Humans And Cat Allergies Explained
Believe it or not, youre not the only one who is allergic to your cat. In fact, over one-third of Americans have an allergic reaction around their furry friends.
This reaction is caused by urine, dander in the air, and even the protein in the saliva of your cat. However, its not always easy to diagnose a pet allergy and sometimes, doctors have to do extensive testing. If you have more than one of the symptoms above when youre around your feline pal, then youre probably allergic and need to find a way to cope.
Its also possible to develop an allergy to cats later on in life, even if youve never had a reaction before, so just because you werent allergic to them when you were a kid doesnt mean you wont be as an adult.
If you feel like youre allergic to your cat, the best thing you can do is contact your doctor. Once its determined that youre allergic, your doctor can hopefully help you develop a treatment plan to keep you allergy free without having to rehome your feline.
Are Any Cats Hypoallergenic
Despite popular belief, hypoallergenic cats dont exist. All cats produce allergens, no matter their breed, age or sex. Even hairless cats produce Fel d 1, the major cat allergen. The allergen that is produced in the cats saliva is spread onto skin and hair during grooming, and even hairless cats will shed dander with allergen on it.
How Cat Allergies Develop
If you do suffer from cat allergies, you’re far from alone. In fact, people are twice as likely to be allergic to cats than they are to dogs, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. But how do people develop cat allergies in the first place?
Your immune system works every day to find and destroy foreign substances . Some people’s immune systems are more sensitive than others. The immune systems of cat allergy sufferers react to what are essentially harmless microscopic proteins that have been released by your cat in her dander , saliva and urine.
Many people believe pet hair is to blame, but pet hair alone is not an allergen. Hair can, however, collect pet dander and allow it to be distributed willy-nilly throughout your house when your cat sheds. It can collect on furniture, bedding and carpets, and can even last a long time simply suspended in the air.
Some people are lucky enough that they eventually develop an immunity to cat allergies. While this is certainly possible, allergic reactions may also worsen with more exposure. It’s also possible that someone who has never suffered an allergy to cats before can develop one. If you suddenly find yourself sneezing, wheezing or sniffling when you are around your cat, you might want to ask your doctor to test you for an allergy.
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Do What Works For You
In conclusion, it is very difficult to deal with a cat allergy when you already own a cat or two . . . or three. I think you have to decide how far you will go to deal with the problem. Some people may be willing to get rid of their cats. For others, they may choose to use a filter and maintain their close relationship with the cat. This article gives you several options to help tackle the problem.
It is a personal decision and you have to find what works for you. Ultimately, it comes down to what you are willing to live with. As for us, I plan to get an air filter, do more extensive cleaning, and try to keep the cats out of the bedroom!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the authorâs knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
What Can I Do With My Cat To Manage Allergy Symptoms
Aside from keeping your house clean and free of allergens, there are several things to be mindful of as you interact with your cat. These include:
- avoid being licked by your cat this will spread allergens to you and could make symptoms worse
- gently clean your cat with a damp cloth
- always groom your cat outside
- after giving them a stroke, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly
- feed your cat PURINA Pro Plan LiveClear to help reduce allergens in your home – more details below!
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What To Do If Your Partner Is Allergic To Cats
According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 10% of the population has pet allergies and cat allergies are the most common type of pet allergies. So what do you do if your significant other is allergic to your cat? Learn about the causes of cat allergies and how to make your relationship work.
Is your boyfriend or girlfriend allergic to your cat?
How Are Cat Allergies Treated
Cat allergies can usually be controlled with standard allergy drugs. Your doctor might recommend:
- Antihistamines, which are available over-the-counter — like cetirizine , diphenhydramine , fexofenadine , and loratadine or some antihistamines such as azelastine come in a nasal spray
- , like over-the-counterÃ pseudoephedrine or allergy drugs that contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine such as Allegra-D, Claritin-D, or Zyrtec-D
Nasal steroid sprays, which affect allergy or asthma symptoms in various ways Ã steroid sprays are a common treatment for allergies. Budesonide , fluticasone , and triamcinolone are steroid sprays that are available over the counter.
Allergy shots are another option. Allergy shots are not always effective, and completing treatment can take years. They’re also not usedÃ for children under age 5. But they can be a huge help to some people. Ask your doctor if they make sense for you.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent an allergy. Some studies have shown that exposure to pets as a young child seems to reduce the risk of developing pet allergies later. On the other hand, a child who already has allergic tendencies may get worse with exposure to a pet.
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Treatment For Allergies In Cats
Treatment of allergies in cats varies depending on the types of allergens your cat is sensitive to.
Treating allergies in cats usually involves a combination of approaches. Allergen avoidance involves reducing your cats exposure to any offending allergens- try keeping your cat indoors with the windows closed on high-pollen days, ensure the house is clear of mildew, and use hypoallergenic bedding. Using cat litters that are dust-free can also help.
A change in diet can help cats, even if they arent allergic to their food. Feeding a diet with lots of fatty acids may help to prevent allergens from working their way under the skin and causing problems.
For all allergic cats, flea treatment is essential. Even if your cats allergy isnt to fleas, the extra itch caused by a flea infestation can set them off with a flare-up. Talk to your vet about prescription flea treatment.
Lastly, drugs that prevent immune over-reaction may be necessary. These can include corticosteroids, antihistamines, and cyclosporine, among other things. These can be given by injection or with tablets at home.
Limiting Your Exposure To Allergens
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Household Changes To Help Your Cats Allergies
If your cat has seasonal allergies, you can make a few simple changes at home to help him feel better.
Keep your cat indoors when the pollen count is high.
Also, keep your home allergen free. Vacuum and wipe often, and change your HVAC filters monthly.
In addition, consider purchasing an air purifier to remove dust and pollen from the air.
Make sure your cat is flea free. Flea allergies are common in cats, and all it takes is one bite to trigger the allergic response.
Is your cat itchy and scratchy around his mouth? If his food dish is plastic, he might be allergic to the bowl. Try switching to glass, metal or ceramic.
Switch cat litter. Some cats are sensitive to chemicals and scents in many cat litter brands. Find a bag of low dust, chemical free brand and give it a try.
Do you like to cook? Try a home-cooked diet for cat allergies. Often limiting ingredients in a cats diet helps allergy symptoms.
PET | TAO Limited Ingredient Recipe is the perfect food for allergic cats.
Diagnosis Of Cat Allergies
Diagnosing cat allergies is theoretically simple, but it can take a long time. Since flea allergy is the most common allergy, the first thing to do is to rule out flea allergy as a cause of your cats symptoms.
This means applying prescription-strength flea treatment to every animal in the house for at least 12 weeks without any break in cover. This is necessary to ensure that the flea life-cycle is broken. If, with good flea control, your cat improves, a flea allergy will be presumed- but not diagnosed, as it could be a coincidence.
If your cat doesnt improve despite flea control, the next rule-out is food. To diagnose a food allergy, a hypoallergenic exclusion diet must be fed.
This must either be a prescription hydrolysed diet or a novel protein diet. This diet needs to be fed exclusively for eight weeks to see whether your cat is going to respond- its usually necessary to shut them in for this time to ensure they arent eating at a neighbours house.
If your cat improves, food allergy is likely- feeding a bit of their old diet and watching for a return of the allergic symptoms is enough to be sure.
If food allergies have been ruled out, by definition your cat must be suffering from Non-Flea, Non-Food-Induced Hypersensitivity Dermatitis – in other words, some sort of environmental allergy. Determining exactly what your cat is allergic to can be done with blood tests or skin tests using subcutaneous injections to test for a response.
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How Do I Know If I Have A Cat Allergy
Although the symptoms of a cat allergy may seem fairly obvious, it’s not always the cat that causes them. It’s a good idea to get confirmation from your doctor. After all, you wouldn’t want to blame Mr. Whiskers unjustly.
Your doctor can do a skin or blood test to see if you’re allergic. However, allergy tests aren’t always correct the doctor may also want you to try living without a cat for a few months to see how it affects your allergy symptoms.
Cat Flea Allergy Dermatitis
A flea allergy is triggered by a reaction to a fleas saliva. Cats who live exclusively indoors are just as susceptible to fleas as cats who go outside because fleas can live anywhere in the environment.
If you are currently using flea prevention on your cat and your veterinarian cant find any sign of fleas, that would suggest that your cat has an allergy to a food or something in the environment.
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Scientists May Have Found Out How To Get Rid Of Cat Allergies
That sneezing, wheezing, congested, itchy eye, must-escape-this-room-because-I-cant-breathe-around-this-cat feeling can ruin even the best of daysespecially if you are a cat lover.
But now, you might be able to avoid the allergies altogether, instead of avoiding the furry feline.
You read that right. There have been some very promising scientific breakthroughs that can help alleviate the symptoms of cat allergies altogether. Breathing comfortably without red, itchy eyes could become the norm for allergy sufferers.
And we arent talking about allergy shots or desensitization therapy, either.
These new treatments for cat allergies arent for youtheyre actually administered to your cat. The goal is to help make them less likely to incite an inflammatory process in you.
Heres everything you need to know about the potential new cat allergy treatments.
How To Live With Allergies And Pets
Millions of people enjoy sharing their homes and their lives with pets, even those who are allergic to animals. Unfortunately, some people believe that once they are diagnosed with a pet allergy, they have no choice but to remove their pets from their family.
Thankfully, there are many solutions that can be explored that would allow an allergy sufferer to keep their beloved pets while successfully managing their allergies. You’d be surprised to know how many people with allergies that aren’t life-threatening are able to live happily with their pets.
In many cases, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks of pet allergies.
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Infections Caused By Cats
Allergies are a manifestation of the immune system’s over-reaction to a non-infectious substance. But you can also get an infection due to cat exposure, such as ringworm, or an infection due to a cat scratch.
A parasitic infection caused byToxoplasma gondii is spread by cat feces. This parasite is very dangerous for pregnant women because it can cause birth defects.
Infections caused by cats are different than allergies.
Test For Allergies To Cats
Do you suspect you may have a cat allergy? Before you plan on what to do next, it is important to discuss your allergy with a GP or health professional. This is particularly important if you have other allergic conditions, such as asthma, rhinitis or eczema.
Your GP or health professional may refer you for testing to confirm whether or not you have an allergy to cats. This can be done by a blood test and/or skin prick testing. In some cases, referral to an allergy specialist may be needed.
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Im A Cat Veterinarian Whos Allergic To Cats Heres How I Deal And So Can
It all started a few weeks after my graduation from veterinary school. I went into a routine appointment with a lovely young Siamese cat. Almost immediately, I noticed my eyes beginning to swell and itch. Then came the sneezing and the running nose. By the time I finished the appointment, I could hardly open my eyes and was having trouble breathing.
You guessed it. I had developed a fierce allergic reaction to my favorite patients: cats.
Ive been a cat vet for over 25 years now, and Im still severely allergic to cats. But I love what I do, and I was determined not to change my career or my lifestyle. Heres how I found a solutionand how you can, too.
How Does Your Vet Determine The Cause Of Your Cats Skin Allergies
It is important to note that figuring out the cause of your cats skin allergy will require multiple visits to your veterinarian. Typically, your veterinarian will want to see your cat every two to three weeks until your cat gets better. These are the steps your vet will take to determine why your cat has skin allergies.
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Allergy Skin Prick Test
This test is performed in your doctors office so they can observe any reactions.
Using a clean needle, your doctor will prick your skins surface , and deposit a tiny amount of the allergen. Youll likely be tested for several allergens at the same time. Youll also be skin pricked with a control solution that has no allergens. Your doctor may number each prick to identify the allergen.
In about 15 to 20 minutes, the skin prick site may become red or swollen. This reaction confirms an allergy to that substance. A positive cat allergy will usually cause a red, itchy bump to the cat allergen. These unpleasant effects generally go away 30 minutes after the test.
Symptoms Of Cat Allergies
Immediate reactions to cats could include:
- a flare-up of eczema
- skin rash or hives
For many people, the signs are more subtle and it can be tricky to identify the cause of your allergic reaction particularly if your symptoms are triggered by another factor. Some people are allergic to some cats but not others, as all cats produce their own individual amount of cat allergens.
Want to get a cat but not sure if you are allergic? Try visiting someone that has a cat, or head to a cat adoption centre, to test if cats trigger a reaction.
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What This Means For Pet Parents With Cat Allergies
The reality is that many people go through extreme efforts to manage allergies to keep their beloved feline in their home. While a number of those people are successful, a number are forced to re-home a cat if someone new to the household has an intolerable allergy.
These two studies and potential new products offer a glimpse of hope for cat-allergy sufferers.
As this research is still ongoing, I would anticipate the efficacy of this product only to improve.
Fighting the problem at the source, instead of alleviating the symptomsits so brilliant, and yet so simple. Its one of those times that I find myself wondering, Why didnt I think of that?