Dog: I'm allergic; please get rid of the cat

Do You Know Remedies For Cat Allergies?

My cat has some sort of allergy and I can’t figure out what it is. Consequently, I’m researching cat allergies to see if I can learn remedies that might help my cat. Perhaps I can find out what is bothering Kitty. Then I’ll pass this information on to you, in case your are trying to solve a similar problem. Here’s what I’ve discovered so far:

Cats are no different from people, as we, too, can have allergies. They happen when our immune system becomes sensitive to substances present in our surroundings. These are known as allergens, and the cat can show symptoms that some kind of allergen is bothering him.

Cat allergies can be divided into three main categories:

  1. Flea allergy

    Detailed drawing of a cat flea
    Cat flea
  2. Environmental allergies
  3. Food allergies

At times a fourth type of allergen, contact allergy, can be the cause, but it is the least common type. They can, however, result in a local skin reaction. Contact allergies include such things as reactions to flea collars, or types of bedding, such as wool.

Though this type of allergy is easily resolved — simply remove the contact irritant — it may require some detective work to identify.

Sometimes a cat can have more than one allergy. Then your problem of discovering the source is compounded. It may become necessary to take the cat to the vet for a thorough exam.

Here are some allergy symptoms:

  1. Itchy skin
  2. Sneezing, coughing and wheezing, nose may be itchy and eyes may be runny Check for asthma, as it can also cause these symptoms.
  3. Ear infection
  4. Vomiting or diarrhea
  5. Snoring (if caused by an inflamed throat)
  6. Paw chewing; swollen, sensitive paws
  7. Itchy back or at base of tail, most common with fleas

A cat with allergies can typically show signs of hair loss, or scabs and open sores. Other common Cat scratching itselfsymptoms include discharge in the ears or excessive scratching.

So, what can cause these symptoms? Unfortunately, it is not easy to narrow down the reason. However, it may be included in the following list of allergens:

  1. Pollen, grass, plants, mold, mildew, or perhaps some other organic substance.
  2. Food
  3. Perfume or cologne
  4. Fleas or flea-control products. Now that is helpful — what if you use some product to control Kitty’s fleas, and it turns out she is allergic to that? Not good.
  5. Household cleaning products
  6. Prescription drugs
  7. Some cat litters

Problems with digestion, such as gas, vomiting, and diarrhea, can be caused by a food allergy. If you discover your cat is allergic to a certain food, by all means don’t feed it to him any more.

Sometimes older cats are more apt to develop an allergy, as they become exposed to a wider range of potential allergens. This is especially true if the cat spends a lot of time outdoors around plants and organic material.

Prevention is often the best treatment. Remove allergens from the environment. If the cat has allergens caused by fleas, use your vet’s recommended preventative to try to eliminate the cause.

If your litter is scented and not dust-free, change the litter. As to pollen, fungus, mold, or dust, a kitty bath once a week could be helpful. Get an appropriate shampoo that won’t dry out his skin.

If it is his food, you may need to put the cat on a prescription diet, or perhaps home-cook his meals and add dietary supplements to ensure he gets all the nutrients needed.

There is one more thing that I will try. Though in Southeast Alaska, we have a very damp climate, our homes are sealed thoroughly to keep out dampness. Then our heat dries out the house even more. I’ve ordered a humidifier to keep the house air a little moister. I believe at least part of my cat’s problem comes from dry skin.

Medication can include several things:

  1. Cortisone, steroids or allergy injections. These are helpful for airborne pollens

    Cat with severe allergies
    Cat with severe allergies
  2. Antihistamines. These are sometimes used as a preventative. (DON’T use human antihistamines, but find the right type from your vet that is safe for the cat)
  3. Flea prevention remedies

If your cat has asthma and is allergic to environmental factors, these may make the asthma worse. You may receive a prescription from your vet for a medication that will open the cat’s airway, short-term. As a long-term solution, Kitty may be given corticosteroids.

If you smoke, the cigarette smoke is bad for the cat, especially if he has asthma.

In the spring when the pollen count is high, a cat may develop excessive sneezing. Keep the cat inside during high pollen days.

You can reduce the amount of pollen tracked into your house by removing shoes at the door and by adding a thick welcome mat.

If your cat has extreme allergy symptoms, your vet may prescribe a more aggressive path. First, to determine the root cause the vet might use a blood test or an intradermal skin test.

This latter is administered by injecting potential allergen such as mold or pollen under the cat’s skin. The test involves sedation and lasts a few hours. Once the allergen is discovered, the vet can prescribe a treatment plan.

There are a couple of drugs that can be used. One is an oral medication called Atopica. This medication works by suppressing helper T-cells, thus reducing inflammation. It has been shown Oh, I need a bath? Tell me again how much you like the sight of your own bloodclinically to be safe and effective.

Another drug, cyclosporine, has few side effects, and while effective, it has a high price tag. This one should be used as a last resort.

Exposure to flea saliva has proved to be the primary cause for allergic reactions among cats. Be on guard if signs of fleas during spring or summer, the prime biting time.

Combing your kitty regularly can be helpful.

There are some natural flea products that can be helpful. You might try Natural Chemistry’s DeFlea products. Or, you can try essential oils or diatomaceous earth, a mineral-based pesticide derived from fossilized water plants.

Something I’m trying that was suggested by my vet and by one of the articles I read is Omega-3 salmon oil. Put a little (start with two or three drops) to make sure it doesn’t cause diarrhea.) Omega-3 fatty acid supplements keep the normal immune barrier of the skin healthy. It will reduce secondary infections.

Often desensitization with the appropriate injections or shots is the ideal way to treat allergies. However, it has its drawbacks:

  1. It can be quite expensive
  2. As the cat ages, new allergies may develop, and he will have to be retested
  3. Success rate: 50% excellent response; 25% partial to good response; 25% little or no response.

Fortunately, I can eliminate some of the severe problems a cat may have from my own cat. He has no fleas; I believe we can rule out food allergies.

I don’t think it’s pollen, as we had a really bad pollen season this spring, and he didn’t seem to react unfavorably. The vet says his heart and lungs are fine, so I can rule out asthma.

Perhaps it’s just dry skin. I’ve been giving him salmon oil for a few days, and he seems to be scratching less. I’m hopeful that dry skin is his major problem.

Whatever it is, a cat allergy can be a frustrating problem, as you have to eliminate so many things to

picture of skin allergy
Cat skin allergy

get to the source. If the cause is obvious, you are fortunate, and can work to eliminate this cause.

If it’s a bit harder to uncover, hopefully you can get closer to the heart of the matter and solve the problem. If not, it may take some teamwork between you and your vet.

We want to make sure our fur babies are happy and healthy, and if we can eliminate the discomfort caused to them by an allergy, we are helping both the cat and ourselves. The cat will be more comfortable and we will be less stressed, because we have resolved the problem.

References I used for this post are as follows:

pets.webmd.com/cats/cat-allergy-symptoms-triggers#1

mnn.com/health/allergies/stories/cat-allergies-how-to-treat-cats-with-allergies

pethealthnetwork.com/cat-health/cat-diseases-conditions-a-z/what-bothering-your-cat-it-could-be-feline-allergies

thedrakecenter.com/materials/feline-allergies

 

8 thoughts on “Do You Know Remedies For Cat Allergies?”

  1. Hello, I really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. some of these symptoms occur and most of the times i still can not detect what the problem is. now with the help of your article i can tell what allergy results to the symptoms. thank you

    Reply
    • Yes, it is often difficult to figure out what the problem is, especially with allergies.  You pretty much have to go through a process of elimination.  I hope you can find out the problem with your kitty.

      Reply
  2. Thank you for all the info on cat allergies. This is a topic that not many people write about but it is as important as human allergies. Recently my kitten was reacting to a change of food and that’s when I thought maybe it has some allergy. It is so difficult to guess what exactly it is and this post definitely helped me do that.

    Reply
    • Good — I am glad it helped you out.  It is often really difficult to tell what they are allergic to, so trial and error is a method we often have to use.  

      I just wish they could talk English.

       

      Reply
  3. You have certainly thoroughly researched this post very well. One thing you don’t seem to have considered is flooring and maybe that’s because you are from Alaska. I am from Australia and there is a lot of documentation here about hard flooring being the best choice for people with allergies  so I’m thinking that would probably apply to animals as well, they are after all much closer to the floor than we are. Carpets are notorious for harbouring fleas and all sorts of other nasties. W have wooden floors and tiled floors and I love the cleanliness of them. Unfortunately they will not be as warm in cold climates but if you really wanted to spoil your cat you could install underfloor heating 🙂

    Reply
    • Good thought — never considered flooring.  Fortunately, I have a hardwood floor with small area rugs, so that should be fine for my kitty.  I think carpeting would be really bad, especially in a flea-infested area.  

      I don’t have underfloor heating, but the cat has a soft bed right in front of my Toyo stove.  He slept there all day today.

      Reply
  4. Hey, I enjoy a lot while reading your article and find it very useful for pet lovers. While reading I know that problems with digestion, such as gas, vomiting, and diarrhea, can be caused by a food allergy. If we discover our cat is allergic to a certain food, by all means don’t feed it to him any more. Very good suggestion. We will follow in future. Keep it running.

    Reply
    • Yes, allergies can be troublesome because it is so hard to figure out what causes them.  If anyone who reads that article finds a way to help their kitty, I’ll feel it was definitely worth the writing.  

      Reply

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