8 Common Questions About Cats' Allergies

Cats have allergies and a lot of pet owners want to know more about this condition and how to handle it better.

1. What are the Symptoms of Cat Allergies?

The symptoms of an allergic cat are sneezing, wheezing, coughing, runny nose, watery eyes, itchiness, rashes and sometimes discolored mucous membranes. Your cat will lack energy and you may notice some behavioral changes.

2. What are Common Allergens?

The most common allergens are dust, pollens, mold, chemicals, parasites or food. A vet can determine the source of the allergies.

3. How Are Allergies Treated?

There are several options of treatment of allergies: antihistamines, allergy shots, steroids, topical ointments as well as homeopathic remedies. If the allergies are caused by food, a special diet will be prescribed. In the case of allergies caused by fleas or other parasites, eliminating the parasites will cure the allergies.

4. Can My Cat Get Rid of Allergies?

Cat allergies cannot be treated, but may be kept under control with proper medication. The only way you can assure your cat doesn't have allergic reactions is to eliminate all sources of allergens. This can be possible in the case of food allergies, but it is impossible if your cat is allergic to pollens.

5. Why Are Antihistamines Ineffective After Prolonged Treatment?

Antihistamines are administrated to cats to reduce the allergic reactions to allergens such as mold, dust, pollens or chemicals. Antihistamines of a certain type are effective for about 3 months. After this period, the body builds up immunity to these antihistamines and they become ineffective. Alternate the type of antihistamines and your cat will respond well to these, keeping the allergies away.

6. Are Allergy Shots More Effective Than Antihistamines?

Allergy shots are effective if you know the source of your cat's allergies. Finding the allergen is important - followed by a weekly administration of the proper antigens that will handle the allergies. Allergy shots may be more effective than antihistamines because there are cases of cats that have been fully cured of allergies after 4 to 5 years of allergy shots. After years of treatment with shots, the allergic reactions are significantly reduced.

However, the allergy shots are only effective 2 to 3 months after you start administering them. The allergy shots are not effective if your cat is allergic to food.

7. Is Bathing Recommended to Reduce Allergic Reactions?

A regular bath (i.e. at least once a week) can reduce the cat's allergies. A few allergens enter the cat's system through the pores of the skin, so bathing can clean the skin and reduce the number of allergens that may lead to ugly rashes and irritation. Baths are also recommended to relieve itchiness.

In addition, a regular bath can reduce the allergies of humans to cats by as much as 90%.

8. The Fleas Are Gone but the Flea Allergy Persists. Why?

It is normal that flea allergy rashes will persist long after the fleas are gone. Make sure to get rid of all your fleas, including the ones in your home and garden and use some topical ointments to speed up the healing process of your pet.