There is another report in the news about a study suggesting that an exposure to household cleaning products is linked to an increased risk of asthma and wheezing in children. The researchers looked at more than 2,000 children and found that the numerous cleaning products, so ubiquitous in households up and down the UK, resulted in a 35% greater risk in children of developing asthma or other breathing problems by the age of three, compared with those whose parents who use cleaning products less often.
The products considered the most hazardous in this respect are those that are scented and sprayed. Nearly 5.5 million people in the UK received treatment for asthma according to Asthma UK. It is obviously a major problem and the researchers were sensible to look at infants because they normally spend 80 to 90% of their time indoors and are especially vulnerable to chemical exposures through their lungs and skin in part because they are in regular contact with household surfaces.
I have to say that domestic cats are also in regular contact with household surfaces. They rest and sleep on sofas, carpets and floors all the time. They are often nearer these surfaces. I would be really appreciative of a study which looks at the implications of using home cleaning products on domestic animal companions, namely cats and dogs. They’re going to cause allergies and the world of cat allergies is opaque. [Just to absolutely clear I am referring to cats suffering from allergies not humans suffering from an allergy to cats.]
You have to find the allergen which will be a chemical in these sprays. A veterinarian will have to do tests to pinpoint the allergen which is going to be expensive. This is a barrier to these tests being done and therefore very often a domestic cats suffering from an illness created by an allergen in the household will have to go on suffering. A veterinarian is likely to give that animal a steroid of some sort to force the cat’s body to fight the immune response. This is not a good thing.
My conclusion is that there is no question that more studies need to be done with reference to allergens in the household affecting cats and I’d like to see them reported in the mainstream newspapers such as The Times which published the study I have referred to in this article. Another conclusion is that air fresheners should be avoided outright in homes where there are companion animals and children. And as to the other cleaning products they should not have volatile organic compounds, fragrances, irritants or flammable ingredients.
SOME MORE ON ALLERGIES IN CATS: