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Common Cat Allergies and How to Treat Them

If your cat is sneezing, wheezing, itching and scratching, they may be having an allergic reaction. When a cat has allergies, their immune system becomes especially sensitive due to certain substances that the immune system thinks are threatening to the body.

Most common pet allergens are prevalent in the environment and are normally harmless to pets and people. To cats with allergies, however, these substances can cause unpleasant symptoms, like flaky skin or gastrointestinal issues as they try to rid their bodies of allergens. Read on to learn about common cat allergies, their symptoms and how to treat them.

Pollen

Common cat allergies

Trees, weeds, and grass can all be allergy sources for cats. Most cats aren’t adversely affected when exposed to environmental factors like pollen. Some, however, will have an improper immune response to ingesting pollen that triggers an allergic reaction. Pollen allergies vary in severity from cat to cat, and their symptoms may differ. Some signs your cat may be having a pollen allergy include itchy eyes that lead to eye scratching, a runny nose and coughing, and sneezing.

Pollen allergies are treated based on their severity. Your vet may prescribe medication, or simply advise you to keep your cat indoors with the air conditioning turned on during prime allergy season depending on your cat’s specific symptoms.

Fleas

Common cat allergies

Fleas are among the most common allergens for pets. Any time a cat has fleas, they’ll itch, but for cats that are specifically allergic to fleas, being bitten by a flea just once will make them extremely uncomfortable. The difficulty is, you may not be able to see evidence of a flea bite on your cat because cats experiencing flea allergies tend to clean themselves aggressively.

Check if your cat is gnawing at certain areas, like their belly or inner thighs, both of which are indicative of flea bites. You can also look for itchy spots along the back half of their body. To find the proper flea treatment to suit your cat’s needs, consult with your veterinarian.

Indoor allergens

Common cat allergies

Mold and dust are common household allergens your cat may react to. Instead of the seasonal scratching and itching that happens with outdoor allergies, indoor allergies can last year-round.   

An intradermal test by your veterinarian can help determine if your cat is experiencing indoor allergies. This test will allow your vet to uncover the precise cause of your pet’s allergy, along with the information needed to properly diagnose how they should be treated.

The last thing a pet owner wants is for their furry friend to be uncomfortable or in pain. Be mindful of your pet’s behavior and actions so that you can talk to your vet if your pet is displaying signs of an allergic reaction. Look for excessive biting, scratching or licking, all of which could indicate an allergy.

As always, check with your veterinarian if you suspect your cat has an allergy or displays allergic symptoms. Your vet can help to diagnose the specific allergen that is causing the reaction and help prescribe a course of treatment, which might include medication, supplements, or a change in food or environment. 

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