Cuddling with Shadow doesn’t mean having to suffer through cat allergies anymore. Symptoms of cat allergies include itchy, red, watery eyes, sneezing, post nasal drip, hives and more. They are twice as common as dog allergies to the sadness of cat lovers everywhere. With people spending more time indoors, because of cooler weather and the new work from home reality of COVID-19, you are naturally spending more time with your pets. If you have cat allergies, and have been able to manage them in the past, they may even be flaring up more than usual.
Cat allergies can be treated with over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines, decongestants and nasal steroid sprays based on advice from your doctor or pharmacist. These products just treat the symptoms, however, and not the cause of the problem. Scientific research has come up with solution. To learn more, we spoke with Stacy Lynn Morley, MSc, Nutritional Communications Manager, Purina Pro Plan & Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets:
What causes cat allergies?
Fel d 1 is the major cat allergen. It is a protein that is primarily produced in the saliva of cats and travels to cat hair and skin during grooming, and eventually enters the environment via hair and dander. Managing the allergen is a significant problem, as globally, one in five adults (22 percent) is sensitized to cat allergens.
People are spending more time at home. How does this impact their allergies?
Cat owners who suffer from cat allergen sensitivities are spending unprecedented amounts of time at home. And that means an unprecedented amount of time with their cats. Perhaps dealing with cat allergens wasn’t a big problem when they were only home a few hours a day. But now, being in close proximity 24/7 is creating challenges. As owners search for new and better ways to manage allergens, Purina Pro Plan LiveClear is the first and only cat food that has been shown to reduce allergens in cat hair and dander. When combined with other cat allergen management strategies, it can help cat owners better handle their current situations and be closer together with the cats they love.
What steps can a cat owner take to minimize cat allergens?
To help manage cat allergens, cat owners should continue to maintain the frequency of their regular cleaning routines including vacuuming floors and furniture and washing of bedding, blankets and other décor the cat spends time on.
Purina Pro Plan LiveClear is a new cat food that has been shown to reduce the allergens in cat hair and dander in as little as three weeks when fed daily. Many people think that cat hair is the problem, but it’s actually what’s on it – the major cat allergen called Fel d 1, which cats produce naturally in their saliva. When cats eat LiveClear, it neutralizes the Fel d 1 in their mouth. By reducing the allergen at the source in the saliva, it reduces the allergen that is transferred to the cat’s hair and dander when they groom, ultimately reducing the allergen in the environment.
How can a change in a cat’s diet improve allergens in the cat owner?
The key ingredient in Pro Plan LiveClear is a specific protein sourced from eggs. The kibble is coated with the ingredient and when cats eat it, the protein binds to the Fel d 1 and safely neutralizes the active allergen in the cat’s mouth.
By reducing active Fel d 1 in the cats’ saliva, it reduces the allergen that is transferred to the cat’s hair and dander when they groom, ultimately reducing the allergen in the environment. When fed daily, LiveClear significantly reduces the allergens in cat hair and dander in as little as three weeks.
Pro Plan LiveClear is safe for cats and it doesn’t affect the cat’s overall physiology. In fact, the cat will continue to produce allergens and shed as normal. The key ingredient in LiveClear, a specific protein found in eggs, simply binds to the Fel d 1 allergen in cats’ saliva and neutralizes it, safely, in the cat’s mouth.
Are there particular cat breeds that are less likely to cause sensitivities to cat allergens?
All cats produce Fel d 1 – regardless of breed, age, hair length, hair colour, sex or body weight. Fel d 1 is produced primarily in the saliva. Even hairless cats, like the Cornish Rex and Sphinx, produce this allergen.
We all want to enjoy time with our pets. Here are a few other suggestions to help reduce cat allergies without avoiding your pet:
- Restrict your cat to certain rooms in the house, and make sure not to let them sleep in your bedroom
- Invest in an air purifier or filter to help remove the pet dander and air pollution from a single room
- Have a family member who doesn’t have cat allergies take responsibility for cleaning the litter box or giving your cat medicine. If you live alone, wear disposable gloves
- If you cat is an outdoor cat, remember, you may have allergies to pollen, ragweed or something else that they may have come in contact with. Bathe your outdoor cat if it is something that they will tolerate