Cat Allergy Treatments & Remedies
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!
What Is Food Allergy And How Is It Treated
Food allergies in cats are caused by an immune reaction to a food or food additive. The allergy most frequently develops in response to the protein component of the food for example, beef, pork, chicken, or turkey. Vegetable proteins such as those found in corn or wheat, as well as food additives and preservatives, may cause food allergies in some cases. Food allergy may produce any of the clinical signs previously discussed, including itching, digestive disorders, and respiratory distress.
Food allergy testing is recommended when the clinical signs have been present for several months, when the cat has a poor response to steroids, or when a very young cat itches without other apparent causes of allergy. Testing is conducted by feeding an elimination or hypoallergenic diet. This means a diet in which the ingredients have not previously been fed to the cat . Because it takes at least eight weeks for all other food products to be removed from the body, the cat must eat the special diet exclusively for a minimum of eight to twelve weeks. If a positive response occurs, you will be instructed on how to proceed.
If the diet is not fed exclusively, it will not be a meaningful test. This means absolutely no treats, other foods, people foods, or flavored medications during this period. This cannot be overemphasized. Even accidentally providing a tiny amount of the offending protein can result in invalidating the test.
Read Also: Symptoms Of Allergies In Adults
What Are Common Animal Or Pet Allergy Symptoms
Cat, dog, and other animal allergens can land on the membranes that line the eyes and nose. You can also breathe in pet allergens into your airways. Animal allergy symptoms can include:
- Swelling and itching of the eyes and nose
- Other: sleep disruption, fatigue, itchiness of roof of mouth and throat, irritability
It is common to get itchy eyes after petting an animal and then touching your eyes. A pet scratch or lick on your skin can cause the area to become red and itchy. You may get hives. Pet allergy can trigger an asthma attack if you also have asthma.
People with pet allergies have different levels of sensitivity to pet allergens. Some people have very minor symptoms, while other people have severe symptoms. If allergen levels are low, symptoms may not appear until after several days of contact with the pet.
Animal allergens can get into the air. Many airborne allergens are small enough to get into your lungs. For some people, this exposure can make it very hard to breathe. An asthma episode can begin within 15 to 30 minutes of inhaling allergens. Learn more about allergic asthma.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cat Allergy
Allergic symptoms of cat allergy can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending upon the individuals sensitivity and level of exposure. They can start within minutes of exposure or can be delayed and include:
You may not suffer from all of these symptoms at all times and you may not even realise that the cat can cause these symptoms.
You May Like: How To Treat Nickel Allergy
How Does Pet Allergy Occur
Pet allergens are most concentrated in homes with pets. But they are also found in buildings and public spaces without pets.
The main source of dog allergen is saliva, either directly from licking or from being transferred to their dander or hair. Cat allergens mainly come from glands in their skin and are spread through licking and grooming.
Pet allergens are sticky and can remain for months or years after a pet has gone. They can become airborne and attach to clothes and hair.
People can become sensitive to, or have an allergic reaction to, cats or dogs without ever having owned a pet.
Cat Allergen: Its Everywhere
The major culprit in cat allergies is Fel d1, a protein excreted in the cats skin, saliva, and urine. When cats lick themselves, they deposit Fel d1 on their fur. When the cat sheds, the allergens on the hair and dander spread.
And do they ever spread. Fel d1 proteins are small, so they remain suspended in the air. Fel d1 is also sticky, and takes a long time to decompose, Blaiss explains. The proteins cling to surfaces like draperies, carpets, furniture, bedding, clothing, even walls and ceilings.
Because of this, cat allergens are notoriously difficult to remove from a home, even with cleaning and vacuuming. Research has shown that there are cat proteins in almost all U.S. homes, even in homes where there are no cats. In school classrooms, kids can bring in enough Fel d1 on their clothes and backpacks to trigger asthma symptoms in their allergic classmates.
Bathing cats can cut down on Fel d1 in the fur, but only for a day or so. Studies have found female cats produce a lower level of allergens than males, while neutered males produce lower levels than unneutered males but they all produce plenty.
Also Check: What’s The Difference Between Allergy And Cold
About Dr Joanna Woodnutt Mrcvs
Dr. Joanna Woodnutt is a small animal veterinarian and writer who is passionate about helping owners to learn more about their pets in order to improve animal welfare. She loves to write and wants to empower owners to make the best decisions for their pets by giving them all the information they need. In her spare time, she takes consultations on the small island of Guernsey.
Is There A Vaccine For Cat Allergies
A new cat allergy vaccine is being tested and it’s administered to pets themselves, not people. A company called HypoPet AG recently announced in a press release that it was developing a vaccine that targets Fel d 1, a common feline allergen that affects close to 10 percent of the Western human population.
Recommended Reading: When Is Ragweed Allergy Season
The 5 Best Antihistamines For Cat Allergies
This page contains affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More
The best antihistamines for cat allergies reduce symptoms while leaving you clear-headed and feeling energetic.
Thats why Ive chosen Allegra 24-Hour gel caps as the best antihistamine for cat allergies. The active ingredient relieves allergy symptoms without making you feel sluggish or causing other side effects. The gel caps are easy to swallow and get positive customer reviews.
Natural Cat Allergy Remedies
Use an indoor allergen neutralizer. Always choose a natural formula. Unlike toxic chemical sprays and shampoos, these herbal cat allergy remedies work without exposing you to dangerous substances. Easy Air Organic Allergy Relief Spray and Organic Allergy Relief Laundry Rinse are excellent examples of natural solutions. Both these liquid formulas instantly destroy cat allergens. Its like taking dangerous boulders and crumbling them into harmless rubble. They work instantly, and benefits last for weeks.
Neuter your cat. Non-neutered males produce the highest levels of this allergen. So fix your guy. And, by the way, a number of studies also show that spaying sharply lowers Fel d1 levels in female cats.
Shampoo your cat. The animal will still produce Fel d1, but bathing dramatically lowers the allergen level in your home. On average, a weekly bath by a neighborhood groomer will eliminate nearly half the allergen in your home or apartment.
Change the litter box frequently. Cat allergens come from your pets urine and solid waste, so place the litter box in your garage . And change the litter every other day.
Moisten your pets fur before daily grooming. The moisture will help deactivate allergens, and daily combing will definitely get rid of more.
Use a HEPA vacuum at least once a week and a HEPA air purifier daily. Together, they will eliminate a lot more cat allergens.
Recommended Reading: When Will Allergy Season Be Over
What Do Vets Give Cats For Allergies
- Steroids are a common form of treatment for sore and itchy skin. They are relatively inexpensive, but if you dont identify what your cat is allergic to, your cat will likely have to have regular steroid injections. The cost can soon add up, may not be covered by pet insurance, and long-term use can lead to serious side-effects.
- Other medications can also be used to treat itchiness. These tend to vary in effectiveness, price, and any potential side effects.
- Antihistamines, such as Benadryl, can be prescribed for your cat. You should never give these without being prescribed them by your vet because over-prescription can prove fatal, while under-prescription will be ineffective.
- Antibiotics will not treat the allergy itself, but they may be necessary if your cat has licked, itched, or chewed its skin and caused open wounds to appear.
- Prescription diets may be used to eliminate some or all possible food allergens from your cats diet. These can be used as part of an elimination diet for your cat. This means eliminating all known allergens before reintroducing them gradually. When your cat shows allergic symptoms, it means that you have identified one allergen.
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.
Don’t Miss: Food Allergy Vs Food Intolerance
What Are Allergies And How Do They Affect Cats
One of the most common medical conditions affecting cats is allergy. An allergy occurs when the cat’s immune system overreacts or is hypersensitive to foreign substances called allergens. Allergens are simply foreign proteins that the body’s immune system tries to remove. Examples of allergens common in humans are pollens, dust, molds, and pet hair. Hypersensitivity in cats can manifest in one of three ways:
1. The most common manifestation is itching of the skin, either localized to one area or a generalized reaction all over the cat’s body.
2. Another manifestation involves the respiratory system and may result in coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. Sometimes, there may be an associated nasal or ocular discharge.
3. The third manifestation involves the digestive system and can result in vomiting, flatulence, and/or diarrhea.
What Are The Most Common Allergies In Cats
Like humans, there are many things that your cat may be allergic to. The first step to eliminating allergens from your cats life is to identify them. If an allergic reaction has started recently, consider anything new in your cats life. Have you changed their diet? Has your cat started visiting somewhere new when he goes outside? Does he sit on washing that has just come out of the wash, and are you using a new detergent?
- Pollens: cats are prone to hay fever, just like humans, although it is rarer. Considering your cats eyes, nose, and mouth, are down near grass and flower level, it is little surprise that hay fever can have a serious impact on a kittys health.
- Food: this is a relatively common group of allergens for cats. Some of the most common food allergens include eggs and dairy animal proteins like beef and chicken and grains, although grain allergies are not too common.
- Fleas: the most common allergy for cats is a flea allergy. Unfortunately, it can also be quite a severe reaction, with bites leading to redness, itching, and hair loss.
- Medication: if your cat has recently started any new medication or treatment, this could be the cause of his allergy. Ask your veterinarian for an alternative because they do exist for most medications.
Read Also: Where To Apply Essential Oils For Allergies
What Are The Symptoms Of An Allergic Reaction To A Cat
Animal allergens, including cat allergens, can cause sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, postnasal drip, watery or itchy eyes, and facial pressure. They can also cause asthma symptoms such as cough, wheezing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing and even trigger an asthma attack. Skin symptoms of an allergy to a cats dander may include eczema, itching, and hives .
Your primary care physician may refer you to an allergy medicine specialist who may perform allergy testing consisting of a blood test or skin tests to identify the allergen.
If I Want To Keep My Pet Can I Take Steps To Reduce My Pet Allergy
Animals become a part of your family. If your allergy is manageable, you may want to keep your pet. Here are some ways to manage pet allergens in your home:
Reduce your exposure to pet allergens.
- Keep your pet out of bedrooms or places people sleep. You spend about one-third to one-half of your time there. If you have a bedroom door, keep it closed.
- Keep pets off fabric furniture.
- Have someone without a pet allergy brush the pet outside to remove fur. Ask them to clean the litter box, bedding, or cage. If you do the grooming and cleaning, wear a face mask and gloves.
- Wipe your pet down with pet-friendly wipes or towels after it has been outside to remove pollen and urine.
- Change your clothes and shower after you spend time with an animal.
- Wash your hands and face after petting or touching the pet, its cage, or bedding.
Clean and reduce allergens in your home.
- Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning.
- Remove dust on hard surfaces often with a damp cloth. A damp or microfiber cloth will help keep the pet dander and fur from going back into the air.
- Wipe down walls, cabinets, and floorboards with a damp cloth.
- When possible, choose furniture and window coverings that are not made of fabric.
- Use slipcovers on fabric furniture or cover with blankets that can be washed weekly.
- Vacuum fabric furniture and carpets weekly. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® vacuums meet AAFAs standards for vacuums.
Medical Review: June 2022 by John James, MD
Also Check: Symptoms Of Cold Vs Allergies
Our Top Picks For The Best Antihistamines For Cat Allergies
Now that you have a better understanding of how we came to our top picks, youre probably eager to see them!
Here are our top 5 picks for best antihistamines for cat allergies:
- Active Ingredient: 180 mg Fexofenadine Hydrochloride
- Appropriate for Ages: 12 years and older
- Format: Gel caps
- Fast-acting formula provides allergy relief within an hour of dosing
- Continues to minimize allergy symptoms for 24 hours after you take the capsule
- Gel caps are easy to dose and swallow
- Extraordinarily non-drowsy
- One of the more expensive antihistamines on the market
- Active Ingredient: 10 mg Loratadine
- Appropriate for Ages: 6 years and up
- Format: Tablets
- Key Strength: Quick-dissolving tablets eliminate the need to swallow a pill
- Cost per Dose: $0.32
- One of the top-rated and most trusted antihistamines on the market
- A non-drowsy product
- Quick-dissolve tablets are easy to take
- Highly effective for cat allergies and other allergies
- Some people experience drowsiness after taking loratadine
- Active Ingredient: 10mg Cetirizine Hydrochloride
- Appropriate for Ages: 6 years and up
- Key Strength: A fast-acting antihistamine at a great price
- Cost per Dose: $0.04 to $0.33
- Most people find it highly effective in relieving cat allergy symptoms
- May not be as effective as its name-brand equivalent
- Appropriate for Ages: 3 years and up
- Format: Eye Drops
- Key Strength: Targets eye itchiness without side effects
- Cost per Dose: $0.42
- Only addressed eye itchiness and no other allergy symptoms