With so many people being allergic to cats, you might not consider that a cat can have allergies, too. Just like your allergies, your cat's allergic reaction can cause sneezing, itching and a runny nose. Your family veterinarian can diagnose what your cat is allergic to and prescribe a medication.
Antihistamines like diphenhydramine, a typical over-the-counter medication, are effective at alleviating watery eyes, sneezing and other allergy symptoms. You should always consult your vet before giving a medication to your cat, as he will be able to confirm the safety and effectiveness of the medicine as well as give dosing instructions based on your cat's weight.
If your cat has hay fever or a similar allergy that causes a reaction to pollen, grass or dust, the veterinarian may recommend managing the condition with allergy shots. Similar to allergy shots for humans, your cat will receive a series of shots every few days in the beginning, then progressively increasing the amount of time between shots to once a week and then every few weeks.
Other shots of medication that are helpful with allergies but are not given on an ongoing basis are cortisone or steroid shots. These are quick-working medications that will have a immediate or near-immediate effect to reduce swelling and itching from hives and to stop sneezing and coughing.
Treating for Parasites
Many times a pet has an allergic reaction to an already irritating condition like fleas or other parasites. The ASPCA reports that just one flea bite an trigger up to three weeks of itching if your cat has a flea allergy. Treating your cat for fleas with prescription medications from your vet or over-the-counter medications from the pet supply will eliminate allergy symptoms and keep your cat comfortable and itch-free.
Supplements and Other Preventatives
Dietary supplements containing fatty acids are commonly recommended for cats suffering from itching from allergies. The fatty acids help moisturize and calm itchy, irritated skin; because they are derived from fish oil, you should have no problems getting your cat to take them.
Other things you can do to help manage your cat's allergies are to wash her bedding frequently with hypoallergenic detergent, run an air purifier in your home and try switching to an unscented, dust-free litter. The bonus is that you might benefit from these lifestyle adjustments, too.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.