What Can I Do if I'm Allergic to My Cat?

What Can I Do if I'm Allergic to My Cat?

I think I might have an allergy to my cat. I've had her for 2 years now and there was nothing when we got her, but now when I pet her I sneeze and my eyes itch and get really red and sore. I don't want to get rid of her because I love her. What should I do?
- Darci*

It is possible to develop an allergy to something that's never bothered you before. The good news is that people with allergies don't always have to get rid of their pets — some people just need to make some changes in their house, such as keeping the pet out of their bedroom.

Make an appointment with an allergist to find out for sure if you have an allergy and, if so, what's causing it. The allergist will ask you about your symptoms (like when you sneeze) and your medical history, including whether family members have allergies. The doctor may also recommend allergy testing.

If you do have an allergy, your doctor may prescribe medications or allergy shots. Your allergist will also recommend things you can do at home — like washing your hands frequently, making sure your house is vacuumed and dusted regularly, and getting rid of carpets and drapes that trap dust and pet dander.

Most doctors recognize that pets are important members of a person's family and they do everything they can to help people keep them!

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: October 2011

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology offers up-to-date information and a find-an-allergist search tool.
Related Articles
If I Have Asthma, Can I Keep My Pet? If you have asthma, you're more likely to be allergic to a pet than someone who doesn't have asthma. Find out what you can do if you're allergic to your pet.
Do Allergies Cause Asthma? Some things that cause an allergic reaction, such as pollen or dust, can also trigger asthma symptoms. But not everyone who has allergies develops asthma and not all case of asthma are related to allergies. Find out about the connection here.
Allergy Testing Doctors use several different types of allergy tests, depending on what a person may be allergic to. Find out what to expect from allergy tests.
Pets and Your Health Like people, pets can carry infections - and some of these can be transmitted to people. Find out how you and your pet can stay infection free.
iGrow iGrow
Sign up for our parent enewsletter