Common Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction in Cats

Does your cat have allergies, or do you suspect he might? Would you like to find out more about the symptoms of allergic reactions in cats so you can know how to respond if your cat shows these signs?

Allergic reaction in cats

Allergies are not uncommon in cats, and it’s possible that your feline friend may suffer from a variety of allergy types as well. Read through the article below to familiarize yourself with some of the most common symptoms of allergies in cats, so you can figure out when it’s time to take your pet to the veterinarian.

Symptoms of Seasonal/Pollen Allergies in Cats

One of the most common types of allergies in cats are seasonal or pollen allergies. These allergies can occur in cats that spend time both inside and outside.

4 symptoms of seasonal allergies in cats include:

Sneezing and Coughing

Just like humans, cats are prone to sneezing and coughing as symptoms of both seasonal and pollen allergies. If your cat is allergic to pollen or to something that grows outdoors, he may sneeze and cough frequently when he’s out on the porch or sitting in an open window.

  • Wheezing and Snoring: Wheezing is another common symptom associated with seasonal and pollen allergies in cats. This symptom may go along with coughing and sneezing, or it may present on its own. Wheezing can sometimes indicate more serious problems, however, so take your pet to the vet if you’re unsure of the cause. Additionally, cats who have seasonal allergies may snore when their allergies are acting up.
  • Red, Watery Eyes: Red eyes can indicate a problem or injury affecting the cat’s eye, but they can also signify allergies. If both of your cat’s eyes are red at the same time, and if they are watery with clear liquid as well, this likely means your cat is dealing with an allergic reaction to something outside. This symptom may sometimes cause your cat to feel uncomfortable and paw at his eyes, but many cats do not seem to notice anything wrong with their eyes when they’re dealing with allergies.
  • Pawing at the Ear: If your cat is pawing at his ear frequently, he may have a stuffy ear caused by an allergic reaction to pollen. He may also have an ear infection, which is commonly seen in cats who have frequent allergy flare-ups. He will likely need medicated ear drops to help get over either of these problems.


Symptoms of Food Allergies


  • Frequent Vomiting and Diarrhea: If your cat has a food allergy or food intolerance, he may suffer from frequent vomiting and diarrhea, especially after eating the food he is allergic to. Many cats vomit often for seemingly no reason at all (although it is usually associated with hairballs), but if your cat’s vomiting seems excessive based on his history, food allergies could be the cause.
  • Dull Coat: The most common sign of a food allergy in a cat is a dull coat. The cat’s coat will lose its shiny quality and the color may fade somewhat as the food allergy continues.
  • Patchy Hair Loss: Patchy hair loss can be seen along with a dull coat in cats with food allergies. Hair loss in patches may also be associated with a wide range of other problems, including ringworm, fungal infections of the skin, medication side effects, and much more. If your pet has this symptom, only a vet can tell you the cause.
  • Dandruff: Dandruff is frequently seen in cats with food allergies as well. This symptom may or may not be present along with the patchy hair loss and dull coat related to food allergies. Dandruff is sometimes caused by dry skin in cats, just like it is in humans, but it is much more often tied to food allergies.


Symptoms of Anaphylaxis


  • Swelling of the Face: If your cat is bitten or stung by an insect or snake that causes an anaphylactic reaction, or if your cat ingests something that causes an anaphylactic reaction, he may suffer from swelling of his face, nose, and neck. This is an emergency situation, so take him to the emergency vet right away if you notice this problem.
  • Rapid Heart Rate: A rapid heart rate can also be a symptom associated with anaphylaxis. It usually will not be the only symptom, and your cat will likely have swelling along with an increased heart rate. Again, this is an emergency.



Many times, cats have mild to moderate allergies that can be managed easily at home. However, in some instances, cats may require steroids or other types of medication that can be useful in treating more serious allergic reactions. Additionally, if your cat suffers from anaphylactic shock, this should be treated as an emergency.


By learning how to recognize the symptoms of allergies in cats, you can better understand when your own cat may be dealing with this issue. If you have any other questions or concerns, be sure to talk to your vet for more information and for a full diagnosis of your pet.

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