The Infinite Cats cat comics and cartoons cat tales cat games cat health information Infinite Cat RSS feed contact Mike

cat allergies

Cat Allergies

Question: Why is it that I'm so allergic to cats, but not to dogs?

Answer: The answer, in a word, is dander. It's like dandruff. The trigger for pet allergies is not their hair. In fact, cats that are short-haired traditionally give off more allergen (allergy-causing substance). Proteins found in the skin of pets trigger allergies in susceptible people. It flakes off, gets in their fur as dandruff, and spreads when the pet grooms itself with its tongue.

Veterinary research has shown that twice as many folks have cat allergies as dog allergies. It may be that the protein in a cat's skin is more allergy-provoking than a dog's, or simply that cats give off a greater quantity of dander.

Since dander collects in carpeting, the fabric of furniture, and bedding, it's better for pet-allergy sufferers to have hardwood or tile floors and leather furniture. If you have carpeting, steam cleaning it every three months will help reduce dander. Vacuum cleaner bags must have an ultrafine-particle HEPA filter, or else vacuuming will just put more dust and dander into the air. Allergic folks need to keep the dog or cat out of the bedroom. Washing the floors and walls every so often is a good idea, too.

Bathing dogs and cats every four to six weeks with a mild moisturizing shampoo will greatly cut down on the dander volume and the severity of pet-allergy symptoms.

For allergy medications, long-acting antihistamines like Claritin, Clarinex, Allegra, or Zyrtec help a lot. If asthma is triggered by the pet allergy, avoidance of pets is probably best. But if you're a pet lover and willing to suffer for your feline, I'd suggest talking with your doctor about treatment options like inhaled albuterol, inhaled steroids, and Singulair (a nonsteroid, anti-inflammatory pill). A long-term approach to overcoming pet allergies is allergy desensitization shots. It will take a couple of years with regular injections, but it will help in the long term.

The Infinite Cat Project

Presented by Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
Illustration, Flash Animation, Web Design