Life with cat allergies — whether they’re yours or a family member’s — can raise a lot of questions. Could a cat allergy explain your son’s never-ending cold symptoms? Will you regret giving in to your daughter’s demands for a kitten, despite your allergies? Will a so-called hypoallergenic cat allow you to have the pet you’ve always wanted without making you a sneezing, sniffling mess?
Their bodies mistake harmless things — like cat dander — for dangerous invaders, and attack them as they would bacteria or viruses. coughing and wheezing hives or a rash on the chest and face red, itchy eyes redness of the skin where a cat has scratched, bitten, or licked you runny, itchy, stuffy nose sneezing
Antihistamines , which are available over-the-counter — like cetirizine ( Zyrtec ), diphenhydramine ( Benadryl ), fexofenadine ( Allegra ), and loratadine ( Claritin ); or some antihistamines such as azelastine (Astelin) come in a nasal spray Decongestants , like over-the-counter pseudoephedrine ( Sudafed ) or allergy drugs that contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine such as Allegra-D, Claritin-D, or Zyrtec-D Nasal steroid sprays, which affect allergy or asthma symptoms in various ways; steroid sprays are a common treatment for allergies. Budesonide (Rhinocort), fluticasone ( Flonase ), and triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24HR) are steroid sprays that are available over the counter. Even if your house guests leave their cats at home, they can bring the dander with them on their clothing and luggage.
Certainly, another family member should take responsibility for the cat‘s care and do things like cleaning the litter box. A central air cleaner — as well as filters on the vents themselves — can help prevent cat dander from circulating through the house. Hugh H. Windom, MD, associate clinical professor of immunology, University of South Florida; private practice, Sarasota, Fla.
Jay M. Portnoy, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI); Chief, Section of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Children’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics in Kansas City. Jonathan A. Bernstein, MD, allergist, Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Division of Immunology/Allergy.
Can you see cat dander?
Dander is invisible skin cells that cats naturally shed as a part of the normal growth cycle. It’s different from cat dandruff, which is when shed skin cells build up, clump together, and become visible as they fall off. Unlike hair, you can’t see cat dander —but it can accumulate almost everywhere in your home.
How can you tell the difference between dandruff and cat dander?
Cat dander vs dandruff, what’s the difference? Cat dandruff is the visible white flakes of dead skin that can be found in your pet’s fur. If you find a large quantity of dandruff in your cat’s fur, it can be a sign of a medical problem. Dander, on the other hand, is microscopic and completely normal for cats to shed.
How do you treat cat dander?
Clean Your House Regularly. Clean your home regularly to reduce the accumulation of pet dander. ….Declutter Your Home. ….Bathe and Brush Your Pet Regularly. ….Use a HEPA Filter. ….Change HVAC Filters Regularly. ….Use a Hard Flooring Material. ….Restrict the Pet From Certain Areas.
Does cat dander go away?
Removing your pet from your house won’t make your allergies go away instantly. It can take several weeks to several months for the dander in your house to dwindle to the point that it no longer causes your symptoms.
Calling all cat lovers. Does your skin frequently turn red when Whiskers scratches or licks you? Do you ever feel your eyes start to water when Abraham Linkitten falls asleep anywhere remotely close to you?
When you feel that familiar tickle in your throat, its the reaction of your immune system playing things safe and trying to fight off allergens. Dander refers to the microscopic pieces of dead skin that animals with fur or feathers shed into their surrounding environment.
Since its defining characteristics are being tiny and lightweight, dander has no problem remaining suspended in the air for long periods of time. Siberians, Balinese, and Russian Blues are low shedding cats that would all be good options for those with severe allergies because they produce less of the Fel d 1 protein. A skin test can help you find out whether your cat has problems like mites, yeast, or fleas that cause excess dander production.
Then make sure to thoroughly rinse it all out because any lingering chemicals will potentially irritate the skin and lead to increased dander production. In addition to other grooming methods, it is also recommended that you brush your cats coat about three times a week to remove fur and dander that would otherwise become airborne. We recommend throwing your drapes, rugs, and couch covers (if you have them) in the washing machine a few times a month to get rid of as much of the allergen as possible.
Counters, walls, doors, and cabinets are all fair game for prime dander hideouts, so a quick wipe down is extremely helpful in keeping your home as allergen-free as possible. If you currently sleep with your cat and feel your allergies acting up at night, consider purchasing a pet bed and placing it in a different room.
Cat dander has a protein that can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. Find out what causes cat allergies and how you can reduce cat dander in your home.
Dander is invisible skin cells that cats naturally shed as a part of the normal growth cycle. Its different from cat dandruff , which is when shed skin cells build up, clump together, and become visible as they fall off.
Regular bathing removes the saliva buildup from a cats fur as well as dead hair, preventing it from falling off in your home.
You might know cat dander as dandruff in your feline friend’s coat, but do you know it’s also a component of house dust? Whether the dander is a sign your cat has a health problem or it triggers your allergies, understanding more about cat dander is the key to controlling it.
Related Articles When a cat grooms, she conditions her skin and coat, which helps keep dander to a minimum. The cells are less firmly glued together and slough off more easily, resulting in an increased amount of dander.
The New Scientist explains these oils contain a glycoprotein called Fel D1, which is highly allergenic to many people. It is actually the Fel D1 on shed dander and hair which triggers the sniffles for those people allergic to cats. Whether it’s the for the health of the cat or to allow an allergic person to keep a feline friend, controlling dander is important.
Cat World writes there are many reasons for excessive dander to develop, from lack of grooming to serious health issues. The essential fatty acids (such as fish oils) have a special role in maintaining plump, healthy skin cells. Lack of moisture in the superficial layers of the skin leads to flaking and increased dander.
Malassezia : This is a yeast which makes up part of the normal flora and fauna of cat skin. Without regular care, the natural conditioning oils are not spread over the surface and the coat becomes dry and brittle. Health conditions such as diabetes mellitus or overactive thyroid glands may cause a general dip in immunity.
What Causes Cat Allergies?
About 10% of the U.S. population has pet allergies and cats are among the most common culprits. Cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. But contrary to what you might think, it’s not the fur or hair that’s the real problem. People with cat allergies are really allergic to proteins in the cat‘s saliva, urine, and dander (dried flakes of skin).How do these tiny proteins cause such a big allergic reaction in the body? People with allergies have oversensitive immune systems. Their bodies mistake harmless things — like cat dander — for dangerous invaders, and attack them as they would bacteria or viruses. The symptoms of the allergy are the side effects of your body’s assault on the allergen, or trigger.Keep in mind that even if you don’t have an actual cat allergy, your cat can still indirectly cause your allergies to flare up. Outside cats can bring in pollen, mold, and other allergens on their fur.And what about so-called “hypoallergenic” cats? While some breeds — like the “hairless” sphinx — are said to be less likely to trigger symptoms of cat allergies than others, any cat has the potential to cause problems. This is true regardless of its breed, hair length, or how much it sheds. So if you know that you or another family member is allergic to cats, getting one — no matter what the breed — is not a good idea.
How to Reduce Cat Dander & Allergies
Cat dander has a protein that can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. Find out what causes cat allergies and how you can reduce cat dander in your home.Having cat allergies is no fun. The itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and wheezing can take all the joy out of being around cats. People often point to cat dander (shed skin cells) or hair as the main culprits, but Lynn Paolillo, an instructor at the National Cat Groomers Institute, says it’s a little more complicated than that. Read on to learn more about cat dander and how to get rid of it and other cat allergens.
What is Cat Dander?
Dander is invisible skin cells that cats naturally shed as a part of the normal growth cycle. It’s different from cat dandruff, which is when shed skin cells build up, clump together, and become visible as they fall off.Unlike hair, you can’t see cat dander—but it can accumulate almost everywhere in your home. It can be on your walls, furniture, bedding, and even in the air.
How Does Cat Dander Affect Allergies?
If you have pet allergies, you’re not alone. Up to 30 percent of Americans are allergic to cats or dogs, though cat allergies are more common. People with cat allergies can be sensitive to proteins found in a cat’s dander. But most of the time, cat allergies are triggered by a protein found in a cat’s saliva.“Cats are fastidious groomers—they lick themselves all the time,” Paolillo says. “A cat’s saliva, with the protein in it, gets transferred onto their skin and coats. Over time, it dries, builds up, and flakes off either on its own or with hair or dander.”All cats have the protein (called Fel d 1 ) in their saliva but at varying levels. “That’s why someone who’s allergic to cats may be fine with one cat, but then as soon as they touch another cat they have a big reaction,” Paolillo explains.It also explains why kittens may not trigger allergies, but grown cats do. Kittens don’t do a lot of self-grooming. So it’s hard to tell if you’ll have an allergic reaction to a cat until it gets older and starts grooming itself.
How to Lower Your Cat’s Dander
The best way to lower the amount of cat dander and hair that’s shed is to give your cat regular baths, Paolillo says. Regular bathing removes the saliva buildup from a cat’s fur as well as dead hair, preventing it from falling off in your home.Beware of dry shampoos, Paolillo says. They won’t get rid of loose fur, dander, and saliva build-up like a regular cat shampoo. You have to physically remove those allergens.
What Is Cat Dander?
The Spruce explains cat dander is microscopic flakes of shed skin. The skin has a layered structure much like a brick wall. At the base are baby skin cells which mature over time, travel upward, and eventually slough from the surface. This means a certain amount of dander is normal as a part of the life cycle of the skin.When a cat grooms, she conditions her skin and coat, which helps keep dander to a minimum. However, if the cat is unwell or suffers a dietary deficiency, this is reflected in her skin. The cells are less firmly glued together and slough off more easily, resulting in an increased amount of dander.In addition, cat skin produces natural oils that keep her coat and skin in good shape. The New Scientist explains these oils contain a glycoprotein called Fel D1, which is highly allergenic to many people. It is actually the Fel D1 on shed dander and hair which triggers the sniffles for those people allergic to cats.For most cats dander is purely cosmetic, but be aware that excessive dander can be an indication the cat is sick or has bad skin. Whether it’s the for the health of the cat or to allow an allergic person to keep a feline friend, controlling dander is important.
What Dander Looks Like
Flea Science elaborates on how the appearance of cat dander can be mistaken for flea eggs. Both are tiny (smaller than a pinhead), white and shiny. However, whereas flea eggs are oval, dander is usually a small flat square. In addition, flea eggs fall out of the coat, while dander often becomes trapped among the hairs. This gives the coat a flaky appearance.Dander comes in different sizes from microscopically small to visible flakes. Again, a word of caution. Petful explains there is a mite, cheyletiella, with the nickname “walking dandruff.” Just because something looks like dandruff, doesn’t mean it is.
Causes of Cat Dander
Cat World writes there are many reasons for excessive dander to develop, from lack of grooming to serious health issues.
Cats need a high quality, protein-rich food for good health. Poor quality food, that is low in omega- and omega-6 oils or has depleted vitamin levels, can result in poor coat condition. The essential fatty acids (such as fish oils) have a special role in maintaining plump, healthy skin cells. Pet Education explains this is why many skin nutraceutical products are rich in omega oils.
Lack of moisture in the superficial layers of the skin leads to flaking and increased dander. Consider using a humidifier, and turning the thermostat down on the heating.
Willows Referral Services records how the parasites most often linked with cat dander are:The first two parasites live on the surface of the skin and can be spotted by the sharp-eyed pet parent. The third parasite, Demodex, lives within the skin and it requires skin scrapes and a microscope to find it. A good starting point is regular use of a product licensed to kill external parasites. However, not all products kill all parasites, so you may still need to go to the vet.
Discomfort in the form of dental disease or arthritis means the cat is less likely to groom. Without regular care, the natural conditioning oils are not spread over the surface and the coat becomes dry and brittle. In addition, that licking tongue massages the skin and improves the blood supply. When this benefit is lost, the skin has a tendency to dryness.The answer here is twofold. Try to brush the cat each day, if even for a short time. The benefits include removing knots, conditioning the fur, and massaging the skin for better all round coat condition.
Health conditions such as diabetes mellitus or overactive thyroid glands may cause a general dip in immunity. This makes the skin less able to fight off bacterial invaders resulting in low-grade infections that cause flakiness. In addition, the skin’s hydration often dips, which again results in dry, flaky skin. The crucial thing here is to identify the underlying condition and get it treated.
Treating a Cat With Dander
Where possible, the underlying cause of the dander should be identified and treated. For example, the cat that isn’t grooming due to arthritis should be prescribed pain relief. Whereas a cat with parasitic disease needs the regular use of a product effective at killing that parasite.In addition, it is beneficial to provide a healthy, balanced diet rich in essential fatty acids, and a living environment that is neither too hot or too cold. Regular brushing also stimulates the circulation to the skin and improves the immune system, making the skin more resilient.