by Nomi Berger
Have you ever observed that your kitty’s allergy symptoms seem to worsen the more time you spend together? Have you ever considered the possibility that she may be allergic to you?
While extremely rare, scientists say that cats can indeed be allergic to people, but that our frequent bathing and showering assists in reducing our own dander and allergens. It’s far more likely, then, that your cat’s not allergic to YOU but to the products you either use on your skin or to clean your home.
Among the telltale signs of her sensitivity to these products are: itchiness and reddened skin, fur loss and open sores, rodent ulcers and swollen or inflamed lips. She may also develop chronic sneezing.
Consider the following culprits that may cause an irritation of your cat’s respiratory system: perfumes, body sprays with high-scent fragrances and heavily perfumed body washes; scented laundry detergents and fabric softeners; air freshener plug-ins, scented waxes, essential oils and incense, and the smoke and nicotine from cigarettes.
To minimize many of these potential irritants, invest in a vacuum with a HEPA filter that traps allergens such as dust mites, pollen, mould, tobacco particles, your dander and skin cells rather than sending them back into the air. Eliminate, wherever possible, everything that’s heavily perfumed or even moderately scented — from your personal products to your laundry products. And to keep your air not only fresh but clean, use several small activated charcoal pillows instead of scented plug-ins.
If, however, you suspect that your cat IS allergic to you, discuss it with your vet who will, in all likelihood, refer you to a dermatologist. Just as with people, the dermatologist will run a series of tests on your cat by pricking her skin with a small amount of various suspected allergens to see how she responds. And should she be one of those very rare kitties who react to your dander or hair, it doesn’t mean that you have to give her up.
Again, as with people, there are several forms of treatment available, depending on her symptoms and the severity of those symptoms. And although there’s no cure for allergies at the moment, allergy injections, antihistamines or even cortisone can be used to both provide her with the relief she needs and the reassurance you need to live happily ever after.