Allergies are caused by excessive reaction of the immune system. Allergy symptoms appear only when a cat has repeated contact with factors causing an allergic reaction (allergens). When a cat has first contact with allergens, the immune system produces only antibodies, but no allergic symptoms appear.
Such factors like dust or food are recognised as foreign bodies by the immune system, and it starts fighting against them by producing antibodies with the help of lymphocytes. More contacts with the allergen stimulate the production of histamine or other substances that are responsible for the occurrence of allergic reactions. Allergies in cats can be caused by fleas, food, shampoo, medications, or internal parasites. Cats that have allergies are usually inactive and sad. Cats that have allergies might also suffer or have symptoms such as:
- heavy breathing
- hair loss
- teary eyes
- runny nose
- diarrhea and vomiting.
Some allergies are difficult to diagnose and then a veterinarian will have to schedule blood and skin tests. Stress (do you know symptoms of stress in cats?) can also sometimes cause reactions that are similar to allergies. Treatment of a cat for their allergy may include steps such as avoiding sensitisers and using antihistamines, that relieve pruritus.
Cat owners themselves can prevent allergies in cats by using the best quality food, avoiding using potentially harmful shampoos and stressful situations, and by fighting against flea.