There is a recent story of a domestic cat in the UK who is allergic to grass (The Northern Echo). Ironically, his name is Ronaldo after the great Portuguese footballer who of course plays on grass. His veterinarian diagnosed an allergy to grass after he developed a rash over his body when he had been lying on the grass. His owner, Annette Loughlin, who describes him as a ‘right little bugger and a right little terror’ says that the allergy does not stop him going out..onto the grass. Message to Annette: it’s not up to Ronaldo to decide. That’s your responsibility.
Anyway, I had no idea that cats could be allergic to something that is integral to their lives if they are allowed outside. So what is it all about? Well as it happens it is one of the common allergies. Grass, trees and weeds fall under this heading.
Grasses pollinate like flowers and the pollen causes the allergy. Pollen grains – the male spores of a flowering plant – are transported by insects and wind. They can be inhaled by a cat or cause skin issues because of direct contact.
The allergic response is typical such a contact dermatitis and coughing and nasal discharge when inhaled. The itching leads to overgrooming and potential hair loss and an exacerbation of the skin problem with reddening and scabs. The itching may also result in excessive scratching with the same effect.
Diagnosis and treatment for a feline grass allergy requires a proper veterinary consultation. Allergies can be tricky to diagnoses and treat however. The better course of action must be prevention which leads to the obvious: keep you allergic cat inside and away from grass. If the backyard is small you might even consider removing the grass.
Mowing the lawn apparently prevents pollination. During the pollen season windows should be closed and if left open the windowsills should be washed to remove pollen. An air purifier will remove pollen from inside the home.
I would have thought that if your cat does go outside and you suspect he is allergic to grass it might be wise to wipe him down especially his paws when he comes inside.
P.S. as there is a range of possible allergens causing a feline allergic reaction it’s hard to diagnose a grass allergy. Other allergens are: soaps, detergents, shampoos, leather, plastic, water dishes, dyes in carpets, chemicals in carpets?, neomycin in topical medicines, flea collars, flea powders and many more.
Note: my thanks to wagwalking.com for the info.
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