When we suffer an allergic reaction it can affect either our breathing or our skin but when a cat suffers an allergic reaction it is much more likely just to affect their skin. With around 15% of cats suffering from some sort of an allergic reaction you would think that cat owners would be very aware of the problem, however this is not the case and when a cat scratches excessively the first thing most people think or is a flea infestation.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction can vary from cat to cat and from the type of allergen involved. However common symptoms are, severe scratching and itchy rippling of the fur, sneezing, face rubbing, excessive grooming causing bald spots to appear, eye and nose discharges or breathing difficulties although this last one is rare. In some cases small hives can appear on the skin which look like little raised circles, these hives will be very itchy for your cat but will normally disappear within 24 hours.
With 15 % of cats suffering from some sort of allergic reaction it is important to know what the possible causes of these allergies could be, to be able to eliminate them from the cat's environment if possible. There are four main possible things that could cause an allergic reaction in your cat and by experimenting with use and then removing it from the cat's environment, it should be possible to discover the actual cause.
The first thing to consider is the type of food you are feeding your pet. Although most of the main commercial cats foods claim now to contain only the best ingredients there main be certain additives in the food that may affect your cat or it may simply be that the cat is allergic to a certain food type such as tuna. Try a different brand of food at first, if there is no difference then change alter the type of food i.e. chicken instead of fish.
Some medications including some vaccines can cause and allergic reaction in some cats. However cases of an allergic reaction are rare and although there is no way of knowing this before hand it should not prevent owners from protecting there cats from far more harmful illnesses. Most allergic reaction if caught early enough should be able to be successfully treated by a vet.
One of the most common things that can cause a cat allergy are insects and parasites. A sting or a bite from a garden insect although generally completely harmless and only mildly irritating for most cats can cause a slightly more severe reaction in some cases, but is generally not long lasting. Fleas are generally the most common parasite that can cause a nasty itchy in some cats from their bite. It may not necessarily mean that the cat is infested with fleas, as only one bite can cause the reaction. Although the symptoms are short lived, it may be severe enough to require an antihistamine injection from a vet, usually where the cats scratching is breaking the skin and causing bald spots. Making sure that the cat is regularly treated for fleas should prevent the allergy in the long term.
As in humans, cats can also be allergic to airborne allergens such as pollen, grass seen, mould and household chemicals such as air fresheners or cleaners. Obviously the owner cannot do much to eliminate the natural airborne irritants from the environment but ensuring that the cat is not present when household chemicals are being used could prevent any adverse reactions.
In most cases the symptoms of an allergic reaction should clear up fairly quickly once the allergen is removed from the environment. It is the responsibility of the owner to try and discover the possible cause of the allergy to prevent the cat from suffering unnecessarily. In severe cases or where the allergic reaction is occurring often without the cause being discovered, a vet should be consulted to provide regular medication to relieve the symptoms.
More cat health and cat care tips can be found at our site http://www.our-happy-cat.com A feline friendly community full of helpful advice and fun things to do to make sure you have a happy cat and a happy you. Kate's second site http://www.frugal-living-tips.com promotes simple living and the reduction of waste and personal debt.
Copyright 2007 Kate Tilmouth