Allergy to cats: what is it exactly?

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Many people claim to be allergic to cats, but the condition is a lot more complicated than that. Let’s look into it. 

 From a hypersensitivity of our immune system to an allergen, in the case of cats likely to be  fel d1 ), produced by the sebaceous glands of the cat and therefore present on skin, hair and dandruff,  in the saliva and the pee. As cats clean themselves by licking their coat, many will be found on the hair. The allergen has the particularity of being extremely persistent. In practical terms, it means it can remain in the environment for a long time and induce allergic symptoms even in the absence of close contact with the animal. 


In general, there is a genetic predisposition to become allergic. In practice, at a certain point in life, predisposed subjects,  the first time they come in contact with the allergen, will tolerate it or develop a reaction in the event of subsequent contact.  We know that those who live with cats from birth are usually more likely to maintain a good tolerance to their allergen.  

Who is allergic to cats is allergic to all cats (regardless of breed or length of hair) or just advertisement some?

Some habits can increase or decrease the spread of allergens in the environment and thus change the tolerance level. For example, keeping the rooms ventilated where a cat lives helps reduce the allergen presence while brushing the animal often contributes to increasing it because a brushed cat will often lick its coat.

It is not even possible to predict the duration or the intensity of the symptoms. It could even turn out to be a temporary or intermittent allergy and therefore occurs in certain periods and disappears in others. It all depends on the situation of the individual subjects and on the possible changes that could occur in life. In fact, there are factors capable of breaking the immunological tolerance towards an allergen.

 

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