Everything You Need To Know About Getting Rid Of Cat Dander.

Posted on
November 5, 2020
Cat and girl with cat allergies holding tissue
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Photo Courtesy of New York Post.

Although many people believe that cat fur is what causes their allergies that is not actually the case. If you or someone you know has an allergy to cats it is not caused by the cat's hair. It is caused by small flakes of dried skin that are coated with a protein that the body mistakes for a pathogen. These small flakes of skin that are called dander and they are a totally natural part of a cat's life. But if you or someone you know has an allergy, dander can be quite the inconvenience. So what causes dander, and what can you do about it? Find out by reading the article below.

girl with tissue holding cat away from her
Cat dander is responsible for a variety of allergic symptoms like coughing, sneezing, itchy and runny eyes, and itchy skin. Photo Courtesy of Sylvane.

What is Dander?

Dry Skin and Feline Proteins Combine to Create Allergens

Cat dander is small flakes of dried skin that your cat sheds basically all the time. When new skin cells are produced and the old skin layer flakes away, dander is left behind. However, in the case of cats their skin produces a special protein called Fel D1. This protein is produced all over the cats body because it is an important part of nourishing and maintaining their skin and coat.

One issue that is unavoidable is that cats produce a double dose of this allergen. The protein is created all over the body to maintain their coat and skin. However, the protein also appears in their saliva as well as their urine. But since your cat licks all over their body to clean themselves, not only is there an allergen produced by the skin, they add an extra layer of the allergen by cleaning themselves with their saliva.

multiple cats on a couch
Cat dander can be particularly prevalent in a home with multiple cats

Why Are People Allergic to Dander

How the Immune System Confuses Dander for Something Dangerous

The reason people are allergic to Fel D1 is really the same reason anybody is allergic to anything., The first time the Fel D1 enters the body, the immune system mistakes the allergen as a pathogen or virus. When this happens the body creates an antibody to attack the pathogen. These antibodies are the same kind of antibodies that are produced when you are sick. That’s why allergies have symptoms that are so similar to a cold or sickness.

Unfortunately, once the body has mistaken the cat dander as being something dangerous to the body, it can not be retrained. So now every time Fel D1 is picked up by the body through the exposure to cat dander the body wants to attack it. It thinks it will make you sick and wants to prevent this “pathogen” from damaging your body. Because of this it causes runny eyes, sneezing, itchy skin, coughing, or various other symptoms. 

Even though your body can't be taught to not recognize the Fel D1 as a pathogen, don’t worry. There are plenty of things you can do to reduce the amount of cat dander that is left around your home. And by extension you can drastically reduce the severity of allergic reactions to the cat in your home. 

girl with tissue holding cat
Don’t let dander ruin the relationship between your family and friends and your pet. Photo Courtesy of Medical Economics.

What to Do to Prevent Allergic Reactions

How to Reduce the Production of Allergens

There are several steps that can be taken to reduce the allergic reaction people in your house are having to a cat's dander. One of the simplest steps is to get a dander reducing spray that you put on your cat every day. This spray is helpful as it lets you coat the entire cat in a dander reducing shield. One good trick is to give your cat a treat every time you spray them down. Spray them down, give them a treat, and then brush the spray through their coat. Pretty soon they’ll associate the dander spray with getting a snack and they’ll be thrilled about it. This also serves as a nice bonding experience for you and your cat every time and may lead to additional snuggles throughout the day.

Another method to reduce dander is to get a dander reducing shampoo. Lots of people hate to give their cats a bath but it can go a long way in reducing the allergic reaction to your pet. This shampoo is especially effective when it's combined with the dander spray. Be careful not to over bathe your cat with the dander shampoo through, You don’t want to dry their skin out and give them dandruff and itchy skin. 

You can also make changes in how you care for your home. By taking the time to vacuum more often and clean the cat's litter box everyday you can do a lot to literally remove dander and Fel D1 from your environment. Additionally, you may want to invest in an air purifier if you or someone in your home has an allergy. You can just place it right in their bedroom. By cleansing the dander from the air while they are sleeping you are reducing their exposure to it for at least a third of the time they exist so it can be a huge benefit.

kid hugging a cat
Reducing dander can help you keep your furry friend a part of the family.

If you take the steps necessary to reduce the amount of cat dander being produced in your home you can go a long way in reducing allergic reactions to your cat. This can be essential in keeping your cat a part of your family if a loved one or child has a cat allergy. There’s no need to lose your pet when you can take a few important steps and maintain a healthy home for your friends and family as well as a healthy home for your feline friend.

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Posted on
November 5, 2020
in
Advice
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