Just like humans, cats can have allergies. The trouble is, a cat can't tell you what they're feeling, so it's up to you as a pet owner to try and work it out.
Sometimes, allergic symptoms in cats can seem like a mystery illness or even just normal cat behaviour. This makes it easy for the allergy to be ignored, or repeated attempts to diagnose what's wrong ending in failure.
Here are some things to look out for, plus a few of the common triggers of allergic reactions in cats.
Allergy symptoms in cats
Pay attention to your cat if it shows any of these signs. They may not be caused by allergies, but they often are. You should work with your vet to determine the underlying cause.
Cats scratch from time to time, as they get random itches like humans do. When the scratching seems excessive, however, and you're certain it isn't fleas, an allergy could be to blame.
When the problem is more severe, you might notice fur loss and dry, flaky skin in addition to the scratching.
Diarrhoea and vomiting are good reasons to take your cat to a vet quickly. If the problem is difficult to diagnose, an allergy or intolerance might be to blame.
Sneezing and breathing problems
Sneezing often is a classic allergic symptom, similar to humans with hayfever. More serious symptoms include wheezing, a coughing sound, or noisy breathing while asleep.
With several possible allergens, it can be difficult to work out exactly what's triggering your cat. Here are some of the more common factors for you to look into.
A good first step in determining the source of allergies is to switch your cat to a different food. If their current food includes wheat, try one without it.
Fleas normally irritate a cat's skin with their bites, but some cats are allergic, making the problem worse. Make sure you apply regular flea treatment, but be aware that cats can also be allergic to the treatments. Look out for allergic symptoms shortly after application.
Pollen, seeds, grass and various other types of plant matter can cause an allergic reaction in cats. This is difficult to prevent if your cat goes outdoors, and this may be the culprit if you've eliminated everything else.
Cleaning products, perfume and soap are all potential allergens, so be careful using them around your cat or their bedding. Some cats are also allergic to some types of cat litter, so try changing to a different one.