Written By : M Samy

Cats Allergy, all you need to know

Environmental factors that affect humans can also cause cat allergies, such as allergies to certain foods, odors, dust mites, flea bites, pollen, dog hair, plastics, and some household products. Biting, excessive scratching, itching, and running eyes are the most common symptoms when a cat has developed an allergy. 

Which allergies are present in cats? 

Food allergy in cats

It happens when a cat has an allergy to its own food or just an ingredient contained in it. The most common food allergy in cats is an allergy to a protein found mainly in beef, chicken, fish, dairy products, and certain grains. 

Food allergy symptoms in cats 

  • Excessive scratching due to itchy skin
  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting
  • Sometimes especially in kittens that are sensitive, you may also notice breathing problems or an asthma attack. 

What causes food allergy in cats?

Cats Allergy, all you need to know

1- The reason for the appearance of an allergy in cats

  • Switched diet 
  • New brands of kibble
  • A simple change in the ingredients of the food. 

2- The most common reasons for food allergy in cats 

The cause is either hereditary or genetic (defective genes from birth, so antibodies are not active against the allergenic substance that causes the allergy). 

What is the answer to food allergy in cats?

Until now, there is no treatment that will get rid of the allergy in your cat. You must exclude from your cat’s diet any type of food that contains a substance or nutrient that your cat is allergic to: this is an elimination diet. 

Sometimes a homemade diet, where her food is prepared only at home, is appropriate. 

Can food allergy in cats be fatal? 

Yes, unfortunately, when a cat is young or sensitive it can have severe reactions, and if you don’t react quickly the cat can go into respiratory arrest.

But sometimes the symptoms are mild, like only itching, which can disappear with medication or a simple injection. 

Atopic dermatitis (cutaneous) 

Still not well known and understood. This allergy means redness or inflammation of the skin. It can gather all types of allergies but the symptoms appear only through the skin. 

The origins of Atopic dermatitis in cats

The cause of Atopic dermatitis in cats is always either hereditary or genetic (it is not present in your cat’s ancestors, but only exists in your cat due to a lack of genes from birth). 

However, the reasons for this allergy are multiple and they are not only related to allergens but also to stress and hormonal disorders. 

What can be done about Atopic dermatitis in cats?

Keep all products and foods that can cause a reaction away from the cat. Keep him away from stress and in a comfortable environment. 

The veterinary treatment depends on the symptoms of dermatitis in the cat, it is necessary to consult the veterinarian quickly. The veterinarian will be able to identify the appropriate treatment.

Can Atopic Dermatitis be deadly to cats? 

Not really. It is the easiest allergy because it is local, it only affects the skin. But it is necessary to quickly deal with it, because by constantly scratching, your cat may get a secondary infection, which will make his condition even more serious.

Cat contact allergy: from plastic or other allergens

The allergy occurs because of direct contact between your cat and an object or product that causes an allergy.

It can be caused by a household product, a material, or a parasite (and not the stings of a parasite!); that is to say in this type of allergy the cat does not have to ingest food for it to develop a reaction, it is enough to touch the food or substance (pollen, plastic, products .. etc). 

Signs of a contact allergy: 

  • Multiple small lesions the size of a grain of millet
  • Burning color on the skin (especially on the back).
  • If the cat does not scratch, it will tend to lick itself more often to relieve its itching.

Contact dermatitis 

What is the treatment for contact dermatitis in cats? 

The treatment depends on the cause. Skin scrapings or an acetate adhesive test should be performed to determine the cause and then treated, so you should go directly to a veterinarian. 

Is contact dermatitis in cats very dangerous? 

At first, lesions that appear on the back (usually on the back) can go unnoticed, if only because of the lack of hair loss they initially cause. 

Then, due to the progressive aggravation or even the licking caused, alopecia (a decrease in the amount of hair that can even lead to its disappearance) can appear.

How can I prevent contact allergy in my cat? 

The prevention against the appearance of this type of allergy is simply to keep your cat away from any element or product that is an allergen for him (which causes an allergic reaction). 

1- Shampoo used to wash your cat

It is necessary to change the shampoo, and soap (the veterinarian will direct you to the best of your cat, it is a shampoo excluded from products that can cause allergy to your cat even the derivatives of this substance). 

2- The cat litter

Always clean your cat’s litter box daily with antiseptics (especially if your cat has an allergy to fleas). 

Change his blanket and your bed to others that do not have the allergen. 

If your cat is allergic to plastic: 

Replace any type of plastic with siliconized or wood. If not, keep your cat away from anything that has plastic on it, e.g., his plate should not be plastic and his litter box should be wooden. 

Dermatitis by hypersensitivity to flea bites

Flea bites are a common parasite in cats. They are usually found all year round.  It is an allergy encountered in cats after a flea bite, due to sensitivity to the flea’s saliva.

What are the signs of hypersensitivity dermatitis to fleas?

  • Nodules on the cat’s skin 
  • Severe itching 
  • Hairless areas 
  • Scratching 

How do you treat Dermatitis by hypersensitivity to flea bites? 

This is a parasitical cause, so the treatment is anti-parasitic in the form of collars, spray, pipettes, or tablets, but it is necessary to choose the right anti-parasite for your cat, so you should ask your veterinarian. 

It is also important to treat the environment because the majority of fleas that may live around your home!

Is hypersensitivity dermatitis to flea bites fatal? 

It is not fatal but it can have complications because bacterial complications are common. Indeed, when the cat scratches itself, it inoculates the skin with many bacteria: 

Pustules are formed, and we talk about pyoderma (pyoderma is an infection caused by different microbes that infiltrate and develop in the skin of your pet. )

What shampoo should I use for my cat that is allergic to flea bites? 

The veterinarian should prescribe an antiseptic shampoo. Be careful when showering and avoid touching the head. Gently rub his body to avoid making the itching worse.  

The antiseptic shampoo will not only get rid of the parasites but also of all other microbes to prevent complications (bacterial complications). 

How often should I clean the house to reduce my cat’s allergy symptoms? 

You should clean the floor and furniture daily and regularly. You should also change your blanket and pillow every three months as a priority. 

How do I care for the litter box of an allergic cat? 

The litter box of a cat that is allergic to flea bites should be cleaned regularly with antiseptics as well. The goal is to eliminate any parasites that may have settled in the litter box as well. 

What’s the most common cat allergy? 

The most common cat allergy is flea bite allergy and food allergy (usually to certain proteins). 

Food allergy is the most dangerous because in severe cases and sensitive kittens it can lead to respiratory arrest due to asthma if you do not react quickly. a strict dry food only diet can also cause skin allergies in cats

How do I know if my cat has an allergy? 

You observe : 

  • Red swollen patches on the skin
  • Small red spots usually on the back
  • Runny nose and eyes with sneezing (usually during contact or pollen allergy)
  • Itching 
  • Repeated scratching all the time (not when licking to wash). 
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (during a mild food allergy).

How can I tell what my cat is allergic to?

After noticing the signs related to the different types of allergies, you take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible to find out what is causing the symptoms. 

Usually, it is an allergy so the first thing to do is a questionnaire, on whether you bought something new, he ate a new food recently, a new blanket…etc. 

Then he will start a test that is very similar to human allergy tests. To find out if it is an allergy and what the allergy is against. 

He will inject several products that can cause allergies (they are called allergens). The product that causes a local reaction on the skin is the element that you must remove from your home or move away from your home because it is causing an allergy to your cat.

The different types of allergens: 

  • A parasite
  • fungus
  • Food
  • Flea bites
  • Dust in our homes
  • House dust mites
  • Pollens
  • Cat and dog hair
  • Rodent urine
  • Allergens naturally released by pets
  • Mold spores (a type of microscopic fungus that usually grows in moisture).

Can my cat have asthma because of his allergy? 

Yes. Asthma and difficulty breathing are usually signs of a food allergy in sensitive kittens. 

This is a dangerous reaction because kittens have lower immunity at this age. 

Can my cat have an allergy to its fur? 

No. Cats cannot be allergic to their own hair or body parts because allergies only occur to foreign objects. 

However, foreign parasites that may reside in the hair can cause a contact allergy such as fleas. But not against the hair itself. 

Can my cat have an allergy to the hair of another pet? 

Yes, some animals with hair can get an allergen (a substance that causes allergy) on their hair by licking.

In case of contact between the cat and other animals with hair, it can have an allergy. (Only if there is an allergen in the animal’s body or saliva, and only if your cat is allergic to that allergen). 

Allergy in cats: Precautions to take? 

Take care of your cat’s diet

Increase the intake of omega 3, 6: Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids have a beneficial role on your cat. They will calm the itching. Plus, cats love omega-rich foods. Fish and shellfish. Salmon oil is particularly indicated at a rate of one teaspoon per day.

Oil massages for itching 

Oils that are rich in omegas will help the skin and coat regain suppleness and shine. 

Massage the areas that have red and itchy lesions with anti-inflammatory oils such as sweet almond oil, and pistachio essential oil. The latter is highly effective in caring for the skin of an allergic cat. 

Showering your cat 

Before your cat has an allergic reaction, it is important to prevent parasites from residing in your cat’s hair. The most common parasites that can cause an allergy are fleas. So a shower every week for an allergic cat. 

Clean your bed

Your bed is a place that your cat also frequents. It would be necessary for you to change your blanket, and your pillow too, and to wash them for at least 3 months. Also to take care of its litter box as I explained above. 

Disinfection of your apartment and furniture 

Disinfection of the apartment and furniture should be seasonal, it is a very important precaution that can prevent the appearance of contact allergy and even other allergies related to parasites.  

So once you buy something, you wash it directly before each use. External and industrial products can bring in foreign bodies that can trigger a reaction in an allergic cat. 

Check the labels 

There are also hidden allergens in some household and food products, and the allergenic food may be hidden under various terms that are more or less identified in processed products. It is important to read the labels and to know how to translate these terms.

1- Peanuts: 

When you buy food and read the label, you do not find the word peanut. Then check the inscriptions: vegetable oils, nuts. Knowing that frozen French fries may have been dipped in peanut oil.

 2- Egg: 

Animal proteins, each word beginning with “ovo” for example; ovomucin, ovotransferrin…etc. E 322 (lecithin), E1105 (lysozyme).

3-Cow’s Milk : 

globulin, casein, albumin, lactoglobulin, lactalbumin; as for lactose: galactose, whey, lactic ferments, E270 (lactic acid), E325 (sodium lactate), E326 (potassium lactate), E327 (calcium lactate).

4- Wheat and its products

Wheat can be indicated under the terms: gliadin, glutenin, globulin, alpha-amylase, hydrolysate, isolate…

Choose hypoallergenic kibbles 

Hypoallergenic kibbles most often eliminate the most common allergenic ingredients listed above from their composition. 

Some hypoallergenic kibbles also offer pre-cut proteins that are easier for your allergic cat to digest. 

 What can make my cat’s allergy worse? 

Several environmental factors can aggravate your cat’s allergy: dust, non-disinfected apartment, climatic changes, change of seasons, and unverified product composition. 

It is therefore necessary to take care of the environment that surrounds your cat. And to avoid making him go out of the period of change of seasons. 

Moisture can also be a serious allergy trigger for a cat that is allergic to mold. 

Can cats get allergy meds? 

Yes, cats that have an allergy undergo treatment to decrease the symptoms of the allergy and increase their defense and resistance against allergens. 

The treatment can be injections, oral tablets, or capsules. 

But as with humans, some treatments can be difficult to tolerate and can cause side effects, depending on your cat’s tolerance to the medication and its general health. Therefore, regular follow-up with a veterinarian is recommended. 

When is cat allergy season? 

It can be during any season depending on your cat’s allergy. Cats with mold allergy usually have a period from winter to early spring. 

For cats with pollen allergies, it is spring. Spring is known to be the season for pollen allergy but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be vigilant in other months

For example, March to June (tree and shrub pollen); May to October (grass pollen, such as grass, hay, bluegrass, and brome grass); July to October (ragweed pollen).

Is allergy in cats hereditary? 

Yes, cat allergy can be hereditary in all types. But it can also be genetic (which means that it is not present in the ancestors, but by a defect of the genes or malformations of the genes, the cat can be born allergic to a substance). 

But sometimes it can also be due to stress and an increase in certain hormones in your cat’s body such as histamine, which when elevated, causes excess immune system reactions. 

When should I call a veterinarian? 

The first time you see the allergy symptoms shown above, you should call a veterinarian. If your cat is already being treated, a sneeze or discharge from the eyes and nose is not an emergency. 

Is the treatment of a cat allergy mandatory? 

No. The veterinarian may choose to treat your cat, or may decide that it is better for your cat’s health to leave it alone.

What can I expect in the long term? 

Usually, we can estimate that a cat lives between 9 and 20 years, depending on the breed. The presence of disease can shorten the life expectancy of your cat, but this is a possibility and not an obligation. 

Cats can live normally with an allergy, continuing to be careful, especially the food allergy that has serious reactions to the cardiovascular health and respiratory system.  

So by paying attention to your cat’s diet and environment, your cat can live a healthy and normal life. 

How long will cat allergy symptoms last?

There is no time limit for cat allergy symptoms. They come and go depending on the presence or disappearance of the allergen responsible for the allergy reaction. 

They can continue to disappear for life if you don’t take care of your cat’s environment. Or if treatment is stopped because allergy treatment calms the symptoms, not the disease. 

Will cat allergy go away by itself?

No, cat allergy is a lifelong chronic disease. However, you can control the symptoms with good health care and veterinary treatment, and even natural treatment. 

Is there a natural remedy for cat allergy? 

There are antihistamine infusions that can be used instead of water to calm the symptoms of an allergy. But this is not a definitive remedy. 

The only natural remedy is prevention (cleaning, washing of blankets, furniture, and your cat), i.e. taking care of your cat’s environment against any allergens.

Here are the natural remedies that can calm the symptoms of allergy in cats: 

Nettle infusions: it is a plant very rich in antihistamines, which can reduce the appearance of itching, and improve breathing and the immune system. However, you can replace your cat’s water with this infusion. 

Saltwater can help with cats’ allergies: 

Saltwater is an excellent disinfectant for soothing runny noses and eyes. Mix the water with a little salt in a syringe and put small drops in his eyes and nose in case of discharge. Later you will see that the discharge has stopped. 

Foods rich in vitamin C for cats with allergy

Choose kibbles that are part vegetable and part animal, and that contain onions. They must be rich in vitamin C to improve his immune system and to be able to fight the allergens that can cause him discomfort. 

Products of the hive (organic)

Honey is an excellent antioxidant and an excellent gel for the itching that can occur during an allergic reaction. Honey is among the very few foods that have living substances, hormones, and enzymes that have this power. 

When will cat allergy vaccines be available?

The vaccine against cat allergy is not yet available. In 2018, a Swiss company called HypoPet confirmed in a press release that they will soon release a vaccine that produces antibodies in cats that neutralize the allergens they produce. 

They are currently working to make it suitable for cats without side effects. 

Which cat breeds are allergy-free? 

It is important to know that allergy-free or hypoallergenic cat breeds are a myth. All cats can have an allergy because the causes can come suddenly like stress, climatic changes, and genetics (gene defects). 

So even if a cat’s parents don’t have an allergy, they may be carriers of the gene responsible for the allergy, or the newborn cat alone may have the gene defect. 

But before buying a cat try to see the allergy test that this cat must have from birth. If he does not have it, do it for him at a veterinarian to know in advance how to take care of him. 

Why is my cat wheezing, is it because of an allergy? 

This is one of the signs of an allergy. A cat that wheezes when it breathes means it has a breathing problem, but not necessarily asthma. 

Usually, it is related to pollen or dust allergy, sometimes it can also be due to a food allergy. 

In this case, if you notice that your cat has difficulty breathing, take him to a veterinarian. To prescribe a treatment that will reduce these signs.  

Final Thoughts

You need to pay close attention to the proper hygiene of a cat with an allergy. This includes his litter box, food bowls, a sandbox, and toys. And very important: you must change the water in his bowl very regularly.

An allergic cat has symptoms generally cutaneous but can also be in intestinal form and more rarely respiratory with the development of asthma.

Be careful, we must make the difference between an allergic cat and an intolerant cat. In the second case, it does not have an immune reaction but rather the hypersensitivity leads to difficult digestion.

Not to mention, the cat is an animal that needs attention and affection from its owners to be well socialized. 

M Samy pet blogger and author at famillypet

About Author

Hey! Salim Makhloufi (alias M. Samy) here , Welcome to my Blog I'm an animal lover, especially pets and Really concerned about their well being ; I've been around and caring for all my life and Now ; a full-time Pet blogger at your service . My motto here at Famillypet is: "Pets First" ... Read More