While it may have felt like a great idea to pick up a new feline friend at Pawmetto Lifeline while staying home, your allergy symptoms may be saying otherwise. Below is a guide to help you understand how your pet is causing your allergies, common symptoms and how to reduce exposure so you don’t have to rehome your new companion.
How Do Cats Trigger Allergy Symptoms?
It’s not your cat’s fur that triggers your symptoms, but actually their dander, saliva and urine. This means you can have an allergic reaction even if the cat is nowhere near you.
- Dander refers to the dead skin flakes that originate near a cat’s sweat glands that can float in the air on dust particles, which are easy to inhale.
- Saliva contains proteins like albumin or Felis domesticus 1 (Fel d 1), which are transferred to the skin during grooming. These proteins can then be transmitted to you after petting the cat or inhaling dander.
- Urine also contains Fel d 1 which can trigger symptoms when cleaning the litter box.
Common Cat Allergy Symptoms
Common cat allergy symptoms include:
- Chest tightness
- Rapid breathing/shortness of breath
- Dry, flaky skin
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Sinus congestion
- Swelling in the face or mouth
- Swelling in the airways (anaphylaxis)
Treating Cat Allergies
The best thing you can do to prevent allergy symptoms is to try to eliminate triggers. While this may not be possible, especially if rehoming your cat is out of the question, there are ways to minimize exposure:
- Keep your cat out of your bedroom. Ensuring there is no dander in your bedroom means you won’t be exposed during the eight hours you spend asleep.
- Use a HEPA filter. Indoor filters can remove allergens from the air to minimize the amount of dander you’re breathing in.
- Vacuum and clean often. At least once a week, you should vacuum and dust to reduce allergens.
- Remove carpeting. Nothing collects dander like carpeting. We recommend replacing carpet with hardwood and keeping it swept and mopped.
- Change and shower after spending time with your cat. At the very least, you should wash your hands immediately after petting them.
If these measures aren’t preventing your symptoms, talk to your doctor about long-term treatment like immunotherapy. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call CENTA Medical Group today.
Learn More About Allergies