9 Answers to Your Questions About Baby Cat Allergies
Baby cat allergies run in my family. It all started with my dad, us four siblings, then my two offsprings. Thanks to this, we never had pets. Not even once.
My kids have been asking me for a pet, but I have to decline each time because it could be detrimental to their health.
But as I was doing my research, I came across some interesting information that may have not been available when we were younger.
If I had known these facts before, our life with pets may have changed.
Baby Cat Allergies Facts:
#1: Can babies be allergic to cats?
Definitely. If your baby is diagnosed with asthma, there’s a 90% chance she’ll develop cat allergies as well, says Drs. Gilbert L. Fuld and Elizabeth C. Matsui.
Aside from asthma, your baby can also be genetically predisposed to have cat allergies. Researchers Romina Ortiz and Kathleen Barnes noted in their journal article:
“a positive family history remains one of the most reliable tools for prognosis of allergic disease.”
In other words, if anyone in your family has a history of can allergies, that person can pass it on to your child.
#2: What causes cat allergies?
Besides asthma and genetics, allergens produced by cats also cause baby cat allergies. These allergens may be in their dander, urine, or saliva.
Dander refers to the dried skin flakes of our feline friend, which attaches to its fur or gets into the air.
Unfortunately, the cat has the smallest dander. According to Allergist’s interview with an allergist Dana Wallace, “what that means is that allergen remains airborne for at least 30 minutes after you disturb it in the room. That just allows the allergic patient to have a constant exposure to that allergen.”
Watch this video to know more about it:
#3: Is there a hypoallergenic cat?
Some people claim that there are hypoallergenic cats. But I have some bad news for you.
Experts are in agreement in saying that there is no such thing as hypoallergenic cats, as all cats produce the allergens.
You may see articles such as this one that lists cats that do not cause allergies, but remember that these have not been proven.
Touted, yes. Proven, no.
#4: How can I tell if my baby is allergic to cats?
Infants and very young children cannot tell you whether they are allergic to cats or not, so you have to trust your inner Sherlock on this one.
Luckily, Mayo Clinic outlined some clues to find:
Itchy, red or watery eyes
Itchy nose (frequent rubbing), the roof of mouth or throat
Facial pressure and pain
Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
Raised, red patches of skin (hives)
If your child has asthma, you may see her asthma symptoms get worse. There could be wheezing when exhaling, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath.
In case you suspect your baby is allergic to cats, talk to her doctor, and she will further examine your little one. Your baby’s doctor may order a skin test of a blood test.
#5: How is cat allergy managed and treated?
Once the test(s) turn out to be positive, your child may be given different medicines or treatment plans, depending on the symptoms.
The most common one is the antihistamine for nasal, eye, and skin symptoms; corticosteroids or bronchodilators for respiratory symptoms; and other medications such as steroid nasal spray, skin ointments, etc.
You might hear immunization to be the answer, but it does not work for everybody. It’s much better to ask an allergist about it to discuss the option.
Immunization shots for cat allergies contain a minimal amount of allergens, which would hopefully help your child’s body be less sensitive to them over time.
#6: Are there ways to lessen cat allergens at home?
Although cat dander is the smallest dander, and thus the most difficult to get rid of at home, experts have provided us with ways to lessen baby cat allergies.
Here are some things you can do:
Make her room cat-free. Do not let your feline friend enter her room at all, and make sure the doors are always closed. Also, try to limit the places in your house your cats can go to.
Replace carpets with hardwood floors. Carpets are allergen collectors. Even if you clean it regularly, you cannot be 100% sure that the cat dander has been completely removed.
Use leather or vinyl for furniture instead of fabric. Just like carpets, fabrics are allergen collectors too, and they’re more challenging to clean.
Clean regularly. No matter what materials your furniture and floor are made of, you have to sweep, mop, and vacuum them regularly. In addition, ensure that the cat litter is disposed of properly and the litter box cleaned. You should also clean the pillows, co-sleeper, and all.
Keep hands sanitized. Make sure you wash and sanitize your hand before touching your child with cat allergies.
Bathe your cat. Some studies say regularly bathing your cat lessens the allergens; others disagree. To be on the safe side, bathe them at least once a week.
Use HEPA purifier. A High-Efficiency Particulate Air purifier helps keep your place allergen-free.
#7: Is early exposure to cats helpful in preventing allergies?
Previous studies have conflicting results on the impact of having a cat at home. Some claim it triggers allergies while others assert it helps us be immune. However, one study shared by Amanda Gardner on Time claims that early exposure to felines actually reduces the risk of getting allergies by about 50%.
How is this study different?
It’s the first one to follow the sample until they are 18 years old. And true enough, the allergies are less common in the exposed group.
This study could only be true for those who don’t have existing allergies prior to getting a cat.
What this means is if your child has asthma and is tested positive for allergies, getting a cat in hopes that it will lessen the allergy won’t work. In fact, it would be the opposite.
#8: Should cats be given up if my baby is allergic to it?
Experts say it’s not necessary to do so. What you can do instead is to keep your baby and your pet away from each other and do the things listed in number 6.
Also, dedicate a room that’s completely feline-free.
However, it’s best to consult an allergist to know what should work best for your child.
#9: Will my baby develop asthma if she has allergies?
Not necessarily. Although 90% of people with asthma develop allergies, asthma is not always caused by allergies.
That wraps up our list.
Is there anything you’d like to add?