If you notice that your cat sneezes up a storm during allergy season, you've probably wondered whether he it was possible for him to suffer from hay fever just like humans. If so, the answer is a resounding "yes." Hay fever, and allergies in general, can certainly affect kitties--and it's a pretty common occurrence. Find out what you can do to detect, prevent, and help alleviate your cat's sneezing, wheezing, and itching.
Those Darn Allergens
A cat's immune system can become sensitive to substances in their surroundings known as allergens. These substances may not be irritating to you or even other animals in the household but your cat may show symptoms while its body tries fending them off.
Cat allergies are usually divided into three categories because the number of allergens are vast. These are: flea, environmental and food allergies. The most common allergies (caused by pollen) are referred to as "seasonal allergies" because they occur the same time every year. Cats sometimes have a number allergy symptoms so it's best to take the cat to your veterinarian for a complete check up. A check up with a veterinary dermatologist is also advised at this point.
What to Identify
With allergic dermatitis, cats will experience itchiness and skin inflammation. Other symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, wheezing will also arise if the cat has asthma. The list continues with runny and itchy eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, ear infections, sensitive paws and paw chewing.
Allergens causing the above symptoms range from pollen, grass, plants, mold, mildew (as well as other organic substances) to food, perfume, cologne, fleas, cleaning products, some kitty litters and even prescription drugs!
Food allergies are typically accompanied by gastrointestinal issues so you should avoid feeding your cat foods that trigger allergies. Outdoor cats are especially susceptible because of their exposure to a wider range of allergens.
To The Vet!
If something is making your cat miserable with wheezing and sneezing it's best to make an appointment with your vet. Most likely a complete kitty physical will occur in order to find the source of these allergies. If allergies are the cause, your vet may perform blood tests along with dietary changes. Cats with skin allergies may be referred to a veterinary dermatologist.