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When you think of cat allergies, do you just think of someone that is allergic to cats? Well, cats can have their own allergies too! Allergies and intolerances can be very common in cats and can range anywhere from a flea bite to wheat. Just like in people though, some are easier to spot than others so make sure you can tell the symptoms and how to deal with any potential cat allergies if you think they could have one.
What causes cat allergies?
When a cat has an allergy it means their immune system is sensitive to something. When their body comes into contact with the allergen, it sees it as an invading foreign substance so fights against it to try and get rid of it. This results in cat allergy symptoms such as sneezing and vomiting. Although these substances are generally safe and harmless, to that specific cat it causes a reaction.
Cat allergy symptoms
So you think your cat is allergic to something, but how can you tell? Here are some of the most common signs of cat allergies to look out for:
- Difficulty breathing
- Avoiding certain foods
- Abnormal snoring
- Irritated and red skin
- Bald patches
- Runny nose
- Runny eyes
- Paw chewing
- Excessive licking
How to identify cat allergies
If you find your feline friend exhibiting some cat allergy symptoms, then the first thing to do is take a closer look. You may be able to see the cause of the issue or be able to tell if it’s something they’ve just eaten or come into contact with. If it’s not something obvious, like them throwing up after eating a specific food, then depending on the severity you may need to visit the vet. They will be able to help you figure out if it is an allergy or another health issue. Once you can be sure it is caused by an allergen, then you need to pinpoint the exact cause. This may take time and patience in some cases and often requires a careful process of elimination until you come across the source of the reaction.
Types of cat allergies
In general cat allergies can be split into three different groups - skin, food and environmental. These include a number of different allergens, but in general, have similar symptoms and cat allergy solutions.
Cat skin allergies
These are the most common types of allergies in cats, with one of the most popular being fleas. An allergy to flea bites or flea saliva is known as flea allergy dermatitis and just one bite can cause an issue. These are usually easier to spot though than some cat skin allergies as it can cause irritation and you can usually see the fleas on their skin. Using certain cleaning products around the house or shampoos can also lead to a cat allergy rash due to the specific ingredients within the products. Other symptoms of a cat skin allergy include scratching, itchy skin, redness, inflammation, bald patches and scabbing.
Cat food allergies
Just like with humans, cats can also be allergic to certain foods. This is the least common of the allergens though, with only around 10-15% of all cat allergic reactions being down to food. Whilst food allergies will vary from cat to cat, there are a few typical allergens. These include grains such as wheat as well as fish, meat and dairy products. A cat food allergy often causes diarrhoea and vomiting as well as sometimes facial swelling. These are also often harder to diagnose by a vet, especially if trying to identify a specific ingredient within their cat food.
Cat environmental allergies
Many people don’t realise, but cats can also be allergic to things like pollen. Environmental allergens including moUld and dust are just as popular with cats as with people. Some of these, such as moUld, can be avoided by keeping a clean house and living environment. Some, however, such as pollen, cannot be avoided easily and are often seasonal and come back each year. Environmental allergies can cause irritation similar to a skin allergy, but can also lead to respiratory issues such as difficulting breathing as well as coughing and sneezing.
How to reduce cat allergies
Whilst there is no straightforward cat allergy cure, there are things you can do to help. The best thing to do is take away their exposure to the allergen. This may mean avoiding certain ingredients, swapping their cat food, keeping the house clean or regularly checking for fleas. For those allergens that can’t be avoided though, there are many cat allergy treatments, including specific cat allergy medicines, that you can try once visiting your vet. When finding the right cat allergy relief for your feline friend, make sure to get advice from your vet, don’t just guess and hope for the best.
If you’re not quite ready to go straight to the vets though, there are many natural cat allergy treatments that you can try first. These help to stop cat allergies by building up their internal immunity, so that they can fight the foreign substance better from within. You can usually find these in the form of supplements, but make sure to choose only those made with premium natural ingredients. Some good ones to look out for usually include ingredients such as pumpkin seeds, echinacea and glucosamine.
If it's an external allergen your cat is facing, you can also try making a natural cat skin allergy treatment at home. It may not be a complete cat allergy solution, but can definitely help with some of the symptoms. You can also try using specific cat food for allergies. These swap out common allergens such as wheat with alternatives that are just as nutritious and filling. This shows that although some cat allergies can’t necessarily be avoided, there are steps you can take to help and make you and your feline friend happy again!