Cat Allergies: Causes, Symptoms and Prevention

Cat Allergies: Causes, Symptoms and Prevention
Francisco María García

Written and verified by the lawyer Francisco María García.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

An allergy is when the immune system reacts to some external factor. The most common are dust, nasal, and food allergies. However, there are also animal allergies, such as a cat allergy.

Despite what you might think, a cat allergy is caused by their secretions. Most people associate animal allergies with their fur. However, a cat allergy is actually caused by their saliva, urine and any secretions from their skin glands.

Cats clean themselves by licking their body and fur. This is how the allergen is spread and how humans come into contact with it.

Why Do You Get Cat Allergies?

Allergens are the substances which cause an allergy. In cats, they’re spread all over the skin and fur from cleaning themselves.

A cat sat on a window sill

At this point, allergen can be spread all over the house or wherever the cat stays at. This is why some people who are allergic to cats have a reaction even without touching the animal. There is no relationship between allergies and breeds. However, the cat’s sex can be an influential factor.

Males are more prone to triggering an allergic reaction. This is because they produce more secretions. Although getting your cat neutered is a debatable topic, it’s one way to reduce the amount of allergens that spread around.

What Are the Symptoms of Cat Allergies?

In most cases, the main symptoms are related to the respiratory system. Some definite symptoms are rhinitis, an itchy throat, and sneezing. These symptoms can also be accompanied by coughing, nasal congestion, and reddening of the eyes.

The symptoms could be stronger, but it all depends on how sensitive you are to cats. If your immune system response is acute, it could cause asthma. In more complex cases, it could cause difficulties breathing. A cat allergy can also trigger hives, rashes, and itchy skin.

What to Do If You Have Cat Allergies?

If you suspect that you have cat allergies, then go get checked by your doctor. They’ll be able to run some tests to find out how severe it is. Therefore, if the results confirm that you are allergic, you should keep your distance from any cats, or even from places where they live.

If you’re a cat owner, there are some tips that can help minimize your immune system’s reaction:

  1. Keep your cat clean. This may mean giving them a bath once a week.
  2. Brush your cat’s fur. Brushing your cat’s fur will reduce dandruff. It’s common in cats and is one of the main allergens.
  3. Get rid of rugs or carpets. Most of the allergens will collect there. Getting rid of them could help you deal with cat allergies.
  4. Clean your house on a regular basis. Vacuuming areas where your cat spends time at will minimize the presence of allergens. You’ll also keep the areas free of dust.

There are other more radical measures, such as neutering for male cats. This reduces the cat’s secretions. You could also take anti-allergenic medications before making contact with cats.

How to Treat Cat Allergies?

There are two ways to alleviate cat allergy symptoms. The first is with common medicine.

A boy suffering from cat allergies

In regard to the discomfort caused by an allergy, taking some anti-allergenic medication can be effective. It’s important to check with your doctor before you self-medicate. As a preventative measure, there are some products that you can use on your cat. You can use a spray that covers the cat to help dampen your immune system’s reactions.

These Medications Don’t Harm Your Cat

Finally, there are some homemade remedies that can relieve rhinitis or coughing, such as eucalyptus tea or hot lemonade. Licorice root help relieve itchiness in eyes, while oats or aloe vera-based soaps can relieve itchy skin. Also, vitamin C helps strengthen your immune system.


The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.