What Causes Cat Allergies
About 10% of the U.S. population has pet allergies and cats are among the most common culprits. Cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. But contrary to what you might think, it’s not the fur or hair that’s the real problem. People with cat allergies are really allergic to proteins in the cat’s saliva, urine, and dander .
How do these tiny proteins cause such a big allergic reaction in the body? People with allergies have oversensitive immune systems. Their bodies mistake harmless things — like cat dander — for dangerous invaders, and attack them as they would bacteria or viruses. The symptoms of the allergy are the side effects of your body’s assault on the allergen, or trigger.
Keep in mind that even if you don’t have an actual cat allergy, your cat can still indirectly cause your allergies to flare up. Outside cats can bring in pollen, mold, and other allergens on their fur.
And what about so-called “hypoallergenic” cats? While some breeds — like the “hairless” sphinx — are said to be less likely to trigger symptoms of cat allergies than others, any cat has the potential to cause problems. This is true regardless of its breed, hair length, or how much it sheds. So if you know that you or another family member is allergic to cats, getting one — no matter what the breed — is not a good idea.
How To Prevent Allergies In Cats
There is no way to prevent a cat from developing allergies, but you can often help to limit its exposure to allergens. Keeping a clean home, purchasing dust-free and unscented cat litter, and using regular flea preventatives can help. Also, avoid excessive perfumes or deodorizers and smoking in the house. Giving your cat metal or ceramic food and water dishes can also help prevent your pet from having an allergic reaction. If you notice signs of allergies in your cat, it is best to consult with a veterinarian.
Controlling Cat Allergies With Preventative Measures
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Symptoms Of Flea/parasitic Allergies Can Include:
- Excessive itching and licking: Similarly to atopic dermatitis and food allergies, a cat with flea/parasitic allergies will also excessively itch or scratch their skin. This intense itching or scratching will occur whenever the cat is bitten by a flea.
- Sores, crusts, bumps: Sores, crusts, and bumps can be a result of the excessive itching and licking of the skin.
- Hair loss, not only limited to the tail base: A cat with a flea/parasitic allergy will experience hair loss around their tail base, neck, and head.
- Swollen lower lip: A swollen lower lip is another common symptom of flea/parasitic allergies in cats that you should look out for.
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.
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How Can You Know If Youre Allergic To Cats
If you think youâve experienced an allergic reaction to cats, it may be time to get tested by an allergist. Healthcare providers typically diagnose a pet allergy based on a mix of your medical history, potential cat allergy symptoms, and test results. Skin prick tests are commonly used, where a small substance of a cat allergen is placed on the skin, then pricked to see how you react to it .
Additionally, you can take an allergy test from the comfort of home, which uses a finger-prick blood sample to check for antibodies in your blood that have high reactivity with pet-related allergens .
You Experience Shortness Of Breath
Another annoying symptom of cat allergies is feeling like you just can’t catch your breath. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says, “Many airborne particles are small enough to get into the lungs. For some, this exposure can cause severe breathing problems. Highly sensitive people can begin coughing, wheezing and have shortness of breath within 15 to 30 minutes of inhaling allergens.”
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You Feel Exhausted All The Time
When you think of allergies, you probably think of sneezing, wheezing, and rashes. Those are very common symptoms, but they aren’t the only ones! Cat allergies can also cause fatigue, leaving you feeling exhausted all the time. In fact, Healthline reports that experts give this type of fatigue a specific name brain fog and its all to do with the inflammation.
People with allergies experience inflammation, ays from the Cleveland Clinic. That inflammation leads to a congested nose, disrupted sleep patterns and not getting good rest. Its an easy symptom to overlook, as fatigue can have a variety of causes, but if it’s combined with some of the below symptoms, it could be a sign of allergies.
Are There Other Allergens I Could Be Sensitized To*
Some people with a cat allergy may also experience symptoms when exposed to dander, saliva, and urine from other mammalian animals, such as dogs, guinea pigs, horses, pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, rabbits, and hamsters. In addition, ingestion of foods such as milk, eggs, beef, and pork may also elicit symptoms. This is called cross-reactivity and occurs when your body’s immune system identifies the proteins, or components, in different substances as being structurally similar or biologically related, thus triggering a response.1
Knowing the proteins, or components, within each allergen that are triggering your symptoms can help guide your management plan. With that in mind, and based on your symptom history, your healthcare provider may suggest something called a specific IgE component test, which can help reveal the risk profile you belong to. Results from this test can also help your healthcare provider decide if immunotherapy may reduce your symptoms.1Already have your specific IgE component test results?
Your component test results will include the name of the components . Your healthcare provider will likely review the results with you, but here you’ll find an at-a-glance breakdown you can use as a reference. Simply match the component names to the list below to see what they mean in terms of symptom management.1,8
rFel d 1
- Cat allergen immunotherapy may be an option.
- Indicates that symptoms may be caused specifically by cat.
rFel d 2, rFel d 4
rFel d 7
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What Causes Food Allergies
A food allergy is a reaction by an individual animal to a particular substance in their food. This occurs when the bodiesâ response to normal food becomes âconfusedâ, causing abnormal reactions. Frequently the food has been part of the diet for a long time. We cannot stop this abnormal reaction so the only effective treatment is to avoid eating the food that causes the problem.
The most common causes of food allergy in the dog include beef, mutton, chicken, wheat, corn, soy, dairy foods and eggs. Occasionally chemicals such as preservatives, additives or food dyes are also the culprit.
The most common causes of food allergy in the cat include fish, beef and dairy products.
Types And Causes Of Cat Allergies
There are 4 common allergies in cats: environmental, fleas, food, and seasonal. This section elaborates these types of allergies and the different ways in which they may affect your cat.
Environmental allergies. Substances that cause environmental allergies include pollen, grass, fungi, mold, and dust. Your cat may also have allergies to things like cigarette smoke, perfume, and some cleaning products.
Flea allergies. When a small insect known as a flea bites your cat, it causes an allergic reaction that can be very irritating. The saliva from a flea bite can affect a catâs entire body, not just where the cat was bitten. Your veterinarian can help you choose the right flea prevention product to help protect your cat.
Food allergies. Some cats may have allergies to certain foods. This can cause skin itchiness, vomiting, or diarrhea. Your veterinarian can help you find out which foods are irritating your cat and create an appropriate diet.
Atopic dermatitis. When a cat experiences allergies, their bodies can often react with a skin condition called atopic dermatitis. With this condition, your cat may develop skin sores, scabbing, hair loss, and redness.
Environmental and flea allergies are usually treated by your veterinarian using the same meds, often including skin creams or a prescribed medication.
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Possible Signs Your Cat Has Food Allergies You Need To Aware
- Post author
Food allergies can attack any animals, including your pets. Cats and dogs are also prone to have food allergy. Allergies appear when your body cannot deal with something entering it. Food allergy is a condition when your body reacts to the food you eat.
Food allergies are caused by a particular ingredient in food, which is commonly protein. You can see the complete explanation of food allergy in pets, such as in signs your dog has food allergies. The signs might be similar to cats.
Cats, just like humans, are prone to have such food allergies. Sometimes owners have to make a trial and error feeding to their cats in order to know which food is more suitable for the cat. Cats can have allergy to certain types of food, such as seafood, dairy products, food with artificial coloring and preservatives.
You might be wondering now how you can distinguish the signs of your cats having food allergies. Lets check the 6 signs you cat having food allergies that you need to know.
- Excessive Gut Sounds
The first sign of your cat having food allergy is the presence of gut sounds. While your cat is having food allergy, it is more likely to have some gut sounds. Besides, your cat will also experience passing of gas.
- Constant Scratching
If you see your cat scratches more often than usual, then this might become one of the symptoms of a food allergy. A cat which experiences food allergy tends to scratch or rub its bodies so it starts to form bald patches.
- Gastrointestinal Problems
Are You Ready To Eliminate Your Cat Allergy Symptoms
If cat allergies are impacting your life or your relationship with your favorite feline, its time to choose Wyndly. Our team of allergy doctors can help you figure out your next steps for treating and managing your cat allergy symptoms.
Schedule an initial consultation today, and well send you an at-home allergy test kit for free!
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Im Allergic To Cats: What Do I Do
If you have adopted a cat and you realize that youre allergic to it, you should not abandon the cat. Each year, hundreds of pets are abandon because the owners end up having allergies to the animal.
You might not be able to get rid of the allergy completely, but you can reduce it by washing your hands after touching the animal or cleaning the litter box.
You should also make sure the cat isnt allowed to enter your bedroom. This will prevent them from leaving their allergens on the bed, carpet, curtains, and your clothes.
Also, try to avoid letting the cat on the couch. Use the vacuum cleaner to periodically clean and open the windows on a daily basis to ventilate the house. If you follow these methods, then being allergic to cats wont be a nightmare.
How Pet Insurance Can Help
When food allergies strike, Pumpkins pet insurance plans can help you cover the cost of Rx food and supplements needed to get your fur baby feeling better.
*Pumpkin Pet Insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For full terms, visit pumpkin.care/insurancepolicy.Products, discounts, and rates may vary and are subject to change.Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. is a licensed insurance agency, not an insurer. Insurance is underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company, a Crum & Forster Company and produced by Pumpkin. Pumpkin receives compensation based on the premiums for the insurance policies it sells. For more details visit pumpkin.care/underwriting-information
*PRESCRIPTION FOOD COVERAGE TERMS: Pumpkin insurance covers prescription food to treat an eligible accident or illness. It does not cover prescription food used for weight management or general health maintenance.
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How Do I Know If My Cat Has Allergies
There are a few telltale signs that indicate your cat is likely suffering from allergies. The most common signs of allergies in cats are skin itchiness, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. The symptoms of allergies in cats will ultimately differ depending on what your cat is allergic to, but its still good to be aware of the most common signs.
Is My Cat Sensitive To Foods
If your cat vomits frequently, has diarrhea, irritated skin, a poor coat condition or hair loss, then she may have a food allergy. The most common symptoms of a food allergy or food intolerance are digestive upset or skin irritation. If your cat has food allergies or food intolerance, you may notice some of the following signs:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Frequent scratching or hair loss
- Red, inflamed skin
- Poor growth in young dogs
- Coughing, wheezing and sneezing
IMPORTANT: Some symptoms of food allergies or food intolerance are similar to those of other serious conditions so consult your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs.
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What Causes A Litter Allergy
An oversensitivity to everyday substances will lead to an immune response. The cats body will try to flush these substances from the body, leading to an allergic reaction.
Most litter allergies are caused by fragrances or scented chemicals that have been added for odor control. Europe PMC stated that perfumes added to gravel in cat toilets could lead to allergic reactions. In extreme cases, asthma can occur.
The European Respiratory Journal also argues that cat litter is a possible trigger for sarcoidosis. This is a disease involving a series of inflammatory cells that form granulomas, which are lumps. For example, silica, a component found in cat litter, can initiate inflammation and cause a reaction.
Scented litter only really benefits humans, so its best to avoid this kind of litter. Scented litter may even encourage your cat to go to the toilet elsewhere, leading to an unwanted cat smell in your home.
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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