are many people who are allergic to cat dander. But, did you know that
cats also have allergies, too? There are numerous foods, household
products and other items that cats can have allergic reactions to. It is
estimated that at least fifteen percent of all cats in the United States
suffer from some form of allergy. Cats who suffer from allergies can be
treated in much the same way as humans.
Inhalant Allergies: Pollen and other airborne articles can cause allergic reactions in cats. Just as they do in people, airborne allergies can cause cats to sneeze and have runny, watery eyes. Cats can experience irritated nasal passages and upper respiratory problems. Common airborne articles that can cause reaction in some cats are household aerosols and sprays. Many people do not realize it, but spraying these types of products around some cats can cause breathing difficulties and eye infections. If your cat has these types of allergies, your vet will recommend that you keep the kitty indoors, away from pollen, and can prescribe medications to help with the reactions. For cats that have problems with the eyes, a prescription eye drop can be given.
Contact Allergies: Cats can have allergic reactions to items that they come in contact with. The most common form of contact allergies in cats is due to exposure to certain plants. These often include plants that have oily leaves such as rubber plants. Other forms for contact allergies in cats can include carpet cleaners or fresheners, wool, dust in the home, newsprint, house cleaners, carpet and even cat litter. Usually a cat that suffers from contact allergies will experience itching and discomfort on the skin. There could be skin eruptions, such as hives or bumps on the skin or dermatitis. In some cases, the fur could fall out causing dry, itchy patches on the cat's skin. Usually, contact allergies that cause problem are more noticeable on the chin, ears, inner thighs, abdomen, and underneath the tail. If you suspect that your cat is experiencing contact allergies, the first step is to take your cat to the vet to determine the cause and course of treatment. The vet will usually recommend a skin patch test to determine the cause and prescribe a topical solution to help the itching. Sometimes, a steroid shot can be given if the case is extreme.
Food Allergies: Cats can be allergic to certain types of foods. While it is true that cats should never be given table foods, some cats can also be allergic to certain types of cat foods. Common allergies to foods are cat foods that contain certain poultry products such as turkey or chicken. Extreme caution should be used when feeding your cat table food. Cats should never be given chocolate and many times dairy products can cause problems with a cat's digestive system. Prescription foods can be given to a cat that experiences food allergies.Insect Allergies: Fleas top the number one list of what most cats are allergic to. These little biting critters can irritate your cat's skin and can cause excessive itching and scratching. Some cats that are allergic to fleas will have patches of fur that fall out or small bumps on the skin. In addition, black “dirt” may be visible on your cat. This is a sign of fleas and your cat should be treated. If your cat has an allergic reaction to fleas, the first thing you must do it treat the allergies. You vet can prescribe medications or topical solutions to ease the itching and heal the skin. After this is under control, the next step is to treat your cat for the fleas. You vet can prescribe a good treatment that is given at intervals on the cat's skin. Over the counter flea treatments often do not work as well as the prescription. Treating your home for fleas is also a must to ensure that they will not re-infect your cat.
Dealing With Cat Allergies
Cats are one of the most loved pets in the world, no question about it. More than 50% of all households in the United States own dogs and cats. Although cats are loved animals, cat allergies are one of the common forms of allergies. Statistics in the past have shown that over 10 million people in the U.S. alone have allergic reactions to cats - especially their fur.
The biggest cause of cat allergies is dander. The dander, is dust that is produced by the body of the cat. Dander is basically shed skin that comes off of cats, normally in the form of small flakes. Although dander can irritate your skin, it can also get into your immune system as well, resulting in a variety of symptoms and almost immediate allergic reactions.
The dander, once in the immune system, is perceived to be a threat. Even though it isn’t classified as a disease, it’s more of a reflex by your body and your immune system. Cat allergies occur quite often due to cats having allergens that are spread throughout their blood, urine, and saliva. Although a cat may not be present at the time, the excretions probably still are.
Cat dander, urine, and saliva, are found throughout the home of cat owners. Cats constantly groom themselves, which involves rubbing their saliva into their fur. When they do this, they spread their dander and allergens around. Although you may try, there is really nothing that you can do about it. Cats have a natural instinct to groom or bathe themselves, no matter how many baths you give them, you simply won’t stop them from grooming.
Normally, when someone is taking an allergic reaction to cats, he or she will wheeze, cough, sneeze, itch, have watery eyes, or a difficult time in breathing. Different people react different ways to cat allergens, meaning that some symptoms may not occur at all. Fever and chills is very rare, although it can happen. If someone who has cat allergies comes down with fever and chills, you should contact a doctor immediately. Chances are, it isn’t an allergic reaction to cats, but instead another type of disease that a doctor will need to identify.
Cat allergies are normally treated with antihistamines and decongestants. Those that experience asthma attacks or other forms of allergies, normally take antihistamines. Decongestants on the other hand, are normally used to cure coughs and swollen nasal passages. Sometimes, doctors will recommend allergy shots as well. Allergy shots can help to prevent the attack, especially if someone is really allergic to cats. They are a good form of treatment and prevention, and they can also help to decrease the risk of allergies affecting the individual.
If you suspect that you have cat allergies, you should always make it a point to visit your doctor. He will be able to further diagnose your situation, and give you the best options available for treatment. If you do indeed suffer from cat allergies, the best way to stop the attacks is to get rid of your cat.
Getting rid of a cat can be a very tough thing to do. If you have become allergic to your cat’s fur, there may be no other way to prevent attacks than to get rid of him. Although doctors can give you medicine and shots, it will only do so much. Cat allergens are no fun, especially if you develop them years after owning your cat. Cats are great animals to own - although cat allergies are something we could all live without.
Please note: The
information provided here is meant to supplement that provided by your
Copyright © 1999-2011 Cats'n'Kittens. All Rights Reserved.