Watching your feline suffer through allergy season truly is heart wrenching. He sneezes nonstop, isn’t as playful and pulls out chunks of fur. Allergy shots don’t work overnight -- it might take some time for them to take effect in Snowball’s body. You can do some things to protect his coat in the meantime.
Find a Cause
Sounds simple, right? Find the cause of the allergies, eliminate it and the annoying itching will stop. Unfortunately, Snowball can’t tell you exactly what bothers him, so you’ll have to work through a process of trial and error, with the help of your veterinarian, to weed through the causes. An allergy shot can be helpful for pollen, grass, mold and other common environmental allergens. However, if the cause of his outbreaks comes from something in the house, a shot may not do anything. It is possible that he pulls out his fur because a common product you use aggravates his skin. Stop using anything with strong scents. Give him an unscented litter, spray your perfume on in the car or at work, switch to an allergy-friendly laundry detergent and put him on the other side of the house when you’re using harsh cleaning agents in the bathroom.
Cover up the area that Snowball is picking at constantly. If he’s plucking fur out of his belly or out of the area at the base of his tail, put a shirt on him. Doing a little shopping down the clothing aisle at the pet store not only can make your fuzzball stylish, it also can cover his coat so he isn’t so inclined to rip out his luscious locks. However, if he’s nipping at his paws or feet, dressing him up won’t do the trick. Cover up the bald spot on his leg with gauze and non-adhesive bandage wrap. Walking might take some getting used to on his end, but he’ll get used to it.
Make it Taste Bad
Not that his fur tastes delectable, but if you make it taste completely unbearable, he’ll have zero desire to tug at his coat. Pick up a bottle of bitter apple spray or lotion specifically designed for feline skin. Saturate a cotton ball slightly and dab a little around the area he gnaws on. Be careful not to get the solution directly on the bald spot, in case it is raw and sensitive. You don’t want it to irritate his fragile skin.
Change His Diet
If, after making your home an allergy-free zone and carefully covering up his hot spots, Snowball still plucks away strands of fur, it may be time to look at his diet. Your veterinarian can prescribe a very mild food designed specifically for cats with allergies. If your vet thinks changing Snowball’s food is necessary, it is imperative to make sure he doesn't get into any other food in the house. Feed your other kitties in a separate room and keep Fido’s food up off the floor. Sweep your kitchen floor every day, otherwise Snowball may go sniffing around for crumbs. If he gets his paws on even the smallest morsel, his allergies can flare right back up, putting him right back in square one. Just like the shot, a diet change won’t work overnight. Continue covering up the hairless patch until Snowball loses interest in removing his own hair. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.
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.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.