Either it’s wheat sensitivity or seasonal sneezing, many of us suffer one form of allergy or another. Like humans, cats can also suffer from food and environmental allergies.
Cats have many allergies. The four most common are environmental, food, flea, and seasonal allergies. Depending on the type of allergy, there are different ways in which this can affect your cat. Your cat’s veterinarian will help you assess what he is allergic to and the appropriate treatment.
Cats can have allergies to fleas. When checking your cat, here are some signs to look at and what you can do if your cat has allergies.
How To Know Your Cat Has Allergies?
Most allergies generally come with symptoms such as:
- Excessive licking (grooming)
- Pulling hair
- Chewing at the paws or body
- Ear infections
- Red, dry, and flaky skin
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Snoring due to inflammation in the throat
- Swollen, sensitive paws
Common Types Of Allergies In Cats
There are different kinds of allergies that cats can experience. Like humans, cats can also have allergies to foods, plants, medications, and more.
In cats, the most common allergies are either food, environmental, and fleas. Each of these allergens can cause any of the symptoms listed above.
Cat Allergies: Types, Symptoms, And Diagnosis
There are four main and most common allergies in cats: environmental, fleas, food, and of course, seasonal.
Cats can develop three main types of allergies: environmental, food, and flea allergies.
It can be hard to protect your cat against environmental allergies such as pollen, grass, fungi, mold, and dust. Since these allergens often can’t be avoided, your cat may need one or more allergy treatments to prevent flare-ups.
Additionally, cats can be allergic to perfume, cigarette smoke, and cleaning products. When possible, try to avoid any products that seem to irritate your cat or cause allergies.
The third most common allergy that cats deal with is a food allergy. Cats can be allergic to a variety of different foods, much like humans. Food allergies can be hard to diagnose, but many food allergic pets feel much better once they find an appropriate diet.
Generally, food allergies cause itchiness of the skin; between ten and 15 percent of cats may also have gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting.
In this category of allergens, there are substances such as:
- Components of the environment like pollen, grass, plants, mildew, mold, and algae
- Chemically treated cat litter
- Materials such as fabric, rubber, and plastic
- Aromatic fragrances
- Various types of food
- Pest control products for fleas
Allergies caused by seasonal substances like pollen are usually easier to detect since your cat is affected only for a few months out of the year. Allergies that last all year can be a little more challenging to pinpoint.
While most animals will become itchy when bitten by fleas, a flea allergy can make your cat incredibly sensitive to just a few flea bites. When a flea bites your cat, the saliva can irritate your cat all over, not just where the flea bit your cat. It is best to keep your cat from getting bitten in the first place. You can help them avoid flea bites by using a flea prevention product year-round. Ask your veterinarian which of the many flea prevention products he/she recommends for your cat.
Signs And Symptoms
If your cat has allergies, you will probably see one or a few of these symptoms:
- Sneezing, coughing, wheezing
- Itchy skin
- Itchy and runny eyes
- Swollen paws
Diagnosing And Treating Allergies In Cats
A veterinary dermatologist can look over your pet’s medical history and perform a physical exam to diagnose allergies in cats. In some cases, the vet can perform a test to look for environmental allergies. Suppose your veterinarian believes that the allergy is food-related. In that case, they may want to narrow down the cause by changing your pet’s diet until they eliminate the problem food.
When it comes to battling allergies, in some cases, the best thing that you can do for your cat is focusing on prevention. If your cat has allergies to cleaners, medications, foods, plants, or other avoidable things, try to keep them away from these items. For something like pollen or dust, your cat may need medication to treat the allergies because these things are tough to avoid.
Treating allergies can be complicated if you can’t determine the source of the allergies. It may take some time with a veterinary dermatologist to find the source of your cat’s allergies.
The best way to lower cat allergies is by removing upsetting allergens from home. By eliminating some ingredients from your cat’s diet, you can see which irritates his skin. Also, keep your cat inside the house when allergy season strikes, and use flea control medication to prevent fleas.
With the help of your veterinarian and patience on your part, you can determine the source of your feline’s allergies, so you both find relief.
What Human Foods Are Cats Allergic To?
There are plenty of tasty human foods that will make your cat very ill. Any food that is not explicitly designed for cats can impact the digestive system, causing loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Foods that cats can’t eat include:
Even a tablespoon of alcohol can cause problems for your cats, such as severe brain and liver damage.
- Garlic And Onions
If eaten in enough quantities, all members of the onion family can cause problems. It is not likely for a little bit of garlic or onion in some sauce to cause any problems. But, eating a green onion or a clove of garlic may cause the stomach to be upset. Eating onions — or any of the onion family — could cause anemia in your cat if eaten regularly.
- Energy Drinks, Tea, And Coffee
All of these have caffeine in them — and all of them will make your cat suffer from rapid breathing, become restless, muscle tremors, and heart palpitations.
Chocolate has theobromine, and this stimulant is in all forms of chocolate, the most concentrated form in unsweetened and dark chocolate. In cats, its ingestion can cause muscle tremors, heart problems, or seizures. And, of course, chocolate also has caffeine.
- Milk And Cheese Products
To your surprise, dairy products are up on the list of things that cats should not eat. Some cats are lactose intolerant, so eating any dairy products can cause them diarrhea or vomiting.
- Raisins And Grapes
Dogs can experience acute kidney failure from eating raisins or grapes — and in cats, toxicity is only anecdotal. Anyways, we would advise that these foods be out of the reach of your cat.
- Raw Fish, Raw Eggs, Raw Meat, And Fat Trimmings
Any of these might cause diarrhea, vomiting, or a painful illness known as pancreatitis (caused by excessive fat). Associated with these types of foods comes the risk of getting E. coli or Salmonella.
It is a sweetener used in many sugar-free products, especially chewing gum. No records show cats getting ill from this product. Still, it can cause a severe drop in blood sugar in dogs — which can cause convulsions, seizures, or even death — following liver failure. So, it’s better not to let your cat eat foods that include this ingredient.
If you believe or suspect your cat has allergies, schedule an appointment with your cat’s vet. Because there are different types of cat allergies, your vet will help make a diagnosis to determine the cause of your cat’s issues and determine the appropriate treatment.
Let’s remember that these types of allergies have different ways in which they may impact your cat.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.