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Cat Allergy - Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

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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.

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.

  • How to Cut a Cat's Nails: A Comprehensive Guide to Understand and Manage Cat Clawing
    How to Cut a Cat's Nails: A Comprehensive Guide to Understand and Manage Cat Clawing
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    How to Cut a Cat's Nails: A Comprehensive Guide to Understand and Manage Cat Clawing

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    If you share your living space with a feline friend, you’ve likely experienced the fascinating yet perplexing world of cat nails. From the loud, rhythmic sound of scratching that greets your early morning to those tiny prods every now and then, the claws of cats are as intricate as they are functional. Let's take a journey together to understand why cats scratch and learn how to cut a cat's nails. 
     

    Why do cats scratch?

    First and foremost, let's understand why your cat is a passionate ‘cat clawing expert’. Cats scratch for various reasons, including claw maintenance, exercise, marking territory, and even attention-seeking. Scratching enables them to remove the outer husk of their claws, revealing a sharp new surface underneath. Additionally, scent and sweat glands in their feet produce a unique smell, which is deposited when they scratch, marking their territory - a clever, multi-purpose act, isn't it?
     

    Identifying normal cat clawing

    If you're wondering, 'how much cat clawing is too much?', you're not alone. Many cats scratch indoors due to limited outdoor access, comfort, or safety concerns. If you find your cat scratching extensively, especially around doorways and windows, it could be a sign of insecurity or anxiety. 
     

    How to determine if your cat's nails are too long

    Spotting when your cat's nails are too long is crucial. Overgrown cat nails can cause injuries to their paw pads, lead to changes in gait which can affect their joints, and cause damage to your furniture. Generally, indoor cats require nail trims every couple of weeks, whereas outdoor cats may need them less frequently. 
     

    Cutting cat nails: A step-by-step guide
     

    1. Establishing a calm environment for cat nail trimming

      When it comes to cutting cat nails, creating a calm environment is key. Choose a quiet spot and find a comfortable position for you and your cat. You could try trimming their nails when they're sleepy or relaxed, like after a meal. Avoiding distractions such as windows or other pets can also make the process smoother.

    2. Building trust through paw handling

      Get your cat used to paw handling. Gently hold and rub their paw daily for a few seconds. If they're comfortable, extend a nail and reward them with a treat. This slow, rewarding process will make them more amenable to cat nail trimming.

    3. Familiarizing your cat with the nail clipper

      When learning how to cut a cat's nails, it's important to familiarize your cat with the nail clipper. Let them see and sniff it to reduce anxiety. You could also familiarize them with the sound of the clipper by cutting a piece of dry spaghetti near their paw. Always remember to reward their calm behavior.

    4. The process of trimming cat nails 

      Now it's time to clip. Carefully isolate the nail to cut and note where the quick is -- a vein that can cause pain and bleeding if cut. Cut the nail at a 45-degree angle, starting with the very tip. Be patient and careful not to cut the quick. 

    5. Importance of patience in clipping cat nails

      This isn't a race, so take your time when clipping cat nails. If your cat becomes agitated after a few nails, stop the session, and try again later. Forcing the process can cause stress and erode trust.

    6. Cat nail trimming schedule

      Maintaining a consistent cat nail trimming schedule is vital. As a rule of thumb, trim their nails once every one and a half to two weeks. But remember, every cat is different, so adjust as necessary. If you struggle with the process, seek advice from a professional groomer or veterinarian. 
       

    How to stop your cat from clawing furniture: Enter the scratching post 

    To keep your beloved furniture intact, providing an acceptable alternative to your cat's claws is crucial. A cat scratching post, sturdy and tall enough for the cat to stretch fully, is an excellent solution. These scratching posts mimic the texture and orientation (horizontal or vertical) of their preferred scratching area, redirecting their cat clawing behavior. 
     

    Caring for kitten nails: The basics

    Kitten nail trimming is similar to adult cat nail trimming, but with a few modifications. Firstly, begin the process of desensitizing their paws early. Show them the nail clipper and make sure it's not a source of fear. When cutting kitten nails, remember they're smaller and softer, so be extra cautious. And, don't forget the kitten scratching post. It's never too early to provide alternatives for their clawing needs.

    With these steps, you're now well-equipped to take care of your cat's claws. Remember to stay patient and calm during the process, and always reward your cat for their cooperation. In no time, you'll become a pro at handling your feline friend's claws, ensuring their comfort and wellbeing.