Most people have experienced seasonal allergies at some point in their life. Whether it’s itchy eyes or a runny nose, seasonal allergies can be an annoying burden to bear. But did you know your feline friend can be a victim of allergy symptoms, too? While this condition isn’t inherently dangerous, it’s certainly unpleasant for your cat.
Seasonal allergies in cats are tough to avoid. Unlike with food allergies, it’s hard to help your cat steer clear of allergens altogether. And, unlike environmental allergies, seasonal allergies fluctuate drastically throughout the year. It’s important to understand your cat’s specific allergy triggers so you can keep them happy and healthy.
Take a look at what seasonal allergies in cats look like, when and how it happens and what to do about it.
Signs of seasonal allergies in cats
Knowing the signs of allergies is a great way to stay in control of your pet’s health and catch symptoms early. Here are some symptoms they may be suffering from due to allergies.
- Skin irritation: This may appear in the form of redness, swelling, dryness or itchiness on your cat’s skin. You might see them licking/itching excessively or notice patchy fur where they have been scratching repeatedly.
- Hairballs: All cats cough up hairballs sometimes, which is no big deal. But if they are having more hairballs than normal, it may be because they are grooming as an attempt to deal with inflamed skin. Grooming too much and ingesting excessive amounts of fur can lead to more frequent hairballs.
- Infection: Infections can occur when itchy skin causes your cat to scratch the same spot repeatedly. They might break the skin, providing a place for bacteria to gather and cause an infection in the body.
- Cold symptoms: A lot of people fail to treat their cat’s allergies because they mistake them for a cold and think the symptoms will go away on their own. These symptoms are similar to allergy symptoms for humans: coughing, runny nose, teary eyes and sneezing.
- Paw chewing: Chewing on their paw is a way for cats to soothe itchy paw pads that occur because of seasonal allergies. This should be dealt with right away, because paw chewing can lead to bigger problems later on, like a limp or infection.
When and how seasonal allergies occur in cats
It makes sense that seasonal allergies commonly affect outdoor cats. However, the exact way they’re affected might depend on the time of year and the allergens that are present in the environment. Tree pollen is highest in spring. In summer, it’s grass pollen. In fall, weed pollen peaks. As allergens change with the seasons, your cat might experience varying symptoms and severity.
Outdoor cats aren’t the only ones affected, though. Seasonal allergies can affect indoor cats, too! Despite spending all their time inside, cats can still come in contact with allergens via open doors and windows. These allergens might include pollen and mold particles that enter the home through breezes. Allergens can also end up in the home by sticking to your clothes, shoes and other items that leave the house. Once inside, allergens might circulate throughout your home if your air conditioning is on. Make sure to keep your ducts clean and change your air filter regularly to combat this.
If your cat shows any signs of seasonal allergies, pay attention to the time of year those symptoms occur. Once you get an idea of what specific allergens bothers them, you can anticipate allergies, alter your cat’s time outside and adjust your habits accordingly.
Proactive prevention can alleviate symptoms
A good way to fight seasonal allergy symptoms in cats is to stop them from happening in the first place. To do this, you’ll need to develop a strong understanding of your cat’s allergies, their triggers and the times of year they experience a flare-up.
Use these tricks to stop allergies in their tracks:
- Your cat can’t eliminate pollen from their coat just by grooming themselves. Help them out by wiping them with a damp cloth to get rid of allergens, especially if they’ve just come in from outside.
- In order to cut down on your cat’s contact with allergens, make sure to wash their bedding, blankets and other items. Pollen accumulates on these things, so wash them regularly during their peak allergy seasons.
- Even though a fresh breeze feels nice, keeping your windows open lets allergens in—and this might cause irritation in your pets. During peak allergy seasons, keep windows closed and use air conditioning instead. Just remember to keep a clean filter!
Use natural treatments for cat seasonal allergies
Unfortunately, proactive measures only go so far in mitigating seasonal allergies in cats. If your cat is suffering from symptoms, don’t worry! There are still things you can do to make them feel better.
One natural treatment is a fish oil supplement. Fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory, meaning they reduce irritation in the body. This is especially helpful for symptoms like swelling and dry, itchy skin.
You might also try herbal supplements to reduce allergy symptoms, like nettle leaf. Nettle leaf has been found to reduce histamine levels and can mitigate respiratory and skin issues in pets. Antioxidant supplements are also great to boost your cat’s immune system, potentially increasing their resistance to allergens.
Seasonal allergies can be tough on pets, but there’s no reason to fret. There are many steps you can take to support your furry friend through allergy symptoms and keep them happy and healthy all year long.