Is your cat itching? Or developing bald patches or tender, red hot spots? They may have allergies!

allergies in cats

The Symptoms

Feline allergy symptoms are not much different than human symptoms and include:

  • atopic dermatitis (feline acne, itching, rash)
  • swelling (of paws)
  • coughing/wheezing
  • sneezing
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea or other digestive issues

The Source

Cats, like humans, can have allergies triggered by food, inhalants (pollens, molds, and dust), and by skin contact with allergens. Cats can also be bothered by allergies to fleas.

The most typical reactions to these sources tend to develop in the skin. Cats’ paws may swell up, and they may itch and bite incessantly at their fur. As this persists, cats may develop sores that an open up, ooze, and even become infected. Allergic cats usually have patchy, unhealthy coats of fur.

A contact allergy for cats usually manifests in the fur, too. Cats can occasionally be allergic to shampoo, bedding, toys, or collars. Some can even be allergic to metals or plastics used in feeding bowls. Flea allergies can make cats particularly miserable. Just one flea bite can cause a cat to itch for weeks!


Your allergy veterinarian can prescribe antihistamines and steroids for your cat. Note that they may come with side effects, though. Long term steroid use, in particular, can compromise cats’ long-term health. Another consideration of these medications is that they only treat animals’ symptoms—not the underlying allergy. To treat the root cause, some allergy veterinarians may recommend immunotherapy through allergy shots or oral allergy drops for cats. Call PALLERGY at 1-800-568-1180 for information about allergy immunotherapy for cats.