My belief is that cats cannot be allergic to humans provided they are not wearing perfumes and such products or clothes containing allergens. I have come to this conclusion after unfruitful, online research. A barrier to finding information is that Google is unlikely to understand the question in the title. This is because in almost all instances people are searching for information about humans being allergic to cats (or dogs).
To be absolutely clear, this page is discussing the issue of allergic reactions from the cat’s perspective. Can cats be allergic to humans? It is turning the question on its head. I think that this is a difficult question to answer. I did not know the answer and I had to research it and my research was unhelpful as mentioned. People rarely ask the question. I couldn’t find a study about it on Google.
Of course, cats are individuals and their immune system may respond incorrectly to a whole range of allergens causing an allergic reaction. Therefore it is possible that a cat might be allergic to an individual person or persons. One problem is that people prefer to do research about themselves compared to cats. It’s more likely that research is done on dogs and cats, as well. Therefore if cats can be allergic to humans, we don’t currently know. We have to speculate. Some scientists think that it is possible. However, it is unlikely and it’ll be rare. You would have thought that over decades of veterinary care of cats, vets would have discovered a cat who is allergic to their owner if cats can be allergic to humans. There have been none reported to the best of my knowledge.
The reason why people are allergic to cats is because there is a protein in their saliva called Fel d1 which cats deposit onto their fur where it dries and ultimately went flies off onto furniture and around the room. My research indicates that people do not have a protein in their saliva which can be classified as an allergen for the domestic cat. Therefore that possibility that cats might be allergic to humans because of a protein in human saliva is removed. To be clear: human saliva is 90% water containing substances such as electrolytes, antibacterial compounds, various enzymes and mucus. The sciencedaily.com website does not mention any proteins that could be allergens.
There is a report online by the Journal of Allergy & Therapy which refers to human saliva acting as an allergen. It refers to a case report where a 25-year-old female reacted badly when she kissed her partner. She had asthma and she was allergic to cats. It appears that she might have been allergic to her partner’s skin scales and these were acting as inhalant allergens. At the end of the day it was discovered that the skin scales were “grossly contaminated with Staphylococcus”. This is a bacterial infection of the skin. My reading of this study is that, in this instance, the saliva did not contain an allergen and that the woman’s reaction was not an allergic reaction.
I have searched for information about the possibility of human saliva containing allergens and I have failed to find any evidence. It is also noteworthy that over almost 14 years of researching domestic information I have never encountered a reference to domestic cats becoming allergic to humans because humans have an allergen on or inside them which adversely affects cats.
Other human sources of allergens
It is possible that an allergen might be on human skin, perhaps in the flakes of skin that fall off or in the perspiration. There is no science on this that I’m aware of. My cats have always smelled my skin (my scent as all cats do). They have never had an allergic reaction. I’m sure that the same can be said about every other human-to-cat relationship. If I’m wrong please tell me.
At this stage, subject to better information from somebody else who might comment, I have to come to the conclusion that there is no reason why cats should become allergic to humans. I have never heard it happening and I’ve never heard of reports from scientists or veterinarians which might tell me that it does happen.
This cannot be 100% conclusive because it may be the case that experts in the field are missing the reason for a connection between a feline illness and a potential allergen from their human companion. Watch this space…..
Some pages about hypoallergenics