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Allergic or Asthma

Hopes1 profile image

I’ve always had at cat in my home for 20 years about 2 months ago I got 2 kittens and my asthma has been bad for the last week. On steroids wheezing low peak flow can you just become allergic or is this just an asthma flare up.

38 Replies

Sounds more like a flare up of asthma or infection to me. You have had kittens for 6weeks with no symptoms. Plus grew up with cats.Note you are on steroids maybe antibiotics needed as well?

Hopes1 profile image
Hopes1 in reply to Bevvy

Thanks for your reply c

djbctla profile image
djbctla in reply to Hopes1

That should have read “Nasal” drip 🙈 Bernardine 😹😹

I agree with Bevvy I had 2 Cats and they did not effect my asthma. Basel drip and allergies to perfume, smoke etc, etc., not the cats. I’d say it’s a flair up. Bernardine

Hopes1 profile image
Hopes1 in reply to djbctla

Thanks I ❤️ My kittens I couldn’t be without them x

Hi, I just wanted to say that I am allergic to some cats and not others and am generally okay with dogs. Could it depend on the coarseness of the fur? Perhaps the kitten’s fur is finer or fluffier?Just a thought?

I hate to say this but I grew up with a cat and was fine. When I was 14 she passed away and as a family we got a new kitten. My asthma instantly became worse and was definitely caused by the cat. RAST tests show high level allergies to cats and dogs although weirdly I can tolerate some and not others. As somebody who loves animals I’d try antihistamines and a steroid nasal spray. Good luck, maybe it will settle in time as your body adjusts to the new dander

Yes some animals' dander seems to be worse than others. It is possible to try to denature the protein which causes the allergy by using a spray in the cat's skin. (Petal Cleanse from Healthy House - try a small patch first on cat to make sure they are alright with it). An allergy test is a good way to see if this is affecting you. If you are allergic, Hopes1, then you will need to clean the house thoroughly as the dander stays on carpets and soft furnishing for quite a while.

It takes a bit of detective work to find the cause. Note down any times you are feeling better or worse. Hope you feel better soon.

From a biochemist perspective, I doubt animal-to-animal variation can have a major effect. Even if there is 10x difference in the amount of dander per animal (which I doubt). Sort of like for peanut-allergic people to hope for less allergic peanut strains (did not check, maybe they exist!) Dose-response to allergens is not linear, and even a small amount triggers a response. Maybe animal behavior matters, too (where in the flat they go and how frequently). Cats are not particularly happy being washed or sprayed with sprays, and might get miserable in their own right.

I am not allergic to cats, and I've had them at a kid, but I just decided not to have any cats (and any pets) so that I do not have to make difficult choices if I or my kids/spouse/guests/ are allergic.

If you have been well before it and taking medicines regular(ie ICS) then I would be getting a RAST and before you get too attached to the kittens as getting rid off them May get harder. Cats are notoriously bad for asthma and many may deny it but it’s the truth, if you haven’t changed any other factors that may cause a trigger then the pointer is definitely looking at the cats!! And sorry but if it is them get rid:

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataCommunity Ambassador in reply to Key2success

Cats are *one* trigger for *some* people with asthma but there are plenty of others. Plenty of asthmatics are not allergic to cats, and not all asthma is linked to allergies of any kind.

It's obviously a possibility here (I'm aware people with cat allergies can get used to one cat but not be ok with others, so that could be happening). However, it's equally possible that there's another trigger causing the recent issues, especially as Hopes1 has had nearly 2 months of these kittens without issues.

I remember being concerned I'd developed an allergy to a family cat I'd been ok with previously, despite not having problems with cat issues in general or allergic triggers. It turned out to be due to fresh paint, not cats at all, and I was right about not having allergic triggers.

Hopes1, I would have a think about anything else new within the last couple of weeks - could be an existing trigger you hadn't registered (at home, work or weather changes), could even be a new trigger you weren't aware of previously.

Definitely look at other triggers and I’m not saying not to, the dander from cats will get around and will build up as you know. I didn’t say it was only reason as need look at any other changes but my key point is act quickly.

>>> not all asthma is linked to allergies of any kind.

There is a view in the literature that what is defined as non-allergic asthma can be allergic with respect to an unknown/unidentified trigger. It's difficult to develop specific tests to all particles in the air and to all types of food. Only the most common ones are tested for.

I am a allergic to black currants, and my nurse mentioned to me that I am the first one with this allergy she met. Black currants are never specifically listed as "allergens" in cereals, for example, only peanuts are mentioned.

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataCommunity Ambassador in reply to runcyclexcski

Just to clarify, are you talking about IgE-mediated allergies/allergic triggers?

I expect there are less common IgE-mediated triggers which aren't typically tested for, but there are also non-allergic triggers of asthma which is what I was referring to. My original point was that there are some asthma triggers linked to the 'classical' IgE pathway, often referred to as allergic triggers (such as cats), and some which aren't primarily linked to this pathway (non-allergic). And people with asthma can have both types of trigger or have no allergic triggers (or, presumably, just allergic triggers).

I have asthma triggers such as mango, rose and lavender which appear to be linked to a reaction to certain volatile organic compounds. I get none of the typical allergy symptoms with these but they do trigger asthma. I haven't been able to find anything in the literature about this so far, but I would suspect they're the result of direct effect on the airway epithelium which then causes bronchospasm. This also seems to be the primary mechanism involved in air pollution and smoke as triggers.

Obviously, this is a complex area and there can be overlapping processes and interaction between triggers.

Not saying you're doing this but asthma is often thought to be all about allergies (in the sense I'm defining 'allergic' as here), and there is of course a lot more to it, despite the connections and overlaps between asthma and allergy.

>>>I have asthma triggers such as mango, rose and lavender which appear to be linked to a reaction to certain volatile organic compounds.

Lysistrata -- could it be via the acetylcholine-dependent pathway?I believe this is what they refer to when referring to fast-acting non-specific triggers (mine are cold, VOCs -- like yours -- and stress). I was thinking to ask my consultant for LAMAs.

I was referring to the term "intrinsic asthma" to which anti-IgEs seem effective anyway. My source of "wisdom" is from this review. Prob not the best, but short and to the point (2014):

Hopes1 profile image
Hopes1 in reply to Key2success


Hopes1 profile image
Hopes1 in reply to Key2success


I'm allergic to cats but can now tolerate family cats when I visit or stay with relatives, thanks to Montelukast.

Hopes1 profile image
Hopes1 in reply to Poobah

Thanks 🙏

I’ve also seen that Purina do a new allergy cat food which is actually meant to work. It’s almost double the price but is meant to reduce the allergy protein in cats saliva. It’s called LiveClear and endorsed by allergyuk

Hopes1 profile image
Hopes1 in reply to AceVialli

Thanks I will give that ago once they are off kitten food

AceVialli profile image
AceVialli in reply to Hopes1

I've just started today. It takes two weeks so will feedback after..

Hopes1 profile image
Hopes1 in reply to AceVialli

Thanks 😊

EmmaF91 profile image
EmmaF91Community Ambassador

Hi hopes

The easiest way I tend to find when working out if something is allergy or asthma is to first take my reliever and see if that helps majorly stop the issue. If yes then there is asthma involvement. Then to try taking a daily antihistamine for a couple days to see if that stops the issue (and increase the PF). If yes then the trigger is caused by allergy.

However from my own experience of cat allergy and asthma, with the allergic trigger I typically get other signs of allergy (runny nose, itchy eyes, mucus production, hives etc etc). It is possible to gradually become allergic to things but it’s usually a build up I think (cats started out fine for me, then itchy, then itchy and eyes, now the full shebang 😅).

Don’t forget that in the last week the weather has dramatically changed and got an awful lot colder (in England anyway) which can be a common trigger for asthmatics.

Hope this helps

Hopes1 profile image
Hopes1 in reply to EmmaF91

Thanks Emma 😘

I would think it's the kittens. Kittens are more allergenic apparently. You'll probably get used to them though. It has happened to me in the past.

I’m generally fine with pets however my friend had a car that I was really allergic too I would wheeze terribly but also itchy eyes. It was very fluffy. Had similar cats which weren’t an issue though was just that cat when it was in the room with me.

Best way to figure out if it’s an allergy or flare up is take an anti histamine and remove yourself from the kittens for a few hours.

If it’s an allergy the flare up symptoms will reduce once you remove the trigger as allergic reactions can cause a flare up.

It’s more likely a flare up with the colder weather as the temp has dropped quite a bit and it’s been raining. I’m assuming you are Uk based.

Hopes1 profile image
Hopes1 in reply to Leigh2305

Thanks Leigh

If it's any help I would say you would have had an allergic reaction from when you brought your new pussycats home 2 months ago not just the last week Our eldest son who has asthma lived without any problem at home with the cats we have had over the years but since he's moved away he gets a bit of an allergic reaction from our cat after a couple of hours

My husband always gets a bit wheezy when the heating goes back on too so might it be that ?

Enjoy your beautiful cats and hope you feel better very soon xx🐾

Hopes1 profile image
Hopes1 in reply to Cat33

Thank you 😘

It's a simple experiment re: cats -- spend the weekend at a friends' place/hotel, a place which has never had cats, and see if you get better or not.

One can be allergic and not have asthma initially (i.e. the allergies would manifest themselves mildly), but then develop asthma following an "event" (stress, viral infection etc). I literally developed my asthma overnight, I remember the date.

Hopes1 profile image
Hopes1 in reply to runcyclexcski

Good idea thanks

I grew up with cats. I am allergic to some more than others and it got worse once I stopped living with them. Kittens I can play with - no problem.

You probably have a fall allergy flare. Take your rescue inhaler and monitor peak flows.

Another thing that has just crossed my mind. My consultant advised me to get rid of soft furnishings where possible. We now have no carpets, no curtains, just roller blinds and leather not fabric sofas. My asthma has definitely been better. Good luck

>>> leather not fabric sofas

I faced the same issue with a fabric sofa in our living room (I would get sick each time I sat on it). My wife and I looks for leather options, but did not want to spend 2-3K on a leather sofa (too bulky, heavy, and just never liked the styles). So we just made our own (found sketches online). I bolted the frame together using modular 4040 aluminium profiles (about £250 at "KJN Automation" in Leicester, precisely cut to the dimensions). My wife made cushions using a breathable waterproof fabric from an outdoor fabric store (about £200 worth of fabric and foam). They sent us swatches and we picked the color we wanted. I confess -- her part was more difficult than mine -- she spent 2 weekends with the Zinger machine. The final result is lightweight and easy to move (when we have to). It can also be disassembled into a flatpack, too and the profiles can be used for whatever (I deliberately used "simple" lengths likes 1000mm, 500mm etc)

That’s excellent making your own well done I’m afraid I don’t have the skills

Hi. My asthma is under control now. Asthma nurse is sayings it’s definitely kittens ??? And has given me montekukast has anyone tried these for allergies or would I be best to just monitor myAsthma for 2 weeks abs if any flare ups try an antihistamine

Ryanphilip_9 profile image
Ryanphilip_9 in reply to Hopes1

Good to hear that.😊

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