Cat Skin Allergies

Cat skin allergies occur when the cat is in contact with different allergens. The allergies may occur at contact with certain materials such as synthetic fabrics or plastic, or they may occur as a negative reaction to food, chemicals, pollens, dust, mold or skin parasites. Skin allergies may also be stress related.

Most cats only start developing allergies after the age of 2.

Symptoms of Skin Allergies

Skin allergies can be recognized by a few symptoms:

  • Itchy skin, which results in licking and continual scratching of the affected areas; excessive licking will cause bald patches
  • Redness of skin
  • Sores caused by scratching
  • Puss filled bumps (if the allergies are severe)
  • Secondary bacterial infections, such as yeast infections
  • Unhealthy looking skin and coat (often dull and greasy)

Some of these symptoms are seasonal, some types of allergies being inactive during the winter and typically active during spring and summer.

Diagnosing Allergies on Skin

Due to the fact that the symptoms are similar to other allergy symptoms and may also point to thyroid problems, the diagnostics process will be complicated. The allergen must be identified and this can be done through testing.

Skin parasites may be easily identified and treated.

Food trials are efficient if you suspect that the cat has developed an allergic reaction to ingredients in his diet.

Blood testing is also available; a blood sample is tested for negative reactions to different allergens.

However, the skin testing is the most efficient way to determine the allergens. The test will consist of several shots of allergens injected consecutively and the reactions on the skin are monitored. If the skin shows allergic reactions after the injection of a certain allergen, this means that the allergen has been identified. Skin and blood testing are not accurate to determine food allergies.

Treating Feline Skin Allergies

Once the allergens are detected, the treatment options are clear.

If the skin testing has revealed the allergens, a vaccine containing these allergens is prepared. The cat will be desensitized by the administration of repeated shots containing allergens.

Antihistamines or steroid medications may also be administered as short-term treatment. However, it is important to alternate the types of antihistamines, as the cat will build up immunity to a type of medication after 3 months.

The rashes may be treated with steroid cream and if there are bumps filled with puss, antibiotic creams will be prescribed.

If the cat has skin allergies caused by food, you will have to eliminate the allergen ingredients and switch to a different diet. The vet will indicate a suitable diet and recipes that you may prepare at home or you can get some prescription cat food.

It is also important to reduce the cat's exposure to allergens.

The allergies are not completely treatable, but the cat can build up immunity against certain allergens with regular administration of shots. The allergy symptoms may be managed through medication.

In case the cat is allergic to plastic, you need to opt for ceramic or metallic food bowls. Replace synthetic fabric bedding with natural materials.