Open Accessibility Menu

Are you allergic to your pet?

Published in Allergy & Asthma Services Author: Stephen Leslie, MD

You love your cat — like a member of your family. She sleeps with you and hops on your lap the minute you sit down. But lately, you haven’t been feeling 100 percent and you wonder if it’s because of your cat.

Allergies to pets with fur are common, especially among people who have other allergies or asthma. It’s your body’s immune system reacting to proteins in your pet’s urine, saliva or dander. About 10 percent of people have pet allergies — most commonly to cats.

Pet allergens can cling to walls, furniture, clothing and other surfaces and be active for months. Allergens also can get into the air during dusting, vacuuming or other household activities.

If you suspect you’re allergic to your pet, be on the lookout for typical symptoms:

  • Sneezing and runny nose
  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy skin or hives
  • Signs of asthma, such as wheezing, chest tightness or trouble breathing

Contact your health care provider or an allergist to find out for sure.