Cats, like people, can have allergies. These allergies can be to fleas, foods, environmental products or they could even be stress related. Whatever the allergen is these allergies generally manifest themselves as a what we know to be a red, itchy rash (food allergies can manifest themselves in both a skin rash and digestive inflammation). The first step in getting rid of or controlling the allergy is to find out what your cat is allergic to. This of course can be very tricky.
Calicos, Tortoiseshells, Black Cats and Siamese cats are more prone to allergies than other breeds. Many authorities suspect that this is because these types of cats tend to get stressed more than other breeds.
Things that can cause allergies in cats include:
- Fleas and other parasites
- Flea collars
- Household chemicals
- Chemicals in pet shampoos
- Animal protein (eaten in food – beef, chicken turkey most commonly)
- Food preservatives (BHA and BHT)
- Hormone imbalances
Symptoms to look for:
- Persistent scratching
- Red, inflamed skin
- Loss of hair
- Scaly or scabby skin
The best thing to do if you suspect your cat has an allergy is to take him/her to the vet or to a veterinary dermatologist who can perform a series of allergy tests. Once you isolate the allergen your cat can either undergo desensitization to the allergen or simply avoid that allergen (for example if your cat is allergic to plastic or chicken your cat can use ceramic bowl and eat lamb-based foods).