Cat Allergy?

Hi all,

I was just wondering if someone with a confirmed cat allergy could weigh in here?

I was just at my cousin's house, where there are 2 cats. Before I went in I was fine; by the end of the visit, my eyes and nose were very itchy, and my face was quite itchy as well. My hands were also itching where I had touched the cats.

I didn't have hives or anything, but I had some difficulty with my cough, and of course there was the itching.


-- Matt

19 Replies

  • I have a confirmed cat allergy and your symptoms sound all too familiar. I can also have a mucous cough a few hours After I have meet the cats. Tip! Don't put your hands to your face before you've washed them. I usually then just have the asthma symptoms without the other symptoms. Merry Christmas.

  • I was unusually wheezy, and coughing more than usual, today. I only wheeze when I'm having an allergic reaction so…?

  • It sounds like you are allergic like you suspected. You can have a delayed response to an allergy as well as the first reaction. If you come into contact with cats a lot it maybe worth speaking to your dr.

  • Hi I don't have a allergic reaction to cats but I do have one to horses and what you are describing sounds like what I get if I go near a horse but I also blow up like a balloon so I would definitely say that you have a type of allergic reaction to cats and you should see your doctor to find out what to do about it. Mine is easier to avoid than yours is and I cover my mouth and nose if I have to go past a horse if I get caught which I've been lucky enough not to since I had my first reaction it's call the Dr's to get something for the swelling and everything.

    I hope this helps you out as your post did say other people who are alligic to cats to reply but I have your reaction just not to cats.

  • Thank you :)

    I have experience with allergies both non-life-threatening (severe hayfever) and life-threatening (Type I Latex Allergy). My latex allergy only turned from Type IV to Type I this summer, but I have a good plan in place:

    - just hives = Benadryl Relief

    - hives and swelling of hands/feet = Benadryl Relief and GP or UCC for prednisolone

    - difficulty breathing/swelling of throat = 999

    My most recent reaction was a couple of weeks ago in the hospital, with throat swelling and asthma; luckily responded well to nebulisers, IV hydrocortisone, and IV clorpheniramine, so didn't need epi but was close, and probably would have needed epi had I not already been in hospital when I had the reaction. The cleaner used the long red gloves to empty my bin and touched the top, where I placed some books later; I picked the books up a while after, and reacted to the traces of latex protein on them.

    At least I didn't have hives then, though; I know the pain of full-body hives! I also bought a brand-new pair of limited-edition Adidas shoes in summer, only to react to them the first time I wore them..goodbye, awesome red trainers!

    Hope you're managing the horses thing? :P

    -- Matt

  • Hello Matt, This brought back many dramatic memories to me. In the long, hot, Summer of 1976 I took up contract electronics with many months of long term work in Crawley and stayed with a family in a suburb near Gatwick Airport. They had a long haired ginger cat and I never felt well in the kitchen/diner. I did have severe asthma as a child which I had assumed was cleared at the age of 11 when I spent a month at an Austrian spa, with no further attacks since. Suddenly at the age of 31, living with this lovely family and earning good money the allergy seems to have resurfaced. One evening after teaching at a naval cadet corps, I was walking back home when I had a life threatening attack of asthma. I never made it back that evening and finished up in Crawley Hospital. I couldn't talk on the phone to 999 and thanks to a vigilant operator she was able to trace the coin box I was in and sent the crew to save me. I was given 100% oxygen when the crew found me collapsed outside the box. They also gave me an injection to open my airways which is apparently available in a pen format for patients. After I left hospital, I had to make immediate arrangements to leave the house I had been living in and terminate the work. The weird thing is that on return to Birmingham, I changed my landlord and I've been with him since 1991. At the new house, a couple of feral but very friendly cats, adopted us, and the female kitten immediately decided to sleep on my bed and WOW! No allergy; she was a different breed, much shorter hair and she passed on after 15 years and two litters. Two more cats both now deceased, both black, short, smooth hair, again no allergies. So I think you may well find that one breed of cat is safe and another one isn't. Likewise with dogs. I'm also averse to birds. Feathers are a major health hazard to me. It certainly seems like the itching you experienced was linked to an allergic reaction to the cats. I think you had best avoid further contact or meet your cousin at a different venue. Now the only asthma I get is triggered by adverse weather. This has been a bad year as I need my Ventolin and a GTN spray for my heart, if it is very wet, cold, hot, windy etc. Somewhat confined to the house but so far no hospitalisation thankfully. As a frequent adventure traveller, I haven't even renewed my passport. A lot of my contract work has been in Saudi Arabia, Libya and France, so I think it best to avoid places like that, these days.

    Anyway Matt, take care, now that you seem to know the triggers for your allergy. I'd be interested to hear if you find that different breeds affect you and others do not.

  • My understanding is that it's not the fur of the cat that is the direct cause of the problem, it is the way the fur traps dust/dried skin/dried cat spit from where they lick their fur. My, mildly asthmatic, younger son reacts to some cats more than others.

  • Yes, it's to do with dander, which is proteins in their saliva :P

  • And it's not just cats with me - it's any soft coated animal: rabbits, guinea-pigs etc. dogs - depends on the breed; my sister in law has a golden retriever and I always dose up when we are going to see her family, but I've also a come into contact with a jack Russell (very short coated) and been fine. Horses aren't so bad - or didn't used to be.

  • I'm allergic to cats - not ever been tested for it (never had any allergy screening) but quite frankly I don't need to. From what you've described I would say that yes, you're allergic to cats - unless there was something else in that house that could have caused the symptoms you describe.

    My usual strategy if I'm going to a house where I know there is a cat is to dose up before I go. I use a nasal spray - rinatec. I used to have flixonase (fluticasone - same steroid component used in seretide) but came off it after it came under suspicion for causing thrush deep down in my oesophagus. I scrupulously avoid touching any cats and dissuade them from coming near/jumping on my lap by staring at them if they come near me (interpreted as being aggressive by cats - looking away from them is the worst thing you can do - that is a submissive stance). I also avoid putting my hands near my face unless I have washed them first if I am in a house with a cat.

    Hope this helps.


  • I couldn't think of anything else, and my mum is allergic to cats so it would fit that I might be as well. I'm seeing immunology consultant in January so I could ask him to check then!

    I use Avamys (basically a fancy-a--ed version of Flixonase) for hayfever but I should probably use it year-round!

  • Hi,

    I have Asthma and a confirmed cat and dog allergy. Your symptoms are exactly what happens to me when I visit other people's houses with cats or dogs. It happens every time, without fail. Usually starts with a sneeze, about 5 mins in and then the flood gates open - runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, my chest tightens / asthma.

    Making sure that I dose myself (Seretide) before hand and take ventolin with me is essential - but then I just get deal with it - we have lots of friends with animals. And we have 3 cats at home! I truly believe that you build up a slight immunity to your own animals after a time. But nevertheless I ALWAYS wash my hands after stroking any animal- I have to. Not doing so results in skin/eye reactions on any sensitive areas (eyes, face, etc!!).

    My sister has a hypoallergenic dog - cocker-poodle and she also suffers from allergy. The dog certainly doesn't trigger me as much, but I still get a reaction.

    I've never let me asthma control anything that I do - play a lot of sport (100min half marathons), weekly tennis and squash etc. I even learnt to swim properly this year and completed a 2.4km open water swim in France, without stopping once :). So my advice is to be aware of the environments that you will be in and take measures if you need to.

    Best of luck :)


  • I try not to let my asthma control things I do, but I'm missing ice hockey right now :(

    I have two working cocker spaniels (working? Ha, like they do any work!) and don't have any problems with them either :)

    What are you on?

    -- Matt

  • Hi there. With me Tom cats are the worst. If they spray anywhere I am then I'm out of there sharp! It's not the unpleasant smell, it's the instant chest tightening and the"on edge" reaction that happens. It's so embarrassing when you walk into someone's home and you have to turn around and flee!

    They are usually unaware that there is any smell from their darling pooch/pussycat so why are you fleeing the vicinity! It's either that though or have a full blown attack in front of them! The other thing is that I really like animals and not all will effect me so. Stables though have always been out of bounds as are areas of farm yards and dog/cat shows.

  • Cats are the spawn of the devil! They are walking, purring cute little assassins. And nobody ever understands why you don't want them in your garden, your garage, climbing on your knee...

    *takes a deep breath*

    Joking apart, one of my earliest memories in life was visiting a neighbour when I was very young, who had 2 or 3 cats. As toddlers do I was playing with them, seeing if the tails came off, that sort of thing. Within minutes I was in a complete state. By luck our neighbour was a nurse & quickly advised my mum to take me out of the house. The symptoms you describe are exactly what I get, although my allergy is so severe that I haven't been near a cat (other than kicking them out of my garden) for many years.

    My closest to death asthma experience was cat-related so I empathise!!

  • yes, you might be allergic to animal hairs like me. all you need is to keep away from such spaces. but of course you need to get a skin test to ensure that you are allergic to cat hair.

  • For some reason I am Allergic to ( ALL Cats) (Except Ginger Cats) been told it's to do with Ginger Cats Not having same Saliva as found in other Breeds.

    I cannot go in any house without taking my Inhalers and Antihistamine Tablets. My throat Tightens, I wheeze profoundly but DONT have any Problems with my 3 X Ginger Cats.

  • I think you have been lucky with your cats, I am allergic to all cats.

  • I'm totally fine with Gingers as long as only abit of white... but mostly ginger all all ginger.

    But cannot go near a white cat with ginger markings as triggers off asthma attacks

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