Allergies In Cats: 10 Feline Allergy Symptoms

by | Jun 12, 2024

Cats can get uncomfortable allergies just like humans can. They could react negatively to food, medications, or environmental factors like pollen and dust. Cat parents should familiarize themselves with the symptoms of allergies in cats so they can quickly spot the issue and find a proper solution with the help of their vet.

Types of Allergies in Cats

To best determine how to ease your cat’s allergy symptoms, you first need to determine the cause of their allergies. To do this, pay attention to their environment and any aspects of their lifestyle that recently changed.

Environmental Allergies

Environmental allergies are caused by external factors, such as substances floating in the air like dust and pollen. They could be seasonal, such as spring allergies, or they could occur when your cat encounters a specific substance. This type of allergy usually involves skin issues, such as dry, itchy, or irritated skin.

Food Allergies

Certain foods or ingredients in cat food could trigger allergic reactions in your feline. Food allergies in cats often cause digestive problems, but they could also lead to skin irritation, specifically near your cat’s face. Chicken, beef, dairy, and fish are all common food allergies your cat could have.

If you recently switched to a new food, that could be the cause of your cat’s sudden allergies. Your vet can help determine the exact allergen.

Flea Allergies

Fleas are uncomfortable for any cat, but they’re especially harmful to cats with flea allergies. A flea bite on cats could cause inflammation and irritation more than a cat normally would if they’re allergic. Plus, the itching, licking, and scratching that comes with a flea infestation will only make symptoms worse.

Drug Allergies

If your cat is experiencing allergic reactions after starting a new medication, there’s a good chance they’re allergic to it. Always talk to your vet right away if that happens.

Allergic Bronchitis

Allergies can trigger allergic bronchitis, also known as asthma in cats. Cats with asthma may wheeze, cough, and struggle to breathe regularly. Thus, you should consult a vet right away.

Allergies in Cats Symptoms

Feline allergy symptoms can vary for each cat. They can start subtle and become increasingly uncomfortable, so keep an eye out for the following signs.

1. Sneezing

An occasional sneeze isn’t a cause for concern, but if your cat is sneezing several times daily or sneezing a bunch of times in a row, you may want to keep an eye on their behaviors. If possible, keep track of how often they sneeze so you can give your vet as many details as possible.

2. Runny Nose

In addition to sneezing, your cat may also experience a runny nose. This is another sign that the cat’s nasal passage is irritated, likely due to allergies.

3. Coughing/Wheezing

An occasional cough could occur if something irritates your cat’s throat. However, persistent coughing or wheezing could indicate that there’s an ongoing problem. Allergies could make your cat’s throat swell up, causing them to cough more and making it harder for them to breathe.

4. Irritated Eyes

Cats with allergies may have red, watery eyes. You may notice them itching their eyes with their paws or squinting more than usual.

5. Red, Dry Skin

Irritated skin is common for cats with allergies, especially if the allergens are fleas, mites, dust, pollen, or other environmental factors. Regularly check your cat’s skin and coat to make sure it looks healthy. If you notice patches of dry, red, scaley, or inflamed skin, they’re likely allergic to something.

6. Excessive Itching and/or Licking

As a result of irritated skin, your cat will be more likely to itch, scratch, and lick themselves. If you notice this behavior, look at your cat’s skin more closely for signs of allergic reactions and fleas.

7. Ear Infections

Cats with allergies are often more prone to ear infections. When allergens enter the ear canal, it could cause increased wax production. That could also increase the risk of yeast and bacterial overgrowth, making ear infections common.

8. Swollen Paws

Allergens may irritate your cat’s paw pads, causing them to swell. Your cat may be hesitant to walk on swollen paws, and they may bite and lick their feet more often than normal.

9. Snoring

A cat snoring might seem cute, but if your cat starts snoring seemingly out of nowhere, there’s likely a reason. Since your cat’s nose and throat could be irritated due to allergies, they may snore as a result since they’re not breathing normally.

10. Vomiting and/or Diarrhea

Allergies could cause an upset stomach in cats, which could lead to digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea. Even if allergies aren’t to blame, it’s always a good idea to visit the vet if your cat is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea because those symptoms could be related to a lot of health concerns.

How to Treat Allergies in Cats

Cat allergy treatments vary depending on the cause of your cat’s allergies. Below are a few solutions for cat allergy symptoms, but allergies are best managed with the help of a vet.

Change Your Cat’s Food

If you suspect your cat has food allergies, they could be allergic to an ingredient in their food. Even if you don’t know what the exact allergy is, you can try limited ingredient cat food formulas. They have short ingredient lists to reduce the risk of common allergens being included.

When in doubt, talk to your vet about your cat’s food allergies. They can suggest a type of cat food for allergies.

Use Flea and Tick Preventatives

Cats need regular flea and tick preventatives, even if they never go outside. Fleas and ticks are powerful critters that could find their way into your home, causing your cat to itch excessively. By using a monthly flea/tick preventative, you’re reducing the risk of allergic reactions related to bug bites.

Get Dust-Free Litter

Some cat litter brands can be dusty, which could cause your cat to cough and sneeze more. Switching to a litter brand with minimal dust could reduce the risk of environmental allergy symptoms.

Bathe Your Cat with Allergy-Friendly Shampoo

As much as cats hate baths, bathing your cat could help remove allergens from their fur. Once every month or so is ideal. Doing it more often than that could dry out their skin and lead to more allergies. When bathing your cat, make sure you use a gentle shampoo that’s allergy friendly.

Wash Your Cat’s Bedding

You should wash your cat’s beds and blankets about once a month. Otherwise, allergens like dust could build up in the bedding and irritate your feline companion.

Supplements or Medications

If you’ve tried everything but your cat is still itching and/or sneezing, visit your vet to find out if there’s anything you can give your cat to relieve their discomfort. They may offer allergy medications or suggest anti-itch supplements.

Managing Allergies in Cats is Crucial

Allergies in cats shouldn’t be taken lightly. Feline allergy symptoms could include excessive itching, scratching, coughing, or digestive problems. No cat should have to deal with that discomfort. So, pay attention to your cat’s symptoms and talk to your vet to determine the cause of the allergies and to find an appropriate solution.

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