Seasonal allergies in cats and how to help

It’s not just humans that can be allergic to cats. Seasonal allergies can also affect cats. Here’s how owners can help their pets stay comfortable.
Seasonal Allergies in Cats and How To Help
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Allergies are a drag, and even if you’re a cat owner, you may put up with a certain amount of irritation from pet hair and dander. However, we don’t usually consider that cats can suffer from allergies as well, as they share some of the same sensitivities as humans when it comes to seasonal and environmental allergens.

Because cats are typically stoic creatures, they don’t always show their hand when experiencing discomfort or irritation. That means cat owners need to know the common allergies their pets face and be ready to lend a helping hand to provide relief during certain seasons and conditions.

If you suspect your cat might be dealing with allergies, you’re not alone, and you’re in the right place. This article will cover all you need to know about seasonal allergies in cats, what signs to watch for, and what you can do to help them remain comfortable all year round. 

What are some common seasonal allergies in cats?

Depending on where you live and the exposure to allergens — plus weather like wind and temperature — your cats may experience some of the same allergic responses that you’re familiar with. In fact, cats are far more likely to encounter airborne allergens than negative reactions from food, making this a top concern for owners who prioritize their pets’ comfort. 

Here are some of the most common allergy types that affect cats, with details on seasonality, weather factors, and more.

Pollen in spring and fall

We all know the problem with pollen. Even if you don’t experience harsh allergies, these microscopic granules can make their way into the respiratory system and cause a noticeable reaction. Pollen is a common allergen for both humans and cats, and the reactions are similar on almost every level.

It’s not the pollen itself that causes a reaction, however. Just as in humans, a cat’s immune system can mistake harmless pollen for pathogens like bacteria or viruses. This creates a pattern of immune response that results in the release of chemicals like histamine, causing symptoms and causing discomfort until pollen counts subside.

From forests to deserts and even coastal locales, pollen can affect cats, even if they’re typically indoors and not exposed to the elements. While tree pollen is most common in spring, weed pollen is worse in fall. Depending on your area and pollen patterns, you’ll want to be prepared with a game plan to help your cat navigate pollen season comfortably.

Mold in spring and summer

While some mold types are relatively harmless, others can pose a great threat to a cat’s health if not addressed at the source. These spores can propagate in damp areas of a building, typically around plumbing systems and where stagnant water pools. 

This type of allergen is most common in areas with high humidity and warm weather, so cats in these regions are more prone to allergic reactions. Owners should take note of possible mold sources in the home and outdoors, especially in summer, when spores tend to circulate more freely.

Despite some degree of seasonality, mold can persist year-round, and should be a top priority for owners with respect to their own health and any pets in the home.

Dry and cold air in winter

Today’s house cats may share DNA with some of the great feline predators of the wild, but that doesn’t mean they’re adapted for the harsh cold and dry air that winter brings in some regions. When temperatures and humidity both drop in late fall, cats may quickly become vulnerable to existing conditions, sensitivities, and allergies.

Dry and cold air aren’t at the root of allergies, but they can diminish a cat’s immune system and leave them open to other threats. Owners should be mindful of their cats’ comfort and demeanor during winter months, ensuring they stay warm, active, and clean in their environment. 

Dust mites and fleas year-round

Some of the most irritating allergens for cats are microscopic organisms like dust mites and fleas. These are hard to detect and can be even more difficult to remove from a cat’s skin and hair once they’ve made their home, so prevention is the best medicine in this case.

These pests dig their way into the hair and skin of pets, leaving small bites and spreading bacteria and other irritants that trigger allergic reactions. Even if a cat isn’t allergic to mites or fleas, the irritation is enough to cause sustained discomfort and lead to excessive scratching, eventually causing further damage.

It’s not always easy to get to the root of mites and fleas, but owners should look for common symptoms and be ready to help their cats with the appropriate response of treatment and medication.

Household cleaning products and chemicals

For cat owners who take pride in maintaining a clean environment, there’s a downside that comes with using certain chemicals in the home. Cleaning products containing chlorine, bleach, or ammonia can be harmful to cats, even in very small doses that wouldn’t affect humans.

These aren’t allergies so much as they are reactions to toxic chemicals, meaning that cat owners shouldn’t wait to treat the problems or symptoms after they emerge. Instead, consider using all-natural ingredients like essential oils or homemade cleaners that limit the emission of chemicals in the air.

If you need to perform a deep clean in your home, look for ways to keep your cat safe and out of the house until the environment is suitable for them to return.

What are the symptoms of seasonal cat allergies to watch?

We’ve covered some of the main sources of allergies in cats, but what are the symptoms owners should look out for? 

Before you respond with a method of treatment or make changes to home environment, you’ll want to know these common symptoms and how they manifest. Cats can be hard to read, but the following signs should be unmistakable evidence your cat is dealing with allergies.

Skin irritation

The skin is the first place to look when identifying allergies in cats, since this is where symptoms and behavioral changes will be most visible to owners. Cats have relatively sensitive skin and do a great job at self-grooming, though in the presence of allergens, this can backfire with excessive scratching and irritation. 

For instance, a cat may experience skin discomfort from ingesting pollen or dealing with airborne mold, then overcompensate with licking, scratching, or even biting at tingling skin. 

This can lead to broken skin and even result in infection, so keep a close eye on their skin and coat to ensure that allergens aren’t at the source of the issue. Redness, swelling, or discoloration might indicate that allergens are causing problems for your cat. 

Eye irritation

Cats are known for clear eyes and sharp vision, so when allergens cause eye irritation, owners take notice. Cats might show signs of trouble navigating their environment or continually pawing at their eyes, and symptoms like redness or watery eyes will be instantly visible. 

Allergens like pollen or mold are the most common culprits of eye irritation for cats, but dusty and dry air can also be a potential cause. Owners will want to watch for these symptoms during winter in particular, when dry and cold air can cause eye irritation and lead to more serious issues.

Respiratory symptoms

Respiration is a pillar of health in all living creatures, and cats may have trouble breathing clearly when they’re fighting off allergies. Owners may notice their cats being short of breath or having trouble moving around with their typical agility and energy.

There is no single cause of respiratory symptoms from allergies, so exact causes may vary. However, pollen, mold, and mites can all trigger the immune response reaction that causes irritation in the lungs and swelling in the respiratory pathways that make breathing difficult for cats. 

Gastrointestinal symptoms

Cats have sensitive stomachs, and even if they eat a consistent diet, they can experience gastrointestinal discomfort if allergens attack their immune system. Stay aware of your cat’s digestive health and look for signs like lack of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Gastro symptoms aren’t always linked to allergies, however, and other causes might be at play. If these health problems persist or turn chronic, don’t hesitate to visit the vet, as your cat could be battling a more serious bacterial or viral infection affecting their system.

How can owners help their cats with allergies?

Cat owners always want to make life better for their pets, and addressing seasonal allergies is part of that promise. 

While we can’t control factors like weather or pollen counts, owners can take control of their indoor environments by keeping them clean, ventilated, and temperature-controlled. This also includes adjusting moisture levels with a humidifier or dehumidifier, in order to combat dry or humid conditions indoors. 

If your cat is showing all the tell-tale signs of allergic reactions, you can also provide them with supplements to alleviate their symptoms and reduce discomfort. We designed our Broad Spectrum Allergy Aid CBD Pet Chews for this exact reason, giving pets a full stack of premium ingredients to help soothe, calm, and balance the body during allergic bouts.

This formula includes ingredients like nettle root to support histamine production, quercetin to provide antioxidant support, and bromelain to help absorb key nutrients for immunity-supporting effects. The chews also have omega-3 fatty acids and biotin, helping your cat heal more efficiently from irritated, itchy skin.

Finally, these chews feature a generous amount of intentional CBD for pets, helping reduce irritation and maintain balance in the endocannabinoid system. Sometimes, overcoming allergies is a waiting game, and CBD can help keep your cat feeling great, even during pollen or mold seasons. 

The bottom line

The human respiratory and immune systems may be significantly larger and more complex than that of the feline species, but as mammals, we share many of the same responses to allergens that spike at certain times of the year. 

Although some allergy sources might be hard to pinpoint, you now have a well-rounded toolkit to get to the root of the problem and help your cat with proven methods and therapeutic assistance. Sunmed is here for both you and your pets, helping you navigate the small stuff in life so you can enjoy the big picture together. Shop our premium CBD products today.


Food allergy in dogs and cats; current perspectives on etiology, diagnosis, and management | NIH

A Better Treatment for Cat Allergies? | NIH

Allergies in Cats (Environmental) | NASC

Seasonal Allergies in Pets | Pet Food Institute