Above all other pets, more people have been proven to be allergic to cats. Cats carry a certain type of protein called, Fel d 1. This protein is found in the cat’s skin or their saliva. If an individual has a sensitivity to this type of protein, they exhibit symptoms of a typical cat allergy. Usually, people who say that they have a cat allergy believe that they are allergic to the hairs of the cat. In actuality, the people suffering from a cat allergy are allergic to the specific protein found in the cat’s saliva and skin.
Why people are allergic to cats?
Because the protein production increases depending on the hormone levels of the animal, male cats contain more of the specific allergic protein, which causes individuals with cat allergies to be more sensitive to male cats rather than female cats.
Cats are an extremely clean animal. They are constantly grooming themselves. When a cat grooms, they lick their bodies, which then transfers the protein from their skin and saliva onto their fur. Once the protein is deposited onto the fur, it is released into the air. If a person is allergy-sensitive and inhales the protein released into the air, they may exhibit signs of a cat allergy.
Almost all places contain cat allergens, even if the location does not currently house the animal. The protein Fel d 1 – when released into the air – is easily absorbed by clothes. Clothes can then transfer the protein to another location and release the allergen throughout the air. Also, the cat allergen remains in the air for long periods and is very difficult to remove from home furnishings. Carpets, couches, and mattresses may take anywhere from five months to five years to return to a normal level of allergen content once a cat has been removed from that location. Even if the cat is not present in the location, people with protein sensitivity will most likely still show signs of a cat allergy if entering this type of environment.
Symptoms of cat allergy
Symptoms of a cat allergy may include chronic sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, wheezing, chronic cold-like symptoms, hives, or even an asthma reaction. To try and maintain control and alleviate symptoms of a cat allergy, individuals should avoid having the animal in their home. If this is not an option, the home should be kept as clean as possible by routinely washing walls and furniture, vacuuming carpets, and utilizing an air filtration system to include vent and furnace filters to decrease the number of allergens floating in the air. Also, bathing the cat every week may help decrease the amount of allergen introduced into the air, as well as the consistent washing of your own hands after contact with the cat.
As much as we love our animals, if a cat allergy is severe enough, it may be time to remove the animal from the home. If the love of that animal outweighs the discomfort of the allergy symptoms, then every possible step should be taken to decrease the number of allergens in the air thus minimizing the cat allergy.