If you find yourself wheezing a lot whenever you approach your cat’s litter box, then your feline’s urine could be the likely culprit. The thing about cat allergies is that they are mostly triggered by the presence of Fel-D-1, some kind of protein present in cats’ fur, urine, saliva, and sweat.
And just so you know, the protein in cat urine that is responsible for allergies is microscopic. This explains why it is very easy for people to inhale this protein, especially when they come near a cat’s urine.
And for people with a susceptible immune system, you may experience an almost instant response to these innocuous proteins locked in your feline’s urine.
Quick facts about cat allergies:
- Most people suffering from cat allergies experience mild to moderate symptoms.
- Some people with allergies can still with cats.
- At the moment, researchers are still not sure why some people develop cat allergies while others do not.
Is Cat Urine Dangerous?
Let us tell you right from the get-go that cat urine is dangerous. While our feline friends have one of the most friendly personalities, especially when compared to other four-legged creatures, keep in mind that their urine can cause mild to moderate allergies that could have you feeling miserable for weeks, if not months.
Out of sheer common sense, you know that you shouldn’t touch or breathe in your cat’s urine. And while this may be difficult, especially if you have to clean your cat’s litter every couple of days, we advise you to be extra careful as cats’ urine pose some risks to your health and general wellbeing.
Not just for you, your cat’s urine also poses some dangers to your feline’s health.
Because cat urine has a distinctive smell, our feline friends usually take advantage of their urine odor to mark their territory. And even though this may look like a good thing, especially for cats who like to establish their hunting ground, not correctly dealing with your cat’s urine can put you both at risk of allergies.
Read on to find more detailed information on the most fundamental and troublesome dangers of cat urine.
What are the symptoms of cat urine allergy?
There are many cat urine allergy symptoms, which can vary depending on the protein you are allergic to and your exposure to that protein. For instance, tiny allergens from your cat’s urine can come in contact with your nose or eyes, triggering burning or itching.
That said, here are some common symptoms of cat urine allergy:
- An asthma attack, especially in people who have asthma
- Itchy skin
- Respiratory complications such as wheezing, coughing, or stuffy nose
- Irritated or red eyes
- Rash build up in areas of your body that may have come in contact with cat allergens.
- Eye irritation
- Runny nose
- Eye redness
- Breaking out into hives
- Itchy nose
- Nasal congestion
- Face or chest rashes
Although it is rare, people suffering from cat allergy can develop a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. When this happens, you’ll find it extremely hard to breathe. Plus, this condition can result in lower blood pressure, capable of sending your body into extreme shock.
Suppose you find it difficult to breathe or feel choky after coming in contact with cat urine, the right thing to do is seek prompt medical attention, and that’s because anaphylaxis can be life-threatening if not handled promptly.
Also, keep in mind that you may continue to experience some cat urine allergy symptoms, even after the cat is no longer present. And this isn’t surprising especially considering that cat dander and other cat allergens can remain on unwashed clothes, land on furniture and rugs, and linger in linens for many months.
How do you know if you are allergic to cats?
Most cat owners suspect that they are allergic to cats because of the symptoms they experience when they come in contact with their four-legged friends. But guess what? Symptoms alone will not reveal the exact proteins a person with cat allergy is exposed to. To this end, your doctor may recommend several allergy tests, including a skin prick test or blood test to determine if you’re suffering from a cat allergy.
These tests aren’t painful and usually take only a couple of minutes for the result to be ready. For instance, a skin prick test generally involves placing a tiny amount of cat allergen underneath the skin and waiting patiently for a reaction to kick in.
On the flip side, blood tests are used to test for specific immune substances associated with cats and other allergies.
The thing is, knowing the specific proteins sponsoring an allergic reaction will help your doctor determine the proper treatment for you. This is especially important if you want to continue living with cats.
What are the treatments for cat urine allergies?
There is no doubt that cat urine allergies can make your life miserable, and for the most part, you may have to stay away from your feline friend for some time until you fully recover. That said, we have put together some helpful treatments for cat allergies, so feel free to explore some of these treatments and see if you feel better.
- If you find it difficult to breathe after coming in contact with your cat’s urine, the right thing to do is visit your doctor, who will subsequently recommend nasal sprays.
And if you are already asthmatic, your doctor may recommend using inhalers to reduce the risks of an asthma attack.
Some people suffering from cat urine allergies have also reported that using antihistamines alleviates symptoms.
- Allergy shots: To desensitize your immune system from reacting to allergens locked in your cat’s urine, you should consider taking allergy shots.
Thanks to allergy shots, your body can effectively manage the severity of allergic reactions.
- Avoid using carpets and rugs as they are known to trap allergens. And if you must use carpets, we suggest using low pile carpets.
- Keep your cats out of specific areas in your home, especially away from furniture, out of your bedrooms, and yes, out of bed too.
- Groom regularly: Grooming your cat will help reduce the risk of allergies. But if you’re already dealing with allergies, we will suggest you ask someone who doesn’t have allergies to do the grooming.
- Use air conditioning: Good airconditioners like HEPA air cleaners work seamlessly to remove allergens within your home.
- To protect yourself against allergens trapped in your cat’s urine, we strongly advise you to avoid kissing or hugging your cat, especially if you have a susceptible immune system. And even after petting your cat, try to wash your hands afterward.
- Try to vacuum your furniture and rugs regularly. Also, endeavor to sweep the floor. And if it isn’t much of a burden, you can get someone without cat urine allergies to do these chores.
- Consider carrying an epinephrine injection pen: For people with extreme reactions to cat urine allergies, talk to your doctor about whether an epinephrine pen is on the card. This can be super helpful if you suffer from severe allergic reactions.
How to protect yourself against cat urine
We understand that you love your furry friends very much, but guess what? When it comes to dealing with cat urine allergies, you have to be extra careful. And part of being careful will mean placing your cat’s litter box in areas within your home that don’t have any rugs or carpeting. This will protect you from the potential dangers of allergens trapped in your cat’s urine.
And instead of just settling for any kind of litter, we will suggest you opt for cedar sawdust or pine litters. These litters are not only great for soaking up fluid but also help with ammonia neutralization.
How do you manage cat allergy?
If you start experiencing allergies after contact with cat urine, it’s time to visit an allergist to undergo a skin-prick test. If your doctor finds out you’re allergic, he/she may recommend several treatment options, including oral antihistamines, allergy shots, antihistamine eye drops, bronchodilators, and steroid nasal sprays.
By accessing your symptoms, your doctor should be able to recommend the best possible treatment. Similarly, if cat allergies leave you with a runny nose, for instance, steroid nasal sprays will help alleviate the symptoms you’re feeling.
We strongly advise people with cat urine allergies to make lifestyle changes if they are serious about reducing their allergic symptoms to cat urine.
As per lifestyle changes, here are some things you can do:
- Ensure you vacuum your home regularly
- Bathing and grooming your cat every couple of days should be on the cards
- If money isn’t a problem, you can invest in a good HEPA air cleaner for your home.
- Try to restrict your cat’s access within your home, especially your bedroom.
- Make a habit of washing your hands after playing with your cat.
Can you live with a cat if you have allergies?
For people who consider their four-legged friends as an integral part of their family, it’s almost unthinkable to give up their cats or rehome any cats that currently live with them. But if you suffer from consistent allergies, your doctor may recommend this option.
But depending on the severity of the allergies you experience, it may still be possible to live with your feline friends. That said, it will require a combo of allergy treatments and a diligent effort to get rid of cat hair and other particles within your home.
Similarly, knowing the exact protein triggering the allergic reaction will help people decide how best to manage their symptoms effectively.
If you have a history of asthmatic attacks or anaphylactic reactions in response to cats, then it’s a big no-no to live with or be around cats. While the news may be nerve-wracking for cat lovers, keep in mind that these types of severe allergic reactions can be life-threatening.
Frequently asked questions
Can breathing in cat urine harm you?
If you’re already suffering from respiratory problems, breathing in cat urine will no doubt worsen your condition, and we doubt you’ll like that. More so, the high levels of ammonia present in cat urine can instantly compound your respiratory problems.
And just so you know, cat urine is very dangerous for people suffering from asthma and bronchitis. So if you suffer from any of these respiratory conditions, we will strongly advise you to stay far away from cat urine.
Can humans get sick from cat urine?
Did you know that overexposure to ammonia can cause serious health issues? Oh yes, and with this compound present in cat urine, you have to be extra careful around cats and their urine.
Without mincing words, breathing in cat urine can make you sick because cat urine is full of ammonia, a very toxic gas that can trigger headaches, asthma attacks, and severe respiratory conditions like pneumonia.
How do you neutralize cat urine?
Don’t want to deal with the annoying symptoms that come with cat urine allergy? In that case, you have to make conscious efforts to neutralize cat urine, which isn’t so difficult to do. All you have to do is throw soiled clothes into a bucket and proceed to add half a cup of oxygen bleach (do not use chlorine bleach). Next, remove the clothes, soak them in vinegar and water.
Finally, add some baking powder directly to the urine stain, allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes, and go ahead to wipe off using the clothes.
Cat urine can result in allergens that can linger in your home for many years. And if not properly cleaned, these allergens can trigger severe allergies that can make your life miserable.
Should your cat urinate on your carpeting, furnishing, or flooring, please do well to have it properly cleaned up. And if you notice any allergy after coming in contact with cat urine, visit your doctor for prompt medical attention.