Fall Allergies & Your Cat Title

Photo Credit: Thawt Hawthje via Flickr

It’s official- Fall is here! Now it is time for colorful falling leaves, apple cider, pumpkins, and hoodies. Fun is in the air! However, the change of the seasons also brings about Ragweed, mold, and fall allergies for both you and your cat. Understanding these allergies might just help you to find ways to get your cat a little relief.

How Fall Allergies Work

Your cat’s fall allergies occur for the same basic reasons that yours do. An allergy is the immune system inappropriately responding to a non-harmful substance (such as dust or pollen)  as if it were an intrusive virus or bacteria. These sensitivities can start when a cat is young or develop at any time during the cat’s life. While cats can be allergic to food, when we’re talking about fall allergies, we’re talking about those allergies stimulated by something in cat’s environment.

The severity of a cat’s allergic reaction to something is dependent on a number of factors.  The cat’s overall health and immune system health make a big difference. It is no surprise that healthier pets fair better when it comes to fall allergies. The amount of exposure that a cat has to the allergen is a large factor too. Obviously, a cat that is allergic to ragweed would do better in an environment where there was no ragweed than out rolling around in a field full of it. There is also evidence that pets with seasonal allergies can end up with all-year-round allergies if they are continually exposed the allergen.

Symptoms of Fall Allergies in Cats

Having a Sneeze

A big kitty sneeze! Photo Credit: Jocelyn Kinghorn via Flickr

Cats are notorious for hiding their symptoms for anything – including fall allergies. It may take careful observation to see the symptoms.  Many symptoms of fall allergies in cats are similar to those in humans. However, humans tend to show more respiratory symptoms and cats tend to show more skin irritation or inflammation. Some common symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Scratching/biting at their skin
  • Hair loss
  • Generalized redness ( red eyes, chin, oral tissue, paws, anus, etc)

If you suspect that your cat has fall allergies, take them to the veterinarian for a clear diagnosis and treatment plan. It is a lot easier to treat an allergy once you know what the specific allergen is.

Ways to Lessen the Affects of Fall Allergies

You may not be able to make your cat’s fall allergies disappear completely, but you can do things to make them more bearable.  The first thing to do is to visit your veterinarian and get their advice for your cat’s particular fall allergies and situation. There are medications your veterinarian can prescribe to help ease your cat’s suffering.

Reduce the Allergen in the Environment

A little work can make your kitty a lot more comfortable. First, keep your cat indoors. Most fall allergies are due to something occurring outside. If you have an outdoor cat, they could be covered in allergens from their travels. You can’t control the environment outside, but you can control the environment in your home. Next, keep your home as clean of allergens as possible. Vacuum, wash the cat’s bedding and washable toys, keep your shoes near the door so they aren’t tracking allergens through your home, and use air purifiers. Bathing the cat can help remove allergens from their bodies (use bathing wipes if your cat won’t stand a standard bath).

Use Nutrition to the Cat’s Benefit
Cat scratching an itch

Photo Credit: Koziro Hasegawa via Flickr

A lot of the symptoms that occur during an  allergic reaction are a result of swelling in different tissues. There are nutritional ways to minimize that swelling. Certain natural supplements can be of great value too. Generally speaking, these recommendations are helpful for humans with fall allergies as well cats.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Certain foods naturally cause inflammation. Why complicate allergic swelling with swelling caused by food? Feed your cat a diet that is low in carbohydrates and talk to your veterinarian about other foods that may be causing swelling.
  • Quercetin & Bromelain: Quercetin is a chemical found in apples, red wine, onions, and berries that has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Bromelain is found in pineapples and helps with the absorption of Quercetin. This cool supplement is also known to be able to reduce constriction in the airways and suppress histamine releases.
  • Omega 3 Oils: These oils come from fish (Krill, Salmon, Tuna, Anchovy, etc) and are great at reducing inflammation throughout the body. The best results occur when this is taken as a preventative -before the allergic reactions begin. Coconut oil works well in the same way.

What works best for your cat’s allergies?

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Sources & Digging Deeper

If Your Dog is Itchy or Your Cat is Wheezy, You Need to Read This – Dr. Karen Becker, DVM

Allergies – ASPCA

10 Holistic Tips for Managing Fall Allergies  – PetMD

Allergies & Atopy in Cats – Drs. Foster & Smith