Most of us cat guardians know someone in our lives that is allergic to cats - or are even allergic to cats ourselves! When these friends visit our house (if they can at all), they usually will have to take allergy medicine to make it tolerable for a short visit.
But what about cats being allergic to humans?
There's a running joke in our house about cats that run and hide when visitors come over are allergic to humans. But it turns out that cats can be allergic to their humans, specifically their human's "dander." Just like humans are typically allergic to a cat's dander!
Although the chances that your cat is allergic to you are minimal, some common symptoms can occur. These include chronic sneezing, fur loss, inflamed or swollen lips, redness of the skin, scabbing and open sores.
According to veterinarian Michelle Burch, "humans bathe frequently…that helps cut down on the dander and allergies that are there.”
Because of this human tendency for good hygiene, there’s a better chance that your cat is allergic to a lotion or perfume you use on your skin or a product you use to clean your house. Like the classic Brady Bunch episode where the newly blended family is about to re-home their beloved dog, Tiger, because Jan is allergic to him. However, the day is saved at the last minute when it is discovered that Jan is allergic to Tiger’s new shampoo.
Some cats can be allergic or very sensitive to certain scents. These can include perfumes, body sprays, body washes, air fresheners, scented waxes, essential oils, and incense. Also, if you smoke in your house or around your cat, this can also be an irritant to your cat’s respiratory system.
So, what do you do if you think your cat might be allergic? Speak to your veterinarian, who will most likely refer you to a specialist dermatologist that can perform allergy tests on your cat. If your cat does test positive for allergies, there are some steps to help.
Like humans, cats can be treated with allergy injections (immunotherapy) to desensitize their immune system. Also, using vacuums and air conditioning units with HEPA filters can help remove dander and skin cells that may be affecting your cat. And if scents such as perfumes, other fragrances, and cleaning products negatively affect your cats, these can be removed from your home.