Just like humans, cats are not immune to allergic reactions that can cause them to experience uncontrollable sneezing, wheezing, and itchy skin. While we can easily go to the pharmacy and pick up an over-the-counter remedy, it’s not so easy for Patches to let you know when she needs help. Knowing how to identify symptoms and which home remedies for cats with allergies are effective can make all the difference in your pet’s health.
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Causes and Symptoms
Cat allergies are typically divided into four categories – flea, food, airborne, and contact . You should become familiar with common symptoms and signs that will better assist you in identifying the allergens affecting your feline.
A cat flea allergy is most likely the most common allergy found in cats. Under normal circumstances, a cat will experience minor irritation and itching when bitten from a flea. However, cats that are allergic to flea bites have severe reactions to just one flea. They will often bite and break their skin in the process. Sometimes, they remove large patches of their own hair. Open sores or small scabs may form on the skin. Signs of a flea allergy can be found on their head, neck and backend.
A food allergy can appear out of nowhere in a cat, most commonly developing over time to a food that he or she has already eaten for many years. Typical offenders are often the protein element found in their food, such as chicken, turkey, pork and beef. Other allergens may also be present in their meals, including corn, wheat, yeast and soy. When cats eat the allergen, they may cough, sneeze, itch, scratch, rub against things, vomit, lose hair or pull out fur. Pimples, rashes, inflamed patches of skin, and inflammation between their toes may also develop.
Allergens in the air can also affect felines. When a cat inhales particles that they are allergic to, they experience severe itching all over their body. Common allergens for cats include:
• Tree pollens, including cedar, ash and oak (seasonal)
• Grass pollens, including Bermuda (seasonal)
• Weed pollens, such as ragweed or goldenrod (seasonal)
• Molds and mildew (year-round)
• House dust mites (year-round)
Contact allergy is the least common type of cat allergy. It occurs when a feline comes in contact with a material or substance that they are allergic to, such as carpet, bedding (especially wool) or cleaning products (like detergents). The allergens cause skin irritation and itching at the points of contact – usually on the elbows, belly, and bottom of the feet.
Cat Allergy Home Remedies
Allergy symptoms in cats occur when their immune system overreacts to coming in contact with an allergen. To minimize their discomfort and provide relief to your pet, you may want to get familiar with the following home remedies for a cat that has allergies:
The antihistamine medication that works wonders for humans can also treat allergies in cats – especially those associated with bites, stings and sinus flare ups. To make sure you use the proper dosage for your feline, contact a veterinarian first.
Cats with itchy skin from allergies will respond well to a cool water bath for 10 minutes. Adding colloidal oatmeal to the bath water will provide soothing relief to irritated skin.
c) Epsom Salts:
When cat feet are itching because of an allergy, dissolve Epsom salts in a bath and allow your cat to soak their feet in the water for five to 10 minutes. Make sure that your cat does not drink the water.
d) Witch Hazel:
When your cat shows signs of flea allergy dermatitis, tap into the natural astringent properties of witch hazel, which is effective in relieving itchy skin. Pour the liquid directly on affected skin or you can dab on the remedy using a cotton ball. The witch hazel will soothe irritated skin, as well as encourage open sores associated with flea allergies to heal.
Frequent shampooing of your cat’s coat is important to remove pollen, debris and other allergens that could affect their breathing and skin.
f) No Plastic Feeding Dishes:
Some cats are actually allergic to plastic and will develop inflammation around their muzzle or mouth. Lesions that look like pimples or acne under the chin may appear. To minimize the itching and other symptoms of an allergic cat, use stainless steel, ceramic or glass feeding dishes, and make sure you clean them on a regular basis.
g) Inspect Toys:
If your cat should have an allergy to plastic, remove toys made out of or with plastic from your home.
h) Bring Out the Vacuum:
To ease the severity of respiratory allergies in cats, make sure to thoroughly dust furniture, as well as vacuum carpets and bedding.
To keep fleas away from your cat, routine floor washing can help. Use a lemon solution made out of the juice of four lemons (including the rinds) and two liters of water to clean. Mix the contents together, and then use the liquid to wash the floor as a way to control cat fleas.
j) Frequent Grooming:
Routine grooming of your cat using a wide toothed flea comb can cut down on the amount of contact the pests have with your pet. Sometimes, it is necessary to comb one to two times per day. Pay special attention to the neck of the cat – a place that fleas like to gather. In addition to combing your cat, regularly brush their coat as well.
k) Salt Water:
Washing the floors and interior walls surrounding a cat’s bed with a salt water solution is said to help keep away fleas. For best results, repeat this process every few weeks.
l) Elimination Diet:
Cats with food allergies benefit from an elimination diet, where their owner pays careful attention to the ingredients found in their potential food options. Test out different commercial or homemade hypoallergenic diets, which are exclusively fed to your pet for 8 to 12 weeks. During the trial period, your cat cannot eat treats, vitamins, table food, scraps or anything else. The goal is to find a food choice that does not produce an allergic reaction.
m) Air Filters:
To reduce the amount of airborne allergens in your home, use and frequently change air filters to help remove unwanted particles in the air.
n) Close the Windows:
You might not think it, but some of the allergens that could trigger symptoms in your indoor cat come from outside. Cats allergic to pollen will benefit when they are kept inside with the windows closed when pollen counts are high or someone is mowing the grass.