What is the Best Allergy Treatment for Cats?

Finding the best allergy treatment for your cat usually begins with finding the cause of the allergy, since knowing the cause can make finding a solution to your pet’s allergy problem quicker and easier. Let’s look at the common causes of allergies in cats and the treatments most often recommended for them by veterinarians.

Flea Allergies Are the Most Common Feline Allergy

Flea allergies are the No. 1 allergy affecting American cats, and it only takes the bite of a single flea to cause problems for your cat once her body has been sensitized to one of the 15 identified allergens present in flea saliva.

Once it’s been determined that fleas are the cause of your cat’s allergy symptoms, your treatment plan will include ridding your home of the fleas while treating your cat’s more immediate symptoms.

Your veterinarian can recommend an effective flea-control program for your cat and your home. You may also wish to wash your cat’s bedding weekly and completely vacuum areas in which she spends most of her time, especially tiny space in which fleas and flea eggs can hide.

You can treat your cat’s symptoms with a combination of more thorough grooming, additional baths or medications to treat secondary skin problems that your cat may have developed as a result of her never-ending scratching.

Atopy: Inhaled Allergen, Skin-Based Symptoms

Atopic allergies are the second-most common allergy in our pet cats. Although the allergy shows itself through skin problems (itching, scratching, paw chewing), it’s caused when your cat inhales an allergen that triggers a response.

Treatment methods for atopic allergies involve relieving immediate symptoms, as well as taking long-term steps to protect your pet from future exposure to allergens. Your cat may benefit from oral or topical medications to relieve itching and other skin problems, or she may require routine bathing with shampoos that are designed to soothe her inflamed skin.

As your cat’s symptoms subside, incorporate more-frequent cleaning routines and necessary home repairs to protect your pet from allergens such as house dust or mold. Another additional step you can take is to upgrade your home’s climate control system filters to high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which are designed to remove more airborne particulates than regular filters.

Food Allergies Cause Problems for Many Cats

Although they seem to pop up overnight, feline food allergies are the result of long-term exposure to pet food ingredients that create an allergic reaction in your cat once her system has been overexposed to them.

Once the cause of your cat’s food allergy is identified, she will need to avoid that food item to prevent future allergy attacks. In many cases, food-allergic cats switch from their former diet to the exclusion diet they ate during testing to determine the cause of their food allergy. If you choose to do this, you will need to watch everything your cat eats to ensure that she doesn’t consume anything that contains the food item she’s allergic to. Also keep in mind that cats can develop allergies to their new diets over time, so you may need to retest your pet’s diet in the future.

In addition to the long-term step of a dietary change, food-allergic cats can benefit from medications that relieve inflammation and swelling, such as antihistamines or steroids. They may also require fatty acid supplements to help their skin heal.