The 6 Most Common Signs of Allergies in Cats

The signs of allergies in cats can be in plain sight or may more difficult to detect. Detecting the signs of allergies in your pet is of essence, so that you can discuss the treatment options with your vet and help your cat feel better. The most common signs of allergies in cats include:

1. Itchy Skin

Itchy skin is the most common symptom of allergies, present in all types of allergies: food, flea, contact or inhalant allergies.

This symptom will lead to constant scratching, the cat will also bite and chew the areas of skin he has access to and may cause hair loss, bleeding, dry skin and possibly other bacterial infections. The cat will scratch mostly in the head area and will chew his paws, but it is not uncommon that the cat will try to scratch other areas of the body as well. The areas in which the cat scratches predominantly may help to find the source of allergies.

The cat will be restless due to the itchy skin and may stretch out on cold surfaces, or lick his fur, which will relieve the itchy skin for a short period of time.

2. Scabs on Head or Neck 

The cat may have scabs on his neck or head, which can be due to fervent scratching and wounds caused by scratching or by fleas bites. You should check your pet’s skin at least twice per week to look for fleas or other external parasites, scabs or other abnormalities.

Topical ointments will be needed to heal the skin and relieve the discomfort.

3. Sneezing

Sneezing can be indicative of inhalant allergies or atopy. The allergen penetrates the cat’s system through the nose and the body will react negatively by producing antihistamines and sneezing.

The sneezing will occur especially after the exposure to the irritant and may be continuous. Some cats experience sneezing only in certain seasons, as the allergens (i.e. grasses and pollens) are only present during these seasons.

The cat will also have difficulties breathing and may even cough, if the allergies are more severe.

4. Diarrhea 

Diarrhea is symptomatic of food allergies. The cat’s system may not tolerate different ingredients including:

  • corn
  • beef
  • fish
  • wheat products
  • milk
  • yogurt

The ingredients will cause a negative reaction and the cat will experience diarrhea, which will be chronic.

Diarrhea may be present if the cat is affected by other medical conditions so blood tests and food trials will be necessary to determine the real problem.

Some cats that are allergic to food may also vomit.

5. Skin Irritation

Skin irritation may be caused by inhalant or contact allergies. The cat may be allergic to his collar or other ointments you use and the skin will turn red and may be swollen.

6. Swelling

Some allergic cats may experience swelling or limbs or head. This symptom occurs if the cat has severe allergies. Anaphylaxis may also occur and this can be fatal, as the cat cannot breathe due to the swelling or air passages.