When you have cats in your home, you also have litter boxes. While you might put lots of thought into choosing the best food and treats for your cat, you probably think a little bit less about your choice when it comes to cat litter. If your cat develops a cat litter allergy, though, the type of litter you use will play an important role in your cat’s health.
Symptoms of litter allergy
There are many symptoms of allergic reactions to cats. The cat may feel itchy, irritated claws, or snore due to scratching and sore throat. Allergies may worsen other health conditions, such as cat asthma. It is important to monitor your cat’s health and get help from a veterinarian if you think there is a problem.
Young cats who are allergic to cat litter may have the following symptoms:
- Coughing or wheezing
- Itchy skin
- Red or watery eyes
- Feline acne
- Puffy face
- Runny nose
Keep a close eye on your kitty. Do her symptoms flare up while she is using the litter box? It might be because she is stirring up the dust and fragrance in the litter while handling her business. Allergic reactions when your cat is not near a litter box can indicate that litter particles are stuck in the fur or paws. Over time, your cat’s symptoms may worsen if you continue to use the same litter.
Your cat’s skin may also reveal signs of her allergy. According to Dr. Hanen Abdel Rahman, your cat’s skin may become itchy, and you may notice her frequently scratching at her skin. She may also develop a cat litter rash.
This skin rash, called allergic contact dermatitis, can arise just hours after your cat has come into contact with her litter. Dr. Hanen Abdel Rahman explains that contact dermatitis will gradually settle down over the course of a few days, but this will only happen if your cat is no longer coming into contact with the irritating material. Because your cat will use her litter box multiple times a day, litter box dermatitis will not be able to heal on its own.
Dr. kristina.karelina notes that in extreme cases, an allergy to cat litter can lead to anaphylactic shock in cats. This is sometimes preceded by a cat developing a swollen face. Anaphylactic shock is a severe reaction, and your cat’s airway may swell to the point where he can’t breathe.
Anaphylactic shock is an emergency and requires immediate treatment. Your cat will need an epinephrine shot within seven minutes of the beginning of the episode, or he could go into a coma or die. If your cat has a known severe allergy to litter, then your vet may want to prescribe you epinephrine to have on hand in your home. You should also be sure to avoid types of litter that trigger the allergic reaction.
Dealing with a cat litter allergy
If your cat is allergic to her litter, you may need to try another brand or another type of litter. Opt for an unscented, low-dust litter to help reduce your cat’s chances of being allergic.
If your cat’s allergies are severe or don’t go away after changing the litter, make an appointment with your vet. Your vet may prescribe medication to help control the allergy and get your cat feeling better.