Cat Hair Allergies; Causes and How to Adapt. There is no greater joy for cat lovers than to snuggle against the warm, soft fur of our beloved pets. However, for some, a quick cat cuddle can turn into a sneeze fest, complete with watery eyes and even restricted breathing. If you are considering a feline companion but are worried about getting a reaction, check out the leading causes of allergies as well as ways you can adapt to being a pet-friendly parent.
Causes of Cat Hair Allergies
There are some misconceptions when it comes to cat hair allergies. First, most allergies are a result of your genetic makeup. If you have relatives that suffer from allergies, you may be more susceptible as well.
Second, you don’t need to own a cat to experience an allergic reaction. Irritants can circulate in the air or get on your clothes, regardless of whether you share a home with a cat.
If you have an allergy to cat hair, your immune system may think that you are experiencing an illness, and thus, it will defend the condition using its natural antibodies. When this happens, the antibodies produce symptoms that we associate with allergies.
If you want to make sure that you are allergic to cat hair and not another substance, it’s recommended to be tested by an allergist. A doctor can then determine the source of the irritant so that you are aware of what is causing your discomfort.
Symptoms of Cat Hair Allergies
Most allergies manifest themselves in similar ways; sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes can sometimes even result in a skin rash. However, if your symptoms occur while you are in the presence of a cat or a few hours later, chances are the feline is indeed the culprit.
In addition to possible rashes and irritated mucus membranes (especially around the eyes and nose), allergy sufferers may also experience shortness of breath. The reason is that cat hair and related irritants can get into your lungs, which can cause coughing and even acute forms of asthma.
Treating Cat Hair Allergies
Fortunately, while the symptoms can be annoying, most cat allergies are easy to treat. If you are suffering from nasal congestion and eye irritation, try taking an antihistamine or a nasal decongestant spray.
If your allergies tend to be more serious, such as restricted breathing and lung irritation, you may want to consider an allergy shot, also referred to as immunotherapy.
Best Breeds for Cat Hair Allergies
The best way to avoid cat hair allergies is to avoid being around cats. However, if you cannot live without this sweet and friendly creature in your life, consider getting a hypo-allergic breed. Short-hair cats like the Balinese, Bengal, or Oriental Short Hair are great options as hairless cats like the Sphynx.
If you suffer from cat hair allergies, there are measures you can take to enjoy feline friends. However, monitor your allergies just in case there may be a more serious reason for your symptoms.