4 Common Causes Of Cat Skin Allergies The Culprits of Itchy, Irritated Skin

BY | May 04 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
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Has your cat been scratching more often than usual lately? Cat's suffer from allergies just like pet parents do, but instead of constant sneezing, it affects their skin. Learn here what are some of the most common causes of skin allergies in cats and ways you can help get him some much needed relief.

Cats can be allergic to many of the same things as humans. However, unlike humans who usually show respiratory signs of an allergic reaction, cats are more likely to have problems with their skin. Allergies that affect the skin are grouped together under the broad term allergic dermatitis.

Symptoms of cat skin allergies include excessive scratching, biting, or licking to try to soothe the itching and inflammation associated with the allergic response. In many cases, this results in hair loss, swelling, skin lesions, and oozing hot spots.

Sound unpleasant? It is. And cats canโ€™t help themselves when they are suffering from allergies -- it is up to the pet parent to take note of symptoms and seek out help. In order to help your cat, your veterinarian will work with you to determine the cause of your catโ€™s allergic reaction. Here we will look at the 4 most common causes of cat skin allergies.

1. Flea Bites

Fleas are terrible pests, and in many cases, they are responsible for a catโ€™s skin allergy. The allergic reaction is caused by an immune response to the fleaโ€™s saliva, which causes extreme itching and irritation at the site of the bite. Before long, a small bite can turn into a large patch of swollen, irritated skin, often accompanied by hair loss and bacterial infection. To treat flea allergies, get rid of the fleas on your cat and in your home and start your cat on a flea preventative.

2. Inhalant Allergens

Inhalant allergens, or atopic allergens, are those absorbed into the catโ€™s body through inhalation into the lungs. Inhalant allergens are found in your catโ€™s environment, and while some may be seasonal, others can affect your cat year-round. Common inhalant allergens include flowers, weeds, grass pollens, tree pollens, dust, mildew, mold, perfume, and cigarette smoke.

These allergens can cause itching over various parts of the body, leading to painful lesions and hair loss. Once your veterinarian has identified the source of the allergy, the allergen should be removed from the catโ€™s environment to prevent future inhalation. In some cases, treatment may include antihistamines and steroids to alleviate symptoms, and oatmeal baths or hypoallergenic shampoos can be used to soothe irritated skin.

3. Contact Allergens

Contact allergens cause an allergic reaction following physical contact. Contact allergens are not overly prevalent in cats, but they do occasionally occur. Common irritants include flea medications, shampoos, certain fabrics, rubber, plastic, and cleaning products. Once it has been identified, the item causing your cat to have an allergic reaction should be removed from their environment and the allergic reaction will most likely subside.

4. Food

Food allergies -- while relatively uncommon in cats -- can cause gastrointestinal problems as well as skin problems caused by itching. When food allergies do occur in cats, ingredients such as chicken, beef, pork, fish, soy, and wheat are usually to blame. Your veterinarian will work with you to identify and treat the food allergy. In many cases, a cat with a food allergy will need to be on a homemade diet or a food recommended by your veterinarian.

All You Need To Know About Cat Dander Allergies

There's no doubt that you love cats. Your feline friend is perhaps the best companion you can have. It's docile, sleek, and friendly like no one else. But it can also get you sneezing, sniffing, and itching at times. If you experience these symptoms when your feline cat is around you, then there may be some bad news- you may be suffering from a cat dander allergy.

What is cat dander allergy?

Cat dander allergy is an allergic reaction caused when cats' dander combines with its urine and saliva. There is a misconception that allergic reactions are caused by your cat's fur. But in reality, it is their dander that is causing you to sneeze and itch. The underlying cause of cat dander allergies is explained by Dr. Rachel Barrack, DVM of Animal Acupuncture, who attributes the condition to Fel D1, a protein found in the saliva of cats. When this protein combines with the dander from anal and sebaceous glands in cats, you are likely to counter cat dander allergy. Cat dander allergies are twice as common as dog allergies, and it affects more than 10% of the US population. Cats, especially male cats that are not neutered, produce Fel D1 in large quantities. The question is how do these tiny protein substances cause such weakening allergic reactions in the body? Actually, people with allergies have a hypersensitive immune system, which causes their bodies to mistake harmless cat dander with hazardous viruses and bacteria. This triggers allergic reactions as a counterattack on the allergen.

Symptoms of cat dander allergies

If you see the following systems when your cat is around you, then you may be suffering from a cat dander allergy:

  • Wheezing and coughing
  • Rashes and hives on the face and chest
  • Itchy and red eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive sneezing
  • Unusual redness in the area of the skin that came in contact with the cat.

How to treat cat allergies?

The aforementioned symptoms do not always imply that your cat has allergies. However, if you are experiencing them, you need to see a professional. Doctors usually recommend the following drugs to treat cat allergies:

  • Antihistamines, which are easily available in chemists in the form of a nasal spray.
  • Decongestants to reduce nasal congestion.
  • Nasal steroid sprays, which treat asthma or allergy symptoms in many ways.
  • Allergy shots

Preventing cat allergies

Unfortunately, allergies cannot be prevented if you are allergic to cats. However, you can follow a few steps to reduce the chances of incidence of cat allergies:

  • Limit your exposure to the cat
  • Restrict the cat to only certain areas of the house
  • Keep the cat outdoors
  • Clean your cat regularly
  • Clean your house rigorously to prevent cat dander from spreading everywhere
More on Cat Allergies

What Causes Cat Allergies?
What Are Cats Allergic To?
Food Allergies In Dogs And Cats

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