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Cat Allergies And Your Friendly Feline

Aug 24, 2007
Owning and taking care of pets is a favorite pastime worldwide, and many people grow as close to their pets as they do to the people in their lives. Choosing what type of pet may depend on a variety of factors, such as where you live, as well as your own personal preference.

Pets can be practically any animal; snakes, rabbits, birds, and lizards. Dogs and cats are the most common pets that many have, yet because of cat allergies, many of those who would otherwise love to have a cat cannot do so. Cat allergies can range from mild to severe, so it is important to take special care when being around these precious felines.

Coping With Cat Allergies

Up to 40% of people who suffer from asthma have cat allergies and are much more sensitive to these creatures than they are to dogs. A protein that is found in the cat skin and saliva is the problematic element for those with this affliction. When a cat licks his fur in order to clean himself, then he is depositing this protein onto his fur, thereby causing the reaction in sensitive individuals.

An allergen can promote a reaction pollen, dust mites and animal dander. The cat hair itself is not causing the reaction, but the protein that is present in the dander and saliva. When the allergens become airborne, then the symptoms begin.

While no cats are known to be specifically hypoallergenic, male cats cause more allergic reactions than female because of the testosterone increase in the cat's glands, which in turn increases the protein. The cat allergen is found mainly in homes where cats live, yet has been found in offices and other places where animals are not allowed. It is quite sticky and can be carried on people's clothing from place to place.

The protein particles which cause the cat allergies can remain in the air for long periods of time, and those who are sensitive are more likely to have a rapid reaction when going into a room where there is a cat or multiple cats. Opening a window or using an exhaust fan often helps to reduce the allergens present in the air.

The most common symptom of cat allergies is wheezing that begins upon entering a room with cats. Yet, there are more subtle, delayed reactions as well that may linger for weeks. Chronic asthma can be an ongoing problem for those who are continually exposed. Hives can also occur, as well as atopic eczema. To be on the safe side, for those with cat allergies, it is advised to avoid these animals as much as you can in order to maintain health and not trigger a reaction.
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