Facts, Prevention, and Relief for Allergies to Cats

Updated
Updated

Cat allergies are one of the most common pet allergies. In fact, there are twice as many people allergic to cats as there are people allergic to dogs.

Cat allergies can be difficult to deal with when you have a pet you love or if you know someone with cats. Fortunately, there are ways you can relieve your cat allergies with Wyndly.

Set up an allergy consultation with Wyndly to get a personalized allergy plan, or keep reading to learn more about cat allergies.

What Is a Cat Allergy?

A cat allergy occurs when your immune system perceives cat dander or other harmless cat-related substances as a threat. Your system responds with antibodies, which cause your allergy symptoms.

Cat allergies can vary in severity. Some people may have mild symptoms that require high amounts of exposure to trigger them, while others can have symptoms appear within seconds of entering a household with cat allergens.

Common Symptoms

Cat allergies can cause mild to severe symptoms. The symptoms related to cat allergies are fairly common and shared by several other allergens.

Here are the symptoms you may experience:

  • Coughing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Hives or skin rash
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Redness in areas where a cat has scratched, bitten, or licked you

In addition, people with asthma and cat allergies have an increased risk of cat allergens triggering an asthma attack.

Your symptoms will likely worsen when you’re around people who have cats or when you’re in a household that has cats. With that being said, this doesn’t always guarantee that you have a cat allergy. We’ll touch more on diagnosing your allergy below.

Where Is Cat Dander Found?

Dander is the dead skin cells that are shed from cats. Cat dander is very light and can stick to clothing, skin, hair, and numerous other surfaces. This means that even households without cats can get cat dander in them if a cat owner enters the home. Households that have cats will need to work a little harder to reduce cat dander. It can easily circulate through the air and get on your carpets, floor, and furniture.

Can You Be Allergic to Cat Hair or Saliva?

Yes. Cat allergens include fur, saliva, and urine. Dander can typically spread around more easily and is easier to breathe in, which is why it’s often the cause of allergies.

Testing and Diagnosis

As common as cat allergies are, they can be very difficult to self-diagnose. There are a variety of airborne allergens that could trigger your allergies, so it’s important to determine the exact cause so you can treat it and reduce exposure. Houses with cats are just as susceptible to bringing in pollen and dust allergens, so there’s a chance you could be allergic to those instead of the cat allergens.

It’s always a good idea to eliminate any potential doubts so you can start finding relief. Buying a convenient at-home allergy test from Wyndly will help you pinpoint the cause of your allergies without having to leave the comfort of your home.

This is how different allergy testing options work:

Old-Fashioned Method: Skin Prick Test at Your Doctor’s Office

Skin prick testing requires you to go to the doctor to find out your allergen triggers. It’s often uncomfortable, and it takes time out of your day. You’ll go to the doctor’s office, they’ll administer a test where they prick or scrape your skin with a needle tipped with different allergens, and then they’ll observe the areas they pricked for itchiness, redness, or swelling. All in all, it’s not a pleasant experience. Instead, you can save yourself time and pain by getting an at-home test.

Modern and Efficient At-Home Method

  1. Order Wyndly’s at-home allergy test. We ship our CLIA-certified test straight to your door.
  2. Take the allergy test and send it back to us. Just do a quick finger prick test to provide us with a blood sample and mail it back when you’re done.
  3. Receive your personal allergy profile. Our doctor will interpret your results, create an allergy profile, and walk you through your personalized treatment plan.

Unlike self-diagnosis, an allergy test can reveal the full breadth of your allergies. This way you know exactly what you’re allergic to and how you can treat your symptoms. You may even uncover allergens that you never suspected.

Treatment and Remedies

If you do discover you have cat allergies, you can take measures to reduce, manage, and treat your symptoms. There are several steps you can take if you want to relieve the symptoms of cat allergies.

Limiting Exposure

Perhaps the easiest thing you can do for your cat allergies is to limit your level of exposure to cat allergens. Avoiding cats altogether is the best method, but some people have beloved pets and friends or family with cats.

When complete avoidance isn’t possible, try some of these methods to limit your exposure:

  • Keep Cats Out of the Bedroom: Keeping cats out of the bedroom will limit the amount of dander and other allergens you breathe in while you sleep.
  • Wash Your Hands After Handling: If you have a cat, you’re going to want to pet it and give it attention. While you don’t have to stop interacting with cats, it is a good idea to wash your hands after handling them.
  • Use a HEPA Filter: Installing a HEPA filter will help prevent dander and other allergens from continuously circulating in your home’s air.
  • Vacuum Often: Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter can reduce the level of cat allergens in your home.
  • Bathe Your Cat if Possible: If your cat is amenable to it and it doesn’t cause too many issues for either of you, bathing your cat can reduce the allergens on their skin.
  • Have a Partner Clean the Litter Box: Remember, people with cat allergies may be allergic to cat urine. If you live with someone else, it’s best to have them clean the litter box if they can.
  • Let Your Cat Outside: If you have an outdoor cat, have them stay outside as often as possible, weather and safe conditions permitting.

If you don’t own a cat, make sure you’re limiting exposure in scenarios where you might be exposed to cat allergens. It’s important to:

  • Clean After Hosting Pet Owners: If you have cat owners come visit your house, make sure to dust and vacuum afterward to rid your home of any allergens they may have tracked in.
  • Plan for Visits: If you’re visiting someone who owns a cat, ask if they could keep the cat out of the room you’ll be sleeping in. Also, begin taking allergy medication in preparation for your trip.
  • Keep Your Distance: As tempting as it might be, avoid petting or interacting with cats when you visit someone who owns cats.

Limiting exposure can help reduce your symptoms, but it’s not a surefire way to relieve them.

Medications

If you’re needing help managing your symptoms, certain medications may provide some relief. Here are a few you may want to try.

  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Over-the-counter medications will be the easiest to obtain and can help you get your symptoms under control quickly when you’re suffering.
    • Antihistamines: Common antihistamines can reduce or block the production of histamine in your body, managing symptoms for a short period.
    • Nasal spray: If you have a stuffy nose or congestion from allergies, a nasal spray can help reduce inflammation and clear the nasal passages.
    • Eye drops: Eye drops can flush allergens out of your eyes, helping to reduce itchy and watery eye symptoms.
  • Prescription Medications: If you can’t find any sort of relief from over-the-counter medications, your doctor may recommend prescription allergy meds. This should always be a last resort, as these medications can have various side effects.

If you’re tired of short-term relief or changing your lifestyle just to reduce symptoms, sublingual immunotherapy allergy drops may be your solution.

Sublingual Immunotherapy Allergy Drops

Sublingual immunotherapy allergy drops are an effective and safe form of immunotherapy. Immunotherapy introduces small, gradually increasing doses of your allergen to your system over time. This retrains your immune system to view your allergen system as harmless instead of a threat that requires an antibody response.

Using allergy drops leads to long-term relief from your allergy symptoms. They’re also safe and painless, and, unlike allergy shots, they don’t require a trip to the doctor. If you have a beloved pet cat, avoiding it and barely managing symptoms with medication isn’t an ideal solution. Allergy drops can help your body adapt to your furry friend.

Get Long-Term Relief With Wyndly

Allergy treatment doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re tired of trying different home remedies and over-the-counter medications just to be around your cat, Wyndly can help.

Wyndly provides you with a personalized treatment plan designed to bring you long-term relief. Using allergy drops, our doctors will help you find relief for life instead of just for the day. Schedule a personalized allergy consultation today to get started on the path to real relief.

Cat Allergy FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about cat allergies.

Can I get a hypoallergenic cat?

There aren’t technically any hypoallergenic cats. Even hairless breeds still produce dander, saliva, and urine. The breed, length of hair, and amount of shedding don’t play a factor when it comes to cat allergens.

Can a cat allergy be fatal?

Although it’s very rare, a cat allergy can occasionally lead to anaphylaxis. Make sure to seek emergency medical treatment if you’re having trouble breathing.

Are cat allergies genetic?

People can have a genetic predisposition to certain allergies. Allergies can also develop at any point in life.

Is it possible to just get used to my cat?

While some people develop immunity through constant exposure to their cats over time, it’s certainly not a guarantee. Also, you could still be allergic to other cats in this case. If you want to develop immunity through exposure, allergy drops are a much simpler and more effective solution.

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