Can cats get hay fever?

Posted by Nurse Whiskers. July 18th 2015.

Itchy eyes, non-stop sneezing and a runny nose; sound familiar? It’s that time of year when hay fever bothers just about everyone and cats are no exception. Just like us, our feline friends can be irritated by hay fever too and it’s important to notice when this occurs to ensure your cuddly cat gets the help they need.

A young kitten plays in afield full of pollen

When will my cat get hay fever?

Your cat’s immune system reacts to pollen as if it were a foreign invader, so you’ll find the hay fever allergy will develop over a number of years and each time your cat breathes in pollen, they will develop an even larger reaction.

Luckily, just like for humans, it only affects your cat during certain seasons and as a result is often referred to by vets as a seasonal allergy.

The symptoms to look out for

Recognising when your little cat is developing a reaction to anything, especially hay fever, is important and here are the most common symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Snoring – normally due to an inflamed throat
  • Paw chewing or sensitive paws

 

A kitten looks at a butterfly on a hot summer's day

Getting a diagnosis for your cat

It can actually be pretty difficult to get a diagnosis for your cat when they have hay fever, simply because the symptoms are similar to so many other allergies. And since your cat can’t actually tell you what’s going on with their body, it can often be a guessing game trying to figure out what’s causing the allergies.

If in doubt, take your beloved cat to your local vet and let them run an allergy test; this will highlight whether it is in fact pollen they are allergic to, or something else. Sometimes, allergies can be caused by a perfume which has been squirted nearby, cleaning products or even some types of food. It’s vital to find out exactly what’s causing such a reaction so that you can fix the problem and ensure your cat goes back to their happy, playful self.

The treatment for hay fever

In a perfect world, allergies to pollen would be easily treated for both us and cats, but it doesn’t quite work like that unfortunately. If you’ve found it is pollen your cat is allergic to, the best way to treat it is to simply keep them inside. This can be easier said than done, but it’s really important. Vacuuming and dusting on a regular basis will also help to reduce the sniffles, and so will brushing your cat frequently to remove pollen from their fur.

Your vet may also be able to prescribe some antihistamines if your cat’s allergies are exceptionally bad which can prove to be really beneficial and reduce their reaction to pollen over the long term.

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