Allergies aren’t just a human affliction. If your cat displays symptoms including runny eyes, itchy skin, feline acne, paw chewing, swollen paws, or respiratory problems including wheezing and coughing, they may have allergies. If untreated, allergies in cats can lead to more serious problems including skin infections known as hot spots (raised, red patches that may emit pus or blood).
Cats can be allergic to a number of things—including people. Just as cats shed “dander” (skin particles), so do humans, and that dander can elicit allergic reactions in cats. Other aspects of human lifestyle can cause reactions, too—dust in homes, chemicals in kitty litter, and certain types of cat food. (Cats can be allergic to various kinds of meat, grains, milk, and egg products that are sometimes found in pet food).
It is also very common for cats to have seasonal allergies to pollens and molds that are found in the great outdoors.
If you have a cat with allergies that are significantly affecting their quality of life, consider allergy immunotherapy which helps your cat develop an immunity to various allergy triggers in their environment. It is available through injections or under-the-tongue drops. While both are effective, drops are often easier for your pet to tolerate (and for you to deliver). For information on immunotherapy for your cat, talk to your vet. He or she can prescribe allergy shots or allergy drops (through companies like PALLERGY®).