An allergy is a response of the immune system to some substances that may lead to allergic reactions in pets and humans. These are classified as antigens or allergens. Allergens are usually harmless (i.e. pollen, food, or dust), but some pets react and inhale the allergen, causing allergy symptoms. In this blog, we inform you about 5 most common allergies in cats.
Allergic people show signs like itching, swollen eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose. Our feline friends can have these issues too, but more often the allergies are:
Skin: Cats may suffer from skin allergies and scratch their fur and skin all day long. The skin is the most affected organ system.
Gastrointestinal: Common symptoms of gastrointestinal allergy symptoms in cats include vomiting or diarrhea.
Breathing: These include the internal and external airways, often along with the nasal passages.
Eyes: Allergies often cause conjunctivitis.
Allergies if not treated at the right time may become a lifelong condition in pets. Although some breeds may be more prone to allergies, they can occur in all cats.
Treatment in the early stages is important for improvement in such conditions.
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Allergy Symptoms in Cats
All types of allergies can cause similar, overlapping clinical symptoms in cats. These symptoms vary in their intensity and may develop over the years. Allergies can occur in cats due to any reasons known or unknown. Some medications for human allergies also work well for pets.
For example, Benadryl is an effective medication for the treatment of cough and respiratory infections in humans, but you can also use Benadryl for cats if it is suffering from allergies. However, you must consult a veterinarian before offering any such medication to your cat.
Types of Allergies in Cats
The term “allergy” is a general term. Veterinarians recognize the following main types of allergies in cats.
Food allergies in cats are very similar to environmental allergies. Cats suffering from food allergies often show signs like vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating. Many suffer from skin conditions, including itching, especially on the face, head, and neck.
The cause of food allergies in cats is not well known. All proteins, carbohydrates, preservatives, additives, or colors can be potential allergens. Normally, a cat’s immune system is overstimulated by protein.
Most cats prone to allergens often suffer from atopic dermatitis – a common skin condition in pets. In this condition, the cat tends to develop symptoms like skin soreness, redness, scabbing, and hair loss. Such conditions need to be treated immediately as they can become severe with time.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis occurs due to exposure to allergens in dust, yeast, and pollen. The location of allergic infection is determined by direct contact. Most cats with contact dermatitis develop a rash, swelling, pustules, and blisters upon exposure. If you see these symptoms in your kitty, contact a veterinarian to treat it at an early stage.
Many cats are allergic to fleas, and they feel itchiness after being bitten by the insect. The proof of fleas on a cat may not be visible to your eyes, as cats with these allergies clean themselves as soon as they feel the itchiness on their skin.
Licking, scratching, biting around the belly, thighs, neck, and base of the tail are sure sights of flea allergy. Veterinarians offer medications to control the growth and reproduction of fleas in cats and prevent flea allergies.
Some cats are highly sensitive to fragrances and perfumes we use on our clothes. Cats are usually sensitive to deodorants, perfumes, and room fresheners we use regularly. In addition, the smell of cleaning products, carpet powder, and air sprays, can also cause allergies in cat.
If your cat is sneezing or feeling itchy after contact with such products, try to avoid its entry into the areas where you use these products. Make sure you don’t use perfumes or any strong-smelling products in the area dedicated to your cat.
Allergies are a common issue in cats and can cause a range of symptoms affecting different organ systems. Identifying and treating allergies early is crucial for long-term success. While the cause of food allergies is not well known, all proteins, carbohydrates, preservatives, additives, or colors can potentially trigger an allergic reaction. Owners should seek veterinary care as soon as they notice signs of allergies in their cats.