There is an inordinate amount of information on the Internet about how people can be allergic to their cat. As I understand it, about 10%, or perhaps more, of the human population are allergic to cats. I wonder whether a person’s allergy to the domestic cat is an accident of nature or whether it was designed by nature.
Anyway, do we ever consider the possibility that the opposite may occur? There is no reason why it should not. The problem is this. We do not know enough about cat allergies to really understand whether there is something on us that may cause an allergic reaction in a cat.
Our skin is home to a community of microorganisms. There is a range of bacteria on our skin. This is called skin flora. Apparently, there are around 1000 species of bacteria on human skin. The total number of actual bacteria is estimated to be 1 trillion. This bacteria is not normally harmful to us but benefits us. We do not know whether this bacteria has any impact upon our cat. It seems unlikely. However, it is washed off frequently, usually daily and we do know that chemicals in the products that we use and which remain on our skin can cause an allergic reaction in our cat.
Cosmetics and topical medicaments contain preservatives which can cause an allergic reaction in the people using them. Cats tend to be more sensitive to these chemicals than dogs, it seems. As many as 10% of the users of these products may suffer an allergic reaction. Is it beyond the bounds of possibility that a cat may also suffer an allergic reaction in the same way to some of these preservatives? A cat’s skin is not exposed but cats, as we know, are vulnerable because of their fastidious grooming.
A well known chemical that is most often used by women is perfume and which may cause an feline allergic reaction. Another chemical can also make a cat ill. This is a product called Evamist spray. This product delivers a low dose of oestrogen through a woman’s skin which then finds its way to the bloodstream. It reduces hot flushes during menopause. It has been reported to be harmful to children and companion animals.
The soaps that we use and the detergents with which we clean clothes may contain chemicals which can cause an allergic reaction in our cat.
Whereas the cat allergen, to which we can be allergic, is in the cat’s saliva which the cat deposits on his or her fur when she grooms, in the case of people it is usually cleaning products which we deposit on our skin when we wash ourselves. It is these products which may cause an allergic reaction in a cat.
Regrettably, there is very little hard information about allergic reactions in cats as a result of the chemicals that we use on ourselves and in the home.
As can be seen, it could be argued that the cat is bombarded with a wide range of chemicals of all sorts from the garden and house cleaning products to the products that we use on ourselves, which may contribute to these rather mysterious cat allergies which veterinarians sometimes have difficulty in diagnosing. Perhaps, 10% of cats suffer from an allergy caused by something on a human.
Picture: Boston Public Library