An allergy to cats can fade away over time. If you read stories about people suffering from a cat allergy, sometimes they will say it went away. I have a similar story to tell and Elisa, a regular contributor to PoC and her daughter have had similar experiences. This post is a follow up to one by Elisa about how asthma sufferers appear to be more prone to have allergies including to cats.
I had never been allergic to cats until all of a sudden I became allergic to a stray cat I called Timmy. He was unneutered and a great boy cat (I miss him). I think you’ll find that an allergy to a cat is most likely to be to an unnuetered male. Following that, when I took on Charlie, after my mother died, I was slightly allergic to him. However, the allergy lasted no more than about 6 months. It faded away. I don’t even think about it now.
It seems that I became used to his allergen. I self-cured, or desensitised myself. Other examples are:
- When a woman became pregnant she stopped being allergic to cats and it stayed that way. Her doctor attributed it to hormones.
- A man had bad allergies from 18-30 years of age when suddenly they all cleared up.
- A woman was allergic to her sister’s cats. She adopted her own cat and looked after her sister’s cats with no allergic reaction.
- It seems that people can grow out of allergies developed when young but this is less likely to happen when the allergies develop when 20+ years of age.
- One person on Metafilter (a forum) states that a person’s immune system develops.
- Although not an example of an allergy to cats fading, research indicates that when a young toddler is around cats (s)he can develop antibodies to allergies. This seems to indicate that the body develops resistance to allergens when exposed to an allergen, in this case the Fel D1 cat allergen.
I wonder if the Fel D1 allergen that causes the allergy to cats is individualised slightly on a cat-to-cat basis? Perhaps each cat has their own slightly different version of the allergen and our bodies adapt to it over a period of months until we are immune to it.
I ask myself: why should some people be allergic to a small substance that comes from a cat’s saliva (the Fel D1 allergen)? It seems strange really. It seems unnatural that an estimated 10% of people are allergic to cats because of this allergen. It makes me wonder if the unnaturalness of the situation is caused by the unnaturalness of the world that we are creating through our heavy industrialisation and intensive farming.
Are we making ourselves sensitive to some substances such as a cat’s saliva because of the environment that we create through our activities? For example, air pollution. Air pollution is a massive problem, probably far worse than people think. Do the toxic substances in the air that we breathe damage us slightly thereby allowing non-toxic substances such as a protein in a cat’s saliva to irritate us?
Allergies can fade. Children in particular can outgrow their allergies. Asthma can also fade. What causes asthma? We don’t know. We know what exacerbates it or predisposes people to it. The causes are genetic and environmental. These are the same causes of allergies including the cat allergy. We don’t know exactly why a protein in the cat’s saliva causes an allergic reaction. There has been research that indicates that the allergic reaction is due to the presence of a bacteria in our guts. The exact process is unclear.
Conclusion?: Well it is hard to find one because allergies appear to be a bit of mystery to the scientific and medical profession, which is why the treatment is rather crude: steroids. Steroids are an admission of not understanding the problem as all they do is reduce inflammation and reduce immune system activity.
However, people with a cat allergy, particularly children, should have at least a small expectation that their allergy will fade and that they will get used to be around cats.
The conclusion is: don’t jump to conclusions about your cat allergy. Be patient and see if it resolves itself. I’d also look at the environment you are living in and the food you eat. Is it as good as it can be? There are also many things one can do to alleviate it. There are no hypoallergenic cats, incidentally, although people will dispute that.
Photo by Andrew Goloida
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