pet cat itching itself outside.

Chances are you know someone who is allergic to cats—but did you know that cats can have allergies too? Allergies happen when the immune system reacts to a foreign substance and produces antibodies to attack an allergen. Unfortunately, sometimes this response can be harmful. 


Your cat’s symptoms may vary depending on the allergen and severity of the allergy. Cat allergies may be caused by a variety of things including fleas, pollen, diet, certain fabrics, perfumes, and cleaning products.

Cat Allergy symptoms may include:

  • Skin irritation or redness
  • Itching 
  • Chewing on tail or paws
  • Swollen Paws
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sneezing 
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Difficulty Breathing 

What to Do If You Think Your Cat Is Suffering from Allergies

Diagnosing your cat’s allergies can be difficult. Always consult a veterinarian to determine the best course of action. Examinations, specialized diets, and blood tests may be required to get to the root of the problem.  

Gastrointestinal issues are frequently caused by food allergies, especially with outside cats who have easier access to plants and other potential allergens. In many cases, an elimination diet may be required to determine what foods are likely culprits. Fish, chicken, beef, and dairy products are all common allergens. Food allergies have been known to develop at any stage during the cat’s life. 

Chronic itching and skin inflammation can also be caused by food allergies. This can lead to overgrooming and infection, especially on the skin and ears. Many cats with gastrointestinal issues can develop itching around the rectum which can lead to “scooting.”  If this is the case, your veterinarian may recommend dietary supplements, medicated ointments, and anti-itch pills. Once you and your vet have determined the offending food, you will need to carefully adhere to the prescribed diet, to avoid foods that might trigger the allergy.

Skin allergies often accompany symptoms like itching, chewing, and hair loss. In this case, your veterinarian may prescribe or recommend a medicated flea and tick shampoo. Some cats can have issues with certain cat litters, which may require switching to a different brand or dust free variety. 

Symptoms that affect your cat’s breathing are very serious and can quickly become life-threatening, especially if your cat suffers from asthma. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat has swelling around in the  throat or face, or any issues that could affect their ability to breathe


Of course the best way to alleviate your cat’s allergy symptoms is to remove the allergen from your cat’s environment. For example, you can: 

  • Keep your home free from mold, dirt, and dust.  
  • Switch to a dust-free cat litter
  • Replace or clean cat toys, cat towers, and bedding frequently  
  • Avoid using strong perfumes, harsh cleaning agents, and smoking around your cat
  • Eliminate any plants or foods that are known allergens 
  • Bathe your cat and use recommended flea and tick remedies 

In some cases, removing an allergen entirely is difficult or impossible. Sometimes in these situations a veterinarian may recommend dietary supplements or medication such as antihistamines or cortisone pills.  

Our team at Beverly Hills Veterinarian Associates is always here for you and your pet. 

Please call us at 248-646-5655 with any questions or concerns about your cat’s allergies and nutrition.