Has Kitty got a case of the sniffles? If you notice him sneezing a lot or rubbing his eyes, he's probably suffering from allergies. With proper treatment and a clean home, you can offer your feline pal some relief.
What Are Allergies?
Allergies are when Kitty's immune system is hypersensitive to a normally harmless substance, called an allergen. Kitty may react to many of the same allergens as you do, including mold, dust and pollen. His diet may also be to blame. An allergic reaction to food displays many of the same symptoms as an environmental allergen. If he's having trouble with diarrhea or vomiting, a food allergy is likely. According to The Cat Health Guide website, the most common feline allergy is flea dermatitis, or flea allergy.
Common allergy symptoms include sneezing, itchy eyes, itchy skin and hives. He'll paw at his eyes to try and scratch them if they're causing him discomfort. You may also notice tears or watery eyes. If he licks his paws like crazy, it's probably because they itch. When Kitty sneezes, he blows air through his nose to remove an irritant. He may also do what's called a reverse sneeze, sucking in air to clear the area just behind his nose of allergens. If Kitty's having trouble breathing, his snore may keep you awake.
To determine what is causing the poor little guy's immune system to go into hyperdrive, his vet can perform skin and blood tests. She may perform an intradermal allergy test, in which she injects potential allergens just below the skin and measures Kitty's reaction. The vet may also perform blood tests, but they aren't as reliable at detecting a specific allergen. If his vet thinks he's got a food allergy, she'll probably suggest an elimination diet. This special diet eliminates dyes or suspected allergy-inducing ingredients. Then you introduce different ingredients back into his diet to determine the source of his allergy.
Keeping those trouble-causing allergens away from Kitty is the first step to relief. Year-round flea prevention for Kitty and his pals will prevent a flea infestation. Clean his bedding weekly to remove irritants; this may include your sheets if he cuddles with you at night. Vacuum at least twice a week and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to eliminate allergens from the carpet and furniture. While bathing a cat is never enjoyable for you or your cat, a shampoo may help calm itchy, irritated skin. His vet may prescribe antihistamines or steroids to reduce irritation and inflammation, as well as halt an allergic response.