Is it Possible for Cats to Have Allergies?

Are you a cat owner? Do you sometimes notice your cat sneezing, coughing, or showing other signs that they might be dealing with allergies? Have you ever wondered whether cats can really have allergies at all?

The short answer is that yes, cats can have allergies. It’s not uncommon at all for cats to deal with a variety of allergies, and it’s important to understand those potential health problems as a responsible cat owner. In the article below, we’ll explore some of the most common types of allergies your cat may experience.

cat allergies

Contact Allergies

Some cats may suffer from contact allergies. This broad category includes any type of allergy that flares up when the cat comes into physical contact with a specific item or substance.

One common type of contact allergy frequently seen in housecats is an allergy to laundry detergent. If your cat seems to be itching or sneezing a lot more after you wash their bedding, then they may have this allergy. Try changing to a mild, scent-free laundry detergent to see if it helps.

Insect and Parasite Allergies

Cats may sometimes be allergic to bites and stings from insects. If your cat is bitten or stung by an insect and has a severe reaction, this type of allergy may potentially be fatal. Any cat who has swelling of the face or neck after an insect bite or sting should go to an emergency vet immediately.

Parasite allergies may also be seen in some cats. These allergies are often caused by flea bites and can be serious on cats who have a lot of fleas. They may cause hives and severe itching as well as some respiratory symptoms.

Pollen and Seasonal Allergies

Pollen allergies are one of the most common types of allergies found in cats. Many plants can potentially cause pollen allergies to flare up, and if you live in a climate where these plants grow easily, your cat may frequently suffer from bouts of respiratory symptoms.

Seasonal allergies are closely linked with pollen allergies. Since most types of plants put out pollen once or twice per year in large quantities, cats with this kind of allergy are more likely to experience the effects “seasonally.” If your cat’s allergies coincide with high pollen times in your location, this is the likely reason.

Smoke and Aroma Allergies

It is possible for a cat to be allergic to smoke. However, smoke can be an irritant even without an allergy, so it may be difficult to tell if your cat is allergic or just having a normal reaction to this contaminant.

Aromas are a similar risk. Aromas that come from candles, cleaning sprays, air fresheners, and essential oils are some common culprits in cat allergies. Be careful when using these items in your home, as some oils and scents can be dangerous or even toxic to cats and dogs both.

Medication Allergies

If your cat has recently been prescribed a new medication and seems to be itching or showing some respiratory symptoms, a medication allergy may be the cause. Although medication allergies are much less common in cats than others listed here, it is still possible for cats to deal with this type of reaction from a new medication.

If your cat does have an allergic reaction to a medication, take them to the veterinarian right away. The vet can put them on steroids to help your cat’s body fight the allergy and can also help you figure out another solution for the original medication’s purpose.

Food Allergies

Finally, food allergies are possibly the most common kind of allergy a cat may deal with. Many cats have mild to moderate food allergies, and some have severe food allergies as well. Food allergies are often linked to the main protein in your cat’s food, but can include other filler ingredients, too.

If you think your cat has a food allergy, check their coat and skin. Cats who are allergic to food may have more frequent dandruff than those who are not, and they may shed more easily too. Try changing your cat’s food to something with fewer fillers and a different protein source.

In Conclusion

As you can see, it is possible and not uncommon at all for cats to deal with allergies. Some cats may go their whole lives with no allergies, while others may have multiple types. Each cat is unique and has different health needs.

If you suspect your cat may have allergies, take them to your Heart + Paw vet to rule out any other issues first. From there, the vet can help you figure out the best treatment and management options for your pet’s allergies. The vet can also provide recommendations for your specific pet’s needs and help you determine her allergy triggers, too. Use the online form to book an appointment at any of our Heart + Paw locations to talk with a vet about your cat’s allergies!

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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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