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Can Cats Be Allergic?

We commonly hear about humans who are allergic to cats, but are it possible for our cats to have allergies? Some cat owners will say, yes especially if they have noticed their feline friends becoming bald, or itching, licking or biting themselves.

Cats can indeed have allergies just like humans do. Cat allergies can become severe and they can also be managed. Cats can have allergies to fleabites, to certain foods, to airborne pollens, and they can also develop respiratory allergies as well as digestive allergies that include vomiting and diarrhea as symptoms. Skin allergies are the most commonly seen evidence of allergies in cats.

Methods of treating cat allergies range from topical skin medications to shots, changes in food, and keeping an outdoor cat inside.

The first step a cat owner should take if cat allergies are suspected is to take the cat to a vet for a diagnosis. The vet will make a determination as to whether the problems are the result of an autoimmune disorder, parasites or if it is indeed an allergic reaction.

The vet will need to go through a process of elimination in order to come up with the diagnosis of the cat being allergic to something.

Sometimes genetics can be a factor in the cat being allergic and sometimes it is simply a matter of changing the cat's diet. Food is a common trigger for allergies and is usually where the vet will start investigating.

Any dietary changes should be done slowly and a gradual transition from the old food to a new food.

If the vet determines that food is not the allergy culprit than the vet may decide to do a blood allergy or skin test to help determine the source of the allergy. Cats can show allergic responses to house dust mites, black flies, trees, grasses, and weeds.

There are cat allergy specialists that can prescribe steroids and Periactin, which is an appetite stimulant, but also is an antihistamine used for human allergies. Sometimes a vet will put a cat on antihistamine therapy. Cats bothered by itching may be put on short-term cortisone injections. Another type of shot (an allergy shot) can desensitize the cat to a specific allergen.

It does not necessarily require an allergy specialist to perform allergy tests. A regular vet can perform serum allergy tests and also formulate allergy vaccines for your cat. Ask your vet about what their office can offer your cat regarding diagnosis and treatment of allergies.

Typically cats suffer less from allergies than say, dogs do; but cats can and do suffer from allergies. If you suspect that your feline friend is suffering from allergies do not let them suffer unnecessarily, take them to the vets for an examination. Your cat will thank you!

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Jason Burton is an expert on cat care and has had a lifelong love for all animals. To learn more about proper cat care and tips on how to best care for your cat visit []

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