What Causes Allergies in Cats? 

If you notice your cat licking or scratching a lot, looking miserable, with watery eyes, stuffy nose, ear discomfort, upset stomach, fur falling out, or patches of raw skin, chances are your little friend could have an allergy. 

If his face is swollen or he’s having a severe reaction, call the vet right away. Consider the three most common reasons for cat allergy: fleas, foods, furnishings.

It’s time to get out the flea comb and check for unwanted guests. Just one flea can cause a system-wide reaction that makes your cat’s life miserable. He may scratch, shake his head, or shudder suddenly if there’s an itch he can’t reach. He’ll tilt his head or flatten his ears if they’re bothering him.

A cat responds to food allergens usually in the form of vomiting and diarrhea, or refusing to eat that food anymore. Your vet might change his diet to a protein that he’s never had before, such as duck or a hydrolyzed diet. It’s important to only feed the prescribed diet to help diagnose if he is suffering from food allergies. 

If neither foods nor fleas are the culprit, try removing anything new or very old in his environment. Wash the bedding frequently, change to simple scent-free litter and laundry detergent, and install a fresh HVAC air filter to see if the reactions subside. Make sure your cat isn’t hanging out in the basement, storage room, garage or under the bed – places where he can inhale mold, mildew and dust mite dander that can cause watery eyes and nose, and respiratory problems. 

But if your cat’s symptoms continue or worsen, schedule a checkup. Veterinary treatment may include corticosteroids and antihistamines, eye ointment or ear drops, and salves for the secondary problems created from scratching and licking.

It’s frustrating when your little one can’t tell you why he’s not feeling well. Some allergies will require you to have the patience and vigilance of a detective. Just know that he loves you for helping him to feel better. 

Heron’s Crossing provides end-of-life care for pets in the Metro Atlanta area. In-home appointments with compassionate vets are available. If you’d prefer a home-like setting away from your home, our Decatur office is also available by appointment.