Taking care of a Maine Coon cat is usually pretty simple affair as they are one of the heartiest and healthiest cat breeds.
Unfortunately, sometimes Maine Coon cats can get sick from allergic reactions.
It’s unfortunate to see your cat suffering from itchy skin or wheezing from an allergy to something in their environment.
It’s important to keep in mind the best practices to keep a cat healthy, from grooming to food choices.
The environment your Maine Coon lives in could unwittingly be harmful.
In a nutshell then, what are the common allergies for Maine Coons?
Maine Coons can be allergic to fleas, dust, wheat gluten, animal proteins, as well as household cleaning products and perfume. It’s even possible to be allergic to plastic from the pet bowl. Other common allergies are essential oils, perfumes, mold, and cigarette smoke.
Your Maine Coon cat has a beautiful long coat of fur which needs constant care and upkeep. Their skin can be quite sensitive to matted hair and parasites like fleas and mites.
One of the most important grooming tips for a Maine Coon cat is to brush their fur with an appropriate comb once a week and undo any matted areas.
Always use shampoo for long-fur cats and feed them good quality food. If you also have a dog that takes regular walks outside of the house, it’s important to make sure it is free of fleas.
If the dog fleas make their way to your Maine Coon cat, they can wreak havoc on their skin.
The most common allergy which affects Maine Coon cats is flea allergy dermatitis.
Since Maine Coon cats have exceptionally long hair, it can take longer to notice a flea problem than in other short-haired cats.
Flea allergy dermatitis affects the cat’s skin from the flea bites and the saliva they leave behind.
Usual symptoms include extreme itching as well as hair loss and red bumps on the skin.
Maine Coon cats with flea allergy dermatitis usually show signs of the allergy on the hind part of their body.
The front is not usually affected, although red bumps can appear anywhere in the body underneath the hair.
If your Maine Coon seems to be suffering, use a flea brush to comb through the fur.
Signs of fleas on the cat are actual fleas or flea dirt which look like little black specs.
Fleas are very sneaky parasites and hide well between the hairs.
If you cannot find any fleas but your cat keeps scratching heavily, it’s best to start a treatment as soon as possible. Consult your veterinarian for the best procedure.
When a Maine Coon cat is not treated for flea allergy dermatitis, the excessive itching can cause heavy hair loss or infected sores.
Extreme licking of the affected area can also cause dry skin and pustules.
Another type of allergic reaction that affects Maine Coon cats is atopic dermatitis.
With the presence of long hair which can collect dust, moisture, and bacteria, skin allergies are a common illness to be aware of.
If a Maine Coon cat is generally clean, brushed regularly and stays indoors, then the possibilities of an allergic reaction are lessened.
Most cats suffer from seasonal atopic dermatitis from allergens like overgrown grass, pollen, and dust mites.
The usual symptoms of atopic dermatitis are constant chewing of the paws and feet, scratching of the belly and face, and increased redness in and around the face.
Some cats may also have breathing symptoms like wheezing or coughing.
Knowing what is causing the allergy will make the owner pay more attention to where the cat spends the most time and figuring out different scenarios. M
ost of the time if the allergies are severe, a skin treatment is needed which can last from a few days to even months.
Maine Coon cats don’t generally have food allergies (more on this later), but if there is one ingredient that may give them allergies, it’s wheat gluten.
Healthy feeding of a Maine Coon cat is much like feeding any other cat. They need a high protein diet to keep up their energy and growth.
There are plenty of dry and wet cat foods available for cats in every stage of development.
Maine Coon cats usually grow steadily and healthily on a free-feed diet of kibble constantly in their bowls and wet food every couple of days.
If your Maine Coon cat is suffering from wheat gluten allergies, the usual symptoms are upset stomachs, skin rashes, and even wheezing.
Food allergies in cats can be caused by various different kind of food, even proteins like fish and chicken, but gluten is one of the most complicated.
Many manufactured cat food brands include wheat gluten in their ingredients.
Veterinarians will do tests to see what really is causing the allergies. If it is, in fact, wheat gluten then your cat might need special home cooked meals instead.
Just how cats can suffer from atopic dermatitis due to seasonal factors like pollen and dust mites, they can also be allergic to the detergent used in the house to wash the clothes, or the tile cleaner used to clean the floors.
The symptoms of an allergy to cleaning products will be similar to atopic dermatitis and will probably present in the same way, as an itch on feet and paws, redness on the face and heavy chewing and scratching.
When a cat has allergies to cleaning products, it will be more difficult to pinpoint the exact culprit.
Cats with these kinds of allergies need constant cleaning with sensitive pet care shampoo and careful brushing.
Take care to wash the fabrics in the places where they sleep with mild soap without perfumes or strong ingredients.
If a cat is allergic to detergent, it can have a reaction from the owner’s clothes when they are carried.
Best change to mild soap to wash the clothes of the entire house, for the sake of the cat.
One allergy which may sound ridiculous but is actually quite common is the allergy to plastics and rubber.
Maine Coon cats, as well as other breeds, might develop an allergy to plastic on their face and chin from their plastic food bowls.
Another common place for this allergy to show up is on their nose from pushing open their kitty litter boxes.
An allergy to plastic is not that common but it does happen to many cats.
Symptoms show rashes and lesions in the places where their skin has constant contact with the plastic. It could even be from that little ball they like playing with so much.
The best way to avoid and cure plastic allergies is to have metal food bowls and to line kitty litter boxes with paper.
Get rid of plastic toys and replace with cloth or other materials. Minimize the cat’s contact with plastic and that should greatly alleviate the problem.
Cats that live in homes with cigarette smokers are quite prone to having smoke allergies.
Cats lungs are similar to human lungs but much smaller.
If a human can have second-hand smoke complications, imagine a cat.
Basically, smoking cigarettes around a cat is just as toxic as smoking cigarettes around a baby.
Nobody wants to judge personal choices about smoking cigarettes, but it’s important to point out that cigarette smoke is particularly harmful to cats.
Maine Coon cats particularly will absorb the smoke in their fur, further worsening their allergy.
Symptoms of a cigarette smoke allergy in cats are coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Severe cigarette smoke allergies can lead to feline asthma or even lung cancer.
The best way to cure a cat’s smoke allergies is to stop smoking inside the house or in a room where the cat is not allowed in.
If that is not an option, then best find the cat a new home without smokers.
A very common allergy in all cats, not just Maine Coon cats, is the allergy or intolerance to dairy.
Kittens cannot handle cow’s milk, most adult cats either.
Bovine dairy products are very bad for a cat’s tummy and can give them diarrhea.
Better to avoid giving cats any cow’s milk altogether.
If there is a kitten that has been separated from its mother too early, vets have a milk substitute for kittens which is safe.
If someone gave your cat dairy products without your knowledge, they will probably have an upset tummy and diarrhea.
Do not induce vomiting or anything forceful, just give them water to drink and watch them closely for the next day.
If diarrhea continues and the cat becomes lethargic, take it to the vet for further diagnosis. They might have a severe case of lactose intolerance.
There isn’t much history about cats with allergies to essential oils, but with the growth in popularity of diffusing essential oils in the house, some cats have shown signs of allergic reactions.
Usual essential oil allergy symptoms are vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, muscle spasms, and even drooling or lack of balance in severe cases.
It is never a good idea to administer 100% undiluted essential oils to a cat’s skin, as it can cause a strong skin reaction including red itchy rashes and atopic dermatitis.
The most common and most toxic essential oil to cats is Tea Tree oil.
If you are using tea tree oil to clean the floors, then make sure it’s well diluted at the most 10% with water.
If diffusing it, then make sure it’s very diluted and don’t do it every day around the cat. Breathing allergies to tea tree oil can take a long time to show and when they do can be quite scary for cat owners.
Some cats may even be allergic to perfumes.
From the ones you spray on your skin, to the ones in the shower gel you use.
Maybe even to the perfume in the air freshener spray.
The symptoms of a perfume allergy are similar to other breathing allergies, wheezing, coughing, and sneezing.
If the perfume is coming in contact with the cat’s skin and they have an allergic reaction then an itchy rash could develop.
This could lead to atopic dermatitis, as listed above.
Avoid spraying yourself with perfume right before picking up the cat.
Never spray it straight onto the cat’s fur or where it sleeps. If your cat is allergic to perfumes, it might be as well to just stop using them altogether or use it once outside the house, like in the car.
Don’t use heavily perfumed skin creams if you are constantly picking up the cat either.
Cats can also develop an allergy to mold.
Mold is a common result of a humid environment, it can be on walls, stored boxes, floors, and old clothes or shoes. In severe cases, it can be in the air.
When a cat is exposed to mold; either by contact, by breathing or by accidental consumption, they can develop severe allergies skin allergies
Mold allergies in cats don’t manifest as coughing and wheezing, but rather as a skin problem.
Their skin becomes so affected that hair can fall off in clumps and their skin become extremely dry.
When a cat’s skin becomes dry and itchy from a mold allergy, they will lick the area to the extent of creating lesions and pustules.
Mold allergies are hard to treat in cats since they can be so severe.
Usually, there is a treatment which involves creams and prescription medicine to lessen the effects of the allergy. Finding the source of the mold is also important as it can happen again if there is another contact.
Vets will do tests to determine if the allergy is in fact to mold or something else.
If your Maine Coon cat is showing signs of an allergic reaction, it’s better to just take them to a vet for a checkup. There are so many things in the cat’s surroundings that could be triggering the allergies.
By analyzing the symptoms, a veterinarian can give you a better idea as to what is causing the allergies.
Since some allergens show symptoms in different ways and others are quite similar, the vet will probably have to do some tests.
Atopic dermatitis will usually need a skin test to find out what the allergen is and how to best treat it.
In the case of a food allergy, the cat might have to go into an elimination diet regimen to find out what the culprit is.
Allergies in cats are no fun, neither for the cat nor the owner.
It might take some time to really know what is causing the cat’s allergic reaction.
The best way to figure it out is to watch the cat’s activity closely and try removing things from their environment until the allergy clears.
UPDATE: I’ve recently found out my Alita is allergic to chicken. She was looking a little underweight so I was feeding her chicken which is high in protein.
Little did I know.
The vet diagnosed it, and she is now recovering fine on a diet of fish, and a few other staples. Luckily she really likes fish.
Alita loves chicken and showed to symptoms, she just wasn’t putting on weight.
Chciken allergies, or animal proteins in general isn’t common but it is something to look out for.
Maine Coon 101 | Read This Before Getting One