Cats, like people, can have seasonal allergies caused by different types of pollen, mold and fleas. These triggers are most common during the warmer spring and summer months, meaning your cat may experience the most discomfort from her allergies during this time. If you notice your kitty is sneezing or scratching more than usual, she may be suffering from seasonal allergies and require a visit to the vet for a proper diagnosis.
Causes of Seasonal Allergies in Felines
The main cause of seasonal allergies in felines is contact with fleas. Fleas are most active in the warmer months of the year, when temperatures reach between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, according to petMD. While fleas can't survive in freezing temperatures, their eggs can stay dormant until the weather warms. When fleas feed on your cat's blood, they inject their saliva into her skin, which can lead to dermatitis if she's allergic to the proteins in it.
Pollen and mold, which thrive in warm temperatures, are also possible triggers for your kitty's allergies. These substances can cause inhalant and contact allergies.
Allergy Symptoms in Cats
When a cat is allergic to pollen, flea saliva or mold, her body's immune system will produce chemicals called histamines. Histamines cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms for your kitty.
- If you notice that your cat is experiencing respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, coughing and snoring, she might be suffering from seasonal inhalant allergies.
- Her eyes may become watery, itchy or swollen.
- She will scratch or lick at her fur continually if her skin becomes itchy due to flea or contact allergies.
- Her paws may become swollen and she may lick at them.
- Her ears may become especially itchy or she may develop ear infections due to flea allergies or contact allergies, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Visiting the Vet
If your cat is exhibiting any symptoms of feline allergies, get her to your vet for a checkup. Your vet can determine if allergies are the cause of her respiratory or skin issues through intradermal skin tests or blood tests, according to the VCA Animal Hospitals website. The blood tests will show whether or not your kitty's body is producing a protein called IgE, which is caused by an allergen. He will examine your kitty for signs of fleas or their eggs on her coat.
Seasonal Allergy Treatments
Seasonal allergies are usually noticed for a finite period of time during the year and may not require year-round treatment, depending on their cause.
- Put your cat on a flea-preventative medication if fleas are the cause of her allergies. This will eliminate the fleas from her coat and prevent new ones from infesting her.
- Your vet may recommend an antihistamine to help with contact or inhalant allergies not caused by fleas.
- To help relieve any itching and inflammation caused by the allergens, your vet may prescribe a steroid medication for your cat, according to PetEducation.com.
- Keep your cat indoors and use your air conditioning to help filter out seasonal pollen from her environment.
- Bathe your cat one to two times per week to remove allergens from her coat with a gentle pet shampoo recommended by your vet. Note that frequent bathing can dry out your cat's skin.
- Vacuum your home and wash your cat's bedding one to two times per week to remove pollen, fleas and mold from her environment.
Never give your cat any medication, including over-the-counter drugs, without consulting with your vet.