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How To Treat Allergies In Cats

Cats Claw And Dandelion Root

Cat Health : How to Treat Flea Allergies in Cats

Dandelion root contains natural cortisol, which can suppress the immune system response that causes itching from allergies, much like medical steroids.

Dandelion root helps with digestion and liver detoxification, and cats claw regulates immune system function. They can be brewed into a tea and applied topically to fight the itch.

What Is Contact Allergy And How Is It Treated

Contact allergies are the least common of the four types of allergies in cats.

“They result in a local reaction on the skin from contact with an allergic substance.”

They result in a local reaction on the skin from contact with an allergic substance. Examples of contact allergy include reactions to shampoos, flea collars, or certain types of bedding, such as wool. If the cat is allergic to such substances, there will be skin irritation and itching at the points of contact. Removal of the contact irritant solves the problem. However, identifying the allergen can be challenging in many cases.

Contributors: Tammy Hunter, DVM Ernest Ward, DVM

How Are Cat Allergies Diagnosed

Treatment for cat allergies depends on your catâs unique situation. The vet will review your catâs medical history and complete a physical exam.

Cat allergy testing is done with either a blood test or skin test. For a blood test, the vet will take a sample of the catâs blood and send it to a lab for evaluation. For a skin test, small injections are given to the cat just under the skin. If your cat is allergic to a particular substance, a hive will often appear on their body.

Neither test is necessarily better than the other. At times veterinarians will complete both tests to gain a better understanding of your cat’s allergies. After the vet determines whatâs causing the allergic reaction, they can then prescribe the right solution.

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Natural Remedies For Cats With Seasonal Allergies

If your cat suffers from seasonal allergies and you want to use natural remedies instead of steroids or drugs, there are several options that might help your kitty.

Seasonal allergies can cause sinus inflammation, sneezing, coughing, excess mucous, runny eyes, yeast infections, and skin irritations like rashes and hot spots.

These natural remedies can fight those symptoms while avoiding the harmful side effects of many medications. However, you MUST discuss them with your vet before making any changes.

Here are ten natural remedies for cats that can help provide relief from seasonal allergies.

Testing For Cat Food Allergies

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If your cat is still itchy after treating their infection and using a monthly flea preventive, the next step is to test for a food allergy. Unlike people, there is no blood test for food allergies in cats. To figure out if your cat has an allergy to food, your veterinarian will prescribe either a novel protein diet or a hypoallergenic diet.

  • A novel protein diet is one with a protein source that your cat has never had before. Venison, rabbit, and duck are common novel protein sources.

  • A hypoallergenic diet is a food in which the protein source is broken down into small molecular pieces so that the body can no longer recognize it as a protein. Think of a puzzle that has an image of a pirate ship. When you take the puzzle apart, you can no longer see the pirate ship.

To diagnose a food allergy, your cat will need to be on the prescribed diet for a minimum of two months without eating anything but that diet. If the diet trial is effective, the next step is to add a new protein source to the food for one to two weeks.

If there is no reaction, we can assume that protein is not causing the allergy if there is a reaction, we know that your cat is allergic to that protein and it must be avoided. Occasionally, some cats must stay on the prescription diet for life to manage their food allergy.

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Management Of Environmental Allergies In Cats

Because atopy in cats is a chronic condition, youll need to manage it for the rest of your cats life. There are, however, some ways you can help kitty stay comfortable:

  • Schedule regular vet appointments as recommended by your health professional.
  • If pollen or grass is an allergen, use your air conditioner in the summer months.
  • If it doesnt stress your cat out, try bathing him in anti-itch shampoo with cool water.
  • Remove your cat from the room when you vacuum.
  • If you notice dust, pollen or grass on your cat, wipe his body.
  • Some vets recommend regular doses of Omega 3, which is a great supplement for skin and coat health. Ask your vet if it might be a good choice for your cat.
  • Environmental allergies in cats are irritating and could result in pain and even infection. If you suspect your cat might be affected by environmental allergies, call your vets office for guidance.

    Thumbnail: Photography by George Doyle/Thinkstock.

    Read more about allergies in cats on Catster.com:

    How To Diagnose And Treat Flea Allergies In Cats

    This article was co-authored by Deanne Pawlisch, CVT, MA. Deanne Pawlisch is a Certified Veterinary Technician, who does corporate training for veterinary practices and has taught at the NAVTA-approved Veterinary Assistant Program at the Harper College in Illinois and in 2011 was elected to the board of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Foundation. Deanne has been a Board Member of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Foundation in San Antonio, Texas since 2011. She holds a BS in Anthropology from Loyola University and an MA in Anthropology from Northern Illinois University. This article has been viewed 14,281 times.

    If your cat has flea allergies, it is important to take your cat to a veterinarian who can diagnose and treat the problem as soon as possible. The common symptoms of flea allergies also appear in cats affected by other skin conditions, so diagnosis can be difficult unless it is performed by a veterinarian. Once you know youre dealing with flea allergies, you can take steps to rid your home and your pet of fleas. Ask your vet for prescription medications that will relieve your cats itchiness.

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    About Dr Joanna Woodnutt Mrcvs

    Dr. Joanna Woodnutt is a small animal veterinarian and writer who is passionate about helping owners to learn more about their pets in order to improve animal welfare. She loves to write and wants to empower owners to make the best decisions for their pets by giving them all the information they need. In her spare time, she takes consultations on the small island of Guernsey.

    What Are Common Cat Food Allergy Symptoms

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    Its no surprise that gastrointestinal symptoms could be a sign of food sensitivity in your cat, and both diarrhea and vomiting could indicate that your cats food isnt agreeing with them. You might be less aware that symptoms like ear infections and skin itching can also point to something in your cats diet. While true food allergies are less common and can usually only be diagnosed by a vet, food sensitivities are more common. Ingredients like dairy, fish, eggs or beef sometimes disagree with cats tummies.

    Keep in mind that cats can also be allergic to common substances like rubber and cleaning chemicals, so if your cat isnt feeling good after meals, youll want to make sure their dishes or eating area arent to blame. Choosingcat food and suppliesthat help keep them feeling their best is a wonderful way for you to show how much you love being a pet parent.And performing a DNA test on your cat may also help you identify certain predispositions for some allergies.

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    Treatment And Prevention Of Allergies In Cats

    In order to comfort an allergy-ridden cat, it is essential to first identify the source of its distress. Thus, if you suspect that your kitty seems unusually itchy or seems off in any way that points towards an allergy, get it properly assessed and evaluated by a veterinarian.

    Once you have zeroed in on the potential allergen, the next step is to remove it from your cats vicinity. Your cats allergic reaction is bound to persist as long as it remains exposed to the offending substance.

    • If your cat is allergic to environmental irritants that lodge into your pets furry skin, such as pollen, fungus, mold, and dust, it may not be possible to eliminate the allergen for good. The vet may prescribe medications, such as steroids or cortisone, antihistamines, or a fatty acid supplement, to alleviate the itch.
    • Similarly, veterinarian-recommended flea and tick preventatives are likely to do the trick if a flea-induced allergy is at play. In the absence of a strict flea control, corticosteroid injections are warranted to quell the allergic reaction.

    Moreover, if the cat develops a secondary bacterial infection at the affected skin site, the vet will prescribe the needful antibiotics to stop it from spreading.

    • Some cats are allergic to their litter box or sandbox. This problem can easily be addressed by replacing your normal litter pan with a dust-free alternative, such as one made of clay.

    Most Common Cat Allergens

    Flea saliva is by far the most common cat allergen.

    Cats can also have hypersensitivity reactions to mosquito and other insect bites, but this is less common than flea bite hypersensitivity.

    The next most common allergy is environmental allergies.

    In dogs, this is generally termed atopy or atopic dermatitis, but in cats its usually called non-food, non-flea hypersensitivity dermatitis.

    This is an allergen to things in the environment- pollen, cleaning products, weeds, trees, dust mites, dander, and cigarette smoke are all possible allergens your cat might have a hypersensitivity reaction to.

    Food allergies make up about 1-5% of skin disease cases in cats.

    Food allergies are built up over time- a cat can have eaten chicken-based food his whole life and still develop an allergy to chicken!

    The most common food allergies in cats are beef, chicken and fish- all of which are common in feline diets.

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    Where Are Pet Allergens Found

    Cat and dog allergens are everywhere. Cat allergens are especially sticky. Pet allergens can be found in homes, classrooms, workplaces, and other places where pets have never been. This is because people can carry pet allergens on their clothing.

    Pet allergens can collect on furniture and other surfaces. The allergens may cling to walls, fabric furniture, and clothing. They can stick to carpets, pillows, and other surfaces. They may remain at high levels for several months. Pet allergens can cause symptoms up to six months after the animal is gone, especially cat allergens.

    Allergens can get into the air when you pet or groom an animal. Once allergens have settled, they can be stirred into the air again. This can happen during dusting, vacuuming, or other household activities. Once airborne, the particles can stay in the air for long periods.

    Because animal allergens are everywhere, it can be challenging to manage your symptoms if you have a severe allergy.

    Use A Neti Pot To Keep Allergies At Bay

    Food Allergies In Cats: Signs, Symptoms, And Treatment!
  • This can help ease congestion and mucus buildup. First, make a saline solution by combining 1 cup of sterilized water , 0.5 teaspoons of salt, and 0.5 teaspoons of baking soda.XResearch source Then, pour the solution into the neti pot. Using the spout of the neti pot, drip the mixture into your nostril. Let the water drain out the opposite nostril or your mouth. Repeat the process 2-3 times a day to reduce your symptoms.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • After using the neti pot, blow your nose to remove any remaining mucus.
  • If you don’t have a neti pot, you might try using a squeeze bottle.
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    Diagnosis Of Pet Allergies

    Allergies in cats can start at any time, though its more common under the age of five. Pet allergies need to be considered for any cat having itchy skin problems.

    There is no simple test to find out if your cat has allergies. The diagnosis is one of exclusion so you have to rule out all other causes of itchiness first. Food allergies can cause similar problems so you need to check for that. Flea allergy, ringworm, and mites are other possibilities. The list doesnt end there either. Remember, there can also be more than one thing going on at the same time as well.

    Allergy testing is done with either skin tests or a blood test. However, you cant diagnose allergies by these tests because normal cats can also have reactions on the tests.

    Allergy testing is done only if you are going to do immunotherapy . Its used to decide which allergens to put into the cat allergy medicine treatment set.

    Prognosis For Cats With Allergies

    Dealing with allergies can be an ongoing challenge for cat owners, especially if the allergen is impossible to remove . If the trigger is not completely eliminated, then some cats can be kept more comfortable with medication and may only suffer seasonally. An extreme allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, can be fatal.

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    Home Remedies For Pets Allergies

    There are home remedies that can help alleviate certain symptoms. Lifestyle changes that can make a difference include:

    • Home improvements: Making your home as hypoallergenic as possible can help. Consider installing an air cleaner with a HEPA filter and cleaning fabric surfaces regularly.
    • Soothing baths: Your veterinarian might recommend bathing your dog or cat with a pet shampoo that contains oatmeal, Dr. Marsella explains.
    • Dietary supplements: Supplementing your pets diet with fish oil can reduce flaky or itchy skin. Probiotics can also offer pets relief from skin allergies by restoring balance to bacteria levels in their GI tract, Dr. Marsella says. By improving the health of their GI tract, probiotics can help reduce allergy symptoms.
    • Physical blockers: A simple intervention for itchy pets is to have them wear a T-shirt, since it appears it may reduce their drive to scratch, suggests Dr. Sypniewski.

    Cat Pollen Allergy: What To Do If Your Cat Is Allergic To Pollen

    Signs of Allergies to Cats : Treating Allergies

    Can you tell the symptoms of pollen allergy in your cat? Learn them now and also what you can do to help her deal with this easier!

    With humans, allergies are a common thing. Everybody knows someone, who suffers from hay fever at some time during the year. It may come as a surprise to many that our feline friends can also suffer from cat pollen allergy. And while there is no permanent cure for the pollen allergies in cats, there are certain things you can do to help your cat. Whether youre a first-time cat parent or not, find out what works best for your kitty!

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    Look For Other Allergens

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    Your cat could be allergic to other things besides pollen and flea saliva. Cats can have food allergies, and they can also be allergic to cigarette smoke and perfumes, as well as cleaning products, certain fabrics and scented litter. Talk to your vet. If she suspects a food allergy, you’ll likely be asked to feed a prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet. Switch to dust-free, unscented litter to see if that helps. Try unscented cleaning products and avoiding perfumes.

    Let Your Feline Friend Rest Sufficiently

    When suffering from allergy symptoms, your cat may feel tired and fatigued. It is important for you to make your feline friend rest as much as possible. Proper rest will help its body recuperate fast and allow its immune system to optimize its maximum potential.

    During the allergy season or when your cat is in the throes of an allergic reaction, try to keep her at home as much as possible as exposure to pollen and dust from the outside environment will only worsen the symptoms and delay the recovery.


  • Diesel A. Cutaneous Hypersensitivity Dermatoses in the Feline Patient: A Review of Allergic Skin Disease in Cats. Veterinary Science. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ articles/PMC5606602/. Published May 9, 2017.
  • Verlinden A, Hesta M, Millet S, Janssens GP. Food allergy in dogs and cats: a review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/16527756. Published 2006.
  • Carlotti DN, Jacobs DE. Therapy, control and prevention of flea allergy dermatitis in dogs and cats. Veterinary Dermatology . https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/ 10.1046/j.1365-3164.2000.00204.x. Published December 25, 2001.
  • Linneberg A, Nielsen NH, Menné T. Smoking might be a risk factor for contact allergy. Plum X Metrix. https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-674980124-0/ abstract. Published May 2003.
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    Cat Allergy And Newborns

    If you are bringing home a newborn, keep your baby and cats apart for the first three months. Cats like soft cozy places to sleep, and babies sleep a lot in the beginning, so it is tempting for a cat to cuddle up in the bassinet. If your baby is premature , you need to be extra-careful to keep the cat away from your baby. A neonates immature lungs cannot cope with the irritating allergens produced by a cat.

    Use A Hepa Air Purifier

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  • These can help eliminate dander and dust in the air. When cats emit Fel d1 proteins, the particles become airborne quickly. To prevent breathing in these allergens, place HEPA air purifiers throughout your home.XTrustworthy SourceThe Humane Society of the United StatesNational organization devoted to the promotion of animal welfareGo to source
  • If you’re not able to purchase a HEPA air purifier for every room, try to keep one in the rooms that you spend the most time in, like your bedroom and living room.
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    What Is The Difference Between Itching From A Flea Bite And Having A Flea Allergy

    When it comes to insect bites, it is the natural reaction of the body to be inflamed and itchy. But the difference between a normal reaction to a flea bite and a flea allergy is the extent of the reaction.

    When fleas bite a cat, they inject some saliva into the skin. This causes a reaction in the body, as the body tries to contain the foreign material: there will be some swelling and redness and itching. The reaction to a flea bite should be fairly small and settle within a couple of days.

    When the cat has a flea saliva allergy, however, the picture is a bit different. A single bite can trigger an excessive reaction, where the itching lasts a long time and affects the skin over a larger area. Combined with a cats attempts to relieve the itching by licking or scratching, a single flea bite can quickly escalate into a large-scale skin problem this is termed flea allergy dermatitis.


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