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.
Pollen Allergies In Cats
Pollen allergies are among the most common allergies in humans and felines. The pollens are small particles that play an important role in the germination of plants. They are mostly present during spring and summer, but may also be met in the fall. The allergens can be detected and your cat’s condition can be managed with medication or injections.
What Are Allergies 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!
Allergies are an abnormal immune response to a harmless stimulus. When your cats body contacts an allergen through their skin or after breathing it in, a chain reaction starts thats out of proportion to the danger your cat is ina hypersensitivity reaction.
Immune system sentinel cells release cell signals that cause itching, swelling, and redness.
Cats are not usually born with allergies- they develop as your cat ages. Cats are usually diagnosed between six months and three years, but as diagnosis is often difficult, cats have been diagnosed as old as 14 years!
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Seasonal Allergies In Cats: Symptoms And Prevention
Its springtime again with the world beginning to come alive. Flowers are starting to bloom, trees are budding, and grass is coming back to life. Did you know that your beloved feline friend can be susceptible to seasonal allergies just like humans? Airborne environmental allergens including pollen, mold and dust mites can affect cats too!
Treatment And Management Of Pollen Allergies
The pollen allergies are not fully treatable, but can be managed. If your pet displays symptoms only during certain months during the year, you can manage the symptoms through administering antihistamines. The antihistamines are meant to inhibit the immune system and stop the production of histamines, so that the allergy symptoms will no longer bepresent. If you administer the antihistamines for more than 3 months, make sure you talk to a vet and rotate the medicines, as it is possible that the cat will develop immunity to the drugs.
Steroids are another treatment option and may be a solution for the skin rashes and swelling. However, steroids can have side effects such as kidney damage, which make this type of treatment less popular.
Allergy injections are immunization shots that will help the cat be less sensitive to pollens. The injections are an option only if the culprit pollens are detected, because the injection will contain the substances in the pollens the cat is allergic to.
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What Can You Do To Treat An Allergic Cat
Treatment depends on the allergen. In some cases, you can easily minimize your cats contact with an allergen. Using fragrance-free litter, for example, can help ease symptoms in a perfume-allergic cat. Some substances, however, cannot be removed from the environment entirely. In the case of a food allergy, for example, placing your cat on a hydrolyzed protein diet can also help reduce allergy symptoms.
Frequent and regular bathing can reduce skin irritation that results from organic allergens such as pollens. Also, gentle flushing of the ears can remove allergens from the folds of skin within the cats ears. This will also discourage the accumulation and growth of bacteria that contribute to irritation and inflammation. If your pet is allergic to dust, regularly clean its bedding and blankets, and vacuum clean dust-collecting fabrics regularly to remove dust.
If your pet displays severe, persistent allergic symptoms, schedule an appointment with your vet. It may be necessary to identify which allergens are causing your cats symptoms, and a vet can tailor a treatment plan specific to your pet.
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.
Monitor The Pollen Count
Treehugger / Lesly Junieth
Dr. Drew Weigner, a board-certified feline veterinary specialist and owner of The Cat Doctor in Atlanta, notices more clients seeking relief for their feline friends when the high pollen count rises. But he adds that few cats actually suffer from seasonal allergies they simply sneeze more due to physical irritation from pollen. If you notice excessive sneezing, monitor the allergy forecast in your area and keep cats inside when pollen piles up outside.
To reduce the amount of pollen tracked into your home, remove shoes at the door or invest in a thick welcome mat.
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Cat Allergy Treatment Can Be Costly
Treehugger / Jordan Provost
Regular steroid injections safely and effectively relieve symptoms for cats with allergies, said Weigner. But he noted that potentially serious side effects make this option the least desirable form of treatment.
Instead, cats with extreme allergy symptoms typically get referred to a veterinary dermatologist. Determining the root cause of skin allergies requires a process of elimination using a blood test or an intradermal skin test, which involves injecting potential allergens such as mold or pollen under a cats skin. It sounds painful, but this test involves sedation and lasts only a few hours. Once an allergen has been determined, your veterinarian can decide on a treatment plan.
“Most veterinary dermatologists recommend hyposensitization therapy that attempt to desensitize the cat to specific allergens,” said Weigner. “This requires quite a commitment as the injections are given frequently and can take up to two years to become effective, if ever.”
Veterinarians also may consider prescribing an oral medication called Atopica. “It works by suppressing helper T-cells, thus reducing inflammation,” Carlson said. “It has clinically been shown to be safe and very effective.”
Weigner has found success with cyclosporine, a drug with few side effects and a pretty hefty price tag.
“Because it is quite expensive and there are few studies regarding its use, it is considered a last resort and usually only used by specialists,” he said.
When Should You Visit The Vet
Take your cat on a trip to the vetâs office if their symptoms prove especially severe and/or persistent. In addition to conducting tests to identify the source of their symptoms, your vet may recommend supplements or additional precautions to take at home. Preventive and treatment methods may include prescription or over-the-counter antihistamines, specialty diets, ointments, and more. Always talk to your veterinarian before attempting to administer medications on your own and watch cats closely to observe the progression of their symptoms.
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Other Things That Cause Skin Problems
Itching and skin infections most often come from:
- Allergies to fleas
- Allergies to things in the air or in the petâs surroundings, like dust mites, pollen, or grasses
When fleas or a flea allergy are behind your petâs skin condition, thatâs usually the easiest thing to figure out. If you see fleas, your vet will fix you up with a product that kills them, and possibly also a medication to stop the allergic reaction to fleas. If the symptoms clear up, thatâs it.
Itâs harder to nail down if your dog or cat is allergic to things like pollen. Your vet will examine your pet, ask you about its health history, and do skin tests.
Once you know what your pet is allergic to, your vet can work out how to handle it. You may have to:
- Keep your pet away from whatever itâs allergic to, if thatâs possible.
- Help your pet keep its coat clean.
- See that your pet gets regular allergy shots or whatever medicine your vet prescribes.
Whatever the solution is, youâll have to make a long-term commitment to stick with it. Your pet will depend on you.
The Three Types Of Allergies Your Cat Might Suffer From
Fleas are the most common food allergy trigger in cats. A cats immune system attacks the proteins in the food, causing it to be more allergic. Food allergies are caused by various factors such as environmental factors, food, and weather. A food allergy is an abnormal immune response to a food. Allergic reactions can be triggered by a variety of factors, including vomiting, diarrhea, hives, and anaphylaxis, which is fatal. Seasonal allergies are common. Seasonal allergies are caused by changes in the environment, such as changes in weather, vegetation, and animal allergens.
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Cat Environmental & Seasonal Allergies
Environmental allergies mean your cat is allergic to pollen , molds, dust, mildew, dander, dust mites, or other inhaled allergens. The list of potential allergens is very long, and varies depending on which plants are found in your climate.
Usually, symptoms occur due to inhaling these allergens, but direct skin contact with allergens can also cause symptoms. Just like environmental allergies in humans, symptoms tend to be seasonal. But symptoms may worsen and become year-round over time.
Commonly environmental or seasonal allergies are inherited, in which case its known as atopy.
What Causes Cat Allergies
Contrary to what most people believe, cat allergies are not caused by cat hair, but by a protein found in a cats saliva, urine and dander . People with allergies have oversensitive immune systems that mistake harmless things like cat dander for dangerous invaders, and mount the same response as they would against bacteria or viruses. The symptoms of the allergy are the side effects of the bodys battle against the perceived threat.
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Causes Of Pollen Allergies In Cats
An allergy response occurs when your cats body ingests, inhales or otherwise comes in contact with a substance that triggers an inappropriate immune response. Most cats can be exposed to normal environmental factors such as pollen or other inhalants without suffering any negative consequences. The immune response manifests as inflammation and excessive production of water and fluid as the body attempts to protect its various systems by encapsulating or flushing out the irritants. In some cats, pollen allergies may be hereditary, while in others the cause is of unknown origin.
When To See A Vet About Your Cats Allergies
If youve done everything to reduce your cats exposure toseasonal allergens, and youre still seeing signs of irritation, schedule avisit to a vet to discuss possible medications or rule out other issues like aninfection or immune deficiency.
Sometimes a few lifestyle changes can be the differencebetween a sneezy feline and a happy, healthy cat! Looking for more cat care tips?Get advice from our team of experts or even submit cat care questions to Dear Tabby forpersonalized answers.
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S For Preventing Cat Allergies
There are many ways to prevent your cat from getting allergies. One of the best methods is to keep your cat indoors. This will reduce the chances of the cat coming in contact with allergens such as dust, pollen, or mold spores.
It will also limit the amount of time that your cat spends outside where it can be exposed to other allergens like cigarette smoke and flea bites.
Another way you can prevent your cat from getting allergies is by keeping it on a strict diet that eliminates allergenic foods such as fish, chicken, wheat, and dairy products. You should also avoid giving your cat any treats that contain these allergens too.
Can Cats Be Allergic To Cats
Insects , food allergies, inhalants , and contact allergies are the four most common allergies in cats.
Pet allergies, like those suffered by cats, can develop at any time. You wont be able to eliminate allergy allergens from your bedroom, but it will significantly reduce them. An air filter may help to reduce allergic reactions. A regular vacuum and dusting will help keep cat dander at bay in your home. Even though the carpet and rug should be vacuumed on a regular basis, cat dander can hide. To groom your cat, ask a member of your household who is not allergic to cats to do so. Always wipe your cat down with a damp sponge and brush them with a fine-toothed comb after cleaning.
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You Experience Shortness Of Breath
Another annoying symptom of cat allergies is feeling like you just can’t catch your breath. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says, “Many airborne particles are small enough to get into the lungs. For some, this exposure can cause severe breathing problems. Highly sensitive people can begin coughing, wheezing and have shortness of breath within 15 to 30 minutes of inhaling allergens.”
Can Cats Be Allergic To Other Cats Fur
Cats body contains proteins that can cause them to be allergic . Fur, skin, and saliva are all sources of allergens. There is no evidence that cats can be hypoallergenic , and all cats produce allergens. It is believed that living in a home with more than one cat results in higher levels of cat allergens.
An allergy is caused when a cats immune system overreacts or is highly sensitive to foreign substances. Pollens, dust, molds, and pet hair are examples of allergens that humans can become ill from. Insect , food allergies, inhalants , and contact allergies are the four most common allergies in cats. Because flea saliva causes the symptoms of flea allergy, preventing fleabites is the most effective way to alleviate the symptoms of flea allergy. Flea infestations are commonly found in the warmer months, but they can also occur all year long. Food allergies in cats can be caused by an immune reaction to a food or food additive. Many cats suffering from food allergy skin disease can be treated with a hypoallergenic diet indefinitely.
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Your Face Feels Swollen & Slightly Painful
Another sign of allergies that you might overlook is your face feeling kind of swollen, puffy, and sightly painful. This can happen when you’re very congested. Sometimes that congestion doesn’t come out as a sniffly nose instead it just causes head congestion that leaves you feeling swollen, foggy, and kind of odd.
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.
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Do Cats Get Seasonal Allergies
Meow-choo! Its sneezing season and youre not the only onewho might be affected by the increase of environmental irritants as thetemperatures change.
Just like people, cats can develop allergies to things likepollen, grass and dust. Cats who spend time outside are more likely to getseasonal allergies than strictly indoor cats. But, there are a few things youcan do to discern whether your cat has seasonal allergies and help alleviatethem.
How To Have A Cat If You Have Cat Allergies
The Spruce / Hilary Allison
Although some people avoid cats because they fear or dislike them, there is some hope for those who avoid cats because of fear of allergic reactions. A lot will depend on the nature of your allergies. If yours are of the sneezing, watery eyes, and running nose variety, you may be able to slowly and gradually build up your tolerance to cats.
However, before getting a cat, you should undergo allergy testing first, particularly if you suffer from asthma. For example, about 30 percent of people with allergies are allergic to cats and dogs, but studies show the rate of cat allergies is actually far higher than that.
Here are tips to help you gain control over your cat allergy symptoms while enjoying the lifelong companionship of a feline.
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Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic To Dogs Cats Or Other Animals
About 7 out of 10 of households in the United States have a pet.1 But many people have animal allergies, especially people who have other allergies or asthma. Allergies to cats and dogs affect 10 to 20% of the worlds population.2
Allergies to pets with fur, such as cats and dogs, are common. Even rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, and horses can cause allergy symptoms. People can also be allergic to animals with feathers .
When you have a pet allergy, you are not allergic to the pets hair, fur, or feathers. You are allergic to the protein that is found in the pets dander saliva, and urine. The hair, fur, or feathers collect the dander. It can also carry other allergens like dust mites, mold, and pollen. When those proteins get into your airways, eyes, nose, mouth, or on your skin, it triggers allergy symptoms.