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Cats and Hay Fever: How to Manage Your Cats Allergies

Published date: 11 June 2024

Along with the sun (hopefully) gracing us with its presence, hay fever is the more ominous visitor during spring and summer.

The sneezing season can be challenging and sadly our cats suffer too.

So, to keep your feline friend comfortable, here is all you need to know about cat hay fever.

What is hay fever?

Hay fever (sometimes described as an environmental allergy) is caused by an allergy to pollen when it contacts the skin, eyes and nose.

Pollen will fluctuate across the year and be caused by many natural sources. Tree pollen is typically most prevalent from late March to mid-May, grass pollen from mid-May to late July and weed pollen from early July until September.

What are the symptoms of cat hay fever?

Much like humans, not all cats will suffer from hay fever. Other environmental allergies e.g. parasites are more common in our pets.

The symptoms of hay fever present differently in cats. The most obvious sign is skin irritation, resulting in sore patches across the skin and fur loss.

Other signs to look out for:

  • Irritation around the paws, armpits, groin, legs, ears, eyes and mouth
  • Overgrooming
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Red itchy eyes
  • Rashes on their body, particularly their face, abdomen and paws

If you spot any of these symptoms get your pet to the vet as soon as you can. These can be signs of an environmental allergy like hay fever but could be a sign of another problem.

Managing your cat’s hay fever

Sadly, hay fever can’t be cured, however, the symptoms can be managed to help keep your furry friend comfortable.

If the discomfort persists, speak to your vet about the options for easing the symptoms. Treatments for cats can include antihistamines, steroids or allergy injections

Do not give your cat human hay fever medication without guidance from your vet.

Outside of vet intervention, there are other general ways to manage your cat's discomfort

  • Wash your cat bedding regularly
  • Keep the home well-vacuumed and free from dust and pollen. Remember to hoover your cat’s scratching posts and bedding
  • If possible, keep your cat inside on high pollen days
  • Wipe your cat’s face, fur and paws if they spend time outside
  • Keep most of your grass in the garden short and reduce your cat’s time in the grass

Remember itchy irritable skin is more commonly a sign of parasite infection.

Keep on top of your cat’s routine parasite treatment to reduce the risk of Flea Allergy Dermatitis and general skin irritation. Shop our Flea and Tick products.

If you have had your cat’s allergy diagnosed, there is some specific advice depending on the pollen trigger.

Tree Pollen Allergies

If your cat is allergic to tree pollen, try the following:

  • Keep doors and windows closed to reduce pollen coming inside
  • When it’s windy and dry keep your cat indoors
  • Check forecasts to help predict which days will be more triggering

Grass Pollen Allergies

For grass pollen allergies:

  • • Mow your grass and lawn more regularly. Keeping grass short can help reduce symptoms but remember to keep your furry friend inside while you mow. During mowing pollen is thrown up into the air and risks getting onto your cat’s fur.

Weed Pollen Allergies

To manage your cat’s weed allergies, try the following:

  • Clear your garden and outdoor areas of overgrown weeds
  • Plan your walks carefully and avoid areas with lots of weeds and plants.
  • Keep windows closed.

If you do need to keep your cat entertained inside during high pollen days, there is a lot you can do to reduce boredom. For some ideas watch our Guide to Playing with Cats.

Written by Lucy Marcham

Lucy teaches all aspects of the Pets Corner curriculum and specialises in animal nutrition, ensuring that our staff have the right knowledge and understanding of pet diets to assist customers with confidence and care.