Would a cat make Asthma worse?

Hi my step son has quite bad asthma to the point he can have an attack whilst laughing - so he doesnt laugh much - he is 10, he has 2 dogs at home but they dont shed much hair, my step son visits every other weekend, he is not very active, would rather be on a computer than outside, i really would like a cat as i cant have a dog due to work commitments, am i being selfish and putting my step sons health at risk? please advise as i really dont want to make him worse.

17 Replies

  • Yes. Cat's hair can be a trigger for asthma but not every asthmatic will suffer the same. Apparently it is the cat's dander which causes the problem. You can get something from the vets to spray on to stop that I believe. x

  • Dogs have dander, its not the fur that causes the problem its the dander.

    The same for cats.

  • As Coughalot says, everyone's reactions are different. To prove the point - when we stayed with my sister, who had 2 cats, they did not affect mine or my older daughter's asthma, but my younger daughter’s breathing was badly affected. So after the 1st visit we made sure the cats had not been allowed in the bedrooms beforehand, which improved things on some occasions, but not every time.

    If there is now a product that can stop the cat dander which causes the problem, then I am sure it would help, but I wonder if the BLF might have some good advice about other steps you could take to ensure your stepson’s asthma won’t be affected.

    Jan :-)

  • Have you thought of getting him tested for allergies,my Grandaughter had them,it showed she was positive to cats,but refuses to give up her fluffy! xx

  • I had a poodle and had no problems but my son and I both get tight near cats, my son is worse than me. I have a problem with short haired dogs.

    It does seem to affect everyone so differently?

    Dogs have a Master.

    Cats have servants. ;)

  • Ha ha Offcut ! I AM that Cat servant. I am 76 and had cats for 50 Years , the same number of years I have been married. I have had COPD for 10 years and luckily cats do not affect me at all :-)

  • My eldest daughter and son both have had very bad asthma attacks as a result of being near cats. Now they both use antihistamines before going into a house with a cat! Kind regards, TAD xx

  • I am fine with dogs but if I go into a house that has a cat my chest tightens immediately.

    polly xx

  • Cats shed hair which can irritate the respiratory tract and cause an asthma attack in your step-son if he is sensitive to this particular trigger so yes, you would be putting not only his health but his life at risk.

  • I have Asthma - and 6 cats! I wouldn't give them up for the world!

    Still, I suspect this is not really the point...

    In response to your question, here are a few things to maybe consider. They may help, or if not, feel free to ignore...

    People with Asthma can have different sensitivities, therefore different triggers. As correctly identified above, animal "dander" can be one of them. "Dander" is not strictly an animal's fur - rather it is shed hairs, skin, things like that. People with Asthma can be sensitive to the "dander" of different animals. You can actually be tested for this if you request it. I was tested, and luckily, I proved negative for cat "dander". Perhaps your step-son could be tested in this way? At least, then, you and the rest of his family could be reassured - you would all be more aware of what his likely triggers are. If it turns out to be animal "dander" of any kind, you can then take appropriate steps. For more information on animal "dander", and on allergy testing, please see the following links...

    "Dander" - asthma.org.uk/knowledge-ban...

    Testing - nhs.uk/conditions/allergies...

    The above links also contain information that tells you what you can do if you have pets, and a person who is sensitive to them visits your house. So, they are evidence that some people, even people with sensitivities, still manage to keep pets. It is simply about making acceptable adjustments. These are all things to consider.

    One other thing you could do, if you are keen to have a cat, is to research breeds that are less likely to be linked to Asthma and sensitivities. This IS only a suggestion, as the "JURY IS OUT" as to whether some breeds are TRULY less likely to cause allergies - some people claim this IS the case, others disagree. Perhaps it may be a case of reading around the issue for yourself?

    I DO think that all this nonsense about putting your step-son's "life at risk" is utterly over-dramatic. Like a said - I have Asthma AND cats - so your step-son may turn out to be one of those people who, like me, is NOT affected at all by pets BUT still has Asthma! So, please do not allow yourself to be scared by such comments, or intimidated into giving up on having pets.

    The common-sense thing to do would be to RESEARCH THINGS, and collect together some evidence. Then discuss it with your family. If you'd like a cat (or any other pet) then discuss this with your step-son and wider family. THEN you will know their views - and can discuss the various aspects of the issue, as well as possible solutions. IF it appears that a cat may be too risky, then consider alternatives - how about goldfish or tropical fish (NO "dander" whatsoever)? Or perhaps a pet that is NOT in the house - such as a rabbit or guinea-pig that is in a hutch outside, and can therefore be kept easily away from your step-son?

    Read up on things - and then try to reach a sensible family decision.

    Best wishes,

    E. x

  • Yes cats can be a trigger for asthma. it might be worth finding out what he is reactive to before buying xx

  • You really need to find out if your step son is affected by cats - the simplest way would be to (briefly) expose him to one - maybe a neighbour? If it sets off his asthma then, I'm afraid to get one would be a bad idea. I know that, for me, I would be very ill if there was a cat in the house where I was for more than a few minutes.

  • cat affected me when I was young

  • The wife has asthma when we was younger we did have a cat or two until she had a bad cough and it would not go did not matter what she took but when the cat vanisht one day we did not have a nother cat and a few weeks later the cough went but if she go's in to any we're a cat stays it do start again and it she go's in to a pet shop she has to stay away from birds has they are worrs than cats so for the boy I would say get a cat when he leaves home like when he gets married as it will not ham him to much when he comes to see you

  • Hi all thanks for your input to this topic, I have been in houses with cats and step son. He has not shown any problems and as he's not here all the time - every other weekend, I thought that if I keep cat out of his bedroom and dining room (step sons) main usage rooms and I hoover daily then this wouldn't pose a threat. I have since found out that partner is not keen on cats - I do think that it could be a mask but will look into it more as I'm home more than anyone else and for my health I need a pet and cat is my preferred pet as I can't cuddle a goldfish :) again thank you everyone for your input as all my children were blessed with good health and asthma is all very new to me. Xxx

  • I had an angle fish that came to me and wagged its tail ;) ( In it's tank)

  • An excellent and well informed reply Scoot. Just the kind of help that many will find invaluable. Thanks and Best Wishes


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