Itís Spring Ė that means sunny skies, blooming flowers, warming weather, and, if youíre not too lucky: allergies. Unfortunately for your cat, allergies are not a human-only problem. Here are some basics you should know:
Culprits: Possible allergens may be environmental (grass, weeds, dust, pollen, mold, feathers, chemicals), food related (either the food itself or some substance in the food), or due to fleas or other parasites
Symptoms: irritated skin (may be itchy, dry, or red and patchy); hair loss; sneezing; stuffy nose; runny eyes; vomiting; diarrhea; lethargy; behavioral changes
- For environmental allergies, your vet may suggest antihistamines, allergy shots, steroids, topical ointments, or special shampoos
- For food allergies, figuring out the culprit and eliminating it is the only way to solve the problem. Most likely, your vet will give your cat a special diet and attempt to figure out what the exact cause is.
- For flea and other parasite allergies, eliminating them will cure the problem.
- While itís impossible to eliminate contact between your cat and all the possible environmental allergens, you can make sure your house (and especially your catís things Ė bed, toys, food bowls) are as dust-free as possible. At least once a week vacuum and clean your catís bedding with a mild, pet-friendly detergent. Minimize exposure while your cat is inside by keeping windows and doors closed.
- Make sure you only feed your cat food that you know to be healthy and devoid of suspect ingredients. Avoid giving your cat food meant for people.
- Donít get behind with your preventative parasite medicines. Also, note that cats with allergies tend to be more susceptible to normal cats to flea or insect bites. So if your cat has allergies, it is extra important you keep up-to-date with parasite prevention.
Selected by Laura Drucker, TAILS Editor