Cat allergy symptoms in a child aren’t hard to miss. In this blog post, you will learn about the telltale signs that your child is having an allergic reaction towards your pet as well as everything you need to know about cat allergies.
What Causes Cat Allergies?
An allergy towards a pet cat is mainly because of the animal’s dander or dried flakes of the skin, saliva, and urine. If your child has an allergy or an oversensitive immune system towards these allergens or triggers, he/she will experience symptoms that is his/her body’s way of fighting the said allergens. At the same time, even if your child isn’t allergic to a cat’s dander and the like, his/her pet cat can certainly bring a lot of things from the outside that may be a trigger for him/her. Those other allergens that can stick to a cat’s fur can certainly induce allergic reactions to your child and misinterpret it as your kid being allergic to cats.
What are the Cat Allergy Symptoms/Signs in a Child?
According to WebMD, here are the symptoms or signs that a child is having an allergic reaction to cats. Moreover, cat allergy symptoms in child will immediately show up if the kid has asthma. It will surely happen as soon as they come in contact with the animal. For others, take note that these symptoms can easily manifest within minutes but can also take hours to appear:
- Coughing as well as wheezing
- Hives or rash on the face as well as the chest
- Red, itchy eyes
- Redness of the skin where a cat has scratched, bitten, or licked the child
- Runny, itchy, and stuffy nose
What are the Treatments for Cat Allergies?
If your child ticks off everything in the list of the cat allergy symptoms in a child, opt for treatment immediately. There are standard allergy drugs for cat allergies such as Antihistamines and Decongestants. There are also allergy shots, but they aren’t allowed for kids under five years old. However, you need to consult a doctor first if the said drugs are already allowed for your child at his/her age. Yes, and of course, it will always be the best if you have a prescription.
How to Prevent Cat Allergies from Being Triggered?
Always keep in the forefront of your mind that preventing an allergic reaction or avoiding a trigger will always be million times better than treating an allergy that has already been activated. Think about the physical, mental, emotional, as well as financial turmoil that you can save your child and yourself from by just being able to prevent cat allergies.
Of course, technically, any kind of allergy can’t be prevented for it’s an innate thing. However, the prevention that is being talked about here is preventing allergic reactions from flaring up. Yes, it’s possible by being mindful of the environment to which your child and your pet cat is co-habiting. By being attentive from the largest and up to the smallest of details, as much as you can, you will be able to breathe in peace and not worry too much.
- Your child’s bedroom should indeed be a cat-free zone. If you suddenly came to know that your child has an allergy to cats, one of the things you can do is to take away the cat from the kid’s bedroom. Wash and replace every sheet, blanket, pillow, as well as drapes. Also, clean around especially on the places where the cat has been to remove any allergens left.
- Have second thoughts regarding your carpets. Know that carpets are able to collect allergens and even though you can clean them, there will always be something left. So as much as possible, replace the carpet or just take it away. Linoleum or hardwood can be good flooring replacements. If, on the other hand, you can’t, regular steam cleaning of the carpet must be done as well as vacuuming with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Don’t forget to wear an N95 mask while doing so in order to protect yourself.
- Have second thoughts regarding your home’s forced-air heating as well as air-conditioning system. Bear in mind that allergens can be spread throughout the entire household with those two systems. However, there is a way to combat this: filtration. Your air-conditioning must be installed and set with a high-efficiency media filter. Also, leaving the fan on will help in removing allergens. At the same time, regularly changing the filter will help to sanitize your home.
- Speaking of ventilation, see to it that from time to time, you let fresh air come in and out of the house. In short, open the windows too.
- Your pet cat’s litter box should be kept away from the areas of your home where your child is always hanging out. It’s so much better if the box is on a much low-key area in the household.
- Bathe or clean your cat regularly. This one is definitely a no-brainer.
- Frequently wash your cat’s bed and toys. The cat’s bed and toys are certainly the things where most of the allergens have accumulated, so you have to always clean them up.
- If your child has only a teeny tiny or a very mild allergic reaction to a cat, he/she can still play with the pet. Just make sure that after that, he/she will immediately wash his/her hands. Also, it’s much better if the kid can change clothes.
- Always be in touch with your child’s pediatrician. He/she will be able to tell you more about the things that you can do in order to protect the well-being of your child.
- On the other hand, always be in touch with your cat’s veterinarian. He/she can tell you about a diet that you can try on your pet that will allow it to be at its healthiest while not shedding as much. In short, you can learn of new ways to maintain your pet cat’s health that will indeed have a positive effect on its surrounding.
Remember that it’s very highly possible that “cat allergy symptoms in a child” will never even be a part of your family or household’s vocabulary by just being vigilant in everything.
What About Hypoallergenic Cats?
According to Science Daily, the term “hypoallergenic” pertains to the characteristic of provoking fewer allergic reactions in allergy sufferers. For this reason, you have to bear in mind that an animal being hypoallergenic doesn’t totally mean that it won’t trigger your allergies. On the other hand, it actually means that these animals just have a little less tendency to induce those reactions compared to others who aren’t hypoallergenic.
Here are the best hypoallergenic cat breeds that can be excellent pets for your kid with allergy:
- Devon Rex
This is a cat breed that was originally from England. Moreover, their appearance is characterized by slender bodies, wavy coat, and large ears. Additionally, they are known to be intelligent as manifested in their ability to do difficult tricks. And at the top of it all, they shed very little!
- Cornish Rex
This is a cat breed that is popular for its absolutely unique appearance starting from its egg-shaped face and curly whiskers as well as to how it has no hair except on the lower part of its body. It also sheds, but just very little too.
This cat breed, which is also called as the Colorpoint, was created by crossing a Siamese, Colorpoint, as well as Balinese cats. It’s also a really active cat. Moreover, it’s good for pet owners who have allergies.
- Sphynx Cat
This cat breed is very much known for its wrinkled skin, large ears, and most specially its lack of fur coat which just makes it as one of the best cat breeds for people with allergies! On the other hand, don’t ever think that it’s completely hairless. It’s actually covered with fine and downy hair that is like a peach skin. Moreover, this breed was developed through selective breeding back to the 1960s. For this reason, this cat is still definitely expensive nowadays because of it being a purebred.
This cat breed is a descendant of the Siamese. It’s actually a natural mutation of the latter and is characterized as the Siamese, but with long hair. A Balinese is a very active, intelligent, and affectionate cat. At the same time, its single coat has a silky texture and only sheds minimally. Actually, with cats that have really long coats, the Balinese is deemed as a breed that is almost not shedding at all! For these reasons, it can certainly be a good pet, especially for kids.
- Russian Blue
This cat breed that has a light shimmering silver or a dark gray tipped with silver coat is a sweet and a loyal cat. In the presence of strangers, they will be really shy and reserved. Moreover, they are also elegant and graceful with the way they walk, so it seems like they are walking on tip-toes! Furthermore, it’s also one of the popular hypoallergenic cat breeds out there, so you may really want to give this cat a try!
This cat breed was developed by crossing hybrids of domestic cats, the Asian Leopard cat, and the Egyptian Mau. It’s very much known for its exotic look that resembles that of a wild cat. Despite this, a Bengal is so sweet, loving, active, playful, as well as intelligent too. Furthermore, it’s one of the best hypoallergenic cat breeds out there because it only sheds minimally!
- Colorpoint Shorthair
This cat breed is a cross between the Siamese and the other Shorthaired cats, most likely the American Shorthair. A Colorpoint Shorthair has a really long and muscular body. Moreover, it’s a really an affectionate feline. With regards to its coat which is short, glossy, and fine textured, it only sheds minimally. At the same time, they only produce a small amount of dander. Overall, this breed is certainly one of the best hypoallergenic cat breeds out there.
This cat breed has a lush double coat, but it’s still good to be a house pet because of its low level of Fel d1 protein in its saliva. It means that its allergens is already at minimal. Kids or just people in general with mild allergies can be with Siberians and still be safe from having an allergic reaction.
On the other hand, the ones to avoid are the cat breeds such as the Persians, York Chocolates, British Longhairs, Toygers, Maine Coons, Norwegian Forests, Cymrics, Oriental Longhairs, Himalayans, Exotic Shorthairs, Tonkineses, Chartreuxs, Ragamuffins, Birmans, Scottish Folds, Kurilian Bobtails, and American Polydactyls. These cat breeds are notorious shedders, ranging from mild, moderate, and excessive. Frequent as well as too much shedding means more allergens are spread around. Furthermore, these cats require a rigorous routine in their grooming and that only means regular direct contact with them. Now, that isn’t ideal for people with allergies. It’s definitely the best if you avoid getting these cat breeds as a household pet.
If you have a child in your home as well as a pet cat, one of the precautions to take is to know the signs of cat allergy symptoms in child. That way, you will be able to act accordingly if your child is indeed allergic to cats. The key is to be knowledgeable in this subject matter. Without a doubt, being informed and ready will save your child from a lot of pain and stress.
From the causes and symptoms of cat allergy in your child, down to the treatments and prevention, you are now aware of the basics you need to know. Take note also that the hypoallergenic cat breeds are certainly more favorable, especially if there are kids around. You are lucky if you are yet to get a pet cat because you can definitely research for the specific kind that is hypoallergenic. Regardless, a pet and child relationship as well as the dynamics at home will both go smoothly if you are a responsible pet owner as well as a guardian/parent. For both of the roles you are filling in, happy parenting!