Long-haired Cat Allergy: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Have you ever felt uncomfortable when you handle a long-haired cat? This does happen and it could mean that you are allergic to long-haired cats. This leads to a question that begs for an answer, what are long-haired cat allergy symptoms? Read on to learn more!

It is tough to determine if you are allergic to long-haired cats mostly because many people are allergic to short-haired cats too. If your body is allergic to one type of cat, you’re likely to be allergic to all types of cats; however, that does not mean that you cannot own one. 

While cats are not the famous hypoallergenic pets, they can still help you feel the satisfaction of owning a companion pet. Even though cat allergies are not life-threatening, they do cause a lot of discomforts. Long-haired cats can cause allergic reactions such as sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny nose. 

In this article, we’ll look into long-haired cat allergy symptoms, what triggers the allergies and what you can do to reduce your risk of being triggered.

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

What Are Allergies In cats?

There are many different types of allergies in cats. The allergy is not actually caused by the cat, but rather by proteins in their saliva, earwax, blood, urine, or fur. If you are allergic to cats, you are actually allergic to one of these things. 

It’s possible to be allergic to only one of these things, but it’s also possible to be allergic to them all. Being a cat owner, you must have faced the problem of allergies. Understanding what allergens cats produce is very important. 

You can avoid cat allergic reactions to things like pollen and dust mites if you know what they are and why they trigger allergies in you. In this section, attention will be given to what causes cat allergies and the allergens that cats produce.

What Causes Cat Allergies?

Cat allergies are caused by the cat’s dander or shed skin cells. Dander is not the same thing as saliva, but the microscopic cat hair that is found in cat saliva. 

When a cat grooms itself, some of its loose skin cells get on its fur, then get distributed around the house. A cat allergy develops when the body’s immune system reacts to these cat dander or skin cells.

The result is the production of antibodies designed to fight off allergens. These antibodies, technically called Immunoglobulin E or IgE antibodies, trigger the immune system to release histamines. Histamines are chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose.

As earlier mentioned, a person that has cat allergy symptoms, whether short-haired or long-haired, isn’t feeling that way because of the cat. Rather, his body (antibodies) react that way because of the protein content in the cat’s blood, saliva, earwax, urine, or fur.

The best way a cat allergy can be treated is by reducing exposure to cat dander. In severe cases of allergy such as asthma attacks, there are medications to deal with the symptoms of cat allergies. 

Long-Haired Cat Allergy Symptoms
Cat allergies can be discomforting to the victim and will make you not enjoy your ca’s company.

These usually include steroids and antihistamines, but these substances only reduce the long-haired cat allergy symptoms; they do not completely eliminate the allergy tendency.

Allergens That Cats Produced

Common cat allergens include:

1. Fel d 1 – A protein that is an allergen to most people with cat allergies.

3. Urine – Cat urine contains a glycoprotein that can trigger reactions in humans.

4. Dander (dead skin) – Dander can be found in a cat’s saliva, dander, and urine. Dander is a common trigger for asthma symptoms in most cat allergic people.

5. Salivary Glands – A cat’s saliva has a glycoprotein that can cause a reaction, especially in those with a history of asthma.

Is There An Allergy-Free Cat?

No, there’s no such thing as allergen-free or hypoallergenic cats. This is because all cat species, both long-haired and short-haired, produce the Fel d 1 protein which is the main cause of cat allergy in humans. 

However, even though all cats tend to produce some allergens, it is still possible that a cat may not produce enough allergens to cause an allergic reaction like others would. 

A lot of the allergic reaction in cat allergies is a reaction to a particular protein (the Fel d 1 protein) in a cat’s body even if they are not causing direct symptoms. 

That being said, a cat can have less of those proteins, which means it’s less likely to trigger allergic reactions. In the next chapter, we’ll look at some of these cat breeds that are likely not to cause allergy symptoms in detail.

there is no allergy free cat
There is nothing like allergy-free cats. The fact is that if you’re allergic to one breed of cat such as the long-haired cats, you’re likely to be allergic to short-haired cats too. This is because all cat species produce the “Fel d 1 – A protein” which is the allergen that reacts in people with cat allergies.

Long-Haired Cat Allergy

We can say that you have a pet allergy when your body’s allergic system is stimulated by pet dander. Hence, when your body’s allergic system becomes activated when you come in contact with long-haired cats, then it’s right to say you have a long-haired cat allergy.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), up to three out of every ten persons in the United States have pet allergies, and cats are the most common cause. 

You may then say, “okay, since long haired cats can trigger allergy symptoms in me, let me go for short haired cats or even dogs”. The fact is, no cat is truly non-allergenic. 

Every cat type and breed produce a certain amount of Fel d 1 protein and dander which are the allergens that triggered allergy in some persons. 

The only difference between long-haired cats and other breeds that are often perceived as hypoallergenic is that the hypoallergenic cat breeds are reported to generate fewer allergens than others. This alone made doctors recommend them for people with cat allergies.

While the effect of cat allergies vary a great deal between individuals, it’s important to note that there is no cure for cat allergies. It can only be managed using antihistamine and other pet allergy drugs. However, before you take any anti-allergy drugs, ensure you consult your doctor.

Symptoms Of Long-Haired Cat Allergy

Cat allergy symptoms may manifest in a variety of ways depending on the sensitivity of the victim. Some people develop an allergy after even one interaction with a cat. Others only develop symptoms after repeated contact with cats and cat allergens.

The symptoms vary dramatically and can range from mild symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny nose to severe symptoms such as asthma

The symptoms may also include a swollen face and tongue. The symptoms can differ from person to person, and also depend on the cat’s diet, age, and health.

How To Diagnose Long Haired Cat Allergy

The best way to diagnose a long-haired cat allergy is to visit a doctor who will examine you for symptoms by running some skin or blood tests

If you have a family history of allergies, it’s a good idea to keep a diary of your symptoms and note any time a cat has been near you. 

Long-haired cats are a common source of cat allergies in most people. Therefore, if you have been around a cat and you later start sneezing, wheezing, experiencing itchy eyes, a runny or itchy nose, or experiencing a scratchy throat, you may have cat allergy symptoms.

How To Treat Long Haired Cat Allergy 

This may be surprising to you, but it is actually quite easy to treat a long-haired cat allergy. The most common and cost-effective way people treat it is by getting a cat with short hair. But the problem with this option is that it doesn’t always work, at least not for everyone. 

If you are allergic to long-haired cats, chances are that you’ll be allergic to short-haired cats too. So if this is the case, what should you do? Below are the different ways you can treat long-haired cat allergy symptoms.

Treatment At The Request Of Your Allergist 

Cat allergies are usually controllable and can be controlled using standard allergy drugs. Your doctor may recommend any of these treatments:

  • Oral Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), fexofenadine (Allegra), loratadine (Claritin), and  cetirizine (Zyrtec); or some antihistamines such as azelastine (Astelin) come in a nasal spray.
  • Decongestants, such as over-the-counter pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or allergy medications like Allegra-D, Claritin-D, or Zyrtec-D, have the pseudoephedrine component that can treat cat allergy symptoms.
  • Nasal steroid sprays, which have a variety of effects on allergy or asthma symptoms are used typically for allergy treatment. Some effective over-the-counter steroid sprays include triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24HR), budesonide (Rhinocort), and fluticasone (Flonase).
  • Antihistamine eye drops – where you are experiencing itchy eyes or any other form of discomfort as a reaction to your contact with a long hair cat, your doctor may prescribe to you antihistamine eye drops such as Bausch + Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops to ease the discomfort.
  • Inhaled corticosteroids and
  • Bronchodilators to either prevent or relieve respiratory symptoms.
  • Use Immunotherapy: Allergy Shots – Another alternative is allergy injections, but they aren’t always too effective, and treatment can take years to complete. Allergy injections are also not recommended for children under the age of five. 

However, for some people, they can be extremely beneficial. Before you proceed to have allergy injections, discuss it with your doctor to see if they are appropriate for you.

Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid an allergic reaction either to cats or any other pet with fur. Several studies on cat and other animal allergies have shown that early contact with pets can lessen the likelihood of developing pet allergies later in life. 

But a child who already has allergic tendencies may become much more allergic after being exposed to a pet.

Home Remedies For Cat Allergies: Avoidance Is The Best Way

Several things you can do to reduce your risk of getting in contact with cat allergens include:

  • Not allowing your cats to sleep on the same bed as you.
  • Keeping them out of the bedroom entirely is a must.
  • At least twice a month, wash all bedding in up to 140°F hot water.
  • In rooms where your cats spend a lot of time, use HEPA air filters.
  • Twice a week, sweep up cat allergen with a high-grade HEPA vacuum cleaner.
  • Clean your house using a vapor steam cleaner. Regularly sweep and wash the floors, vacuum the carpets, and clean the furniture.
  • Clean your cat.
  • Not pet, hug, or kiss the cat.
  • Ensure you get your cat its home separate from the entire house to confine or restrict it from roaming the entire house.
  • After handling your cat, do not use that hand to rub your eyes. Always wash your hands immediately after petting your cat.
  • Nasal lavage – in severe cases such as runny nose, nasal lavage can be administered. Nasal lavage is one of the home treatments for long-haired cat allergy symptoms. 

It involves rinsing your nasal passages with salt water (saline). This will help to relieve congestion, postnasal drip, and sneezing. To make this you need 1/8 teaspoon of table salt with 8 ounces of distilled water.

If you’ve tried all the tips and solutions discussed in this article and you’re still showing symptoms of cat allergies, then avoidance might be necessary. You may need to get rid of your cat completely and get another kind of pet. 

How To Reduce Allergies In Cats

What if I tell you that there’s a way you can have your feline friend around the house and not get allergic to its allergens? Yes, it’s by using cat products that help to reduce allergies or by choosing to keep a Hypoallergenic long-haired cat instead of the common long-haired cat. 

Let’s discuss what these breeds of cats are in the next chapter.

Choosing Hypoallergenic Long-Haired Cats

As discussed earlier, some cat breeds are known to be hypoallergenic, meaning that they do not trigger allergies in humans. Unfortunately, no scientific studies have been conducted to prove that cats can be hypoallergenic. 

This is because from what we know, no domestic cat is entirely free of dander. Literally, all cat breeds (both short and long-haired) produce Fel d 1 protein and dander.

The only difference between the perceived “hypoallergenic” cat breeds such as Bengal, Burmese, Rex, Russian Blue, Siamese, Siberian, and Sphynx, is that they produce less dander than other breeds. 

In a nutshell, some other long-haired cat breeds that do not produce much Fel d 1 protein and dander and are less likely to trigger allergies include Munchkin Cat, Javanese, and Siberian.

Use Cat Products for Allergies

Besides choosing to keep a hypoallergenic cat breed, if you’ll have to deal with a partner that loves cats while you’re allergic to them, you can use some cat products to keep the allergens away. These products come in sprays, shampoos, wipes, and even combs.

Each of these products is made with natural ingredients/substances that are both safe for you and your cat. When applied to the cat, it prevents any excess dander from spreading around your home and keeps your house clean.

Best brands you can trust include:

  • Allerpet cat dander remover
  • Allersearch Adams anti-allergy spray
  • Muryobao mask
  • Burt’s bees for cats dander reducing wipes

Last update on 2021-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Other Tips To decrease Cat Allergies

  • Keep Your Distance away from your cat.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling your pet.
  • Regularly remove excess fur and dander off your long-haired cat and furniture.
  • Clean both your cat and home rigorously and often.
  • Wash cat bedding and toys up to three times a week.
  • Air filter your home to ensure you’re breathing dander-free air.
  • If possible, keep the cat outdoors to prevent close contact.
  • Limit the cat’s roaming area. Ensure your cat isn’t roaming or sleeping on your bed or bedroom.
Using a nose mask when handling your cat can reduce your risk of becoming allergic
Using a nose mask when handling your cat can reduce your risk of becoming allergic

FAQs

Are allergies worse with long-haired cats?

No! Whether allergies are worse with long-haired cats or not depends on the individual. If you’re allergic to long-haired cats, you’ll likely feel the same way with short-haired cats.

Can you be allergic to long hair cats and not short ones?

All cats, regardless of breed, have the same tendency to cause allergies, and the length of fur doesn’t affect how much dander is produced. However, when compared to another person, an individual may experience severe allergic reactions than others. It is individual-based. 

Can you build up immunity to cat allergies?

Yes, you can build up immunity to cat allergies by introducing your system to the allergen till you eventually build up your immunity.

This process is called immunotherapy. It involves taking allergy shots once or twice a week for up to six months or one year. Nonetheless, this method isn’t too effective as the time required to take the shots is too long.

What is the best allergy medicine for cat dander?

According to a renowned doctor, Dr. Qamar, Antihistamine tablets are the first-line treatment for mild pet allergies with symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.

It’s important to note that antihistamine comes in various types and how effective a type is may be dependent on the individual body system. For instance, a person with mild cat allergies may benefit from Claritin while someone with more severe allergies can benefit from Zyrtec. 

In Conclusion

If you’re allergic to cats, the potential to get an allergy attack when you’re near one is high. Studies have shown that cats can cause breathing problems in some people, especially when they are in close quarters or if the person has a history of an asthma attack. 

However, keep in mind that allergies to cats are not an allergy to cats themselves, but rather to the allergens (like fleas, dander, and saliva) that cats carry with them. There are no specific breeds of cats that are more likely to cause allergies than others. 

Although, if you’re considering getting a new cat, you may want to talk to your doctor about which types of cats are on the low end of the allergy scale so that you can get a new cat that won’t trigger reactions in you.

Popular cat allergy symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, and even rashes! Luckily, there are ways to reduce the symptoms of cat allergies. 

While you can’t get rid of your cat (we don’t recommend this), you can reduce the allergens around your cat by following the instructions in this article. This will make your home a much more comfortable space for yourself and your cat.