Pet Wellness Guides > How To Treat Allergies In Cats - Pet Insurance Review

How To Treat Allergies In Cats

Posted: 03/07/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Allergies , Cat , Health problems

As it turns out, our fur babies can deal with a lot of the same health issues we face. And allergies is one of them. While the symptoms of allergies can be very annoying to your cat, those symptoms are usually quite manageable. Let’s take a deeper dive into this topic so you learn how to treat allergies in cats.

What are Cat Allergies Exactly?

Allergies develop in our cats for the same reasons they do in people: they have developed a sensitivity to something in their environment. As their body mounts a massive attack on the offender, a variety of symptoms can show up.

The type of allergy symptoms that show up really depend on the cause of the allergy. These causes are typically placed into one of three categories:

  • Environmental allergies
  • Flea allergies
  • Food allergies

Environmental Allergies (Atopic Dermatitis) in Cats

There are quite a few environmental allergens in the environment that can trigger symptoms in cats: pollen, fungi, mold, dust, grass, and weeds are some of the biggest culprits. Cats can also be triggered by indoor allergens such as perfume, smoke, cleaning products, some types of cat litter and certain flea-control products.

Environmental allergies will usually cause a cat to have itchy skin and even breathing problems. 

Flea Allergy in Cats

Just as people can have an allergic reaction to a sting or bug bite, so can our cats. In addition to fleas, cats can have a reaction to stings and bites from insects like blackflies, horseflies, mosquitos, ants, ticks, spiders, bees, and wasps.

Cats with severe allergies can have a dramatic reaction to one single flea bite. And all of that aggressive itching and scratching can put the cat at an increased risk of developing infection. 

Food Allergy in Cats

And finally, certain ingredients in foods can cause allergic reactions in cats. Some of the most common perpetrators found in commercial cat foods are:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Wheat
  • Dairy

To determine if your cat has a food allergy and identify the exact cause(s), your vet will have to draw some blood and send it to a lab for a special test.

Common Symptoms Of Allergies In Cats

Cats with allergies may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Respiratory symptoms like sneezing, coughing and wheezing (especially prevalent in cats with asthma)
  • Watery or runny, itchy eyes 
  • Ear infections
  • Gastrointestinal troubles (e.g. vomiting, diarrhea)
  • Snoring (due to throat inflammation) 
  • Swollen, tender paws
  • Over-grooming 
  • Loss of fur or itchy and inflamed skin 
  • Anaphylaxis (rare cases)

If your cat displays any of these symptoms, it’s important to bring them in for a check-up.

How Allergies In Cats are Treated

In order to effectively treat allergies in cats, you must first pinpoint what the cat is allergic to. Once tests conclude the allergy, your vet will most likely begin by treating the symptoms (e.g. GI issues, itching, sneezing, etc.) and then any secondary conditions that may have developed such as a skin infection.

How to help your cat be calm at the vet

Treatments used to treat infection in cats will depend on the underlying cause but can include:

  • Prescription shampoo or ear flushes
  • Anti-inflammatory topicals
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Injectable prescription medication
  • Corticosteroid therapy (especially for asthmatic cats)
  • Allergen-specific immunotherapy (a.k.a. allergy shots) for severe cases
  • Prescription dietary supplements
  • Prescription or vet-approved lotions, ointments, ear drops or eye drops

Your vet may also recommend over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl (diphenhydramine). NEVER give any medications to your cat without first speaking to your vet. Giving your fur baby the wrong medication can result in a severe reaction and even death. Please get guidance.

How to manage Allergies in Cats at Home

In addition to using medications and products recommended by your vet, there are some other things you can do to help your fur baby live healthier.

  • Use only vet-approved parasite control
  • Go with dust-free litter 
  • Clean more often so there is less dust
  • Regularly cleaning your cat’s bedding
  • Feed an appropriate diet with limited ingredients and no known allergens (chicken, beef)
  • Avoid smoking indoors

Pet Insurance Can Help You Help Your Fur baby Feel Better

We do our best to make certain our fur babies live long, happy and healthy lives. And sometimes that care comes with a big price tag!

A pet insurance plan reimburses pet parents for up to 90% of the vet bill. Those savings can really give you peace of mind.

Here are the top pet insurance providers – in order – based on over 150,000 authentic reviews from pet parents just like you:


Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

RatingProviderTotal Review
4.9Healthy Paws7,498
4.8Prudent Pet125
4.5Pets Best7,216
4.3Pet Assure12





The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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