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by petar

There are many people who are allergic to cat fur or cat dander. But, did you know that your cat can have the same problem? There are numerous foods, household products and other items that cats can have allergic reactions to. It is estimated that at least 15 percent of all cats in the US suffer from some form of allergy. Cats who suffer from allergies can be treated in much the same way as humans.

Just as humans suffer different types of allergies, cats can also suffer from several types. There are four known types of allergies in the cat: contact, flea, food, and inhalant. Each of these has some common expressions in cats, and each has some unique features.

Inhalant Allergies: Pollen and other airborne articles can cause allergic reactions in cats. Just as they do in people, airborne allergies can cause cats to sneeze and have runny, watery eyes. Cats can experience irritated nasal passages and upper respiratory problems. Common airborne articles that can cause reaction in some cats are household aerosols and sprays. Many people do not realize it, but spraying these types of products around some cats can cause breathing difficulties and eye infections. If your cat has these types of allergies, your vet will recommend that you keep the kitty indoors, away from pollen, and can prescribe medications to help with the reactions. For cats that have problems with the eyes, a prescription eye drop can be given.

Contact Allergies: Cats can have allergic reactions to items that they come in contact with. The most common form of contact allergies in cats is due to exposure to certain plants. These often include plants that have oily leaves such as rubber plants. Other forms for contact allergies in cats can include carpet cleaners or fresheners, wool, dust in the home, newsprint, house cleaners, carpet and even cat litter. Usually a cat that suffers from contact allergies will experience itching and discomfort on the skin. There could be skin eruptions, such as hives or bumps on the skin or dermatitis. In some cases, the fur could fall out causing dry, itchy patches on the cat's skin. Usually, contact allergies that cause problem are more noticeable on the chin, ears, inner thighs, abdomen, and underneath the tail. If you suspect that your cat is experiencing contact allergies, the first step is to take your cat to the vet to determine the cause and course of treatment. The vet will usually recommend a skin patch test to determine the cause and prescribe a topical solution to help the itching. Sometimes, a steroid shot can be given if the case is extreme.

Food Allergies: Cats can be allergic to certain types of foods. While it is true that cats should never be given table foods, some cats can also be allergic to certain types of cat foods. Common allergies to foods are cat foods that contain certain poultry products such as turkey or chicken. Extreme caution should be used when feeding your cat table food. Cats should never be given chocolate and many times dairy products can cause problems with a cat's digestive system. Prescription foods can be given to a cat that experiences food allergies.

Flea Allergy: Flea allergy is common in cats. A normal cat experiences only minor irritation in response to flea bites, often without any itching. The flea allergic cat, on the other hand, has a severe, itch-producing reaction when the flea's saliva is deposited in the skin. Just one bite causes such intense itching that the cat may severely scratch or chew itself, leading to the removal of large amounts of hair. There will often be open sores or scabs on the skin, allowing a secondary bacterial infection to begin. The area most commonly involved is over the rump (just in front of the tail). In addition, the cat may have numerous, small scabs around the head and neck. These scabs are called miliary lesions, a term which was coined because the scabs look like millet seeds.

The most important treatment for flea allergy is to get the cat away from all fleas. Therefore, strict flea control is the backbone of successful treatment. Unfortunately, this is not always possible in warm and humid climates, where a new population of fleas can hatch out every 14-21 days. However, the new topically applied monthly flea products may kill fleas before they have a chance to bite your cat. When strict flea control is not possible, injections of corticosteroids (or "cortisone" or "steroids") can be used to block the allergic reaction and give relief. This is often a necessary part of dealing with flea allergies. Fortunately, cats appear relatively more resistant to the side-effects of steroids than other species. If a secondary bacterial infection occurs, appropriate antibiotics must be used.

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20.07.2008 16:33:33

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(2008-08-19 10:59:16)

thank you vevy much this helped me alot espesilly as i am getting a new kitten! thank you!


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