Cat allergies in humans
Some people think themselves very unlucky when wanting to become a new pet owner, due to the allergies they have towards them. You see how cute they are & you yearn for their companionship, but unfortunately, some of us, believe we are unable to live with them.
However, it is absolutely possible for most people with allergies to live side by side with the furry creatures we wish to own.
Firstly, let’s go over why some humans are allergic to begin with. The cause is a secretoglobin protein produced by both cats and kittens (more so in adult cats) called Fel d1. This accounts for 96% of human cat allergies. It is produced mainly by their saliva and also by the sebaceous glands in their skin and is released into the atmosphere by way of ‘dander’, which is the invisible skin cells that cats shed. This is the prime source for the allergic or asthmatic reactions.
Common human reactions include, but are not limited to, swollen, red, itchy, and watery eyes, itchy nose (and sore nose after blowing it over and over again). Also, sneezing, coughing & wheezing. Sometimes people can even get hives or itchy skin. In serious cases, people can suffer from anaphylactic shock which would require emergency medical care.
People are under the assumption that the allergies are due to the cat’s fur but this is simply not the case. Most of the time any reactions are due to the cat’s dander, or possibly dandruff, getting stuck in people’s clothes or upholstery.
Symptoms can also be caused by being licked or scratched by a cat.
Whilst licking or scratching can be more difficult to avoid, there are ways to limit the effects from dander & dandruff, to enable a person to live happily & peacefully with our favourite felines. Firstly, providing your cat with a species appropriate and balanced diet, will help to keep the skin in a healthier condition and avoid certain allergies your cat may get from ingesting certain ingredients & processed foods.
Secondly, make a cat free zone (preferably your bedroom, which of course, can be much easier said than done!) This is the most cosy place in our home and where we want to spend most of our time cuddling up with these lovely creatures! Next, remove as many allergen collectors as possible. This includes fluffy rugs etc & clothing not tidied away. Upholstered furniture & carpets can also trap the allergens. On the other hand, leather & hardwood floors etc, are allergy friendly, as they help to reduce the allergens significantly.
Avoid touching your eyes after stroking your cat, wash your hands regularly after holding your fur baby and try to groom your cat outside as often as possible, to keep the dander out of your home. Vacuum regularly, ensuring your vacuum has a HEPA filter. These may seem time consuming tasks but are habits that not only help maintain a clean home, they help keep the allergens out. For those that are determined to keep a cat but still cannot seem to get over the symptoms, there are specific medications that can be obtained from your local GP / pharmacist.
These are just a few things one can do to make their home pet furrriendly. When there is a will, there is a way! We hope that everyone who has ever doubted being able to own a cat, is never put off, for it would be a shame to deprive oneself of the company of these amazing companions.
To conclude, by feeding your cat a species appropriate diet, keeping a clean home and vacuuming regularly, we are confident that anyone should be able to enjoy the pleasures of owning a cat, despite how much doubt they may have.