If you experience uncomfortable yet familiar sneezing fits and watery eyes every time a feline even gets within a few feet of you, then pet allergies are the likely culprit. Cute and tiny kittens, just like adult cats, are fully capable of triggering these frustrating symptoms -- uh oh.
If your nose and eyes always feel miserable when around a kitten, you are probably allergic to proteins that are emitted in her old, shedding skin -- not to her fur. These allergy-inducing proteins are also often present in both urine and saliva. According to the ASPCA, felines are frequently behind these reactions in people, even more so than other pets, including dogs. However, all pets and animals can lead to allergic reactions, regardless of age, breed type or any other factor.
The reality is that kittens and adult cats can and do carry allergens that can lead you to feel pesky allergic symptoms. If you suspect that you might be allergic to a sweet kitten, take note of some key symptoms, including couching, sneezing, sore throat, overall itchiness, labored breathing, nasal discharge and watery eyes. When being around a kitty brings out all of those things in you, you're allergic to her, or at least to some of the proteins she gives off.
Having allergies doesn't mean that you can't ever be around kittens or cats, never fear. A few important yet relatively simple lifestyle changes can make having allergies and being around felines bearable -- and perhaps even comfortable. The Humane Society of the United States recommends everything from routine pet bathing to installation of air purifiers, while the ASPCA advocates frequent home dusting and diligent hand washing after close contact with the allergy-causing kitty. If you're serious about being around a kitten despite being allergic, you can probably make it work.
Although easy lifestyle tweaks can be of great assistance in minimizing your allergy annoyances, visiting a doctor also might do the trick. Schedule an appointment with your physician to discuss the possibility of desensitizing allergy shots, or perhaps even antihistamine or steroid medications. If at all possible, seek out a doctor that specializes in the field of allergies -- an allergist. For a quicker solution, also consider over-the-counter allergy medications.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.