Cats are one of the most allergenic pets in households, with approximately 25 percent of Western households experiencing allergies from felines, according to a study conducted by AllAllergy.com. Most people who experience contact dermatitis from cats are sensitive to cat saliva or a combination of dried skin and saliva.
What is Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is a sensitivity to something that makes contact on the skin. In regard to cat saliva, the reaction can occur from cat scratches, petting a cat, or other contact with a feline, since a cat licks its fur regularly.
Contracting the Allergen
When a cat licks itself, or cleans itself with its paws, saliva coats their nails, skin, and fur, which can pass along bacteria which can exacerbate allergic reactions.
Symptoms of contact dermatitis from cat saliva include raised, red skin; bumps; a hive-like rash; and fever.
To help reduce allergic dermatitis reactions from felines, limiting physical contact with a cat can be effective. Washing hands or wearing longer sleeves when handling a feline can also help limit the exposure to the skin. Washing your hands immediately after contacting a cat is recommended. Some allergy medications are also helpful.
Diagnosing an allergy to a cat can be done by gauging the reaction when near an animal or through a blood test conducted by a doctor.
References and ResourcesAll Allergies: Cat dander / Cat saliva
WebMD Allergy Health Center: Cat Allergies
Drs. Foster and Smith: Human Allergies to Cats