How to Tell If Your Cat Is Allergic to Dust Mites

If your cat is allergic to dust, she may show different signs of her allergy than you do when your allergies flare up. Let’s look at the clinical signs of feline dust allergy, as well as some steps you can take to help your pet feel better.

Some Background on the Dust Mite

Before we discuss dust mite allergy, let’s first look at the cause of the problem: the dust mite. Dust mites are relatives of the spider that live on dead skin cells shed by both people and pets. They absorb water from their environment, rather than drinking it as other types of animals do.

Although they can be found almost anywhere in the average home, dust mites seem to concentrate in bedrooms. This may be because people and pets spend so much time in a bedroom each day, which creates the potential for higher levels of dead skin cells to be present. Likely locations of dust mites in the bedroom include pillows, mattresses, carpets, bedding, stuffed toys or upholstered furniture.

Dust mites prefer warm, humid environments, or those with a temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity above 75 percent. Cooler, drier environments help control dust mite populations.

What Causes Dust Mite Allergies

When furred or feathered creatures cause an allergic reaction, it’s often their dander or saliva that causes the problem. Dust mites, on the other hand, give off a protein when they eliminate that is the cause of most dust mite allergies. Another major cause of dust mite allergies are the decaying remains of dead dust mites.

Signs of Feline Dust Mite Allergy

Although dust mite allergy is an inhaled allergy, affected cats most often show signs of trouble by developing skin problems. These types of allergies are called atopic allergies, and they are among the most common feline allergies. Atopic allergies are most likely to develop when your cat is between 1 and 3 years of age.

Cats with dust mite allergies will scratch frequently and may lick their skin often. This zealous grooming may lead to hair loss and skin irritation such as hot spots, linear granulomas (long red lesions) or miliary dermatitis (crusty skin patches).

Steps to Take to Relieve Feline Dust Mite Allergy

Many cats with dust mite allergy may have allergy attacks year-round since dust mites aren’t affected by climate change like fleas or outdoor vegetation can be.

If your cat’s dust mite allergies are particularly severe, prescription medication may help lessen the severity of her attacks. Consult with your veterinarian about which medications may help.

Taking a few simple steps can help control dust mites in your home. These include

  • Vacuuming frequently
  • Eliminating stuffed toys
  • Running a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaner in the room where your cat spends most of her time
  • Providing your cat with synthetic, non-allergenic bedding
  • Washing your cat’s bedding in hot water each week
  • Replacing the carpeting in the room in which your cat spends most of her time with sheet vinyl or another easy-to-clean surface
  • Changing the filter in your home’s climate control system regularly
  • Running the air conditioner regularly to control indoor humidity and temperature levels