Allergic to Cats: Am I Allergic to My Cat?

Symptoms can involve nasal, ocular, dermal, and respiratory conditions.
Allergic to Cats: Am I Allergic to My Cat?

Last update: 05 December, 2018

Many people are allergic to cats. To find out if you are one of these people, you need to pay attention to certain signs and symptoms. Let’s take a closer look!

Allergic to cats?

Pet allergies in general, especially to cats, are more common than you may think. This is particularly true for people who have other health problems, such as asthma.

About 30% of people with allergies have reactions to certain animals.

In order for someone to be allergic to cats, their immune system needs to react in a specific way. This natural defense is responsible for identifying foreign substances in the body and acting accordingly. These responses could be dermatitis, coughing, sneezing, rashes, etc.

When someone is allergic to pets, it’s because their body reacts to harmless proteins or allergens from the animal’s saliva, dandruff, hair, or urine.

In regard to cat allergies, the protein that causes it is called “fel d 1“. This protein is present on cats’ skin and spreads when the animal grooms itself (which cats do constantly). This protein also can be found in the saliva and sebaceous glands.

Under normal conditions, fel d 1 does not cause any symptoms or reactions. However, in the case of people with hypersensitive immune systems, this protein causes an allergy. In addition, there are some breeds less likely to cause allergies, such as the sphynx and Devon Rex.

People who are allergic to cats have sensitive immune systems.

Signs of being allergic to cats

Although allergies are usually determined by a specialist through skin tests, the following can help you identify typical symptoms of being allergic to cats:

1. Congestion or a runny nose

This is the most obvious sign of being allergic to cats. Some people begin to sneeze nonstop when a cat approaches them. Others get a stuffy nose or a very runny nose. In some cases, a person’s nose could turn red or become sensitive.

2. Redness and itchy eyes

When cat dander floats in the air and makes contact with the eyes, this can cause a reaction to someone allergic to cats. Their eyes will become red, itchy, or irritated. They also can get very teary-eyed.

Be careful not to rub your eyes to reduce itching because this can be bad for your eyes. Always dry your eyes with a clean handkerchief. Also, don’t touch your face without washing your hands well after being around cats.

3. Respiratory problems

If you’re allergic to cats, you may experience certain breathing difficulties around them. In addition, if you suffer from asthma, you will most likely need to use your usual medication to reduce the symptoms.

You can also experience coughing, chest pain, wheezing, or chest tightness. When this happens, you should try to ventilate the house or go outside to get a breath of fresh air.

4. Rashes

Some people who come into contact with cats can have skin problems like eczema, hives, redness, rashes, itching, hives, or dryness.

If this happens, the worst thing you can do is scratch the affected because you can infect a larger area. Therefore, you should wash your hands well or even use gloves at night to avoid scratching while you sleep.

People allergic to cats can suffer nasal problems.

I’m allergic to cats: what do I do?

If you have adopted a cat and you realize that you’re 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 isn’t 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 won’t be a nightmare.

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