Are you sick of cat allergies? Well, there is nothing specific that causes allergies in cats but there can be various sources. As much discomfort they can bring for your pet, these allergies are not a good sign. If not treated on time, they can become severe and cause health issues.
To mention some of them, cat allergies can be due to the environment, seasonal changes, food items, etc. The good news is they all have treatments available. Just consult your vet before you go for any solution. In the article, we will cover the usual symptoms, causes and treatments required for cat allergies.
What are the symptoms of cat allergies?
Below is a guide to understand the signs and symptoms of allergies in cats. If you notice a couple of them in your pet, it’s best to talk to your vet.
- This one’s the most common- itching. You might find your pet rubbing itself onto the carpet or your furniture. They will lick themselves a lot or scratch around the neck and head.
- Rashes and swelling on the body
- Dandruff and a lot of hair fall
- Skin infections like bumps or pimples
- Excessive body odor
- Vomiting, diarrhea
- Itchy ears with presence of wax
- Miliary dermatitis
Causes of cat allergies
As mentioned above, there can be multiple reasons for allergies in cats. Let’s understand each one clearly.
1. Food allergies:
As the name says, food allergies are caused due to a food item that did not suit your cat well. Sometimes, even a single ingredient can be the reason for an allergy. The most common food allergens are- dairy, protein, eggs, beef, pork, etc. It is believed that allergies to food appear when the ingredient has been fed for 2 years.
Some common signs for food allergies could be:
- Miliary dermatitis
- Itching ( not the seasonal one), scratching
- Rashes or red marks on the skin
- Vomiting. Diarrhea
- Presence of scabs
How to treat food allergies?
The first step should be consulting your vet and following the exact prescription for a hypoallergenic diet.
- Try feeding your cat with food that does not contain any protein that it was eating before. This will continue for about 7-8 weeks to properly observe the changes. If the symptoms like itching and rashes disappear after some time, this means the allergy was due to the eliminated food.
- During the testing period, do not feed anything other than the prescribed diet.
- It will take at least 10 weeks for all the symptoms to settle down, so continue the same pattern. After that, you can either follow the same diet or introduce protein foods until the symptoms occur again.
The best way to treat food allergies is by understanding what suits your cat. Depending upon your cat’s body, choose a diet which cuts off the allergens. Remember, it can be different for every cat.
If you wish to choose retail products, it is a good option because they are produced with the necessary precautions. You can go for- “hydrolyzed foods” to remove the allergens or “novel protein foods” which are a mixture of protein and carbohydrates.
2. Environmental allergies :
Seasonal allergies can be caused due to the change in seasons around the year. These are very commonly seen in not only cats, but all other pets. Major causes could be pollen or animal dander. The symptoms of this allergy are similar to all the general ones.
However, here’s a long list of treatments that are available to cure seasonal allergies.
How to treat environmental allergies?
- Antihistamines, like diphenhydramine can work for seasonal allergies in cats. Although, it is advisable to consult your vet before giving it to your pet because not all cats are resistant towards them.
- Make it a point to clean your cat after they come from the outdoors. There can be allergen present in the grass. Use an anti allergy wipe for this purpose.
- You can also use a shampoo and conditioner to remove the allergy. Give them a good bath to help with the itching. Make sure the water temperature is fine for your pet. Ask your pet on how frequently the baths should be given.
- Probiotics can be healthy to remove the infections in the gut, if any, and maintain a balance in the immune system.
- Go for allergy shots if you don’t prefer oral medication. This will provide them with immunity and relief from allergies. Your pet will have a blood test or skin prick test for allergies and a serum will be developed accordingly. The results will appear after 6-7 months.
3. Flea allergies :
Also known as “Flea allergy dermatitis”, these can be very harsh on your pet. Fleas are not easily visible through naked eyes. These allergies can be caused due to flea saliva.
The symptoms of flea allergies are :
- Itching or scratching excessively
- Scabs on different parts of the body
- Loss of hair
- Miliary dermatitis
How to treat flea allergies?
- The best treatment you can use is non allergic shampoos and wipes. Your vet might be able to suggest how frequently you should clean your pet with them.
- If the scratching leads to infections, then antibiotics will also be required
- Some pet owners prefer steroids for quick relief but it might not be healthy for every cat
- A mixture of omega fatty acids with a steroid can also work
How to prevent allergies in cats?
- Make sure to keep your surroundings allergen free by using an air purifier, washing the furnishings at regular intervals with a good detergent.
- Keep your cat’s beddings clean and free from dust
- Clean your house regularly to avoid any allergens
- Make sure to give them a good and healthy diet
- Use a good quality litter box for your cat and clean it religiously
- Give your pet a clean bath for removing the itching
- Use flea and tick control as suggested by your vet
Taking care of your pet’s health can be a challenge sometimes, especially when uninvited guests come your way. You need to be vigilant and observe the little symptoms that will help you to prevent a serious health issue. Always consult your vet regarding the medicines you give your pet.
Allergies are quite common in all pets but all of them require distinct care. Do not use the dog or human medicines for cats. This can harm their health and cause other side effects. It can be a little tricky but do not worry, once you are used to it, everything will fall into place.