What triggers allergies in cats?

I’m referring to allergies suffered by domestic cats caused by their self-harming immune response to allergens in the environment. I am not referring to people being allergic to cats. Allergies in cats are caused by a defective immune system. The helper T-cells activate and deactivate parts of the immune system. They interpret instructions to do this. But sometimes they misinterpret the instructions and the immune system activates when the cat’s body is not threatened by dangerous microbes or cancer cells for instance. The immune system misinterprets innocuous substances, which are not going to harm the cat, as dangerous.

Symbolic representation of T-cells
Symbolic representation of T-cells. Image: Image by allinonemovie from Pixabay.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Consequently, the immune system goes into overdrive and it may falsely start to attack specific parts of the cat’s own body such as the red blood cells in the blood system. This happens when the suppressor T-cells do not turn off the immune response.

This is a self-destructive act by the immune system and it is called “auto-immune disease”. A specific example in cats is renal amyloidosis.

Disturbingly, Dr. Bruce Fogle, Britain’s leading vet and author, tells us that veterinarians are seeing increasing numbers of domestic cats suffering from allergies and auto-immune diseases.

They are not sure why. It may be because nowadays they are more able to diagnose illnesses and therefore, they naturally pick up these diseases more often. However, many veterinarians don’t know the reason.

I tried to investigate the underlying reason for the increase in auto-immune responses and allergic reactions using Google scholar. But there is nothing there. There is no research on the underlying possible reasons for this disturbing trend.

I am not a veterinarian. But common sense (can I apply common sense?) tells me that it is likely to do with the food and/or the environment in which the domestic cat lives. Something is changing in their lifestyle. It has become more unnatural. I sense that it is the food. Also, a lot of products in the home contain chemicals in order to make them last longer such as carpets and upholstery. Cats lie around carpets and on sofas et cetera. Are these chemicals leaking out of these products onto their fur where they are ingested when the cat self-grooms?

There are too many chemicals in the world. And we are learning piecemeal that road traffic pollution is a source of ill health. It shortens lives. It causes dementia. I’m referring to carbon dioxide, microparticles (soot) and nitrous oxide for example, plus brake lining particles. All these environmental pollutants get into the home and they are trapped there.

The pet food manufacturers profess to have cat welfare at heart but they prioritise parental profit over that more laudable objective. I don’t trust them. And I’m disappointed in veterinarians and scientist who have not really dug around hard enough to find the underlying cause of this disturbing trend.

Domestic cats suffering from allergies are really in bigtime discomfort. It is not something you can simply brush under the carpet which is what veterinarians do by prescribing steroids. This is brushing the problem under the carpet because it simply suppresses the symptoms. There is little attempt to get to the bottom of it or if there is it is ineffective very often. The easy route is to prescribe steroids.

I’m told that allergic reactions in cats to certain foods and chemicals are quite a recent phenomenon. When they come into contact with a trigger substance either by swallowing it or inhaling it, the immune system responds by producing an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). When a cat is allergic to the substance immunoglobulin E binds onto receptor sites and specialised immune cells called mast cells. These are located in the skin and in the lungs, stomach and upper airways.

RELATED: Cat Food Allergy Symptoms

The mast cells are filled with irritating chemicals according to Dr. Bruce Fogle and the IgE causes them to literally explode which scatters inflammatory substances such as histamine. That is why antihistamine drugs are prescribed to neutralise the released histamine.

A Google search does not provide me with an answer as to how commonplace auto-immune disorders are in domestic cats. I find this very surprising and depressing. We need to know more and it appears that the experts aren’t interested. Perhaps, being cynical, they don’t want the problem to be cured.

The more successfully proactive veterinarians are the less work they have to do. And they are all private businesses. The need to make a profit. Moreso nowadays as independent vets in the UK are being bought out by the accountants in suits who know piss all about veterinary work. Perhaps all veterinarians should be funded by the public purse and be a non-profit organisation.

P.S. The cat’s immune system is made up of the skin (the largest component of the immune system), tonsils, lymphatic system, intestines, lymph nodes, bone marrow, and spleen. The thymus also plays a role. This is a small gland in the lymphatic system that makes and trains the T-cells.

Below are more articles on allergies in cats.

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