Allergies in cats generally take on one or more of three forms; respiratory, itching (often facial, ears and sometimes feet) and digestive. Allergies can be environmental and/or food related. Sometimes reactions like itching or a runny nose only show up at specific times of the year. If a cat has itchy ears or a runny nose only in the spring, it may be a seasonal allergy to some type of pollen or mold that occurs only at that time of year. There is little to be done for mild seasonal cases, the allergy usually dissipates with the change of season. However, if the reaction is severe enough, your veterinarian may recommend medication to help control your cat’s symptoms.
Food allergies can also show up as itching, sores or scabbing from scratching. Food allergies may also present as vomiting and/or stool issues. Food allergies will persist as long as the cat is consuming the offending ingredient in their food. Almost all food allergies are protein-related.If a food allergy is suspected, chose a different food that contains a different protein from the current offending food. This can be a daunting task as many foods use whole plant products like potatoes, rice, blueberries or other vegetable ingredients. All whole plant products contain proteins that can be a source of allergens. For example corn, rice and potatoes contain about 7-8% plant protein and may be identified as the problem. Read more about Feline Allergies.