Allergies are an are an extreme reaction of the immune system to common substances in a cat’s everyday environment. Just like in humans, feline allergies can be caused by trees, grasses, dust, fabrics, cleaning product, perfumes, food, and more. A lesser known cause of feline allergies is cat litter. Cat litter may contain chemicals, bentonite, silica dust, clay and fragrances that can cause allergies and lead to litter box avoidance.
The signs of an allergy in your cat can either be visual or behavioral.
Visual signs of an allergic reaction in cats are very similar to signs of an allergic reaction in humans, which can include anything from a runny nose and sneezing to wheezing and coughing. In the case of a litter allergy, these signs will persist and appear more pronounced when your cat has just used the litter box.
Behavioral signs may occur after your cat’s paws or tail come into contact with litter, and may include persistent scratching, biting, chewing, or licking. One of the biggest indicators of a cat litter allergy may be litter box avoidance.
What is cat litter made of?
With the large variety of different types of litter available today, ingredients will vary and may include clay, bentonite, silica, wheat, corn, grass, and many other substances. The exact cause of a litter allergy will be different from one cat to another. The most likely cause of a litter allergy is either excessive dust, or added fragrance.
Unfortunately, many litters utilize fragrances and in some cases chemicals for odor control. Scented litter is a poor choice for all cats, but can be especially detrimental for cats prone to allergic reactions. A better option for odor control is the use an effective cat litter deodorizer that is specifically made to remove odors at the source rather than mask them.
How to prevent and eliminate litter allergies
The most effective way to solve allergies is to remove the trigger from your cat’s environment. This may mean switching to a different type of litter, preferably one that is unscented with minimal dust. Additionally, a natural cat litter additive can help remove lingering odors left behind in your cat’s litter box. Then you have the best of both worlds, a cat that is no longer suffering from allergies and an odorless litter box environment in your home.