This is not just about domestic cats; it applies to “pets” – nearly always cats and dogs. If you live with pets, a study indicates that you are less likely to suffer from an allergic reaction to the house dust mite which as it happens is one of the chief allergens in modern homes.
The study was conducted by the School of Physics at the National University of Ireland in Galway. The study found that both children and adults had less exposure to mites when there were pets in the home. The presence of dogs and cats resulted in a greater variety of mite species in the household which in turn made it more difficult for the dust mite to thrive.
One of the principal investigators in the study said:
“In homes with pets there were 17 mite species, compared with 13 species in homes without. A greater diversity in mite types creates greater competition, so no one species dominates.”
In the study, mites were discovered in 92% of mattresses, pet beds and armchairs. It is well known that dust mites are a trigger for allergy symptoms. Symptoms are watery eyes, sneezing, respiratory problems eczema and sometimes asthma.
This study would seem to counteract accusations that pets are carriers of house dust mite when in fact they limit the effect of the house dust mite allergen.