Becoming Allergic to Cats

Becoming Allergic to Cats

by Michael

Is it possible to become allergic to cats? In other words you start out not being allergic and then develop the problem. Am I correct?

I say this from first hand experience. However, it is hard to make a good assessment because some cats are more likely to cause an allergic reaction than other cats. Although in my case it is not a real problem. I seem to have developed a slight reaction to Charlie. He spends a lot of time washing and grooming himself when he is next to me in bed. Has this caused me to develop a slight allergic reaction? Or is the change due to a change with me? It might be age related, for example?

It seems that male cats are more likely to cause an allergic reaction and unneutered males are the worst. They seem to produce more of the allergen in their saliva than female cats.

It may be the case that the body gradually becomes sensitive to the Fel D1 allergen. Is this possible?

There seems to be an quiet underlying problem with an allergy to cats. It is a shame that it exists. There are many people who love cats who can’t keep one because they are allergic to them.

One issue about being allergic to cats is that the symptoms can be quite subtle. You might feel a bit itchy and scratch yourself but think nothing of it. Or you might have very mild cold-like symptoms, which you would put down to having a cold. It can be hard to pin the problem down. The severity of the allergic reaction varies a lot.

Some people have really severe reactions. The Siberian cat is said to be hypoallergenic but is this a case of a breeder promoting the idea to improve sales? I don’t know. Some people report good results with Siberian cats. That said the Siberian is a purebred cat and most people don’t keep purebred cats. They can’t afford to buy one or prefer to adopt a rescue cat or simply rescue a cat! These cats are normally moggies. The Siberian cat solution is therefore limited.

Another cat related “problem” that can cause mild flu-like symptoms is the toxoplasmosis gondii protozoan. A lot of people are exposed to it and nothing happens. The body produces antibodies and they subdue the disease.

A blood test can detect the antibodides in your blood and you can tell if the antibodies are active or not. If active it means that you have active toxoplasmosis and your flu-like symptoms might be caused by that protozoan in your blood. Although it is rare. But this disease blurs a diagnosis of an allergy to cats it seems to me. But I may be exaggerating.

I have read that if a child is exposed to a cat when young it lessens the possibility of becoming allergic to cats when older. Is this true?

The Fel D1 allergen in the cat’s saliva is a problem for the domestic cat. It is a potential barrier to being adopted. There is not really effective way to deal with it. No instant cure. You can do certain things but they are not that clever.

Have you developed an allergic reaction to cats? Are you allergic to cats and does it frustrate you? I have read that about 10% of us are allergic to cats.

Associated page: Hypoallergenic cat breeds.

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Becoming Allergic to Cats

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Nov 07, 2011
Husband is allergic, but not like he used to be
by: Alex Hamilton

When I first met my other half, we had no animals, as he told me he was allergic. However, we adopted this lovely little calico who wandered into my friend’s shop, and both of them were immediately smitten with each other. He had some bad reactions at first (one sending him to the ER), alluding to what the doctor said was “allergy-induced asthma.” But eventually, only when she took to licking his bald head would he break out. Twenty years later, we have 7 cats, and it hardly bothers him, except when scratched or licked. His sister also had bad reactions, and she couldn’t even stay at our house for visits. And then suddenly, she was fine, even to the point of cradling our 20-year-old Russian blue for
for over an hour. Can’t explain any of it, but I am thankful for it, for both their sakes (and all our kids).

Nov 06, 2011
by: Ruth

Maybe but I think cats get blamed a lot for causing allergies when in reality it could be something else.

When you think of all the various substances used nowadays, new ‘improved’ washing liquids etc on our clothes and bedding, our bodies must react to some of them.

There never was such a fuss about children with allergies before the advent of so many new products and before central heating became normal in bedrooms. As children in my day our immune systems developed much more strongly because our mothers weren’t constantly cleaning and using air fresheners. Our late mother would say ‘A peck of dirt never hurt anyone’ and she brought up 3 healthy children.

Allergies can be lived with though as I did develop one in my eyes when working as a vet nurse. If I get a hair from any type of animal in one of my eyes it goes red and sore. So it’s only a matter of being careful and having some eye drops handy if I forget.

There are some children with a genuine allergy to cats but it’s the most favourite excuse of all used when relinquishing an unwanted cat to a Shelter.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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