Like humans and dogs, cats are subject to allergies. With dogs, the symptoms of allergies can be a little easier to interpret. They may excessively itch, whine, and do anything they can to let you know that they are in some sort of discomfort. Cats, as we know, can be a little harder to read. They tend to be more independent, stubborn, and will often hide their discomforts, leading some cat owners to miss the allergy signs all together.
What can we do to help our feline friends with their allergies? What are the most common cat allergies?
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Common Types of Cat Allergies
Cats tend to have allergic reactions to the same type of things that dogs and even humans do. We can essentially break cat allergies down into 4 different classifications: Environmental allergies, flea allergies, food allergies and atopic dermatitis.
Environmental allergies are something we can all relate to. Pollen, grass, mold, cigarette smoke, cleaning products, and even your mother’s perfume. As the name suggests, these allergies can be thought of as anything in your cats’ current environment that has caused a reaction.
Flea allergies aren’t mutually exclusive with dogs, cats too can be affected. Flea bites can be extremely irritating for cats, often times affecting their entire body, not just at the site of the flea bite(s).
Food allergies are pretty self-explanatory, they are caused by different foods and food additives.
And finally, atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is a skin condition often accompanied by symptoms such as redness, inflammation, hot spots, sores and hair loss.
Common Symptoms of Cat Allergies:
- Sneezing, Coughing
- Red, Dry Skin
- Itchy Eyes
- Vomiting and Diarrhea
- Excessive Grooming (licking)
- Ear Infections
- Swollen, Sensitive Paws
If you notice your cat illustrating any of these symptoms, it could very well be due to some sort of allergen. To determine what exactly your cat is having allergic reactions to, veterinarians will commonly perform blood and skin tests.
What is Given for Treatment?
Once you and your veterinarian determine what exactly your cat’s allergies are, there are a few different medications and treatments available. Cat allergy medications may come in a number of different forms, from pills, lotions and ointments, to ear drops and eye drops. It all depends on your cat’s current allergy and situation, and what may be easiest to administer for you and your cat. Your veterinarian will put a plan in place and will start your cat on the most effective treatment for your specific circumstance.
If your cat has been diagnosed with an allergy, there are some things we can do to help keep their reactions at bay, especially environmental reactions. Some helpful tips you can try around the house include using dust-free cat litter, keeping your home free of dirt and dust (the best you can), and washing your cats bedding regularly. Allergens can often stick to surfaces, intensifying symptoms if your cat comes in contact with them (like their bed or the couch). You should avoid smoking or using chemically infused house cleaners in or around your cat. These foreign particles and odors can often spark an allergic reaction, especially if your cat inadvertently breathes them in.
Is My Cat at Risk?
The short answer is, yes, every cat is technically at risk of developing allergies. Interestingly enough, it has been found that cats diagnosed with asthma are more likely to develop allergies. Other than that, it appears to be luck of the draw (and most likely genetics). However, with some of the proactive tips above, you can try and make sure you do everything you can to ensure your cat does not develop major allergies, or at least help in limiting their exposure.
Some cats are going to develop allergies no matter what, certain things are just out of your control. If you suspect your cat may be suffering from allergies, or has already been diagnosed with certain allergies, consult your veterinarian and find the solution right for you!
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