Tips: 5 Signs Your Cat May have Allergies

Hi everyone today’s advice post comes from Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance company for cats and dogs.

 Spring is here, and with it comes allergy season. People aren’t the only species affected by allergies. Many mammals, including your cat or dog, can have allergy-related issues as well. These five signs could mean that your pet is suffering from allergies.

1. Itching

While there are many causes of itching in cats and dogs, allergies to pollen, dust, fleas and even certain food ingredients can cause itching. If you notice a sudden change in your cat or dog, including excessive scratching, hair loss, crusts or scabs, red skin or irritation, have your pet seen by a veterinarian. Itching can be seasonal if it is related to a season allergy such as pollen, or it can be year-round if your pet is constantly exposed to an allergen.

2. Red, Watery Eyes

Pets can experience some of the same symptoms of allergies as humans. Red, watery, itchy eyes are a sign of environmental allergies. These typically worsen in the spring and fall, depending on your geographical location and which allergens your pet is susceptible to. However, in warmer climates, these signs can happen at any time of the year. Pets may begin rubbing their faces on carpeting, bedding or furniture, as well as scratching and pawing at their eyes.

3. Paw Licking

A classic sign of allergies in dogs is excessive paw licking. Dogs with white or light-colored fur on their paws may experience a change of hair color as the excessive licking and saliva can cause “bronzing” of the fur. If you notice that your dog’s paws have a brownish tint to the hair, it may be a sign that they are licking their paws a lot. This is usually because of the allergens that stick to the fur and skin as they walk through grass outside.

4. Ear Infections

One of the most common signs of allergies in cats and dogs is recurrent ear infections. If you notice that your pet is shaking his head a lot, scratching at his ears or holding one ear up or down in an unusual way, he may have an ear infection. Often times, ear infections will cause the ear canal to have a foul smell and brown or yellow debris in the ear canals. If your dog is being treated for ear infections every year or more, it might be time to look into treating underlying allergies as a potential cause.

5. Sneezing and “Reverse Sneezing”

Allergens in the air can cause cats, dogs and people to sneeze. In dogs, irritation in the sinuses can cause what is called a “reverse sneeze” that tends to happen more during allergy season. Typically these sneezing fits are harmless, but they can be a nuisance to both pets and their owners. If your pet is sneezing more during allergy season this year, talk to your veterinarian about what medications you can give your pet to help reduce sneezing.

If you notice any of these signs, have your pets seen by your veterinarian to give them relief from the allergies and to prevent more serious problems from developing. Medications are available from your veterinarian to lessen these symptoms and, depending on the allergy type, prevent them all together.

– See more on the Petsbest website here. –


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32 thoughts on “Tips: 5 Signs Your Cat May have Allergies

  1. Jan Hobbs says:

    My Tinker sneezes all the time. I guess a trip to the vet is in his future. I never thought of allergies, just knew he wasn’t ill. I’m a bad mommy. 🙁

  2. franhunne4u says:

    I thought my FunTom just had a bad col – but now I wonder if he had an allergy fit … It is over now, so I won’t bring the cat to the vet just yet.

    • Marc-André says:

      One of my friends cat’s is allergic to dander… Imagine having to bath your cats on a regular basis because they re-act allergic to themselves 🙁 hopefully FunTom hasn’t actually got any allergies 🙂

      • franhunne4u says:

        Not yet confirme – you see, he had a skin-condition when he was young (6 months) – a dermatomycosis – which got treatedd at the cat shelter – and afterwards he was suffering from dandruff (only slightly). But his sneezing only occurs when we have very cold nights.

  3. The Canadian Cats says:

    Kali was allergic to something in commercial cat food so was on Hypoallergenic Soy HP. She was on it for three years. Her food allergy just seemed to clear up and she was doing great on Fancy Feast plus Royal Canin Siamese dry cat food. However, lately she has developed feline acne and also has itchy skin and dirty ears. The dirty ears are a sign of allergies the vet said….the other things I’m pretty sure they are too. If, they become quite uncomfortable for her we will go to the vets….with Kali its a matter of degree of allergy as she will always have them.


      • The Canadian Cats says:

        It could be Marc….I just know the vet acknowledged her food allergy as gone…at least for the present time. Believe me she was very sick before it was discovered. At one point she was on Prednisone and I would cuddle with her on the bathroom floor….she was too weak to walk far when the food allergy really flared up. It did my heart good to hear her little purr….even on the bathroom floor after being so sick. I’m getting choked up remembering *sniff*

  4. The Chaos Realm says:

    When I adopted my cat back in 2001, she was missing hair from under her front legs all the way to the back ones, and from the side of her face. Multiple vets and at least three years later, steroid shots that didn’t work (they just made her skin red and inflamed), calendula cream that she just licked off, I finally got a vet that said she was probably allergic to chicken and grain. Found food that was grain- and chicken-free, and hair grew back!
    I wonder, though, (because I don’t have dogs, so I haven’t looked into it so much) is there any correlation, or studies into, between dog skin allergies and the Round-Up that many cities spray on the grass like water in public parks and on walkways, etc.?

    • gabbyellow says:

      Round-Up is awful for pets! My childhood cat liked to venture outdoors and since he never strayed too far (just a four house radius), we didn’t think much of it. Several years later, he started experiencing some strange symptoms–the cat who once chewed his way through a bag of Meow Mix accidentally left within his reach was no longer eating, his personality was changing, and he just seemed “off.” A trip to the vets revealed a brain tumor–which we have been told was due to spending so much time in one of our neighbor’s yards who subscribed to one of those chemical commercial spray companies who come periodically to make your grass greener (seriously?!?).
      So while that isn’t Round-Up, I’d imagine all of those nasty outdoor chemicals are not very good for our pets!

  5. gabbyellow says:

    Great post! One of my kitties has an ear infection right now. Maybe I should look into allergies–I’d never thought of that. Thanks Marc-Andre! 🙂

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  7. ddominikwickles says:

    We are dealing with possible allergies in our cat right now. The only symptom we’ve noticed since Christmas is hair loss on her belly and her left side. But the vet says the hair is not falling out rather that she is biting it out. It’s either allergies or anxiety so we’ve changed her food and am trying to give her even more attention.
    Thanks for the post.

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