Although felines enchant you, the runny nose, itchy eyes, the hives, sneezing wheezing and asthma attacks drives you up the wall whenever you are in close proximity with a kitty. How can something that you love so deeply at the same time cause you such extreme suffering? If this sounds similar to your scenario, my heart goes out to you profoundly.
In spite of this miserable situation, you are not alone dealing with this heartbreaking conflict. At least two percent of the population living in the United States1 is tormented by their allergy to cats. But since you cannot even think of living without a kitty, you make the difficult choice and put up with these aggravating symptoms just like rest of cat-loving people who prefer to trade in their comfort to experience the pleasure of being owned by a feline.
Although most folks believe that the nasty culprit causing their allergy is the cat’s fur; this is not the case. Cat fur itself is not responsible for causing the allergy. What does make people miserable is something called “Fel d 1“; a protein that emanates from sebum. Sebum is a substance produced by the sebaceous glands. Its purpose is to help keep the hair and skin moisturized.
This protein attaches itself microscopic particles of dry skin called dander. Since these particles are incredibly small; only about 1/10th of the size of dust mites these particles quickly become airborne and attach themselves to our skin, to bedding, carpets, clothing and other objects. So when a cat grooms himself, with the particle floating through the air, it can instantly launch an serious allergy attack for the folks who are averse to Fel d 1. But for allergic cat lovers, there may be some good news on the horizon which hopefully may save the day!
Presently under investigation, there is new drug which may hold the potential for helping cat lovers conquer their allergies. Dr. Steven Tolber of the Allergy and Airways Treatment Center is studying an injection-based drug known to limit allergic reactions, by boosting the immune system of the folks taking the drug.
“As we all know, once you have a cat it becomes a member of your family. Most people who have cats, even if they have symptoms, really want to keep the cat.”
The new drug Tolber is working with is named Catpad. This potentially breakthrough drug requires far fewer injections than the traditional cat allergy treatments that are presently available. Catpad requires only four different injections and would replace the 40 to 50 different shots that now are being used to build up the immune system. Since the product has not yet received FDA-approval, further testing is needed.
Researchers are still looking for more participants in the CATALYST cat allergy study. Anyone wishing to participate in the study, Contact the:
Allergy, Respiratory & Sleep Center,
4048 Dressler Road NW,
To find out if you qualify, Call Melanie Carlson at 330-479-3333. Considerations for inclusion in the study: You must be between the ages of 12 and 65, have a cat at home and have been diagnosed with a cat allergy for at least two years.
My kudos go out to Dr. Tolber for the work he is doing. I think this outstanding research potentially offers great promise for the folks who are allergic to cats.
What do you think? Tell us your opinion in a comment.
- Photo Credit: Bonnie Huntsinger (internal frame added by Michael plus a bit of a clean up)
- Source: Source: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
- Note: 1. It could be as high as 10%