If it is a URI you can't ignore it. The cat will need antibiotics to get it cleared up.It could also be a virus so you need to take that into consideration as well.
Here are some highlights from the article in CATS Magazine, April 1992, pertaining to cats with allergies.
- Cats can suffer from a wide range of allergies.
- A cat with one allergy often has others.
- 15% of all cats in the U.S. suffer from one or more allergies.
- Cats' allergies fall into several categories, each with a parallel complaint among human allergy sufferers. Inhalant allergies are caused by airborne articles, such as pollen, that irritate the nasal passages and lungs. Contact alllergies manifest themselves when the cat has prolonged contact with a substance that it just cannot tolerate. Cats have allergies to foods as well -- not so much to the chemical preservatives but to the grains, meats and dairy products used. Some cats react badly to certain drugs, such as antibiotics or anesthesia.
- Flea allergy is the most common of all allergies. As cats age, their sensitivity to flea bites increases. Prednisone (oral or injection) is commonly used for a bad reaction.
- Between 5 & 10 percent of allergy cases are caused by food. Like contact allergies, food allergies will show up as dermatitis and severe itching but in some cases will also cause vomiting and diarrhea. Also, the cat may have excessively oily skin, ear inflammation, or hair loss (which can also be a sign of hormone imbalance).
- A food allergy doesn't show up overnight. It can take from a week to 10 years of exposure to show itself; more than 80 percent of cats with food allergies have been eating the allergen-containing food for more than two years.
Studies are being done to determine possible connections between food allergies and FUS, with some success in eliminating foods and cutting down on FUS symptoms. Results are still experimental.
Food allergies are treated with a bland, hypoallergenic diet -- rice with boiled chicken or lamb, and distilled water is commonly used. Two weeks is the longest it usually takes for the bland diet to work.
Causes, symptoms, and treatments of some types of allergies:
- Plants, especially oily-leafed ones, such as rubber plants, that might be brushed against. Other contact allergens include: carpet fresheners, wool, house dust, newsprint, cleansers and topical medications. Even the carpet itself. Signs of contact allergens: dermatitis, pigmentary changes or skin eruptions. Most noticable on the chin, ears, inner thighs, abdomen, underside of the tail, armpits and around the anus.
Skin patch tests are used to determine cause of contact allergies.
- Medications that commonly cause skin eruptions: penicillin, tetracycline, neomycin and panleukopenia vaccine. Each drug causes different symptoms, but the symptoms differ from cat to cat. There is no way to predict how a cat will react.
Antihistamines or steroids may be used to eliminate symptoms (after ceasing administration of the drug)
- Kitty litter - when new brands of litter come out, vets frequently see a number of cats that have reactions to it. Other inhalant allergies can include: dust from the furnace esp. when it is first turned on; cigarette smoke; perfumes; household sprays and air freshners; pollen. Inhalent allergies can also result in skin loss, scabbing pustules, or ulcerated areas on the skin. This in addition to the asthmatic symptoms.
Treatment uses... antihistamines, such as chlortrimetron. More severe cases are treated with systemic steroids, which can have drawbacks.