Cat Allergy - Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

When a cat's body gets sensitive to its environment, it develops allergies. So, if you notice that your cat is feeling unwell and is constantly sneezing or scratching itself, it could be due to cat allergy reactions. These allergens are unpleasant substances that may or may not irritate you, but when your cat's body tries to rid itself of them, it may exhibit a variety of symptoms. 

While it’s normal for cats to show different symptoms depending on the allergy, those that affect their breathing are the most serious ones. So, if your cat suffers from breathing issues due to allergies, it can take a life-threatening turn. Sometimes, the itchiness can also cause skin irritation leading your cat to chew on its paws or tail relentlessly. 

Fortunately, cat allergy is treatable once the allergen affecting your cat is identified. Therefore, knowing how to detect if your cat has allergies and what’s causing these allergies can help you prevent problems in the future.

What Causes Cat Allergies?

The first step toward treating your cat’s allergies is finding out what’s causing them. A visit to the veterinarian is the simplest way to identify your cat’s allergy stimulus. 

Causes of cat allergies could be due to several reasons, all of which fall under one of the three categories. These categories are, namely – flea allergy, food allergy, and environmental allergy (atopic dermatitis). 

  • Flea allergy

One of the most common cat allergy signs is flea allergies. These allergies are generally caused by flea bites or flea treatment medicine. Excessive itching is the most predominant symptom of this type of allergy. It's likely that your cat is allergic to fleas if you find it scratching or frequently chewing on its fur, especially directly above the tail.

  • Food allergy

Food allergies in cats can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even itchy skin, especially around the neck and head. This type of allergic response might cause your cat to shed patches of fur in severe circumstances. In such extreme cases, your vet can help you detect which foods are causing irritation and develop an appropriate diet for your cat.

  • Environmental allergy

Environmental allergies may have different triggers, including plants, pollen, and mold. This type of allergy can also be induced by cleaning products, or the fragrance included in some types of cat litter. Another type of environmental allergy is feline atopy. It is commonly known as feline atopic dermatitis, a severe allergic reaction in cats that causes extreme itchiness in their skin. As a result of this condition, your cat may suffer from skin soreness, redness, scabbing, and even hair loss.

Symptoms Of Cat Allergies

Depending on the kind of allergy your cat has, symptoms can range from unpleasant to life-threatening.

  • Diarrhea

Diarrhea is frequently related to staining of the fur around the hind end in some breeds. In normal cats, you can observe some variation in the consistency of their stool. Dietary changes can also cause temporary changes in their stool. But, if you notice frequent semi-liquid or liquid stools for more than two days, you should consult your vet. 

  • Wheezing

There are different causes to why a cat makes a wheezing sound. It could be due to a hairball stuck in its stomach or allergens like pollens, mold, or cigarette smoke. However, this wheezing sound can also be linked to discomfit or stress. Because each cat's triggers are unique, it's critical to be aware of the surroundings and activities in your cat's environment that could be causing stress-related wheezing.


  • Watery eyes

Watery or glossy-looking eyes are other prominent cat allergy signs. While a cat's moist eyes maybe caused by allergens such as mildew dust or household cleaning products, it could also indicate something more serious, such as a bacterial illness or virus.

Watery eyes

  • Skin redness and itchiness

Itchiness or skin redness in cats is associated with a skin condition called cat dermatitis. When this happens, your cat’s skin becomes swollen, red, and irritated, often with small blisters, as a result of an external agent directly irritating the skin or causing an allergic reaction to it.

Skin redness and itchiness

How Are Cat Allergies Treated?

  • By using medicated shampoos

If your cat is suffering from moderate allergy symptoms with only limited itching, medicated shampoos or rinses can help.

  • By using anti-itch medications

Anti-itch and anti-inflammatory medicines such as corticosteroids are particularly effective in treating extreme itchiness in cats. When used correctly, they can be quite safe and effective in cats. Consult your vet to identify the best course of action.

  • By using flea preventatives

Treating your cat with flea preventatives will prevent your cat from being bitten by fleas. Plus, to lessen the chances of your cat being bitten, you should treat your home during the warmer months when fleas are more frequent. In fact, even cats who aren't allergic to fleas should use a flea preventative to avoid tapeworm and other flea-related illnesses.

  • By eliminating food that causes allergy

To figure out which food is causing your cat's allergies, you must first put it on an elimination diet. After that, gradually reintroduce food items until you find the problematic allergen. The top three allergenic protein sources are beef (18%), fish (17%), and chicken (5%). Avoiding these foods will enable your cat's allergic reaction to be less severe.

Signs Of Allergies In Cats

The most common allergy symptoms in cats are skin reactions, regardless of the cause, and they can appear at any age. Just because your cat didn’t have allergies as a kitten doesn’t mean she won’t have them as an adult. If your cat suffers from any of the following symptoms, take her to the vet for a consultation:

  • Persistent scratching, licking and skin chewing
  • Face and ear rubbing
  • Inflamed skin patches, hair loss and foul odor
  • Coughing, sneezing, watery eyes and runny nose
  • Frequent vomiting or diarrhea

Allergies can vary from cat to cat, so it is important that you work with your vet to make sure your cat gets the best possible treatment. You’ll both be happier as a result.

Does Your Cat Have Allergies?
Does Your Cat Have Allergies?

FAQ On Does Your Cat Have Allergies

  1. What Are The Most Common Cat Allergies?
  2. Cats are sensitive to a wide range of allergies. Cats, like people, can be allergic to a variety of foods, drugs, plants, and other things. However, flea, environmental, and/or food allergies are the most common allergies in cats.

  3. How Do You Get Rid Of Cat Allergies?
  4. Keeping your home clean, using dust-free and unscented cat litter, using flea preventatives regularly, avoiding excessive fragrances, and not smoking in the house can help keep your cat from being allergic.

  5. How Do I Know If My Cat Has Allergies?
  6. If your cat suffers from allergies, some of the most frequent allergic reactions will trigger certain behaviors, conditions, and even symptoms like:

    • Itchy and watery eyes
    • Runny nose
    • tchy skin
    • Coughing
    • Vomiting or diarrhea

  7. Do Cat Allergies Go Away?
  8. It depends on whether your cat has skin or food allergies. If your cat eats nothing but novel food and water for eight to ten weeks, the allergic symptoms in its skin will fade away. But if it is related to food allergies, then you need to find a diet that works for your cat and stick to it.

  9. How Long Do Cat Allergies Last?
  10. Most cats with inhalant allergies are allergic to a variety of allergens. Itching may only persist just several weeks at a time during one or two seasons of the year if the number of allergens is low and seasonal. The cat may scratch frequently if there are a lot of allergens or if they are there all year round.

  • Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes
    Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes-mob
    Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes

    Understanding and learning how to decipher kitten food product codes will help you choose the right kitten food. While selecting the right ingredients is important, making sure those ingredients are fresh is just as vital to your young cat. Learn how to read the product codes of kitten food packages and cans with our handy guide.


    What Is a Product Code?

    A product code is a series of numbers and letters printed on the outer package of each product a manufacturer produces. This code provides information about when and where the kitten food was made.

    As part of the product code, IAMS™ products include a “Best Used By” date, or the date at which the product is no longer considered fresh and should no longer be sold. This date is expressed in “ddmmyy” and “ddmmmyy” formats.

    The second line of the product code represents company internal information for use in traceability and inventory control.

    Line 1: (ddmmyy) (ddmmmyy)

    Example: 040220 04FEB20

    Line 2: 60351111## QQQQQQQ

    This product should be used before February 4, 2020.

    Depending on the production line, pouch products* may have code date information in a single or double line. By recognizing and understanding these codes, customers can make sure they are receiving a fresh product.


    What Is Shelf Life?

    Shelf life is the duration, measured in months, during which a properly stored kitten food product maintains its freshness. This means if a product has a 16-month shelf life, it is fresh for up to 16 months from the date of manufacture.

    The shelf life for IAMS dry kitten foods is 16 months. All canned formulas have a shelf life of 24 months.


    How to Properly Store Dry and Wet Kitten Food

    Unopened dry kitten food products are best stored off the floor in a cool, dry place. Open bags of kitten food should be stored in a clean, dry container with a tight seal. Dry kitten food products may also be frozen without loss of nutrients.

    Opened wet kitten food products are best kept refrigerated in tightly sealed containers for no more than three days after the container has been opened. Wet products should not be frozen in unopened cans. However, wet kitten foods can be frozen if removed from the container, packed in freezer containers and frozen immediately.

    *IAMS has no kitten pouch products at this time.

    Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes