Cats Have Allergies Too

Have you ever heard the saying that after years together animals begin to take on the personality and/or characteristics of their owner? I wonder if that’s the case with me and my cat Baxter. Baxter seems to have allergies… just like me.

Baxter is a wonderful cat who is 11 years old. Two years ago he began making this strange gulping sound when he swallowed, as though something was stuck in his throat. His purr sounded unusual and he had kitty laryngitis; he would meow, but make no sound. His eyes were weepy and he sneezed a lot. When this continued for several days I took Baxter to his vet. The vet said Baxter’s throat was red and swollen, so he must have a respiratory infection. The fact that animals can have respiratory infections was a surprise to me, but I accepted this diagnosis and gave Baxter the round of antibiotics prescribed.

This scenario happened two more times over the next year and seemed to be worse each time. When it happened a fourth time, Baxter quit swallowing all together, drooled on everything, and wasn’t eating much. I knew we were reaching the point of a serious illness. We went back to the vet and got our final round of antibiotics.

If you’ve read My Personal Story on this blog site, you’ll know that I lived on antibiotics as a child and the experience was not good. I began comparing my situation to Baxter’s and realized I was giving him medication to treat the symptoms without knowing what the true problem was. I began researching throat irritation in cats, cats not swallowing, and all related subjects I could think of. With the information found, Baxter’s symptoms appeared to resemble food allergies. Allergies in animals are difficult to diagnose… it’s all trial and error. You take them off of food, switch to an organic or hypo-allergenic food, give their system time to clear, and then begin changing the animal’s eating habits until you find something that works.

Baxter was a die-hard consumer of Fancy Feast canned cat food and also loved his morning sip of milk. I immediately discontinued the milk and set out to find an organic food he would eat. (If you have cats, you know changing their food is a major life event. You can’t simply open a new type of food and expect them to eat it, especially if they are the least bit finicky to begin with).

So the search began… I found some organic cat food at local store, Food For Thought, that looked promising. I began mixing a bit of the Fancy Feast canned food with this in hopes of gradually changing him over. Did I mention Baxter is also a smart cat and not easily fooled? He would have no part of this new food regimen and meowed constantly for something to eat. In my desperation to feed him and keep him quiet, (where was the kitty laryngitis when I needed it?) I began purchasing chicken gizzards or cheap cuts of stew meat from the grocer’s meat case and cooking those for him. This is something he would eat… but my continued research showed cats needed more than a pure protein diet. For instance, calcium is an essential nutrient for having a healthy cat. I didn’t want to solve one problem while creating another. (As shown in this picture, we did have to discontinue his Wheat Beer drinking too…)

Continuing my search, I found other manufactured cat foods that seem to work, such as Meow Mix and Whiskas. I also found a dry organic cat food that seemed to help. With a lot of work, Baxter is now eating these new foods. He occasionally still cries for his “milk-fix,” which I accommodate with Whiskas CatMilk. This CatMilk claims to be 98% lactose free and filled with calcium. Apparently there are other cats who cannot tolerate whole milk.

Baxter has an occasional flare-up of gulping and sneezing, but less all the time and the severity has decreased greatly. Baxter still misses his Wheat Beer, but is adjusting.

Strive to be healthy!

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Merrill Mince
    Feb 27, 2013 @ 11:19:16

    Allergic reaction to cats can be lessened most successfully by minimizing exposure to the animals. That is not always a practical solution, and there are a number of other strategies that may aid an allergy sufferer.-

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  2. douglas husak
    Feb 13, 2015 @ 20:17:25

    This beautiful cat deserves all of the time and energy you needed to restore him to health. Long live Baxter!

    Reply

    • vjkline
      Feb 17, 2015 @ 09:53:02

      Thanks for reading and sharing. Baxter is getting older, but doing well. Agreed – long live Baxter!

      Reply

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