Get 60% Off & Free Shipping While Stocks Last

Can Cats Get Allergies? Common Allergens and Treatments

Can cats get allergies?

Yes, they can!

Allergies in cats are a common yet often misunderstood issue.

Like us, kitties can suffer from allergies.

These can range from food to environmental factors.

These allergies can impact a cat's life, causing discomfort and health issues.

Recognising and treating allergies is crucial to the well-being of your feline friend.

Click the links below to go to that specific section:

can cats get allergies

Understanding Cat Allergies

Allergies are overreactions of the immune system to usually harmless foreign substances (allergens).

They could lead to symptoms affecting the digestive tract, skin, and respiratory system.

When a cat encounters an allergen, their immune system produces antibodies.

These can lead to an inflammatory response causing discomfort and other symptoms.

Types of Allergies in Cats

1. Skin Allergies:

Often caused by environmental allergens, flea bites, or food allergens.

These manifest as redness or itchy skin and hair loss.

2. Food Allergies:

Triggered by specific ingredients in a cat’s diet.

They can lead to gastrointestinal issues or skin problems.

3. Respiratory Allergies:

Like hay fever in humans, causing sneezing, coughing, and runny eyes.

4. Contact Allergies:

Contact allergies happen when your cat's skin reacts to things they touch.

Common Allergens for Cats

can cats get allergies

Environmental Allergens

Environmental allergies or seasonal allergies are pervasive.

Feline atopic dermatitis is a long-term inflammatory skin condition caused by environmental allergens.

Some allergens can include:

  • Pollen: From trees, grasses, and weeds.
  • Dust Mites: Common in household dust.
  • Mould: Found in damp environments.
  • Grass: Particularly problematic for outdoor cats.
  • Household Chemicals: Cleaning products and other chemicals.

Flea Allergies

Flea saliva can induce allergies in cats through a hypersensitive reaction known as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD).

This occurs when a cat's immune system overreacts to proteins found in the saliva of fleas.

Here's a detailed look at how flea saliva induces allergies in cats:

Mechanism of Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Flea Bite and Saliva Injection:

When a flea bites, it injects its saliva into the cat’s skin.

Flea saliva contains a mixture of proteins that can act as allergens.

Immune System Response:

In some cats, the immune system sees these proteins as harmful.

Their body then produces specific antibodies against flea saliva.

Release of Histamines:

Flea saliva proteins prompt the cat's immune system to release histamines.

This may cause allergic reaction symptoms like itching, redness, and swelling.

Hypersensitivity Reaction:

With repeated exposure to flea bites, the cat’s sensitivity to flea saliva increases.

Hypersensitivity means that a single flea bite can trigger a severe allergic reaction.

Food Allergies

Common food allergens include beef, dairy, and fish.

Even your cat food may induce digestive upsets or allergies in sensitive cats.

Thus, you need to differentiate between food allergy and food intolerance.

Allergies involve an immune response, intolerances don't but can still cause digestive distress.

Contact Allergens

Anything with direct contact with the cat's skin.

This can be fabrics, cleaning products, and other substances.

Symptoms often appear as localised skin reactions.

Related: Can Your Dog Get Allergies?

Symptoms of Cat Allergies

can cats get allergies

Identifying the symptoms of allergies in cats is crucial for early intervention.

Common signs include:

  • Itching and Scratching: Often leading to red or inflamed skin.
  • Hair Loss: Due to excessive grooming or scratching.
  • Sneezing and Coughing: Indicating respiratory issues.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Vomiting and diarrhoea are common with food allergies.
  • Behavioural Changes: Such as increased irritability or lethargy, indicating discomfort.

Diagnosing Allergies in Cats

Veterinary consultation is a must to have an accurate diagnosis of your pet.

Common diagnostic tests include:

  • Allergy Testing:

Blood tests can help identify specific allergens.

A veterinary dermatologist may recommend an intradermal skin test.

  • Elimination Diet Trials:

Removing suspected allergens from the diet to pinpoint food allergies.

Your vet might need to recommend a prescription diet.

  • Flea Comb Tests:

To check for flea presence and related allergies.

Treatment Options for Cat Allergies

Environmental Management

Reducing exposure to allergens is critical.

This can include frequent cleaning, using air purifiers, and minimising harsh chemical usage.

Allergy Medication

  • Over-the-counter Antihistamines: Help control allergic reactions.
  • Corticosteroids: Reduce inflammation and itching.
  • Immune-Modulating Drugs: Adjust the immune response to allergens.

Flea Control

can cats get allergies

Regular flea prevention treatments and environmental control measures can aid in reducing flea-related allergies.

Dietary Changes

  • Hypoallergenic Diets: Designed to avoid common allergens.
  • Novel Protein Diets: A food trial that uses protein sources that the cat hasn't tried before.

Topical Treatments

Shampoos and conditioners formulated for sensitive skin can help ease symptoms.

You may apply topical medications to affected areas.

Home Remedies and Natural Treatments

Some home remedies, like oatmeal baths and coconut oil, can provide relief.

Still, it’s important to consult a vet before trying any natural treatments.

Preventing Allergies in Cats

Preventing allergies involves proactive measures:

  • Regular Grooming: Helps remove potential allergens from the fur.
  • Maintaining a Clean Living Environment: Reduces exposure to environmental allergens.
  • Using Hypoallergenic Products: For bedding, cleaning, and grooming.

Related: Clingy Cats: Why Is My Cat So Clingy to Me Lately?

FAQs About Allergies in Cats

How can you tell if your cat has allergies?

Common symptoms of allergies in cats are itching and scratching, and red or inflamed skin.

They can also suffer from hair loss or sneezing and coughing.

Gastrointestinal issues (such as vomiting and diarrhoea) can also be signs of allergies.

How do cat allergies start?

Cat allergies start when their immune system becomes sensitised to a particular allergen.

This sensitisation can occur after repeated exposure to the allergen.

This then leads the immune system to overreact and produce antibodies.

Repeated exposure to the allergen leads to an inflammatory reaction.

This can then result in allergic symptoms.

Can cigarette smoke cause allergies in cats?

Yes, cigarette smoke can cause allergies in cats.

The chemicals in cigarette smoke can irritate your kitty's skin and respiratory system.

What should I do if I suspect my cat is allergic to cigarette smoke?

If you think your cat is allergic to cigarette smoke, ensure to minimise their exposure.

Avoid smoking indoors or near your cat.

You might also want to consider quitting smoking for the health of both you and your pet.

Consult your vet for further advice and possible treatments to ease your cat’s symptoms.

How are cat allergies diagnosed?

Diagnosing allergies in cats involves detailed history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests.

How can I prevent my cat from developing allergies?

Preventing allergies in cats involves the following:

  • regular grooming
  • maintaining a clean environment
  • using hypoallergenic products
  • providing a balanced diet
  • regular veterinary check-ups

What should I do if my cat has a severe allergic reaction?

If your cat has a bad allergic reaction, seek veterinary care immediately.

Severe allergic reactions can be life-threatening and need prompt medical attention.

Can cats develop new allergies over time?

Yes, cats can develop new allergies at any point in their lives.

Continuous monitoring and regular vet visits can manage and treat any new allergies.

Are certain cat breeds more prone to allergies?

Any cat can develop allergies.

Yet, some breeds, like Siamese, are more prone to certain types of allergies.

Can indoor cats have allergies?

Yes, indoor cats can have allergies.

They can be allergic to dust mites, household chemicals, and even certain types of cat litter.

Indoor cats can encounter outdoor allergens via open windows and doors.

Even your clothes and shoes may bring in outdoor allergens.

What season do cats get allergies?

Cats can develop allergies at any time of the year.

But seasonal allergies are most common in spring and fall when pollen counts are high.

Then again, indoor allergens like dust mites and mould can cause reactions year-round.

Does cat allergy go away on its own?

Usually, cat allergies don't go away on their own.

They need management and treatment to ease symptoms.

Some allergies are manageable with changes in diet, environment, or medications.

Still, ongoing exposure to the allergen will likely continue to cause symptoms.

Related: How Can Indoor Cats Get Fleas?

Go back to the top

can cats get allergies


Identifying and treating allergies in cats is vital for their health and quality of life.

A regular veterinary check-up is the best way to manage allergies.

Take steps to understand and mitigate allergens.

This way, you can give your feline a comfortable and healthy life.

Have you dealt with cat allergies before?

Share your experiences and tips with us!

Don’t forget to share this post to spread awareness about cat allergies and help other pet parents.

Looking for some products that could help you out? 

Check out our Online Shop!

Here are some useful products in relation to this blog post:

MrFluffyFriend - 2-in-1 Grooming Brush

MrFluffyFriend - Anxiety Relieving Cat Bed

MrFluffyFriend - Comfortable Cleaning Brush

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published