What Causes Cat Allergies
The immune systemâs job is to fight invaders like harmful germs and toxins that put your health at risk. Those who experience an allergic reaction to cats and pets have an over-sensitive immune system thatâs reacting to proteins found in pet urine, saliva, or dead skin cells .
There are multiple ways someone can come into contact with irritating pet allergensâ the substances that lead to an allergic reaction. Pet allergens can cling to clothing, furniture, and wallsâsometimes staying there for months. This can meanâfor exampleâthat if youâre allergic to cats and you touch a couch where a cat was sitting, then you rub your eye, you may experience an allergic reaction.
Many people are surprised to hear that the allergic reaction doesnât come from the dog or cat hair itself. Instead, the hair collects the urine, dander, and saliva that cause the allergies to kick in.
Pet allergens can also become airborne after vacuuming, petting, or grooming. After the allergens are airborne, they can stay aloft for some time, leading to sneezing or itchy/watery eyes for the allergic person.
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Choosing A Hypoallergenic Cat For Your Family
Looking into cat breeds with minimal shedding and low grooming needs those that we consider hypoallergenic is a great place to start if you or someone in your family has allergies.;
At the end of the day, however, all cats are different and its difficult to say for sure if a certain breed or a certain cat will or wont cause a reaction. Therefore, as youre trying to determine which cat is right for you, it can be helpful to talk to breeders, veterinarians, or other experts for more information and insight into your specific situation.
And, whichever feline you welcome into your family, learn how Pumpkin can help keep your cat healthy.
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Is It Possible To Have A Pet Cat Even With Cat Allergies
My wife and I would like to adopt two kittens, however she has cat allergies and currently would not be able to live with them. The adoption group let us foster a pair of shorthair tabbys that she has fallen in love with. We would like to keep them, but think it is a bad decision.
We don’t want to take the kittens, and have her live with the allergies, and we don’t want to try something that only works for a short period of time. So is there something we can do to keep the kittens without having my wife live with allergic reactions all the time?
So far we have employed other strategies to help with the issue, like dusting often and keeping them out of the bedroom, but we are looking for a more permanent solution.
From reading online it seems like immunotherapy is an option to help treat those allergies so she would be able to live with them. I am hoping for some kind of treatment like this, but I don’t know how effective that is, or if it would even help. What are my options?
- 2Some cat breeds are easier on people with cat allergy than others. For example a Siberian cat is often said to be fairly safe for cat allergic persons.Jan 10 ’14 at 14:45
- 1No one mentioned Loratadine. It’s over the counter and I have been taking it to effectively treat my moderate cat allergy and live with a cat for several years.
Here is an example air filter. Though I have no idea how good this one is, it has a 4 1/2 star rating.
Vacuum And Dust Regularly
Vacuuming and dusting arent time-consuming tasks, and they will help keep cat dander in your living space to a minimum. Make sure to use a HEPA filter on your vacuum cleaner; otherwise you run the risk of sending cat dander airborne and exacerbating the problem. Also, make sure to change the filter on your furnace regularly.
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Living With Your Decision To Keep A Pet
If people keep the pet, they will almost always need more medication to control their symptoms, says Dr. Miranowski. For someone with allergies, this could include takingor upping the dosage oforal antihistamines and intranasal steroids, she says. And people with asthma may require higher doses of inhaled corticosteroids or the addition of other medicines, such as leukotriene inhibitors. In some cases, patients may decide to get allergy shots that boost immunity to the allergen, a strategy that can be effective, according to Dr. Nish.
The cost of these additional medications can add up, and some carry a potential risk of long-term side effects. Though allergy and asthma medications are relatively safe compared to some other drugs, when taken consistently in high doses, they can cause bone density loss, glaucoma, and other problems.
The impact of pet allergens on allergies and asthma isn’t entirely clear. Some highly publicized research in recent years has suggested that having pets around young children may actually protect children from allergies later in life , but the validity of this research has been questioned. And, significantly, the same effect does not apply to children who already have pet allergies. Studies have shown that pet allergiesespecially cat allergiescan lead some children to develop asthma if they are exposed to pets, and can make asthma worse later in life.
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See An Allergy Specialist
These doctors have an arsenal of weapons, such as medication and immunotherapy, to help you in your battle against allergens. Holistic allergy remedies acupuncture, for example also can provide relief. An allergy specialist can pinpoint exactly what you are allergic to, which can help you to avoid or minimize the allergen.
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How Do You Know If You Are Allergic To Cats
The symptoms of cat allergy range from mild to severe. It depends on a persons sensitivity and the level of exposure to allergens. These may also influence how quickly the symptoms develop after exposure. Highly sensitive people can develop symptoms within minutes of touching a cat or entering a house with a cat.
The symptoms may include the following:
- Sneezing or runny nose
- Coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and wheezing
- Facial pain from nasal congestion
- Watery, red or itchy eyes
- Skin rash or hives
You Have An Asthma Attack
Most of the time, pet allergies are just annoying. Sometimes, though, they can get more serious. The AAFA says that being around a cat can trigger a severe asthma attack in up to three in 10 people with asthma. So, if you have asthma, and you have an asthma attack, it could be because of the cats. However, Randall says âunless there’s some kind of deathly allergic reaction happening, I definitely don’t suggest, giving up the cat.â
Also important: cat allergies, when left untreated, can actually lead to chronic asthma. That’s why you need to go to a doctor. However, if you live with asthma and just want to find a way to manage it, Asthma UK recommends taking steps like allowing pets to spend time outside, and keeping them out of parts of the house that have carpets.
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Types Of Hypoallergenic Dogs And Cats
As far as dogs are concerned, this includes the Mexican Xoloitzcuintli, a dog which traces its ancestry back to the Aztecs, and the Chinese Crested, which, believe it or not, is also of Mexican descent. The only hairless cat is the Sphynx.
Remember, having one of these breeds in your home may lessen your allergic reaction, but, if the cause is urine or saliva they will be of no help.
These dogs lose hair like humans do without the seasonal shedding.; These breeds include the Afghan Hound, the Maltese, the Affenpinscher, the Wheaten Terrier, and the Yorkshire Terrier.
These dogs tend to be low shedders and include the following breeds: the Portuguese Water Dog, the Giant and Miniature Schnauzers, all three sizes of Poodles, the Labradoodle, and the Bichon Frise.
Best Cat Breeds For People With Allergies
Randa is a writer & former assoc. digital content editor at the American Kennel Club. She’s also mom to 1 Corgi & 2 orange cats.
Hives, sneezing, swollen or itchy eyes anyone with an allergy to cats will easily recognize the symptoms of a reaction. And if youre allergic to cats, you probably know someone else who is too.;
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America , as many as three in 10 people with allergies in the U.S. are allergic to cats or dogs. In fact, cat allergies, the AAFA reports, are about twice as common as dog allergies.
Nevertheless, you might be looking for a friendly feline to join your family and are wondering if there are cats better-suited for allergy sufferers after all, theres always talk about the best hypoallergenic dogs. What about the best hypoallergenic cats?
Although no cats are truly non-allergenic, some breeds are said to produce fewer allergens compared to others. Read on through our list of the 10 best hypoallergenic cat breeds to learn more.
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If Youre Allergic To Cats But Want One Discover How You Can Be Allergic To Some Cats And Not Others If Cat Allergies Go Away With Exposure And How To Have A Cat When Youre Allergic
Being allergic to cats is quite common among humans, with many people suffering symptoms such as sneezing, itchy skin, watering eyes, coughing and wheezing whenever a cat is nearby.
Sadly this can prevent caring cat lovers from owning a cat of their own, or even worse, result in them having to give up a beloved pet to charities such as Cats Protection.
If you do own a cat when youre allergic, it can still affect your ability to form a close bond with your pet, as you try to maintain a safe distance to keep the sneezing at bay.
However, a cat allergy doesnt necessarily mean you cant get a cat. Theres a lot of confusion around the exact cause of the symptoms and how to reduce their effects, but once you know the facts, there are lots of things you can try.
Signs Your Cat Is Allergic To Their Litter
If youre asking, Is my cat allergic to his litter? there are several symptoms you can watch for. Common signs of an allergy in cats include:
- Frequent scratching and itchy skin
- Facial swelling or swelling, inflamed ears
You might notice one or more of these symptoms, and their severity can vary. If your cat has an allergy and continues using the same type of litter, those allergies can worsen and the symptoms more pronounced.
Initially, you might notice symptoms only when your cat is in or near the box. However, dust from the litter can get stuck on your cats paws, and your cat can track it through the house and into his bed. If this happens, then your cat might experience those symptoms no matter where in the house he happens to be.
Your cat will become uncomfortable, and if he realizes that the symptoms are worse when he uses the litter box, he may start avoiding the box.
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What To Do If You’re Allergic
If an allergy test comes back positive, its decision time: Should you find a new home for your pet?
Experts unanimously agree that the best way to reduce allergens is to remove pets from the home. Even so, many people decide not to give away their pets even after an allergy is confirmedthough it depends on how severe their symptoms are and, often, whether children are allergic. Dr. Nish estimates that about 75% of the patients to whom he makes the recommendation ignore his advice.
If families aren’t willing to remove a pet, the next best thing is to isolate the pet from allergic family members as much as possible, by keeping it outdoors, or at least out of bedrooms. If you live in a multistory home, restricting the pet to the ground floor is a good strategy. Although these steps wont eliminate dander altogetherdander is so pervasive that it can be found even in homes that have never had pets, as well as in schools, shopping malls, and other public placeslimiting the pet’s roaming area will reduce it.
Replacing carpet with tile or wood floors is also beneficial, since carpets tend to trap dander. Frequent vacuuminganother common suggestionmay actually be counterproductive. Vacuuming tends to stir up allergens without necessarily removing them, and can actually increase the number of airborne allergens, even when newer vacuums containing HEPA filters are used.
How To Manage Pet Allergy Medications
Over-the-counter drugs are also one way to help you deal with your pet allergies and they can be pretty effective. Nasal steroids are typically the number one treatment for allergies and those help with nasal congestion, dripping and draining, Dr. Hong says.
Other options include antihistamines, like Benadryl, which are good for alleviating itching and sneezing. And allergy shots are another helpful option but Dr. Hong notes that theyre not effective for everyone. Those shots mostly help those allergic to cats and dogs but you may see less success with dogs.
Depending on the pet and the person, more serious allergies could develop, leading to increasing sinus infections. It can also cause asthma to flare up for some and even cause more upper respiratory infections.;
While medications can help with many of these symptoms, Dr. Hong says, the downside to relying on those medications should be top-of-mind, especially since some can result in drowsiness. For kids, those medications can keep them from being able to focus on schoolwork. The same goes for adults, who may be at work but also not able to focus.
And Dr. Hong also advises us to remember that while drugs may help us feel better around animals were allergic to, those medications arent cures. Rather, she says, they simply mask our symptoms.;
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Start With Your Environment
- Use air purifiers such as Purrified Air, which can be mounted on or over your cats litter box, or in any other space in the house, including the bedroom this product runs silently, so it wont disturb your sleep. It contains a replaceable 2.2 lb activated carbon filter media cartridge, and the filters last at least four months. Along with getting rid of mold spores, dust, litter box odors, and other indoor air contaminants, this air purifier also eliminates animal hair and dander, which are the chief causes of cat allergies in people.
- Designate cat-free zones in your home, particularly your bedroom. If possible, replace carpeting with hard surfaces, and use machine-washable throws on the furniture.
- Vacuum floors and upholstered furnishings regularly to suck up as much cat hair and dander as possible. Get a made-for-pets vacuum with a HEPA filter, and a steam cleaner for any carpeting.
Get Holistic Help For Yourself
- Physicians are quick to prescribe medications that may have side effects. Either that, or theyll just tell patients to give up their cats. Some may suggest a course of immunotherapy injections. A more natural approach would be to consult with a holistic doctor or naturopath, who can recommend homeopathic remedies such as Allium cepa, Euphrasia, Natrum muriaticum and Nux vomica, or herbal remedies like quercetin, borage, elder or ginseng.
- Use common sense when petting your cat. Do not touch your face and eyes, and wash your hands thoroughly after petting.
- Make sure your own lifestyle is healthy. Are you eating well, getting enough exercise and sleep, and taking steps to reduce stress? If you smoke, quit if you can. The healthier you are, the stronger your immune system will become, and the less troublesome your allergies will be.
If youre allergic to your cat, using a multi-pronged holistic approach works wonders. Dont expect results overnight, but if you keep at it over a period of time, you should start to see your allergies lessen in severity, and perhaps even disappear.
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How Do You Treat Cat Allergies
- Ask your doctor about antihistamine tablets and nasal sprays to ease your symptoms
- Groom your cat outdoors and wipe them with a damp cloth or cat-safe cleanser to remove allergens
- Avoid letting your cat lick your skin or clothes and always wash your hands after petting your cat
- Regularly wash your cats bedding, toys and litter tray Fel d 1 can be found in their urine too
- Ventilate your home by opening windows for an hour each day, or use an air purifier. Avoid placing cat beds and litter trays close to air vents
- Vacuum regularly using a cleaner with a high efficiency particulate air filter that limits the amount of allergen released back into the air
- Avoid letting your cat into your bedroom, as allergies can become worse at night
- Try feeding your cat Purinas new Pro Plan LiveClear cat food, designed to safely neutralise cat allergens and reduce the levels on their fur