What to do When Your Cat Has Allergies

What to do When Your Cat Has Allergies

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 05.04.2021

Cat Allergic Reactions

Have your cat curled up next to you on the couch after a long day at work can be one of the best feelings in the world. While, on the other hand, there is nothing more erking than witnessing your cat itch and scratch compulsively, not to mention the never ending licking that usually accompanies the incurable itch. 

Boosting your feline off the couch may not be the best solution. It’s important to recognize and approach your cat’s allergies so that normal behaviors (including the couch cuddles) can occur again. Finding the root of the allergies or allergic reaction is the first step in figuring out how to approach and manage your feline’s allergies. 

As a feline parent, I’m sure you’re wondering which over-the-counter medication to use, if there are natural options for cat allergies, and exactly how much/what dose do you give your cat. In today’s article, we’ll talk all things allergens, medications, and natural remedies to help you and your furry friend get back to a sneeze-free cuddle sesh. 

Let’s jump right in!

Feline Allergies: What to Do and Why it’s Happening

First things first, let’s define an allergy. An allergy is when your cat experiences a hypersensitivity to something or something in their environment. Their immune system innately identifies this allergen as foreign and potentially dangerous, which in return, will lead the immune system to producing antibodies to “defend” the body. 



Felines with allergies may have an extreme reaction to substances that are usually harmless to other pets. For example, a severe allergic reaction can include side effects that leave your catto feeling pretty down. Signs and symptoms of a feline allergic reaction may differ depending on the allergen they have been in contact with. 

Allergy Signs and Symptoms to Keep an Eye On

Take note of any of the following signs and symptoms of cat allergies. This may be able to help you down the road when you’re discussing your concerns to your veterinarian.

  • Sneezing
  • Ear infections
  • Itchy and teary eyes
  • Excessive grooming 
  • Biting
  • Pulling out hair
  • Dandruff
  • Excessive scratching
  • Gnawing at paws
  • Swollenness 
  • Sensitivity
  • Runny nose
  • Hives
  • Snoring
  • Skin lesions
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anaphylactic shock



These are just some of the potential signs and symptoms your feline may experience during an allergy attack or allergic reaction. Any odd or abnormal behavior in your cat should be noted as a sign of unwellness. After all, you do know your cat best. If something seems off, it’s likely the case.


What Causes Allergies in Cats?

There are numerous factors that may be contributing to or causing your feline’s allergies. By first identifying the allergen, you can work to try and remove it from your cat’s daily environment. The different potential causes of cat allergies may include:

1. Food Allergies

Food allergies may be one of the more difficult ones to pin point, especially when your feline has been eating the same meals for years and years. When you cat becomes allergic to something in their food, they may show signs of diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, skin changes, and or a poor coat. Another common sign is the presence of small lumps on their skin, usually in the head or neck areas. 

The protein or carbohydrate source in their food may be the culprit. Switching your cat to a hypoallergenic diet with different and new ingredients free of allergens. The most common foods that may lead to your cat getting allergies are fish, beef, chicken, and dairy products. 

2. Atopic Dermatitis

Non-food, non-flea allergic dermatitis in felines can cause hypersensitive reactions to their skin, causing unbearable irritation and itching. Atopic derm can be caused by an overreaction to specific allergens in their environment. Household items may be the cause of this issue, including items such as cleaning products, perfumes, fabrics, plants, or insects around your home. Mold spores or dust mites may also be bugging your four-legged friend. These types of allergens may just be seasonal, depending on the direct cause. 

Intradermal skin testing or blood work testing may be a crucial step in order to properly diagnose atopic dermatitis. This can help your veterinarian dermatologist personalize a formula for your feline, with hopes of decreasing their sensitivity to that allergen. 

3. Seasonal Allergens

Us humans are totally familiar with seasonal allergies, and interestingly enough, our pets aren’t immune here either. The pollens and irritants that come with the change in seasons affects both us and our furry pets. 

4. Flea Allergies

Flea allergy dermatitis is one of the most commonly diagnosed skin diseases in canines and felines. General flea control is important to ensure that you are ridding your cat of any bites. If not cared for properly, your cat could have endless biting, itching, scratching, and increased attention to the areas where the fleas are living and thriving. 

Cats can be extremely sensitive to chemicals and insecticides, so talk to your veterinarian about holistic options for all-natural flea repellents. 


How Do I Diagnose my Cat with Allergies?

If you feel like you’ve tried everything when it comes to medications or your cat keeps having continuous reactions, it’s time to get your cat into the vet for an allergy test. Your vet will first perform a medical examination. They may ask you about their medical history and share any abnormal behaviors or signs and symptoms they have been displaying recently. 

What Can I Give my Feline for Allergies?

Prevention is the best medicine they say. So if you have a hunch that your cat isn’t a fan of your perfumes, household cleaning products, medications, or food, it may be time to make a change. As you can assume, allergies aren’t entirely avoidable come allergy season, so medication may be your only option during this time. 

Holistic Remedies

Nature has not only given us many plant-based medicines, but it’s also given us plant-based remedies. It is definitely worth trying some natural options to see if they can provide any pain relief to your cat, potentially helping soothe their scratchy symptoms. 

If your cat has inflamed or irritated skin, it may be best to apply coconut oil directly. This can help bring back moisture to their skin and help calm the irritation. Plus, coconut oil is not harmful for cats, so if they try and lick it off, they should be okay!

In addition to coconut oil, CBD Oil for Cats is a viable option too. It may help soothe any of their skin-related concerns and may help support their immune system response.

Over-the-Counter Allergy Medications

Medication prescribed by your vet may be over-the-counter (OTC) medications and that’s okay! It may help with your cat’s current symptoms, but may not be a long-term solution by any means. 

Here are a few OTC medications commonly prescribed for cat allergies:

  • Claritin
  • Zyrtec
  • Benadryl
  • Nasal Decongestants

How To Treat Cat Allergies

As we briefly mentioned above, taking your cat into the vet for allergy testing may be a great option. Finding which exact allergen may be the culprit may be expensive and time consuming, but, nevertheless, it can help immensely when it comes to your vet crafting a personalized treatment plan for your cat’s allergy needs. 

Long-term medication that reduces their itch may not get down to the nitty gritty issue. This can lead to other health concerns, with medical bills adding up over time. 



Feline allergy treatments may require allergy shots on a regular basis. As you can assume, medical expenses can quickly add up for your feline’s shots, so we recommend looking into pet insurance. 

Talk to your vet so you can know what to expect with potential side effects and costs of allergy treatments. 


Cat Allergies: Final Thoughts

When all is said and done, you’ll do anything and everything in your willpower to ensure that your furry feline is taken care of. Unfortunately, there isn’t necessarily a cure for allergies, lifelong management and treatment may be required to keep your feline living their best quality of life. 

Talking with your veterinarian can help get your cat on the right path for treatment and management of their allergy symptoms. Natural remedies or over-the-counter options may be helpful in managing your cat’s allergy symptoms.  


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