Environmental Allergies in Cats
Itching, scratching, sneezing… Most people are familiar with the signs of seasonal environmental allergies and for cats the symptoms can be just as annoying. Cats with allergies suffer from watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and respiratory congestion, but they also get the added skin issues such as itchy, flaky skin or hair loss. Other less obvious signs of allergies can include itchy ears, infected ears, inflamed paws, and of course, vomiting and diarrhea.
Allergies are intense sensitivities to triggers found in normal environments such as pollen or dust. Normally these items are not harmful to cats, but some individuals react to the substances as dangerous. The immune system responds to the perceived threat by releasing histamines that cause inflammation, swelling and itching symptoms. Many allergens are passed genetically because they are disorders of the immune system.
If you notice signs of allergies in your cat, the first thing you can do is take a look at the products you use around your house to make sure there are no cleaners, perfumes, fabrics or plants that could be triggering the reaction. Some cats can be sensitive to the fragrances or dust in their cat litter. Also be sure to check your cat for fleas because many cats are allergic to fleas. Frequent vacuuming and cleaning of the house will help reduce dust allergies. Work with your veterinarian if you have difficulty determining the allergens because the best way to deal with allergies to remove the trigger substances. In many cases it is impossible to eliminate allergen exposure, especially in the case of seasonal / environmental allergies. Your veterinarian can prescribe anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine medications to help control the symptoms. Medicated shampoos and fatty acid supplements can help soothe itchy and irritated skin. There is no cure for allergies, but time and research will help you find the right solutions to keep your cat feeling their best.