Staten Island:

Wednesday and Friday
11am - 7pm
New patients, office visits and immunotherapy shots.

Phone: 718-816-8200

Brooklyn Heights:

Tuesday and Thursday
1pm - 7pm

Phone: 718-624-6495

Bay Ridge:

Mon, Tue and Thu
1:30pm - 7pm

Phone: 718-748-7551


Cat Allergy

Cats are both beloved pets and a common source of allergens. Up to 25 percent of the population may suffer from cat allergy. And although children of all ages love kittens, parents should know that an estimated 14 percent of children between the ages of six and 19 years old are allergic to cats.

Cat allergy is triggered by allergens found in cat saliva, especially the protein Fel d 1, which cats spread over their bodies when they lick themselves clean. This and other allergens are in dander from the glands in cats fur and skin. Male cats that are not neutered tend to produce large amounts of allergen that stays in the air, is sticky, and lingers in public places. These factors make cat allergies particularly problematic for large numbers of allergy sufferers, even those who do not have a pet cat.

Like dogs, outdoor cats are furry animals and gather dust, pollen, and other allergens that trigger allergic reactions in people, such as wheezing, sneezing, and coughing. Avoiding cat and other pet dander is difficult because it adheres to clothing, carpeting and other furnishings.


Symptoms

Cat allergy is triggered when the animals allergens land on facial membranes and cause eyes to itch, tear, and burn and the nose to get stuffy. When there are low levels of allergens or low sensitivity to them, cat allergy symptoms may take time to appear. In some people, symptoms can be more severe and come on fast, such as when airborne particles get into the lungs, are inhaled, and mix with antibodies. Highly sensitive people can experience severe breathing problems within 15 minutes to 30 minutes and get a rash on the upper chest, neck, and face.

Diagnosis and Treatment

We can help diagnose and treat those who are allergic to cats. Along with the patients medical history, skin-prick tests or blood tests may be used to diagnosis feline allergies.

To treat symptoms, various types of therapies may be used depending on their severity and frequency of those symptoms. Time spent in a cat free environment can gradually improve symptoms. Episodic symptoms like coughing and sneezing may be treated with nose sprays or antihistamine pills. Prolonged exposure could creat inflammation and require a more aggressive approach. If avoidance is impractical, anti-inflammatory medications may be necessary to control symptoms. For those with moderate or severe perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR)year-round pet allergies, allergen immunotherapy allergy shots may be used. Allergy shots gradually improve tolerance to the cat allergen.

Other Defenses

The most effective defense against cat allergies is to avoid cat dander. Yet this is an unrealistic recommendation for the millions of cat-allergy sufferers who do not want to part with their furry companions and because of the persistence of cat dander in the environment.

Cat owners can take steps to reduce overall levels of allergens, including limiting the cats access to bedrooms where people spend most of their time, using air filters, frequent and proper house cleaning, and using furnishings less likely to harbor allergens. Neutering cats as well as bathing and wiping them on a daily basis may decrease owners allergen exposure.