Everyone who has ever owned a cat knows that fleas are a terrible nuisance. They leave itchy bumps all over your cat and drain their blood, potentially causing anemia. However, some cats have it even worse when it comes to fleas: some cats are allergic to fleas and their bites. Read on to learn what this allergy entails, what you can do about it, and how to prevent fleas from bothering your cat ever again.
Flea Bite Allergy
When your cat experiences itchiness after a flea bites, that's a fairly normal response for the body to have. The body is responding to the irritation of the bite and the antigens present in the flea's saliva. However, it's possible for your cat's body to overreact to the antigens, developing a full-blown allergic reaction.
The symptoms of a flea bite allergy can vary wildly from one cat to another, so if you see any of these symptoms and think there is a flea problem, your cat may be allergic.
Severe Itchiness - Mild itchiness is normal, but if your cat can't stop scratching or biting itself to the point that it's pulling hair out or leaving behind bloody wounds, your cat may be allergic.
Vomiting, Diarrhea - Vomiting and diarrhea are one possible response to flea allergies, either in response to the bites themselves or from the cat licking itself and consuming flea dirt.
Respiratory Response - Some cats will develop respiratory problems that mirror other illnesses, like an upper respiratory infection. Your cat may develop leakage from the eyes and nose or have fits of sneezing.
How To Control It
The best way to aid your cat is to get rid of the fleas. However, in the meanwhile, there are a couple of options your vet can help with to control the symptoms.
One option is to apply a steroid cream to the areas that are causing the itching. These creams usually provide immediate relief.
Another option is to give your cat allergy shots that will help to desensitize them to the flea antigen. These shots generally have to be given over a long period of time, gradually introducing your cat's immune system to small doses of the antigen until it adjusts and becomes accustomed to it.
How To Get Rid of Fleas Permanently
It's important to protect your cat from fleas even if the allergy is treated by your vet. Talk to your vet about choosing the best prescription anti-flea medication for your cat to protect your cat. Then, thoroughly clean your home to get rid of any flea eggs. Vacuuming your floor, furniture, and using an anti-flea powder or spray can help with this.
Fleas are a disgusting pest, but they can also do a lot more damage to your cat than simply causing a little itchiness. Talk to a vet, like one at North Lexington Veterinary Clinic, if you think that your cat may be allergic to fleas to get your kitty some relief right away.