Dust Mite Allergy in Cats

A dust mite allergy can trigger both allergies and asthma in your cat. To help your cat feel better, you will need to take steps to treat both her and your home environment.

Signs of Feline Dust Mite Allergy

Even though dust mite allergies and asthma are caused by an inhaled allergen, your cat's clinical signs will first show up on her skin. Signs of a dust mite allergy can include extreme itching and scratching, hair loss, damaged skin, missing clumps of hair, hot spots on the cat's skin or crusty patches on the skin.

Clinical signs of feline asthma involve the cat's respiratory system and include gagging, coughing and swallowing hard while the cat is hunched over.

Diagnosing a Feline Dust Mite Allergy

When your veterinarian begins to diagnose the cause of your cat's allergy or asthma, he or she will first rule out external parasites, food allergies, ringworm, mange, yeast infections and other skin diseases and conditions.

After all other causes are ruled out, your veterinarian may use skin or blood tests to determine the cause, or he or she may recommend eliminating things from your cat's environment until the allergen is identified.

Treating a Feline Dust Mite Allergy

Once your vet has diagnosed a dust mite allergy in your cat, you will have to make some changes in her daily care.

If your veterinarian recommends it, bathe your cat regularly with an anti-allergy shampoo. This may help your cat feel less itchy, and it may also help your cat's skin heal and her fur to regrow more quickly.

Medications such as antihistamines, allergy shots or steroids may be prescribed by your veterinarian to help reduce the clinical signs of dust mite allergy or asthma. Follow all medication dosing instructions carefully, and make sure to administer all doses of the medication to your cat, even if she seems to be doing better before the medicine is used up completely.

Controlling Dust Mites in Your Home Is Important

Since dust mites are virtually everywhere in your home, keeping them under control is an important part of relieving your cat's allergies and asthma. There are several things you can do to make this happen, including:

  • Replacing the air filters in your home's climate control system with high efficiency particulate air filters, or HEPA filters. These special filters will help remove even smaller particles of debris from the air in your home. You can also replace the filter in your vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to collect dust and allergens while you clean.
  • Using air purifiers around your home to eliminate dust mites and other indoor pollutants.
  • Cleaning your home weekly, and vacuuming several times a week, especially the furniture and mattresses.
  • Washing your cat's bedding and toys at least weekly in hot water, and drying them completely. Try to choose synthetic bedding materials, which are less likely to cause an allergic reaction than bedding made with feathers or rubber.
  • Washing your cat's litter box regularly with hot water and soap, and using a dust-free litter to fill the box.