Kick Itchy and Scratchy to the Curb
You’ve probably often heard people say they’re allergic to cats, but did you know cats can have allergies too? It’s often hard to determine what a cat’s allergy triggers are since they can be environmental (plant pollens, dust mites to name a couple), insects (cats can be allergic to the saliva of fleas, for example) or food based (cats may be allergic to chicken, but not to turkey, for example).
To minimize environmental allergens, if you have carpeting, vacuuming often with a HEPA filter vacuum will help. If possible, use wood or wood laminate flooring. It’s easier to clean and dust mites can’t hide in it like they can in carpeting. Also, opt for leather or vinyl furniture rather than fabric, much like the flooring, dust mites can hide in the furniture fabric but don’t have as much opportunity with leather or vinyl.
Dusting with a microfiber cloth and vacuuming frequently are easy ways to help dust mites from gaining a foothold in your home. Changing the air filter on your heater and air conditioner assist with keeping mites out too.
If your cat is allergic to insect bites, apply a flea preventative regularly. There are many commercial products available and there are natural remedies that can keep fleas away as well.
Once you’ve ruled out environmental and insect-based allergies, the one that’s left is food-based. This one can be tricky and can take a while to figure out. Start with a protein like chicken, for example, and monitor your cat. Is he scratching or licking excessively? Is he vomiting? If so, these are signs that protein might be an allergy source. If you try several and still can’t find one that seems to agree with your cat, there are proteins like duck, venison or rabbit that are termed “hypoallergenic” and may very well work well. When we were trying to find proteins for my cat Bo, we ended up with the hypoallergenic ones.
Upon finding proteins that agree with your cat, change protein sources occasionally so your cat won’t develop allergies to ones you’ve been feeding.
Suffering from allergies is no fun, taking these steps will help your cat feel better and be a happy member of the family!