Understanding Human Allergies to Cats

Humans may develop allergies to cats. The allergies may be light or severe and the symptoms may be reduced by applying treatment with allergy shots or medication.

Causes of Cat Allergies

Cat hair does not contribute to allergies. The main causes of allergic reactions are cat dander and saliva. People are allergic to a certain protein that is present in cat dander and saliva. The glycoprotein Fel d1 is produced by the sebaceous glands, and sensitive people develop allergy symptoms when in contact with airborne cat dander.

Cat Allergy Symptoms

A person with cat allergies produces excess histamines and displays numerous symptoms. The most frequent symptoms are:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy nose and skin
  • Coughing
  • Skin irritation
  • Wheezing

Some people may experience swollen feet and a sore or scratchy throat. These symptoms are similar to pollen or dust allergies, but if you have a cat or experience these when a cat is present, this means that you have cat allergies.

Cat Allergy Treatment

Cat allergies may be managed with medication or cat allergy shots.

The excess of histamines may be controlled with the administration of antihistamines. There are several types of antihistamines, according to the severity of your allergies; your doctor should be able to prescribe you a suitable treatment. Antihistamines should be alternated, because after 3 months the body may develop immunity to the medication and will not respond properly, and the production of histamines won’t be inhibited.

Antihistamines must be administrated on a regular basis to control the allergies and there might be side effects such as nausea, dizziness or head aches.

Cat allergy shots are meant to desensitize the patient. Allergens are injected into the allergic person. The amount of allergens is increased periodically and the patient should develop immunity to them. The shots are administrated monthly. However, the effect of the shots is not felt in the first few months after administration, so the patient will still display allergy symptoms.

Preventing Cat Allergy Reactions

Cat allergy reactions may be prevented by limiting cat allergen exposure. As this is not an option for cat owners, but there are other ways of reducing the allergy reactions.

Cat grooming and regular baths will reduce the amount of cat dander in your home.

Keep your house clean and use air purifiers. Opt for fewer carpets, pillows and drapes, as these gather cat dander and will enhance your allergic reactions.

Restrict the cat’s access to your bedroom. If he doesn’t have access, you will have an allergy free night.

Hypoallergenic Cats

People talk about hypoallergenic cats and how they might be a solution for allergic cat lovers. Hypoallergenic cats were created, however it is not confirmed that they won’t cause allergies in humans.

Note that hairless cats are not hypoallergenic cats. Hairless cats still produce dander, which is the main cause of allergies.