This allergy represents the 3rd cause of respiratory allergy in children after dust mites and pollens. Although allergists recommend separating from your pet, it is not always easy.
The manifestations are classic of respiratory allergies: sneezing, runny nose, conjunctivitis ….
Allergic, but not to hair.
The allergen responsible for the manifestations of intolerance in humans is not, contrary to popular belief, cat hair. It is actually a protein, called Fel d1, present in the cat’s saliva, which is the cause of allergic reactions in humans. The cat spends a large part of its day grooming itself with its tongue, depositing the famous Fel d1 on its hair. If the cat then lies down on the couch or bed, the hair left behind triggers the onset of symptoms, even when the cat is not present.
Adjusting your home life.
Sometimes, your pet is so attached to you that it is impossible to separate from him. In this case, adjustments must be made to the way you live together. Obviously, regular airing of the rooms is essential. You should also invest in a powerful vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters that limit the suspension of allergens in the air. If you live in a house, the cat should spend as much time as possible outside. Access to bedrooms, especially beds and pillows, should be avoided, as should Felix’s napping on the couch. Avoiding carpets and curtains that catch volatile hair will also reduce the presence of allergens.
Regular brushing by a non-allergic family member will limit the amount of dead hair that settles in the house. A wet washcloth can also be used daily on the coat, or better yet, if the cat has been accustomed to it as a child, showering the cat from time to time, in order to “rinse” the coat of this Fel d1 protein.
Hypoallergenic cat breeds.
Some cat breeds produce the Fel d1 protein in smaller quantities. These include the Siberian, Abyssinian, Bengal, Balinese, Russian Blue and the Rex, which also has the advantage of losing its hair relatively little. Sphynx are naked cats. However, they are covered with down and lick themselves anyway. Therefore, they should not be considered as non-allergenic. On the other hand, they are easier to wash and their particular skin is rather greasy and must be shampooed regularly anyway.
For a few months now in France, allergic owners have been able to offer a new food to their companion. Indeed, the Purina Proplan laboratory has developed a range of kibbles that induce a lower production of the allergenic protein.
By offering exclusively this food, owners observe a decrease in their symptoms (study published by the laboratory).
The only 100% effective solution, and essential for those with the most severe allergies, is of course to separate from their cat. Nevertheless, when the symptoms are less severe, solutions can be put in place and improve the owner’s comfort while keeping his companion. Finally, it is important to know that sterilization of the cat reduces the production of Fel d1.