Do cats get hay fever?

An allergic reaction to the pet can turn a loving relationship between a cat and the cat owner sour. Pets have become a part of people’s daily routines. Allergic reaction to cats is one of the reasons why people that love cats are prevented from keeping these wonderful animals as pets. Do you love cats? Are you aware that the cat can suffer from allergic reactions too? Some people would suffer from hay fever symptoms when the season changes. Cats too can get hay fever as the same substances that cause allergic reactions in humans can cause allergic reactions in cats too.

For some people, the red and puffy watery eyes, the congested or drippy nose and the repeated sneezing that is triggered by the itchy nose signals the change in season. These are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis or hay fever. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to airborne materials and substances like pollen, grass and mold. Hay fever is a seasonal allergic reaction of about 15 to 20% of the population. Just like humans cats also suffer from hay fever as the substances in the environment that affects humans have the same effect on cats too. Studies revealed that during summer and spring, cats as well as dogs are struck down by hay fever. A hypersensitivity reaction will occur when airborne allergens are breathed in and enter the nose, mouth, throat and lungs. A cat’s immune system’s function is to protect the animal from the invasion of foreign substances, viruses and bacteria that can have potentially harmful effects on the health of the cat. Once these allergens enter the airways, the cat’s immune system will command the white blood cells to produce antibodies. Antibodies are proteins in the blood tasked to fight diseases by neutralizing the foreign bodies’ dangerous effects. Hay fever is a result of the immune system’s faulty reaction to the invasion of harmless substances.

Hay fever’s symptoms in cats are pretty similar to the symptoms hay fever has on humans. Persistent sneezing is one of the symptoms. An affected cat would have difficulty breathing through the nose. The nose is either stuffy or drippy. Cats with hay fever will be noticed to have eyes with inflamed eyelid membrane. Some cats react differently to pollens, molds and other airborne allergens. It is not uncommon for pet owners to be surprised upon knowing that the pet’s skin problem is caused by hay fever. Instead of affecting the eyes and the nose, the hypersensitivity reaction would be seen on the cat’s skin. Itching would make the cat scratch excessively so that painful lesions will develop. Moreover, the beautiful appearance of the cat will be marred by the bald spots.

Hay fever in humans may not need treatment. A cat with hay fever may not need treatment too. Cat owners would just let the hypersensitivity reactions of the pet run its course. General nursing and tender loving care is all that the pet would need. The pet parent has to keep the cat hydrated and keep the eyes and the nose discharge-free. However, cats with chronic hay fever would need a vet’s attention. Commonly, medical steroids prescribed by a vet would provide relief. The cat parent may opt for homeopathic remedies to ease the discomfort of the pet associated with its hypersensitivity to airborne allergies. Hay fever cannot be prevented given that fact that the substances that cause the cat’s allergic reaction are airborne. The best thing a cat parent can do is to strengthen the immune system of the pet.

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