Would you believe that me, cat lover extraordinaire, is allergic to cats??? When I was a little girl I went through every test in the book to find out what was causing my allergies, and when the results came back the list was a mile long. One of the things on that list was cats. I'll never forget at my very next visit with the allergist my mother was asked if we still had our cat.
Seriously??? I'm allergic to grass and a multitude of other things outside but I can't live indoors for the rest of my life, can I? There was no way in haides I was going to live without the companionship of the little furry angels that brought me more happiness than anything in the world; I would put up with the allergies and learn to adjust. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, nearly 10 million other people feel the way I do...they choose to share their lives with cats and dogs in spite of their allergies.
I actually never even had a reaction to a cat until Tara came along. Her fur was very thick and must have been different from my previous pets because the first summer she lived with me my allergies were terrible; I even had to wear a mask to brush her! But after a couple months my system must have gotten used to her and I never had a problem again.
Lately I've been reading that relief for those affected more than me may be in sight! Scientists at Cambridge University have isolated the protein in cat dander that combines with a chemical found in humans to trigger allergies in one in ten people. According to Dr. Clare Bryant, the study’s lead author:
“When cats lick themselves they spread saliva, hormones and skin cells on to their coat. When the hair falls out, it is proteins in this dandruff stuck on their fur that people are allergic to. How cat dander causes such a severe allergic reaction in some people has long been a mystery. This is the first time we have discovered the process that leads to the allergic reaction. It opens up a whole new type of drug to treat it.”Up until now the only cure has been antihistamines that carry other adverse side effects or injections that build up your tolerance, but as more information comes to light as to what causes the allergy, predictions are that within five years new drugs could be on the market to block the body's reaction to the allergen instead of just treating the symptoms.
Just think...millions of people who up until now have been unable to share their home with cats will now be able to ADOPT!!!