Most of the time whenever we hear the word “allergies” and “cat” in the same sentence, we assume the person is talking about having an allergy to cats. We seldom think about our own feline pets experiencing an allergic reaction to something, and even when they sneeze repeatedly and get a runny nose, the go-to assumption is that they are sick. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to tell if a cat is ill or suffering from allergies,  but once you diagnose the issue, what do you do?  Here are 5 ways that cat-owners can lessen the severity of their kitty’s allergies, and make them more comfortable.

When a cat has an allergic reaction to something, whether it is pollen, dust, perfume, smoke, food, etc.  he will often exhibit cold-like symptoms. However, another common cause of allergies (particularly skin agitations) occurs when immunoglobulin called IgE is released in cat skin cells. Whatever might be contributing to the cat’s discomfort, use these basic ways to improve the situation.

Keep the outdoors out.  Many people enjoy having their windows open, to keep their homes filled with a fresh breeze, but this often presents a problem for pets with allergy sensitivities. Be aware of the timing of when you open your windows. On particularly windy afternoons, or on days your neighbor is having yard work done, and there are leaf blowers sending dust and pollen back into the air, shut the doors and windows so that none of those inflammatory particles float into your home. If your lawn has just been mowed, or you can smell the scent of pine trees strongly, chances are it is a good day to keep the windows shut, since the pollen might agitate your kitty’s nostrils.

Minimize pollen contact.  Typically, you might enjoy having the cat keep you company in the yard while you garden, or accompanying you on an evening walk around the neighborhood.  However, while your cat paws at his eyes, has a runny nose, or a scratchy throat, this might not be the best practice.  Prancing amongst flowers, grasses and trees might have to be something you put off for a few weeks during heavy seasonal changes. If you do happen to go out, be sure to wipe down your cat’s fur and paws with a disinfectant wipe to remove any traces of pollen from coming in the house.  (Make sure you wipe your shoes well before entering, so that all the pollen stays outside.)

Wash the residual allergens away. Your cat’s allergic reaction may manifest through itchy fur, patchy baldness, hot spots, and skin sensitivity. If this is the case, make sure you thoroughly wash out any dust, allergens, pollen or other agitating substances from their coat. Using cool/tepid water and hypoallergenic soaps/shampoos, followed by a gentle vinegar/water spray could help calm any skin inflammation. Be sure to regularly give your cat tick and flea treatments, since it is actually the saliva of fleas which can cause a severe allergic reaction in pets.

Hypoallergenic food.  If you are uncertain what might be causing the unpleasant assault of symptoms on your cat, and you don’t live in a place with lots of fragrant flora nearby, the food your feline is eating might be causing the allergies. Switch to a basic, high-protein hypoallergenic cat food product that is free from fillers, low-quality ingredients, and potentially any starches or grains that might be giving your kitty the itchiness.  While it might be a little more expensive than your usual feline feast, investing in their overall health and wellness is always a worthwhile spend.

Spring cleaning. Time to take out the mop, disinfectant wipes, and hit the cleaning playlist. Getting the dust bunnies out from under the couch, fluffing dusty pillows, vacuuming rugs and washing the curtains all might help rid the room of allergens that are making your cat’s life miserable. Switch to dust-free kitty litter and put away the Febreze.  Something as simple as removing the aerosol air-fresheners, and eliminating extra dust around the house could have a hugely positive affect on your cat’s allergic reaction.

Alternative:  Take your kitty to the vet and have him prescribed with an effective anti-histamine, or allergy shots.