Feline Allergies.
An Easy To Follow Guide

Feline allergies are fairly common. They usually show themselves as cat skin disorders (the cat will scratch and groom almost non-stop) and sometimes, depending on the cause, by the cat sneezing excessively.

The cat will often bite at the itchy areas of skin. This can lead to a shabby looking coat, scabs on the skin and cat hair loss.

Causes, Prevention And Treatment

1) Causes

Feline allergies are caused by an over-reaction of Kitty's immune system to something he comes into contact with. Common causes include:

  • Cat fleas
  • Other parasites - e.g. ticks, lice, cat ear mites
  • Certain foods
  • picture of kitten eating

  • Certain plastics - e.g. from feeding bowls, some floor coverings
  • Things in the air - e.g. dust, pollen. In this case the cat skin problems are likely to be accompanied by excessive feline sneezing
  • Things in direct contact with Kitty's skin - e.g. fabric softener on washed linen, carpet deodorizers, metals

The list above isn't exhaustive by a long shot. Like human allergies, there are many different things that can cause cat allergies.

2) Prevention

The best way to prevent cat skin allergies is to completely avoid exposure to whatever's causing the problem. Depending on the cause, this may be possible, partially possible or impossible.

The majority of feline allergy problems are caused by fleas, and preventative treatment against them is always a good idea. Once the fleas are got rid of, there's a fairly good chance the skin problem will be resolved. Click here for detailed information on cat fleas.

Fleas on kittens are potentially more dangerous than cat fleas, and need to be dealt with differently. Click here for advice on kitten fleas.

If the flea problem is sorted but the cat skin problems still persist, if there are no other parasites on the cat, it's possible that it's his food that's the problem.

Some cats are allergic to certain ingredients in the food they're eating. Your vet can advise you on a suitable diet to try (called a hypoallergenic diet). These diets are low in - or free of - the substances that most commonly cause allergic reactions.

If food isn't the problem either, the vet can perform skin and blood tests to try to try to figure out the cause. However, it isn't always possible to work out what the cause is, even after testing.

3) Treatment

If the cause of feline allergies can't be figured out, or if it's impossible for your cat to avoid exposure to the substance that's causing the problem, he may need to go on long-term medication. Steroids are often used to suppress the immune system reaction. Anti-histamines and antibiotics may also be used.

For advice on health insurance for your cat, click here.

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