There are growing numbers of asthma sufferers in the West. Thirty percent of children have allergies. Children living on farms are less likely to suffer from an allergy. I think that it is generally known now that microbes on farms help to protect children from asthma and allergies. They help to develop the immune system which learns not to react to harmless materials which is what happens with allergies.
A recent study found that it is not only microbes which help to protect against asthma. A non-microbial substance called “sialic acid” (Neu5Gc) also helps to eliminate/moderate asthma. It appears to regulate the inflammatory reactions of the immune system. This substance is missing in humans.
Sialic acid can be absorbed by humans through contact with animals such as cats. It can also be absorbed by eating food of animal origin.
Contact with sialic acid does not reduce immunoglobulin E, the antibody that frequently occurs during allergic reaction. It initiates an anti-inflammatory reaction of the immune system. This takes place through so-called regulatory T-cells which have an increased presence. The cells dampen an incorrect response of the immune system providing a strong anti-inflammatory effect.
Children can benefit from petting their cats in very many ways and one of them is to reduce the chances of developing asthma.
I have to write a short postscript by saying the photo on this page comes from a page listing the causes of asthma. There is divided opinion still on whether cats are good for asthma or bad. I have read quite a lot on this and the new way of thinking ranks contact with cats in early childhood as being a good way of reducing the predisposition to asthma. But parents should do their own research.