If your nose runs and your eyes water or you start sneezing and wheezing after petting or playing with a cat, you likely have a cat allergy. A cat allergy can contribute to constant allergy symptoms, as exposure can occur at work, school, day care or in other indoor environments, even if a cat is not present.
Cats produce multiple allergens (proteins that can cause allergy). These allergens are found on the fur and skin and in saliva. All cats produce allergens; studies have not shown that cats can be hypoallergenic (meaning that they don’t cause allergy). Homes with more than one cat have higher levels of cat allergens. Characteristics such as the length of a cat’s hair, its sex and the amount of time a cat spends indoors are not associated with cat allergen levels.Dust and pollen in a cat’s coat can also cause allergy symptoms. In those cases, the allergy is to the dust or pollen, not to the cat.