Does My Cat Have Allergies?

Photo of Karen Dell

Karen Dell

Senior Editor • Backyard Cat Enclosures

20 September 2016

The first thing to learn when you enter a cat’s service is that the world doesn’t actually revolve around humans. And the second thing to learn is that the world does actually revolve around cats. So the next time you hear someone complain about hay fever, stop and think about how your poor kitty feels.

What are the symptoms of allergy in cats?

A cat that is suffering from allergies has a lot in common with a human suffering from allergies (except that the cat is infinitely nicer to look at). Typical allergy symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy skin
  • Itchy eyes
  • Hair loss and lesions from excessive licking/scratching of affected area
  • Ear infections
  • Paw chewing

Cats suffering from a food intolerance may exhibit vomiting or diarrhoea.

What is my cat allergic to?

The short answer is: we don’t know. It’s very difficult to identify the source of a cat’s allergy as they can be allergic to almost anything - including you! Some common cat allergies include:

  • Plants/pollen
  • Dust/dust mites
  • Flea saliva
  • Perfume
  • Cleaning products
  • Scented kitty litter
  • Food (often grains, corn, fish or milk)
  • Certain fabrics

Eliminating potential sources of allergy might be a good move. And really, keeping your cat free of fleas and your home clean is probably something you should be doing anyway. However, symptoms may linger long after the cause is gone, making it difficult to pin the problem to any one thing. Unfortunately, our furry friends have no way of telling us what ails them. If your cat has any of the above symptoms, you should take them to a vet to find the cause. Food allergies may require a specific elimination diet - your vet will talk you through it.

How can I treat my cat’s allergy?

There are a couple of measures you can take while you wait for a diagnosis:

  • Feeding your cat Omega 3 fatty acids. These are available in supplements or in fish, but beware that fish might be the very thing bothering your kitty.
  • Bathing your cat once a week or fortnight with pet shampoo designed not to dry out their skin. Although bathing your cat might be easier said than done, Maine Coons aside.
  • Buying an outdoor enclosure can give your cat space away from indoor irritants.

And that’s it! We wish we could be more helpful, but all we can really say is: listen to your vet. Manage the source of the allergy and treat your cat with whatever medication they prescribe (and never give your cat medication without instruction). With their professional instruction, your furbaby will be just fine.

Check out our Healthy Cat Checklist to make sure everything is in good order.


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