether your cat has allergies, you’ll need to visit your veterinarian. Based on your cat’s symptoms, your vet will do a series of blood and skin tests to determine whether the culprit. The vet might put your kitty on a hypoallergenic diet or a limited-ingredient diet for up to 12 weeks to rule out a food allergy.
For cats with fleas, a prescription flea medication should eliminate those pesky pests. And for cats with environmental allergies, prescription medications like steroids, antihistamines and allergy injections may help your cat’s symptoms. Your vet may also recommend regularly bathing your cat with a conditioning pet cleanser like Skout’s Honor Probiotic Shampoo & Conditioner to remove any pollen and other irritants from your cat’s coat.
How to Provide Relief for My Cat with Allergies
After visiting the vet, eliminate anything from your cat’s environment that could be triggering an allergic response. You can also provide relief from itching and dryness with Skout’s Honor Probiotic Itch Relief spray that soothes and moisturizes your cat’s skin. Or, try Skout’s Honor Probiotic Ear Cleaner to calm your kitty’s itchy, irritated ears and Skout’s Honor Prebiotic Pet Balm to soothe and protect the skin of the paws. These products help support a healthy skin microbiome and reduce inflammation to allow irritated skin to heal.
Final Thoughts on Feline Allergies
Allergies can make your feline family member feel miserable but using the soothing products available from Skout’s Honor and consulting with your vet can help. By following your vet’s treatment plan and keeping potential allergens out of your cat’s environment, your feline friend should be feeling better in no time at all.
Susan Paretts is a pet expert and author whose work has been published in a variety of pet-related publications including the American Kennel Club, Cuteness, World of Wag, Catster, The Noseprint, The Nest Pets, The Daily Puppy, Mom.com, GoFetch and Mas & Pas. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with an MFA in writing and lives with her husband and her adorable furry family members.