To find the right treatment for a cat that has seasonal allergies, its not always as easy as giving them an antihistamine and the cause should first be identified. That however, is not always an easy thing to do - even with the aid of a veterinarian. It can involve a pretty hefty vet bill as well as numerous tests: cultures; scrapings; skind and blood tests, trying to identify a specific allergen(s) which, of course, includes time. Luckily most vets will leave the choice of testing up to you, the pet owner, and won't push for a potentially lengthy course of testing.
Much like humans, feline allergies can be caused by an assortment of irritants from pollens to insect bites (such as fleas). A vet can run tests to eliminate causes other than seasonal allergies if necessary but if you have had the cat for more than a year and the condition seems cyclical and not ongoing - chances are the symptoms are being caused by seasonal allergens. Knowing this information about your pet can help a vet in choosing the best treatment options for your cat and rule out more chronic and contagious conditions such as mange, parasites, hypothyrodism...
Feline Allergy Symptoms
A cat that suffers from seasonal allergies may display several different signs independently or may display a combination of symptoms. Here are some signs that may indicate a seasonal allergy disorder:
- Intense Itching
- Discharge or gooping (eyes and/or nose)
- Inflamation of the skin (Atopy)
- *Inflamation of the Lymph nodes (Lymphadenopathy)
- *Lesions, ulcerated lesions (Eosinophilic Granuloma Complex)
(* May be indicative of a more serious allergic reaction. Note: other side effects (not marked) are also sometimes witnessed in serious adverse reactions.)
Treatments for a Cat that Has Seasonal Allergies
There are several treatment options available for cats who suffer from hay fever symptoms. If you take your feline to the vet some of the most common treatments they may recommend or prescribe consist of: shots; oral medications; topical creams; diet and grooming changes. Some specific treatments can involve: anti-inflammatory medications; prescription steroids; immunosuppressants; medicated and special shampoo's, to just name a few.
Treating Your Cat at Home
If you are looking for a home treatment for a cat that has seasonal allergies - then luck may be on your side. There are a lot of home remedies and helpful tips and advice aimed at helping specific and common conditions that the average house cat may suffer from. Often times it won't matter what the cause of the allergies are (cat food, fleas, insects, inhalants etc) if the symptoms that your feline is experiencing are the same. Many natural and home treatments can be found online that will cover a lot of different needs but always be sure to check with your cats vet before attempting a new, non-prescribed treatment.
Fleas: It's said some diluted apple cider vinegar (topically or ingested) can help deter fleas and reduce itching. Other options include regular combing with a flea comb, natural or pesticide based shampoo's and flea collars.
Pollens: Advice it is. Keep your feline indoors, vacuum regularly, limit outside exposure (opening doors/windows), leave the AC running. Alternatively a little bit of your kids' benadryl may also do the trick - remember to take into consideration the size of the cat - too large a dose can be dangerous.
Itching and other Allergy Symptoms: An herbal tea infusion consisting of stinging nettle (about a dropperful) ingested a few times a day or a bath using a mix of chamomile and apple cider vinegar are both said to help tame seasonal and other allergy related symptoms.
The best treatment for a cat that has seasonal allergies is really going to be dependent on the type and cause of the allergy and may consist of several things such as: limiting exposure to and identifying the allergen(s) as well as a trial and error phase (unless you get really lucky) of finding the right medication. Your first stop should always be to your cat's vet, to get a proper diagnosis and to rule out other conditions that may cause similar reactions.
*No information provided in this article is intended to treat, diagnose or cure any condition. Always seek consultation with a trained veterinary specialist before attempting to treat any feline related condition.