Are You Allergic to Cat Hair?

If you think you may be allergic to your cat, you will have to get some tests to confirm this. However, you should monitor your symptoms and determine if you are allergic to cat hair and not other environmental factors.

Allergies to Cats

Typically, people develop allergies to cat dander, which the cat sheds on a regular basis. The dander is made up of dead skin cells and several substances, which cause the irritation. However, a lot of people believe they are allergic to cat hair. The hair itself is not an allergen, but it may contain dander particles or dust mites, pollen or other substances that can be the culprit allergen.

Symptoms of Cat Hair Allergies

If you are allergic to your cat, his hair, dander and other materials found on his hair, you will display a few symptoms, which are more severe when you are near your cat or in areas where there is a lot of cat hair or dander. The symptoms may include:

  • Frequent sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Stuffy nose and/or nasal discharges, which are transparent
  • Breathing problems, if your allergies are severe and the airways get inflamed
  • Skin rashes
  • Itchy skin

The symptoms to cat dander or hair are similar to any other inhalant allergies and the only clue you may be allergic to your cat is that you display these symptoms only in environments with cats. If you stay in an environment that is totally free of cat dander and hair you will not have any symptoms.

Tests for Allergies to Cats

The doctor will perform an allergy testing, which can be done on the skin or by taking a blood sample. The doctor will test for allergies to cat dander, pollens, grasses, common chemicals or dust, which may be trapped on the cat hair causing allergies.

If you get an intradermal testing, different substances will be injected under your skin. If you are allergic to cat dander, you will develop an allergic reaction in the square injected with the glycoprotein present in the cat dander.

Blood tests will be positive for dander allergies, if the blood contains specific antibodies, secreted only if you are allergic to the cat glycoprotein.

These tests may reveal that you are actually be allergic to other factors.

Managing Cat Allergies

If you are allergic to your cat's dander or dust or pollens that may be present in his hair, you will have to take a few measures to manage your allergies:

  • Get medication such as antihistamines and topical creams to reduce the skin irritation
  • Allergy shots may be created to build up immunity for cat dander or other allergens
  • Clean your cat's fur, so that you will remove the dander, dirt, dust or other particles that can cause allergies
  • Remove possible allergens in your home, so that you inhale fewer particles that may cause allergy symptoms