Cat sneezes

All cat owners know the risks of having allergy problems while owning a cat. Many of us can owners cat owners are not allergic and don’t develop allergy symptoms around their cats, but it is unfortunately a common nuisance for others.

Cat dander is a common allergen to humans, but that’s not the only culprit. Proteins found in a cat’s urine and saliva are allergy triggers and are the most common reason people suffer from allergies around cats.1 But if the tables were turned, can cats be allergic to humans?  Although rare, it’s possible for cats to be allergic to humans. Now that we know it’s possible, let’s explore how and why cats can be allergic to humans. I’ll also show you some common symptoms to watch for!


Can Cats Be Allergic to Humans?

Cats can be allergic to humans. It’s not common, but not impossible. Cats suffer from seasonal allergies just like we do, and their body’s response is the same. Cats can be allergic to grass, dust mites, pollen, mold, hair, dander, and cigarette smoke, to name a few. When a cat is exposed to allergens, its body sends immunoglobulin E antibodies to link to the allergen and remove it. These antibodies trigger the release of histamines that can cause hives, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, a runny nose, and rashes.

Humans bathe more often than other species, making it rare for cats to be allergic to us because our dead skin (dander) and hair go down the drain when we bathe. If your cat develops allergy symptoms from being around you, it’s probably from your laundry detergent, perfume, or some other substance that contains some type of chemical or preservative. Cats are rarely allergic to human dander, making a different allergen more likely.

tabby cat sneezing
Image Credit: Jupiter_79, Pixabay

How Can You Tell if Your Cat Is Allergic to Humans

Telltale signs and symptoms your cat will show are sneezing, itchy skin, wheezing, and coughing. Your cat could develop vomiting and diarrhea, but the most common symptom is itchy skin. Some allergens are bothersome only during allergy seasons, such as pollen; if that’s the case, your cat’s symptoms will last only during that time. However, the symptoms could be ongoing if your cat is allergic to dust mites or mold.

We recommend that if your cat is wheezing, take it to the vet immediately, as this could result in difficulty breathing.

Are There Allergy Treatments for My Cat?

Yes! Contact your veterinarian if you suspect your cat may be suffering from allergies. Your vet can perform a Radioallergosorbent Test, or RAST, which involves taking a blood sample from your kitty to test for allergens associated with its environment. The test measures IgE levels, and if the levels are high, your cat is allergic to some form of allergen.

This test is not always conclusive; however, your veterinarian will also perform an Intradermal Skin Test (IDST) for a more definitive answer. Your veterinarian will inject a tiny sample of potential allergens into the skin. If hives or redness develops at the site, your cat is allergic to that specific allergen.

veterinarian doctor holds cat
Image Credit: H_Ko, Shutterstock

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Healthy and Safe

When you discover whatever your cat is allergic to, ensure you try and remove the allergen as best you can. For example, if your cat is allergic to dust mites, try keeping the home dust-free as much as possible. You can also try a gentle laundry detergent for sensitive skin, such as a hypoallergenic formula. Don’t smoke inside your home if you’re a smoker, and ensure you give your cat any medication your vet prescribes.


Final Thoughts

As we all know, cats are not the only ones who suffer from allergies. It’s well known that cats can aggravate allergies for those who are allergic to cats, but cats can be allergic to you and the environment, too. When in doubt, always consult with your veterinarian for an official diagnosis, and be sure to follow your vet’s recommendations.


Featured Image Credit: ZlataMarka, Shutterstock

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